Anki: The Real-life Racing Game
Classic Game Reimagined
Many of us remember the joy of Christmas and unboxing your first Scalextric set. Slot driven cars on a racing track that has rail for your cars to slot into(up to four depending on the set you had). Controlling these cars was very simple, just a variable squeeze of the trigger to adjust speed, no steering or chance of bumping into your competitor, and certainly no way to play alone (without favouring one hand over the other). Great fun but the humble slot-racer is quickly declining in popularity due to more immersive and controllable video games. Anki look to change that and re-invent the living room floor racer.
Anki blends the real-world fun and excitement of slot-driven cars, with the immersive and variation you expect from video games. A specially coated mat with the track is laid on the ground for your special Anki cars to use, similar to a slot-track but with a key difference, you can weave in and out of cars and have the entire race-track to play with, as opposed to your pre-determined slot. Another vast difference is the ability play solo. So when your brother or sister storm off in a huff after their tenth defeat in a row you can still continue your game using their car under AI control.
How does it work ?
The physical cars themselves are not much different than the traditional slot-cars, minus the copper connectors. What makes the difference is the brains, while not housed and controlled in-car, this allows the car to be self-controlled and adds elements to the game such as weapons, difficulty levels and more.
The brains of the operation are your smartphone, the software on the phone controls every aspect of the car’s behaviour, speed, intelligence, tactics, weapons. It also allows the car to track it’s relative position on the track and to other cars up to 500 times per second.
Control is done using your smartphone and it’s accelerometer, just like the steering wheel peripheral for video games. The cars are smart enough to not fly off the track as you control them, unless hit by a weapon.
The setup for Anki drive is purpose built for variability. You can buy additional cars that have different abilities, again all controlled by the app, similar to the every popular video-real game hybrid, Skylanders.
With all this in place, and a firm backing from Apple, we can likely see Anki drive being a real success in the future (Hopefully we can get our hands on a set and come back with a full review).