Saturday, June 3, 2017

Tango - Escape Room

Project Status: App Idea
Update: Getting closer, but not yet Tango enough


This app would require a Google Tango device to run. Even though it is possible to develop an app with this idea now, it will become more fun and interactive as time goes on and Google Tango becomes more aware of not only the shape of the space around it but also begins to understand the objects found within that space.

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

The Backstory

In the last few years you many have noticed lots of escape room adventure locations popping up. If you haven't been to one or haven't heard of them I suggest you search for some in your area to see what I am talking about.

Basically the idea of an escape room is that you start out locked in a room and must find a way to get out. The main door is locked and a series of puzzles must be solved for you to progress through a story-line and find a key or combination that will let you open the door to exit. Often within a given time limit.

You are often given some vague plot and it then becomes your job to find clues within your environment to solve several mini puzzles to as you progress through the plot and eventually, hopefully, make your escape.

The Idea

The goal would be to transfer a similar experience to your own room.

The Obstacles

The most difficult part of making a game like this work would be making it dynamic enough to work in nearly any given environment.

Masking Tango's Limitations

With devices overheating very quickly and compounding drift errors over time, longer games are not the best use cases for Google Tango at this stage in its life cycle. That's not to say that it isn't going to get better over time, but right now we need to develop apps that will work well for users today.

One clever way to overcome these kinds of problems is to mix up the gameplay so that extended periods of scanning and tracking the environment would not be common. As the users stumbles across some useful clues they can break away from augmented reality play and into what would be similar to mini games. Taking the known clues and solving puzzles not in space but in gameplay on the device. When they solve the mini puzzle, or when they choose to leave it for later on, they can pop back into augmented reality and begin exploring the environment again.


The difficulty level for developing this app is quite high right now, but it's nothing that a small team couldn't handle within a few months and then expand on over time. Eventually, as computer vision becomes more integrated into Google Tango and the average developer is able to identify objects in space on the fly, this will only get better and better.


I recently came across a super cool Google escape room event. It's not quite Tango but it is all about what this project is. Check out the update and the video here.