Kinect Accelerator: Battlemages

Earlier this year, Microsoft teamed up with TechStars and announced the Kinect Accelerator competition.  This was a call for any and all ideas that made use of the Kinect sensor, not limited to just games, but any concept that utilised the features of the device.

Our concept was a game, called: Battlemages

The idea is that two mages stand on platforms a distance apart from one another.  By using Kinect, the players strike a pose that summons a magical element: Earth; Air; Fire; and/or Water.  Once the chosen magic has been cast, they strike a second pose which is the direction, such as ball (fire-ball) or stream (flame-thrower). Magic is used to both attack and defend.

Winning is simple: defeat your opponent.

But getting that win is a little bit more complex…  For instance, water neutralises fire, whereas air intensifies it.  Fire can melt earth to create molten lava and air can freeze water to create ice.
By making use of the different types of directions, you also vary how the elements do damage.  One can throw up a shield to counter a specific element, but if their opponent switches elements and hits them, then the damage could be catastrophic.

Another unique element to Battlemages is the movement and avoidance.  As you physically move around your living room (in front of the sensor) your movements are mapped 1:1 to your character.  You side-step left, so do they.  You lean right to avoid an incoming fireball, so does your character.

All of these features bring about an innovative and unique game.
Imagine darting left to avoid an incoming rock, then throwing up a pose and unleashing a stream of fire only for it to strike a shield of water… then needing to duck and dive right to miss a jet of air and…

You get the picture.

We submitted Battlemages, along with a 3 minute video of the concept, a 3 minute video of our team and the application form.  From this, we were lucky enough to make it through to a further stage in which we needed submit another 20 second video for the concept and another 20 seconds for the team.  We also had an interview with Dave Malcolm, the head of TechStars.

The Kinect Accelerator program presented an incredible opportunity for those selected, but unfortunately even after making it as far as we did (last 20 from about 500)… we were not selected as one of the finalists.  This isn’t the end of Battlemages!  Oh no.  And we’re incredibly thankful to both TechStars and Microsoft for holding the competition, considering our game and taking the time to speak with us… and we wish the best of luck to the 11 companies picked for the finals!

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