Mirrorscape wants to evoke your favorite tabletop game in AR
Removing the financial and technical barriers to gambling, as well as organizational hurdles, opens the door to a whole demographic of new players, even going against some of the physical requirements that make gambling prohibitively expensive for people with disabilities.
Ambitiously, Mirrorscape also intends to serve as a springboard for creators as well, by integrating the tools to create and share personalized content. Players can already share their cards on the prototype, which may one day feature custom stat blocks, rule sets, character options, environment artwork, and special effects.
“We want to democratize this process,” Anderson insists, “with low entry costs, making it affordable and cooperative, supporting creators who want to build something special, and hosting the infrastructure to make them pay for their time.”
“It’s hard to remember,” adds McIntire, “but before YouTube, independent filmmakers and content creators didn’t really have a flagship platform to go to. ‘we understand that today before the 2010s. I think homebrewers, tabletop artists and independent DMs are still in that position. We want to meet that demand with a platform and a social network for table designers and independent game manufacturers, which enable them to do sustainable business.
Mirrorscape isn’t the first virtualized technology project to put development power in the hands of its early adopters. From Oculus to Tilt Five, developers shipped dev kits to early adopters, almost as if they depended on the free labor they lured customers into. But Mirrorscape seems unique in its stance on expanding the homebrew economy and creative license due to fandom.
Anyone reading the news would think ours was a time when franchise owners doubled down on intellectual property protection. As recently as mid-2021, Games Workshop cracked down on non-profit fan animation (perhaps exasperated by the success of Syama Pedersen’s Astartes project).
“We’re not a company that thinks we have all the answers,” concludes Don Bland, COO at Mirrorscape, “we think our audience does. Enabling and empowering this audience will create the proving ground for building the future of tabletop gaming.
This, combined with their collaborative strategy to compete, looks encouraging.
Visualize the imaginary
The crucial part of viewing an in-depth tabletop role-playing game is that of the cinematography, something few virtualized entertainment projects have become known for. Naturally, the bar for staging role-playing is high, having long been set by the boundless capacity of the nerd’s imagination. With entirely unproven technology, augmented reality is ill-placed to reach such a level, making it a stumbling block for any developer.
“We’re still working on how to make it a true cinematic experience,” admits Don Bland, “that accommodates the many ways this game can be played and enjoyed.”
It’s easy to get excited about the augmented tabletop, as it could further revitalize tabletop gaming, galvanize the momentum that Dungeons & Dragons kickstarted in the 2010s, and bring the alarming worlds of Games Workshop to life for the first time.
As Joe Manganiello beautifully summed it up, “Our success in creative fields was forged by spending 10,000 hours of children sitting around tables with graph paper and pencils to develop characters and stories. We were the generation that dreamed of this day decades ago and now we are finally bringing it to the masses.
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