The idea is extremely bold, especially given the lukewarm reception augmented reality gaming has enjoyed so far, but Father.io could be the one to finally break down that barrier between real life multiplayer gaming and the solitary life of the smartphone player.
It all begins with a great sci-fi premise. In the near future, a cloud-based AI has been put in charge of the planet, and those happy with its rational rule are hooking themselves directly into the system via neural prostheses. That's when the Father.io virus invades this artificial ingelligence, and the augmented humans are drafted in to eliminate the unevolved, organic-only nuisance.
So you choose a side, much like the Google-developed Ingress, and go to war. The real world is divided up into hexagonal territories for you to fight over, with actual resources - such as banks or hospitals - playing a part in the evolution of your game.
There's nothing particularly involved about how you take control of the world around you, as there is in Ingress, however. In Father.io, you simply shoot it out.
Trigger the revolution
The main drive behind Proxy42's crowdfunding campaign is to put the 363R Trigger peripheral into production. This infrared device clips onto your smartphone (iPhone or Android) and turns it into an augmented reality laser tag gun.
The screen becomes your gun's sights as you run around in teams taking pot shots at the other players. The designer promises tight accuracy from the IR add-on, with ranges up to 50 meters and multiple firing modes.
But there'll also be single-player quests and non-shooting modes that allow you to participate in Father.io, even if you don't have the trigger attachment or there's no one around to shoot. So the game will still deliver even if you're patrolling a territory alone.
Proxy42 has opted to go with Tilt as its crowdfunding platform, which operates closer to pre-orders than the likes of Kickstarter, and allows you to continue placing orders even after the campaign has closed.
Excluding delivery, the Father.io trigger currently weights in at $59. It's got a way to go before it meets its $250,000 goal, but orders appear to be flying in. The amount raised has gone up by over $2,000 in the time it's taken to write this story.
And now for that obligatory dubstep trailer we promised you.