Hybridising the Tabletop
Researchers from the University of Nottingham are collaborating with tabletop Role-Playing Games company, Twisted Narrative, to investigate gameplay experience in a mixed physical and virtual environment.
Tabletop games are traditionally undertaken in person, however, during the COVID 19 pandemic many of these games were recreated virtually. The transition to online gaming attracted thousands of new players who had previously been unable to participate due to social, geographic or accessibility reasons.
Post-pandemic, many players are keen to return to physical, in-person gaming, however, many other players wish to continue virtual participation. To address this, the research team designed and built a hybrid tabletop system comprising a physical table with integrated tablet devices placed around it. The system can switch between being a local player resource and a remote player device.
The project explores how the hybrid tabletop system might be used for professional gaming. It will investigate how the practice of delivering games to hybrid players will work and whether the experience delivered is acceptable for remote players, as well as for the physical players participating.
The project has implications for physically disabled and neurodiverse players and will examine wider questions of how a hybrid system might work in other round-table interactions.
The collaboration is one of seven initiatives supported by the XR Network+ Prototyping, Impact and Acceleration (PIA) funding call, with grants of up to £10,000 awarded to researchers at UK universities to develop new ideas and complete existing research related to VP.