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Featured Anki Drive: The Scalextric of the future?

Discussion in 'Other Racing Games' started by Jack Hunsley, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. Jack Hunsley

    Jack Hunsley
    Staff Premium

    Anki Drive Poster AI RC cars iOS.jpg

    My first experience of Scalextric came when I was 8 years old when I was given a starter kit for Christmas, a story perhaps not too uncommon for most motorsports fans. Of course from the start I was enthralled and quickly built an obsession that lasted a good two years before my enthusiasm fizzled out.

    Looking back, it’s quite clear to me why Scalextric lost its edge for me. On one hand whilst 8 year old me enjoyed the seemingly arduous process of building and customizing tracks it soon became, well, an arduous process. Also, it was around this time I discovered the dense and diverse world of sim-racers and racing games.

    This world of Sim-Racing was exciting, vibrant, colourful, detailed and - above all else – dynamic. No longer was I restricted to lapping round and round the same ‘Figure of 8’ circuit with the exact same car and exact same controller. Instead, I could delve into a mass of different games all with different, cars, circuits, series and championships all at the tips of my finger. So my passion for Scalextric disappeared almost as quickly as it had arisen. But then, I happened across Anki drive.

    Best put, Anki Drive is like Scalextric. But, if Scalextric was Mario Kart, and also in real life. Confused? You should be.

    The brainchild of a group of graduates from the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute in America, Anki Drive is promoted as the first videogame programmed for the physical world. Using Apple’s iOS, Anki Drive allows the user to take control of what look like simple toy cars, but instead are complex robotic AIs capable of analyzing thousands of actions every second through the use of optical sensors, wireless chips, motors and of course their AI software. In layman terms, what Anki has created a physical version of Mario Kart with miniature toy cars, which can be controlled and raced using any compatible iOS device.

    Whilst not a direct copy of Mario Kart (a better comparison perhaps could be made with Blur) Anki Drive tasks players, shockingly enough, with competing to be the first across the line, but also gives them weapons with which to blast their opposition out of their way. Combine this with the breadth of customizable options and parts and the players disposal and already it is sounding much more ‘dynamic’ than Scalextric.

    However the most intriguing part for me is in the AI itself. Not only does each car have its own unique personality, and fairly badass sounding name to be frank, but they are also designed to ‘evolve’ every time you play, presumably with the hopes of providing more challenging and intelligent opponents as time goes on. Again, sounds very ‘dynamic’.

    Even the tracks themselves can be seen as more ‘dynamic’ than the Scalextric’s ones I played on as a child. Whilst the layouts, admittedly, are as simple as those I played Scalextric back in the day, the ability to switch lanes whenever you want is an obvious step forward. Meanwhile whilst there are only three to choose from right now, the trailer for the ‘Next generation of Anki Drive’, touted for September this year, seems to promise much more. Mainly in the realm of loop-de-loops, and who doesn't like loop-de-loops?

    So what are the downsides then? Well the elephant in the room has to be the price. Retailing at a cool £149.95 in the UK, the price alone would understandably be enough to turn away many interested. For example for the same price you could pick up a second hand Wii U to try out the latest iteration of the Mario Kart franchise or alternatively you could also afford to fork out to have two rides in ‘The Hypersonic’ experience, amongst others, at the actual Silverstone circuit. Finally, if you are more the diehard tabletop racing diehard, you could always pick up a few high quality models to add to your Scalextric collection.

    However it’s important to remember that this technology is still young, and even in the early stage of its lifespan, the systems and robotics that power Anki Drive are no doubt intriguing to say the least. I certainly am looking forward to seeing what Anki will be producing a few years down the line and especially for Anki OVERDRIVE later this year.

    Watch the Anki DRIVE trailer here!
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Bez

    All the gear, no idea...

    Do the cars drive themselves or are you actually in control? I've seen a few vids of these and it looked like the cars were driving themselves and the "drivers" were simply firing the weapons
  3. Saw on a youtube video "Anki Drive Starter Kit Full Review" that you may control the speed and the lane (racing line) the car takes. The cars have laser underneath and don't fly off track. There's also AI control etc.. then you control weapons. Seems like this is done on a smartphone app. Basically is a physical video game. See the video, seach by the name I referred.
  4. £150 !!!!! :confused: More like a Mammoth in the room..
    Doomed :whistling:
    • Agree Agree x 4
  5. Bez

    All the gear, no idea...

    Yeah I've watched a few vids and noticed that even if you don't do anything the car still drives around the track...seems like an odd concept, mario kart where all the karts drive themselves
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Jimlaad43

    Nice apex, I'll take it! Staff Premium

    Nah, Scalextric is still king for me! I've had it for 18 years, and sim-raced for the last 9. I still love it and probably won't stop loving it for a long time.
    • Agree Agree x 1