Gamemakers keep trying to marry digital and physical games, and augmented reality is one of the ways to do that. So the folks at French game maker Peoleo have created an augmented-reality trading card game called Drakerz-Confrontation.
It’s a small budget title, but it has some clever ideas that show the developers are thinking hard about bridging the digital-physical divide. The fantasy card game lets you play with physical trading cards that you put on the table in front of a PC with a webcam. The camera reads the images on the cards, which look like any other deck of trading cards, and then it makes some animated magic happen on the computer screen. (Check out the video at the bottom to see.)
Since the game is now formally launching, players will be able to download it and purchase the trading cards via Drakerz.com. They can also play the game on Valve’s Steam digital distribution service.
The developers say the free-to-play digital online PC game is already popular in Europe. But Peoleo did fail to raise $30,000 for its U.S. launch in a Kickstarter campaign that ended on June 18. The company only raised $19,476 from 326 backers. It might be feeling some of the squeeze from Blizzard’s fellow card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, which has been enormously popular recently.
But it is proceeding with its launch anyway. In the game, players — or “Drakerz” — collect physical premium cards that are shown to players’ webcams to cause legendary creatures known as Drakos to appear in an arena and fight virtually using augmented reality. Codes on the cards create animated sequences on players’ screens. Point scoring and card cost is managed entirely by the computer, freeing the player to concentrate on combat.
“After the successful launch last year in Europe, Drakerz-Confrontation is ready to reach a new audience of U.S. gamers and trading card enthusiasts,” said Benoit Coupez, the CEO of Peoleo Entertainment, in a statement. “Players will experience Drakerz-Confrontation as it was meant to be played with physical trading cards powering exciting, immersive battles via augmented reality.”
Players can log in to their accounts and play from any PC with an Internet connection. In addition to multiplayer mode, you can play duels against the computer in the story mode. For players without a webcam, an entirely virtual version is available. For players who have no PC, the game can be played offline with the trading cards.
Tourcoing, France-based Peoleo has about 85 employees, with about 20 of them working on Drakerz-Confrontation. The team was working on the project since 2010, and it launched an alpha version in France in 2013.
As for why the campaign failed, Peoleo noted that part of the game was already available on the company’s web site and Steam. That may have confused backers who usually focus on projects that are still under development. Or it might have been that the content options for backers weren’t clear or appealing enough. The company chalked it up to its relative inexperience on Kickstarter.