Friday, October 8, 2010

The Future of LARPing

For my career, I do a fair amount of travel and work in the field. I work with plenty of individuals, both technicians and engineers at the sites I go to, and there's really only one thing we have in common.

I know there's a lot of smart phones out there, but due to it's professional attitude and open source, versions of the Droid are starting to pop up everywhere. Hell, even the iPhone has a lot of the same functionality (although it's a bit harder to replicate full interfaces like Droid).

And I'll tell you what - these smart phones could be the future of LARP as we know it.

There are so many different things you can do with this phone. Things I've heard of or thought about doing include:

- Spellbook applications
- GPS locations for players, in case you're interested in running a pervasive LARP.
- Bluetooth Apps that run programs (picking a lock mini-game when you get close to a lock, combat sims)
- Motion sensors for simulated striking/casting (like MagiQuest)
- Barcode scanner and camera apps for collecting IG data

Really, the possibilities are endless, especially compared to what we've had at our disposal in the previous decade. Sure, it might be harder for these phones to make it into a lot of medieval fantasy games, but you certainly can go a lot farther with ideas for cyberpunk style LARPs. I think I'm going to have to start learning how to write Droid apps.

Got any good idea for some LARP apps for smart phones?

Disclaimer: This blog reflects my personal opinions and in no way represents the opinions of the company I work for. This statement is actually required by our Employee Handbook. I love technology.


  1. The only problem I can think of, of course, is that you'd have to have a Droid. Not that I don't want one, but it is a significant expense.

    Aside from that, holy crap, it'd be so amazing. Honestly, I'd permit it in a fantasy setting. As far as I'm concerned the Droid may as well operate by magic anyways, so who cares? You'd have to get some sort of invulnerable box to keep it in though, since getting my fancy phone cracked with a boffer would pretty well ruin an event for me.

    Technology FTW.

  2. Mark Henry ~MariusOctober 8, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    I was discussing with some ppl of creating an iPhone app for spells. idk how many ppl would use it locally or nationally for that matter to warrant the time to code it.

  3. Most apps I can think of being useful would either be purely informational or would send info to plot.

    Battleboards that update plot when you fill them out. "How many life spells are left in town?" "Hold on, let me check."

    For production characters, you could fill your production out and it would tell plot what you made so you wouldn't have to go out of game to go get it. (Alternatively, a static workstation where the workshop is would probably work better for that.)

  4. @Corey
    You're right. For NERO, there's little application for something like this.

    But for a futuristic/modern day LARP like Star Wars or Shadowrun? This is an excellent resource/tool that could easily be integrated into the game.

  5. Ironic I'd see this post today, I just started working on a NERO spell book reference/spell tree counter as an exercise to get back into programming/get started coding on Android.

  6. I love it!

    If you would like someone to try it out, send it to and I'll give it a test drive. I've got a Droid phone running 2.2.

  7. Googled "larp droid app" and this was the first hit. Seriously, let's collaborate on this. I think a LARP / ARG based on a droid app is totally possible, and could be insanely contagious.

    1. I also think about creating such an app, but I think that maybe it could be not app but a website(more compatible) and using html5 I think it would also be possible.

  8. I've been working on a LARP engagement manager App for referees, about ready to get it set up kickstarter.

  9. I ran out a single-night LARP a couple of years ago, I didn´t use droid but the Wii instead, concealed the wiimote into a staff and the TV as a magical mirror.
    Then i used it to be a part of a greater puzzle, where you had to point and click some mystical runes in the right order.

    When the correct order was achieved, the "program" returned a magic phrase that froze the monsterings.

    I believe something much better than this could be done with droids.

  10. Might be kicking an old thread, but I'm working on something that will hopefully encompass your goals, and then some.