The main problem with local multiplayer or party gaming is working out the logistics. Specifically, you need to ensure that there are enough controllers to go around so that everyone feels like they’re involved. This is a problem that Australian developer Space Dust Studios has tackled for its upcoming PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One vehicular combat game Space Dust Racers.
The studio won the Best Technology award at Freeplay 2015 in Melbourne, Australia this year for its use of smartphones as extra controllers. It makes sense: nearly everyone has a smartphone on them these days, so why not try to use that ubiquity to ensure that everyone can join in on party games?
What makes Space Dust’s technology even more impressive is that you don’t even need to download a smartphone app to get it to work. It’s all browser-based, with a plugin developers for Unreal Engine 4 allowing for smartphones, tablets, and laptops all being able to connect to it with ease, and then acting as additional controllers.
“The game acts as a web server, allowing devices to connect and send input to and from the game session,” explained Glen Stuart, Lead Technology Developer at Space Dust. “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.”
Of course, due to having to make the game compatible with touchscreens, Space Dust have had to ensure that the controls in Space Dust Racers are simple. That’s about the only concession that had to be made.
Space Dust Racers is currently in development and should be out in 2016. It’s currently on Kickstarter where Space Dust Studios hopes to raise $128,000 in funding.