Ex-Visceral game devs use smartphones as controllers for their award-winning 16-player party racer
Space Dust Racers wins Best Technology at Freeplay 2015 for its novel smartphone controllers
Melbourne, Australia, Monday 27 April, 2015 – Space Dust Studios Pty Ltd has won Best Technology at Freeplay 2015 for its use of smartphones as controllers in its upcoming party combat racer "Space Dust Racers" for PC, Xbox One and PS4.
The unique controller tech allows up to 16 players in one room. "Our wifi controller technology allows smartphones and laptops to be used as extra gamepads, and also allows physical gamepads to be daisy-chained to these devices via USB," says Glen Stuart, Lead Technology Developer at Space Dust Studios. "This solution works around hardware controller limitations, allowing up to 16 local players. The biggest constraint is the size of your living room!"
The technology is browser-based, meaning no smartphone app download is required. "We’ve developed a plugin for Unreal Engine 4 that allows smartphones, tablets and laptops to be used as additional controllers," says Glen Stuart, Lead Technology Developer at Space Dust Studios. "The game acts as a web server, allowing devices to connect and send input to and from the game session. The technology also works with most USB and bluetooth devices, allowing physical gamepads to be daisy-chained to Android smartphones and laptops for tactile feedback."
The company received prototype funding from Film Victoria last year, which it used to prove out the new technology using its debut title Space Dust Racers as proof of concept. “We’re excited about the potential of this technology both in the gaming sector and digital media space,” says Glen Stuart. “We’re keen to get the plugin into the hands of other indie devs too.” The technology currently runs on PC, with plans to bring it to Xbox One and PS4 next year.
Their debut project Space Dust Racers is a vehicular combat party game, inspired by classics such as Mashed and Micro Machines. “We’ve intentionally kept the game controls simple, so they translate well to touch screens and are easy for new players to learn,” says Michael Davies, Lead Gameplay Developer. “We’re looking forward to seeing videos of 16 players squeezing into a living room. It’s going to be total chaos. We’ll probably even make it an in-game achievement.”
Currently in development for PC with Xbox One and PS4 versions planned for early 2016, Space Dust Racers is seeking crowdfunding now on Kickstarter.