AppTag brings first person shooters to the real world.  Utilizing your smartphone and a free app, AppTag lets you shoot your friends using an Augmented Reality display.  With AppTag, the entire world becomes your playground.

Overview

AppTag is a very unique concept that takes an augmented reality app and turns it into a game.  Your phone becomes to heads-up display for a real-life FPS: The screen shows your health, ammo, lasers, and targeting info while the AppTag blaster itself allows you to shoot and be shot.  The screen in updated in real time to show all the relevant info, and even adds power ups to the real world.  All you have to worry about is shooting – AppTag keeps track of the score and everything else.  Essentially, AppTag bridges the gap between real life and videogame and turns any available space into a battlefield.

History

AppTag was conceived by Jon Atherton and produced by his company Hex3.  Both the AppTag and the company that makes it are unique in that they can only exist in the crowdfunding era.  Their first project, a pressure sensitive iPad stylus, was launched in December of 2011 and ended up raising more than $60,000.   Since then, every product released by Hex3 began it’s life on Kickstarter, with the original AppTag project launched in February of 2012 that nearly doubled it’s $30,000 goal.  Kickstarter has been at the forefront of the entire company since the beginning.  Hex3 has proven to be a unique example of what is possible with alternative funding methods and proves that creating a successful company through the power of crowdfunding is possible.

AppTag 2.0

Not content with sitting still, Hex3 has just launched a crowdfunding campaign for AppTag 2.  AppTag 2 features several improvements over the first generation, and backing the project essentially acts as a preorder.  For only $65 you can get two AppTag blasters so you and a friend to play, or, if you’re feeling handy, you can order an AppTag 2 PCB for only $15 to upgrade your existing AppTag.

Improvements

  • Up the player limit.  Now up to 4048 people can play together.
  • Gyroscope, magnetometer, and accelerometer allow for new gameplay possibilities.
  • Bluetooth LE for wireless and hassle free syncing.
  • Extra long, improved battery life.
  • Improved app support including new gameplay and updated weapons.

Interview

Slimgamer recently had a chat with Jon Atherton for a quick Q&A session.

First of all, thanks for answering our questions.  Now, what can you tell us about AppTag?

AppTag was first on Kickstarter back in 2012, we delivered it in time for Christmas 2012, and it’s sold well this year. It wasn’t perfect, but the design and games were a great version one. We’re doing a very cool refresh, and of course we’re using Kickstarter again.  AppTag 2 will use Bluetooth 4 to communicate between gun and phone, I’m also adding a gyro, accelerometer and magnetic compass, which will bring some fantastic new controller possibilities.

Why did you decide to use Kickstarter?

This is our 4th crowdfunding project.  I decided that all our products should move through Kickstarter or Indiegogo for validation and to build a bit of buzz!

What Advantage/uniqueness you are bringing to the table? 

Guns, lasers, iPhones – perfect mix! :-)

In addition to the awesome laser tag multiplayer games, we hope to integrate with Ouya and the iOS SDK (AppleTV if it ever gets Apps) – you might not even need a phone in AppTag to use it to control your games. This will open up FPS gaming to these consoles, with a gun shaped controller.

So you’ve had several Kickstarter projects before, but is this your first game?

AppTag 1 was the first game that we developed, and in fact it was the worlds first multiplayer real world laser tag game for the iPhone.

What kind of rewards did you come up with?

In addition to the rewards of massively discounted game controllers, we are allowing owners of existing AppTag to update their existing units – I think that is the first time this has been done. AppTag is available for less than half price though Indiegogo.

How important was the video to your Kickstarter success?

The video was very important, and we have now stepped it up a gear for future projects, we’ve now invested in a green screen and studio lights, so the production quality for our future videos will be awesome. I’m considering opening up our production setup for other Kickstarter developers.

What did you do to promote your campaign? 

We have our existing customer base, and we’ve been hitting the blogs – it’s pretty tough work! We’ve had a bit of help from some PR professionals.

Can you give us some more details about yourself and your company?

I started the company after our first Kickstarter success, the JaJa pressure sensitive stylus for iPad was a world first – and that is still selling very well, AppTag and also the Nota ultrafine stylus came next. We have 2 more crowdfunding campaigns planned for this year.

Can you tell us anything that’s not written on your project page?

We’re also big backers of other Kickstarter projects, in fact our Formlabs 3D printer was just delivered – so that is going to speed our product development massively. We also used the Revolve camera dolly to film parts of our next Kickstarter video – so Kickstarter is baked right into what we do.

Media



Back the Project

Interested in backing AppTag 2.0 and getting your hands on one?  Jon and his team at Hex3 have a project up on Indiegogo and are asking for the reasonable sum of $20,000.  Backing the project essentially acts as a preorder; All of the reward tiers include AppTag blasters so you and your friends can play together.