Anki’s subsequent-era robotic race automobiles get modular tracks
Two years in the past, Anki launched itself to the world on the Apple WWDC keynote with robotic race automobiles that would maneuver across the monitor all on their very own. The corporate has grown considerably since then because of robust preliminary curiosity and rising gross sales — Anki tells us that it was the second greatest-promoting toy on Amazon this previous Christmas — however now, it is prepared for the subsequent step. At this time, the corporate is introducing a totally new model of its toy automobiles, and it is referred to as Anki Overdrive. Not solely does the second era of Anki contain new automobiles, a brand new app and new gameplay mechanics, it’s going to additionally now ditch the rollable mats and incorporate a model new modular monitor system that lets gamers construct their very own customized race circuits.
“That is the most important factor we have determined to do,” says Hann Tappeiner, co-founder and President of Anki of the transfer away from rollable mats. The reality is, he says, the corporate needed modular tracks from the very starting, however simply could not work out a strategy to make them work. Plus, the rollable mat was simply handy to roll out and roll again up. “However on the similar time, it was the most important limitation we had,” he says. “One of the crucial requested options from individuals we had is, we would like extra tracks, we would like extra tracks […] We began releasing further ones, however sooner or later it does not develop into scaleable.”
The answer, they quickly found, was to return to the modular monitor concept, however have it in order that it is easy to construct up and break down. They ended up going with a magnetic connector system, the place the tracks connect to one another in the identical method the MagSafe charger does with Apple’s laptops. One other key facet of those tracks is that they are made out of a versatile materials as a way to bend and place them to make hills or valleys. “We would like individuals to make use of something they’ve at residence [to place them] … bins, footwear, the espresso desk, or something you want.” This manner, you can construct three-dimensional tracks the place the automobiles might climb hills or go in tunnels and even leap off a particular bounce monitor.
In an effort to have this new modular monitor work, Anki needed to reconfigure the automotive’s software program. Prior to now, as a result of they solely had three fastened mats, the ink embedded within the mat’s location codes would inform the automotive the place precisely it’s and it might know what to do. With the modular monitor system, the automobiles now have to determine the place they’re and the place to go in actual-time as a result of they do not know what the monitor seems to be like. Anki needed to embed a further layer of “tremendous code” within the monitor that tells the automotive to behave instantly. So, for instance, a curved monitor would instantly trigger it to show whereas it will drive on as regular on a straight monitor. However, Tappeiner tells us that the telephone can suppress this if the participant needs it to, particularly if it is to acquire a sure recreation goal. A number of the elective tracks embrace the aforementioned leap monitor, a 4-method intersection and a “U-Flip” monitor that forces automobiles to do a one hundred eighty and switch round.
Along with the brand new modular tracks, Anki can also be introducing a brand new marketing campaign mode so as to determine to play solo towards AI “Commanders” in a event setup. There will be extra gameplay modes sooner or later, and although Anki would not inform us all the small print, we did work out that a attainable one could possibly be a Seize the Flag fashion recreation. The brand new Overdrive automobiles are additionally extra detailed — Tappeiner tells us they’re every individually hand-painted. Final however not least, Anki is introducing a 4-automotive charger setup as an alternative of the jewel case chargers that the automobiles had earlier than.
Oh, and in case you have the previous Anki Drive setup? Don’t be concerned, as a result of your automobiles will work with the brand new Overdrive tracks too — Anki will ship out a software program replace to improve the automobiles. The brand new Overdrive automobiles are additionally backwards-suitable with the previous rollable mats, so you do not have to throw them out simply but.
The Anki Overdrive starter package begins at round $one hundred fifty, whereas the cellular app is free as earlier than. The starter package consists of ten tracks — six curves and 4 straights — which you need to use to construct as much as eight totally different tracks. The person enlargement monitor packs can range between $10 and $30, relying on which you select. And as for when you will get them? Nicely, you will have a very long time to attend — they’re slated to return out in September this yr. However in case you occur to be in New York and also you’re dying to examine them out, nicely, you may go over to the New York Toy Truthful and see them reside and in motion this weekend.