Four Brussels residents decided to re-create the Mario Kart game experience on a racetrack that combines karting with videogames. Their project, Supercube, opened at Flanders Expo, in Ghent, in December and promises a fun adventure to young and old alike.
The circuit is the best of both worlds. It takes the boring part out of karting, where you just make laps around the course, and makes virtual reality (VR) even more real. Instead of having to wear VR glasses to see the interactive elements, an incredible mapping system covers the walls and floor to create a truly immersive experience.
But with us you don’t wear special VR glasses. You see everything with your own eyes and you can also continue to communicate with your game partners. The space around you is transformed into the game world.Arnaud Darimont, Supercube founder
“Imagine driving with superpowers through an interactive virtual world, projected all around you in 360 degrees. It’s like being inside your favourite video game, but with the added adrenaline rush of being behind the wheel of a real electric go-kart”, the start-up’s website explains. “We want to take karting to an even higher level. With a real adventure, storytelling and missions to complete”, Arnaud Darimont, one of the founders, told Flemish newspaper Nieuwsblad.
The karts are equipped with in-house electronics that give the game total control over the behaviour of the driver. A tracking system maps the location of the karts at all times, allowing for exciting interactions between karts and virtual elements such as power-ups and obstacles.
These two elements combined take the experience to a whole new level. For example, if the player drives over a virtual obstacle or gets hit by an opponent, the kart automatically breaks. On the other hand, if the player drives over a boost area, the kart will accelerate.
To start with, we chose a Mario Kart-like experience because everyone knows it. But we want to go much further.Arnaud Darimont, Supercube founder
Moreover, the state-of-the-art collision management system keeps players safe and secure without even needing to wear helmets, thus ensuring fun at every bump. “No more fathers or mothers sitting in the cafeteria watching their son or daughter race”, Darimont said. “It is user-friendly and the blows in the event of a collision are dampened. You will barely feel anything.”
The steering wheel doubles as a console gamepad from where participants can activate power ups and interact with other players and the virtual environment. The wheel is also fitted with a dashboard screen to guide drivers through the adventure and display all necessary gaming information.
“We added an interactive audio system so you can discuss tactics and plan out your next moves with your team but also trash talk and rub it in to the competition”, Supercube’s website informs. So just hop on your ride, join forces with your friends and embark on a mind-blowing adventure to conquer the cube!