The Game Table – A living thing

Well, we’ve been using the digital game table for a season and it has been wonderful.  As with all systems, the more you use it, the more ideas you get.  The Wiimote interface works, but sometimes it gets the IR pens get a little flaky.  Plus, it only allows one input at a time.  This doesn’t cause many problems, but sometimes we do see issues.

Talking with my wife and the other players, we considered using public libraries to produce a camera recognition application that can track markers on the table surface.  This allow us to toss markers on the table and they can be moved independently and at the same time. The camera will track these markers and tell Maptool to move the in game tokens.

Essentially this requires a custom app and a small change to the Maptool program to allow for a custom message that says what to do.  The long of the short, no more wiimote will be necessary.  Just 5 colored markers that sit on the table for the camera to track. Ahh.. progress.  I was able to get it working tonight.  Once I work out some small kinks, I’ll record a video and demo it.

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5 Responses to The Game Table – A living thing

  1. T says:

    Hey Shane. Love what I\’ve seen of your table work. I\’d be really interested in seeing how your new setup works. Any chance you\’ve gotten to test the camera functionality on film you might share?

  2. Judd says:

    Hi. Your gaming table is hands-down the coolest piece of geekgineering I have ever seen. After much haggling with my wife, she\’s actually going to allow me to build one, so I was just wondering if you had made any progress with the marker-tracking program? I was toying with the idea of creating custom bases for the PC\’s mini\’s that would contain an IR LED powered by a watch battery and would only turn on when someone was actually gripping it. But a marker-tracking program would sure be A LOT easier. Anyway, great stuff! your a genius.

  3. Shane says:

    Thanks guys. We did do a test run of it. But my computers are crap, and the image processing is very CPU intensive. It will work… but I need to iron out more kinks.

  4. Ryan says:

    Can you give us the details on what you are using? Really just wondering what is required as far as camera type, minimum CPU you would suggest and if you are using currently available software or something you wrote… I got the IR version working, but I\’ve decided to wait to build anything until I see what you have in store for us this time. If it\’s software you wrote, will you be making it available along with info on how to adjust Maptool? Keep up the good work!

  5. Shane says:

    Hey Ryan, sorry for the delay in response. The camera is the new Microsoft webcam that supports HD. The CPU? The faster the better. I\’m using a crappy laptop for this… Which is why I have had to put this project on hold. I need a REALLY good computer to support the camera capture. While the touch screen is nice, my players and I have been lazy and they are currently just using regular figs and I cheat by moving their in game token using a mouse. *blush* It isn\’t perfect, but it works.

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