In this article we’ll discuss what SuperSuit is, its basic concept and how will it benefit gamers.
What is SuperSuit?
SuperSuit is a wearable gaming platform which can be used to play various types of games. It takes kids & families outdoors and interact with one another. It supports exciting but non-violent games. Above all, it is the coolest thing to play on!
SuperSuit was created with the vision of making a gaming platform that reduces screen time, increases social interaction and physical activities.
It is designed for the new play space of the 21st century – the emerging ‘Third Space’, a space between the screen-dominated indoors & the vanishing outdoors. Its the backyards, frontyards, parking lots, basements, terraces, corridors, streets in the neighborhood where the majority of play is happening today.
What Does SuperSuit Do?
SuperSuit takes kids & families outdoors and interact with one another. Kids essentially become superheroes and the wearable aspect & natural gesture engine, gives the feel of having Telekinetic powers! They can move bots, interact with their environment & other players in an enhanced way not possible earlier.
|SuperSuit was born when its creators tested a prototype of a wearable gaming platform and kids went nuts with it! It was a ‘suit’ kids would wear to interact with other kids by shooting lasers.
SuperSuit is a fully standalone distributed system capable of communicating to each other without needing a smartphone, television or internet connection. This is especially required for younger kids. It has three main parts; SuperGlove, SuperVest and SuperBot.
The system’s primary hardware is the best in the world! It has a processing power of 20 PHz (peta hertz, order of 10^15), with auto-stabilizing mechanism to prevent any dizziness or loss of balance, display resolution of 576 Megapixels at upwards of 150 fps, motion capability with 244 degrees of freedom, fully portable & capable of walking / jumping / running in all kinds of terrains and best of all freely available to all! ITS THE HUMAN BODY. The players generate ‘new worlds’ with unprecedented graphics, using the programming language of Imagination.
SuperSuit augments this with radio mesh network, IMU, IR, GPS to create the desired experiences. Its patent pending distributed mesh wireless technology, makes it a self sufficient wearable gaming device, with captive battery and computing power, with in-ballpark peer to peer mesh networking capability without the need of any external infrastructure, with inertial sensors to enable more intuitive interaction with the system and fellow gamers, IR transmitters and receivers to provide directional interactions, full fidelity speakers and OLED display to provide visual and auditory feedback.
Where Did the Idea of SuperSuit Come From?
The first ever games are said to have been invented 18,000 years ago to simulate war situations. No wonder the cave paintings, Egyptian murals depicting them have detailed illustrations of wrestling poses.
With the advent of agriculture the human civilization could settle, and toys & boardgames started appearing. With the advent of video games however, gaming has seen the most accelerated development of all times – in 30 years we’ve gone from Atari to PC games, console games, mobile games to motion sensing games.
However the immersion has always happened in a screen. We pulled the input controller out of the screen but the primary immersion still happens in the screen. Even the much hyped ‘future of gaming’, VR does the same, more so than others infact.
But its difficult to see VR gaming becoming the everyday way to play for everyone. What’s even more concerning is the popular “game plays”. Violent games have pretty much taken over gaming in the last decade, with GTA, Call of Duty, CS:GO, Halo etc.
There is a ton of research on the direct impact of violence in video games in many of the infamous school shootings (in 2000 they were even added FBI’s list of associated behaviors), in desensitization of players to violence, their addictive nature (even De-addiction centers opening up). This is especially harmful for kids in their formative years – despite that, the blanket approval they enjoy by & large is shocking. Parents show concerns but the usage doesn’t reflect that.
This is ironical because kids actually prefer outdoor play & interacting with friends over video games. The trouble is the availability of space. The majority of play in 21st century is going to happen in a ‘Third Space’. In developing countries like India, the great outdoors have vanished, and the Third Space is the space between indoors & outdoors – which is your parking lots, basements, terraces, corridors, jogging tracks, streets in the neighborhood.
In countries like US where space & public parks is not an issue – space is still a problem due to safety concerns. Parents feel a need to accompany kids everywhere – making those spaces inaccessible. The Third Space there becomes the backyard / front yard & streets in and around the neighborhood. As of now there are no organized games designed for these spaces. It is dominated by imagined games like ‘Color Color’, ‘Pen Fight’, ‘Hide n Seek’ or constrained version of sports like ‘Low Shuttle’ (constrained form of badminton due to low ceilings in parking lots), ‘Short Cricket’ and so on.
SuperSuit is designed keeping this Third Space in mind. The pillars, furniture, cars which become obstacles in current games, become hiding places to duck and ambush. They provide a rich, challenging terrain to drive bots around. The pillars, ceilings and other objects provide complex 3D landscape to interact with.
With its emphasis on non-violent games – in fact we don’t just remain neutral – we have created a Balance based game play framework to actively sensitize kids towards it. And being a game it happens in a non-preachy way and the testing sessions show a promise that with repeated play, kids would imbibe this sensitization via ‘osmosis’.
Overall this seems a natural evolution to gaming for kids, much like landlines or cameras with film. You can imagine the kids who weren’t around for them throw comments like : “Wait, you have to be tethered down to something with a wire to call someone, and you can’t text them? Why would you want to do that?” Current consoles will be like that for kids who haven’t grown up with them. “You have to sit in one place to play? You can’t take this game with you? Why would you want to do that?”
SuperSuit Completely Changed the Way Games Should Be Played
The suit enabled the kids to become a ‘super’ version of themselves, enhancing their interaction with the environment using various sensors. The recurring theme in environment / nature is that of Balance. Everything from weather to day & night to the food chain exists in balancing cycles in nature.
Even a seemingly violent relation of prey & predator was eventually about Balance. If the prey population goes down, so would the predators. And the predators would die, become part of the soil which would become food for trees which prey would eat.
Accordingly new games were designed based on the idea of Balancing resources, rather than the typical ones of maximizing your resources & minimizing that of others. One of the games is ‘Robinhood’ where there are three groups of players – rich, poor and Robinhood.
Imagine the resources each player has denoted by a light strip running from red to orange to green. Rich start with excess resources (‘green’ zone) & poor with very few (‘red’ zone). Rich & poor can take resources from each other with an objective to maximize resources. Robinhood take from the rich and give to the poor with an objective to balance resources for all players by getting them in the middle orange zone.
Another game of ‘Knowledge Sharing’ has an unusual game mechanic where you need the maximum knowledge resource to win but you cannot take knowledge! You can only ‘get’ it if someone gives it willingly to you. When these games were tested with kids, the creators saw dynamics of them developing soft corner for Robinhood, not trying to attack a person if they have given knowledge to you .. in general thinking of how to create a balance, rather than maximizing own resources and killing others. It turned out to be much more complex & fun as well.
To conclude SuperSuit is not only what the future of gaming can be, but what the future of gaming should be! To make every gamer Calmer. Wiser. Happier.