Archive: Aug 2017

Draw & Code titles available for Merge Cube

The team at Draw & Code have delivered two launch titles for Merge’s new augmented reality toy and game system the Merge Cube. Defuse puts a ticking bomb into the hands of the player while Snake Attack is a challenging three dimensional puzzler inspired by the mobile classic Snake.

The games are part of the family-friendly array of mini-games and educational experiences, produced using Merge’s SDK, that are available to download for free from the Merge Miniverse (www.MINIVERSE.io). Both Defused and Snake Attack are designed to be instantly accessible to players, using simple play concepts and intuitive control methods that invite the user to explore the Merge Cube’s unique take on the video game interface.

Defuse Merge Cube Draw & Code

Draw & Code are but one of a tiny handful of developers in the world with prior experience of a video game controlled and displayed on the surface of a cube-shaped toy. As many of you will know, we are currently producing SwapBots, an augmented reality toy and video game that will be available later in 2017. Having originally met the brains behind Merge a few years ago at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) it was logical for us to get involved in a platform that parallels the direction that we see this technology heading in.

“Kids will be able to learn, play, and explore in entirely new ways. From games to puzzles to learning adventures, the Merge Cube and the apps built for it open a new world of holographic play,” said Merge VR founder Franklin Lyons. “The Draw & Code team is on the forefront of creating amazing AR experiences—we’re happy and excited to be working with them to bring these new forms of play to people around the world.”

Defuse Merge Cube Draw & Code

The Merge Cube was released to the public in August 2017 and aims to blend the latest high-tech mixed reality techniques with the accessibility of mobile apps. With a low retail price of $14.99 and availability at Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, the Merge Cube is ideally paired with the Merge VR/AR Goggles.

“Holding a hologram in your hand can be a profound experience,” said Lyons. “We’re merging the physical and the digital in a natural, intuitive way. The Merge Cube comes to life in your hands, and the possibilities of what it can be are limitless. This is a really exciting opportunity for developers to create entirely new experiences.”

Draw & Code have previously created AR and MR re-interpretations of other classic games such Space Invaders and Pacman, finding that using new versions of familiar gameplay mechanics and scenarios is a one way of introducing gamers to new technology.

“Snake will forever be associated with the earliest days of phone-based games and our homage to it takes things up a level by splitting the action between the six sides of the Merge Cube,” says Andy Cooper, Draw & Code co-founder. “We have all seen the tension-laden bomb scenes in action movies – with Defuse it’s up to you to solve the puzzle and stop the ticking bomb you are holding.”

Snake Attack Merge Cube Draw & Code

The emergence of XR in games has primarily focused on expensive hardware, but Merge offers a sophisticated new way to interact with software that is positioned to appeal to a wide age range and at an accessible price.

“The Merge Cube is a rare opportunity for developers to help shape a whole new way of interacting with digital content,” says John Keefe, Draw & Code co-founder, “For Draw & Code it is a thrill to work so closely with Merge as their latest product comes to market.”

The Merge Cube is available now online and in Walmart stores for $14.99 with both Defused and Snake Attack available to download for free from Merge VR’s Miniverse digital store.

Three new additions to the Draw & Code team

Over recent weeks the Draw & Code team has been bolstered by a tremendous trio of talented souls who are each bringing something very different to our Liverpool studio. Niall is the games guru and lateral thinker, Giuseppe understands AR and the possibilities it heralds, while Stephen’s specialty is transporting viewers of his art into strange new worlds, part video game, part dream.

Niall Taylor has joined the squad as our crack games designer and is already proving his worth as he helps get SwapBots complete and ready for release. With a stunning portfolio of ambitious, oddball and entertaining indie games behind him, Niall’s work has even seen him nominated for a BAFTA, which is all kinds of fancy.

“I’ve worked on a lot of weird and wonderful games, but for me SwapBots is something really special. It’s always been a dream of mine to help create the coolest toy in the shop, and every time I see those SwapBots transform I cannot wipe the smile off my face!”

Brand new senior developer Giuseppe Scarvo is our kind of guy. He is overflowing with enthusiasm for augmented reality, which means he will fit in here very well indeed! His previous experience includes working for the Open University on educational uses of augmented reality.

“AR is changing the way people interact with machines. Computers no longer detach or isolate users from the real world, but instead serve the purpose of connecting them to it in a deeper, more memorable way. Interacting with the world through AR feels natural and way more fun than clicking and typing. AR is, without a doubt, the direction towards which we need to push the interaction between humans and machines.”

“Being part of the AR revolution feels thrilling, almost ‘too good to be true’. As an AR developer I feel like I have the great responsibility of crafting the building blocks of this revolution. However, here at Draw & Code, we paint these blocks with unicorns and robots. And it feels awesome.” – Giuseppe Scarvo

Last, but most certainly not least, is Stephen Chan. One of the most talented artists and designers working in Liverpool, regular Draw & Code watchers may know the name – you can find his stunning work coming to life in our Aspect AR art app and we collaborated on a crazy short film presented as anaglyph 3D (old school 3D using the funky red and cyan glasses) that Gizmodo featured back in 2013.

Since then Stephen has also collaborated with our own Emily and Tom as Midnight Polygon, last year creating an astounding augmented puzzle game together.

“Having collaborated with half of the Draw and Code team throughout the years on creative projects ranging from animation, projection mapping, and AR, it felt like a natural progression to join the team. It’s an exciting time to work on Swatbots and AR and be innovators in the technology.” – Stephen Chan

Welcome to the Draw & Code team!