The toy industry has given us a lot of rc cars inspired by the model Mario Kart franchise. But the $ 100 Mario Kart Life: Home circuit, announced last month, promises to be the first to integrate such a toy car with an augmented reality camera and Switch gaming experience.
Although we haven’t had any practical time with Mario Kart Live: Home circuit Still, we were able to participate in a recent live demo of the RC car / AR app combo ahead of its scheduled October 16 release. What we have seen does not quite correspond to a Mario Kart game, but it looks like it could add a lot of creativity and imaginative play possibilities to the standard RC car experience.
On your marks…
The demo made us discover Mario Kart live setup process, which begins by using the camera on the kart to scan a QR code found on the free downloadable Switch app (this app will not work without the kart at all). With this scan, the Kart and the Switch are connected directly via Wi-Fi, without requiring a router or a live Internet connection.
When you put the Kart down, you get an over the shoulder view of what the camera sees on your Switch screen (either docked or in portable, standard, or Switch Lite mode). Nintendo is not discussing the streaming resolution / frame rate details of this setup, but a Nintendo representative said they saw no latency between the controls of the Switch and the physical movements of the kart on him. -even.
The positioning of the camera means that you cannot see the actual physical kart from this view. Instead, you see your Kart depicted as an animated 3D model at the bottom of the live streamed camera view. This can lead to lively interactions, like when Mario playfully catches your attention by knocking on the “camera” glass.
Put on …
Once the connection is established, you configure your route by simply browsing your room; wherever your Kart goes, the virtual track will follow at a uniform width. The only physical requirement is four foldable cardboard rear doors, each about three times the width of the kart itself. You should use these four elements in your course design (no more, no less), and the kart should roll under each of them in order, although you can go back through a gate a few times before passing. next.
You can make your route as simple or as complicated as you want between the gates, adding zigzags, loops, intersections or long straight lines as you see fit. But the gates are the only strict requirement when later navigating the course; the game itself offers no penalty for leaving the course you have drawn at any time.
However, you are driving a physical kart, so you can set up walls and barriers on the side of your virtual course to encourage or force players to drive in the “right” lane. There is also a “smart steering” option for racers that automatically helps keep the kart on track.
“You play a game, and it’s up to you to set your own rules,” a Nintendo representative told Ars Technica. “In multiplayer, however, you are definitely going to be called [for cutting corners]. »
Once your course is built, you can cycle through a simple Grand Prix mode that takes you through the base track three times, each with different environmental hazards and visual themes (snow, rain, submarine, lava, 8-bit, Rainbow Road , etc.). While you are setting up the route of the road itself, in this mode the game automatically features customizations, including boosts, item boxes, and coins (used to unlock cosmetic options, not to increase your speed from point). The amendment aims to make each race in the three-race series a little more difficult, with the Mario Kart points for your speed and placement.
In Explore mode, you can add a bit more virtual customization to the doors themselves, choosing from a variety of dangers or perks when driving under them. Most interesting of these was a Magikoopa effect, which reflects your camera’s view of the course (and therefore the real world around it) until you hit it again. There is also a time trial mode which allows you to compete against a ghost version of your best time and track your kart’s exact positioning in that race.
In single player races, the computer-controlled Koopalings (and Bowser Jr.) serve as computer-controlled opponents. This being Mario Kart, these virtual opponents can affect your kart with a variety of items. It also means real world effects on your physical kart; a Red Shell or Piranha Plant door will temporarily stop your kart, while a sandstorm or magnetic door will cause your kart to drift briefly left or right. And yes, you can give your Kart a physical speed boost with a mushroom (or by holding a drift for the required time).
While the course customization options don’t seem deep enough to truly emulate a Mario Kart Game, Mario Kart live still looks like a fun way to bring the basic concepts of the series into the real world. We look forward to spending some time with him soon.
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