V.2.0 (January 2013)
ToyVision is aimed to easy the prototyping og computer augmented board-games. It provides with tools to upgrade any conventional playing piece in a control in an hybrid computer game. Toyvision supports passive playing pieces (manipulated by players) as well as active playing pieces (manipulated by the computer system) through the Arduino board (www.arduino.cc)
Tabletop devices based on difusse illumination (http://nuigroup.com/go/lite), are able to detect and track objects on their surface; thus, it is tecnically possible to create computer board-games that use physical playing pieces. However, at this moment, there are not many proposals of this kind of hybrid videogames. The reason relies in the intrinsic difficulty of developing this games, cause complex algorimts and electronics have to be implemented in order to detect and track playing pieces’ manipulations.
ToyVision lowers the threshold of designing and developing hybrid computer board-games, by offering high processed data of event straight related with playing pieces status during the game.
TOYVision tools and the games developed with it require Adobe Air player instaled in your computer.
- get Adobe AIR Player
ToyVision is based on the Reactivision frameworl (http://reactivision.sourceforge.net/), adding new functionalities for blob recognition and Arduino support. Previous users of the Reactivision toolkit will not find any difference of use in TOYVision framework. Indeed, they just have to launch the framework application, as framework parameters will be automatically configured to detect each playing piece modeled using the TOYVision GUI.
3. TOYVision Widget Layer: This is a new Adobe Action Script 3 class that gives access to all the data needed to recover updated status of each playing piece during the game activity. Provided with this Widget Layer, developers just have to worry about game feedback on the table surface, as they will receive high abstract events of any change in the playing pieces on the table. Games created with TOYVision Widget layer must be created as Adobe AIR projects under any Action Script 3 development environment. The TOYVision Complete package you have downloaded includes an Adobe Flash CS5 and CS5.5 project ready to be used to create new games. Also, there are some game samples with complete source code that you can use and modify to learn how to create your games using the TOYVision Widget Layer.
Second and last thing you have to learn, is that TOYVision clasifies every playing piece in four diferent categories, and you need to take this into account when designing your own games:
Simple Tokens are the most common playing pieces in board games: checkers, marbles, chips… Players arrange a limited amount of playing pieces on the board according to game rules (e.g. Checkers, Ludo, Stairs and Ladders, Roulette…) In general, Simple Tokens can be physically described as small flat cylindrical pieces, all identical with the exception of the colour used to distinguish the piece of each player, or to give different values (money, points…). Usually, most board games need a lot of Simple Tokens to be played, but grouped in few categories (Checkers only uses black and white pieces, Ludo uses four colors…).
This video shows you how to use Simple Tokens in TOYVision:
Other kind of playing pieces get from game rules a very specific role and unique name, which are perceived by the player through their physical appearance. A classic example is the Chess game: the Tower piece has a different appearance and rules than the Pawn. It is possible to have more than one instance of a kind of Named Token in a game (Chess has four Towers and sixteen Pawns), or to have unique instances of each playing piece (in card games, each card is unique in the game, and has a unique name such as Ace of Diamond, Three of Spade …). A Named Token physically identifies the player it belongs to (usually by colour) and the role it has in the game.
This video shows you how to use Named Tokens in TOYVision:
A Constraint Token can be described as a playing piece that acts as a physical constraint of a set of smaller Simple Tokens. The bigger piece can be moved in the game board as any other playing piece, but with the manipulation of the Simple Tokens associated with it, the Constraint Token gets new meanings. For example, the playing piece of the Trivial Pursuit game is composed of six triangular small pieces (Simple Tokens) which can be placed inside a bigger circular piece (Constraint Token) which represents the progress of each player during the game. In this particular case, handling of the playing piece is based on associating (placing/removing) Simple Tokens inside a Constraint Token. Other playing pieces require more complex manipulations, for example, in the Roulette game, players spin a little marble (Simple Token) inside a circular plate (Constraint Token); in this case the playing piece is based on manipulating (moving/rotating) a Simple Token inside the Constraint Token.
This video shows you how to use Associative Constraint Tokens in TOYVision:
And this video shows how to use Manipulative Constraint Tokens in TOYVision:
Finally, there are other playing pieces which do not have a constant shape, as they change with the manipulations of the player, as they are made of malleable materials, such us clay, cardboard, cloth… In a table, players can use these materials for creating new shapes and by combining them, new structures are created.
This video shows you how to use Deformable Tokens in TOYVision: