Friday, March 17, 2017

Tango - Augmented Reality Maze

Project Status: App Idea


This app would require a Google Tango device to run, though it would be much more fun with multiple devices synced together playing at once.

If you are looking to buy a Tango device check out this post which links to the newest devices on the market.

The Setup

I have always found maze running in real life to be quite interesting. If you aren't quite sure what I am referring to here yet, think about those hay bale mazes that kids play in, or those huge hedge mazes that you always see at castles in the movies.

The Idea

I would love to make an app that used Google Tango to build a dynamic maze over the user's current environment. It would start out using the space it can see around it to dynamically draw the maze and then the maze would develop as the user walks around to explore new space.

The Mechanics

Real walls seen in the real world would correspond to walls within the augmented reality game. The app would draw more walls in a walk-able maze pattern between any space the user walks through when it is large enough to do so.

When users either accidentally or by attempting to cheat cross any of the virtual barriers the game will guide them back somewhere close to the point where they left the maze so that the game may continue.

The barriers which the maze is composed of could either be very high or relatively low. A more difficult game would include barriers so high that the players​ could not see over them. On the other hand, an easier type of gameplay would allow users to see over the walls and around the maze near them.

It would then be quite simple to add in obstacles and goals within the maze. For example; the player could be searching for one specific exit marker. Once able to touch the exit the current level of the maze would be completed.

Changing from one level to the next could happen in an elevator type of motion. Meaning that the current level sinks into the ground and the next level scrolls down over the user's environment as the player levels up. Each level could have a unique look and feel such as hay bales, stone walls, green hedges, neon glowing and so on.

Many choices could be made with this type of game format such as allowing users to save games to continue later on at the same location, setting timers for the players to beat when solving the puzzles (although this may encourage running and overwhelm the current version of Tango), including different types of barriers either to choose from or as different levels to complete and so on.

As some games have the ability to provide hints when players begin to get stuck or frustrated, in this game you could do something fun like showing footprints where the player has been and maybe even fading them out over time so that it is easier to see which tracks are the freshest.


Overall I think it would be a lot of fun to see a virtual maze dynamically built in my current environment. Then I could get a lot of exercise trying to move around to find my way out of it; hopefully with nothing scary chasing me around.