The Dreams of January

LARPtronics has had a busy month. I think it is fair to say that at the beginning of December, when we were planning to make a handful of props and see where that took us, we were not expecting to have ended up where we are.

A breathless few days before Christmas saw us hook up with Dragon Armouries and a visionary new LARPing group in America called Arcane. Initially we covered a lot of ground at the end of the year, easily running before we could walk, but as we entered into 2014 plans and discussions have led us to very clear goals.

The first blueprints for our primary projects have been finished and construction of the uprgraded prototypes are underway. At the moment we have two direct projects nearing completion with plenty more pinned to the wall of progress.

The Runesword

The runesword prototype is entering final stages of development. The model is a Dragon Armouries Great sword with 6 runes carved down each side of the blade and a rune gem in the center of the crossguard. The runes are backed by LED’s controlled by a microcontroller and accelerometer which trigger different animations based on the movements of the weapon, such as drawing, swinging or striking with it.

Dragon Armouries Sword – Components – Detail

Proto-Sword OneProto-Sword Two

 The technology for running the blade will be tucked away discreetly in the pommel of the weapon which will be attached to the sword with a sprung bayonet system. This ensures that the tech can easily be reached and that the pommel will not accidentally detach during a combat situation.

LARPtronics Sword Electronics

led strip manufacture 1

The LARPtronics and Dragon Armouries tech and blade combined

IMG_20140202_232856 IMG_20140205_074244 IMG_20140205_074240 IMG_20140205_074219 IMG_20140205_074030 IMG_20140205_074025 IMG_20140205_073817

Future variations to the design include:

  • Different Weapons

  • Pommel LED reacting to such things as external life, grip, being drawn or the presence of specific creatures (Undead etc)

  • Customizable animations

The Light Gauntlet

The original light gauntlet was designed with 24 LED’s along a cloth gauntlet that covered the forearm and hand. The gauntlet responds to the gestures made by the wearer with different animation sequences based on the current operating mode of the gauntlet. . These are designated Aggressive, Defensive, Utility, it also has a universal lighting function that provides light over an area that allows sight. The illumination provided by the gauntlet dims and brightens depending on how dark the environment is.

The new gauntlet will come in two models: Soft; which will be reinforced fabrics or Hard; This will be a moulded forearm and hand gauntlet moulded by Dragon Armouries in various forms. Each of the models will come in simple, standard and deluxe designs for both the model and the function allowing the product to be as sophisticated or simplistic as the owner desires.

Gauntlet development at this time revolves around making the animations, modes and gestures of the gauntlet as seamless and intuitive as possible
Stills of the Original Gauntlet

 

And that is us for January. We’ll try to blog more frequently in January as we finish the Runesword and bring the new light gauntlet into play along with some plans for the March and April projects.

 

 

 

Daring to Dream a little bigger

Larpers_fill_the_inn

Larping has always been a crew intensive hobby.

Those that partake know that it would not work at all without the reams and reams of volunteers who donate their time to make the experience as good as it can be.  While a lot of this usually goes in the form of “playing something big and hitty” for the players to fight, there is also a hidden cost of all the time spent where refs are required to babysit an encounter because of a specific event/mechanic that may or may not occur.  A ref’s time is highly valuable while an event is running, and would often be better spent pushing story and flavour, setting the scene, and responding to the latest crazy actions of some of the players.

 

The end result is often a pragmatic one, there are types of encounter that either do not get run in big systems, or get run in very limited ways.  While a clever ref / story can run without the players ever realising that there are significant limitations, is it not a good thing to dream a little bigger?

Why can I not have a door/chest that is magically sealed and will not open unless the correct unlocking spell is used on it? (without a ref)

 

There are interactions with the world which can be set up and then left, forgotten until it is time to pack everything away.  Over the course of an event each one of these may trigger multiple times for different groups, and drive plot, fear, or whatever is needed into the game without any ref presence required.

Why can I not have in character traps set waiting for players to stumble into? (without a ref next to it in a high vis jacket giving the game away)

 

These are common in the world of online gaming, but entirely absent from the world of LARP.

Why can I not have the ability to sense magical effects or specific beings without having to find a ref to tell me?

 

It is our vision to make this and more a reality through the clever use of technology,  trickery, a fair bit of smoke and possibly the odd mirror 🙂

 

Come in to the Light

How can we use technology to enhance the worlds of LARP?

Doing so without proving distracting through a seamless integration is key.

Creating a wholly immersive experience, technology that enhances and adds to the experience in a natural way,  removing the need for complex rules or combat calls.

Is this even possible?

We are sure it is.
light effects

We are going to demonstrate it.

Concerns of implementation

How to enhance the worlds of LARP with technology seamlessly, but without distraction is a key point of focus.
we do not want to call attention to the effects (once people have seen how amazingly cool they are) we want to use technology to replace mechanisms that have previously required a ref’s presence, or have previously been impossible.