Tilt Five Kickstarter Triples Funding Goal with Less Than 2 Weeks Left in Campaign

32

Tilt Five took to Kickstarter seeking $450,000 in funding to bring its AR headset to life. The headset, which uses a unique projection display method, is heavily focused on tabletop gaming applications. With 11 days remaining and $1.35 million raised, the Kickstarter has officially tripled its funding goal.

Update (October 17th, 2019): The Tilt Five Kickstarter campaign has broken through $1.35 million, effectively tripling its $450,000 funding goal.

The next stretch goal is a new color option for both glasses and wand, which will be available to XE level backers and higher.

The creators also revealed that they’ll be bringing Weave, the improv story-telling game, and Tabletopia, the sandbox-style board game platform.


Update (October 11th, 2019): The Tilt Five Kickstarter still has plenty of steam behind it heading toward its final two weeks. The crowdfunding campaign has raised $1.22 million from 2,400 backers so far which is nearing three times the original $450,000 goal.

Along the way one stretch goal has been unlocked (a new color for the display board), and the next stretch goal (a new color for the glasses) looks almost certain to be reached as it’s a short distance to $1.25 million. The next stretch goal, at $1.5 million, hasn’t been announced yet, but the campaign looks like it has a good shot of reaching it.

With the campaign still ongoing, Tilt Five has announced a handful of new experiences that are coming to the platform: HoloGrid, a tactical strategy game; Critical Brick, an RPG character builder and gameplay manager; and EpicMode, a cosplay and clothing design platform.


Update (September 30th, 2019): The Tilt Five Kickstarter is holding strong momentum since reaching its $450,000 funding goal just 17 hours after launch. The AR tabletop gaming headset project has nearly doubled that initial goal with $870,000 presently pledged. With 28 days remaining in the crowdfunding campaign, the Tilt Five Kickstarter looks well on its way to passing the $1 million milestone.

At $750,000, the project unlocked its first Stretch Goal which will bring a new color option to the display board (apart from the default black). Backers will get to vote on which color they’d like, and the most popular choice will be made available.

The project’s next Stretch Goal, coming up at $1.25 million, is a new color option for the headset and wand. One again, backers will get to vote on the color choice. The following stretch goal, at $1.5 million, has not been announced yet.


Update (September 25th, 2019): Tilt Five is officially funded, having reached its goal within the first 17 hours of the project going live. At the time of this writing, the Kickstarter is sitting at over $580,000 and its showing no signs of stopping.

The first stretch goal is at $750,000, which will bring with it a new game board color, voted on by the backer community. A second stretch goal, at $1,250,000, had yet to be revealed, revealing just how ambitious the creators are.

The original article announcing the project follows below:

Original Article (September 24th, 2019): Starting at $300, Tilt Five is an AR headset which hopes to revolutionize tabletop gaming by fusing board games and traditional gaming into a shareable and even networked experience. Multiple players are able to gather around a single board, each getting a unique view of the game world. While wand controllers can be used for both motion and button input, the Tilt Five board can also detect special playing cards and miniatures, allowing the board to react to the physical objects in interesting ways.

Though glasses are involved, the system doesn’t use a traditional lens & display setup as you’d expect from other AR headsets. Instead, the headset hides a tiny projector which beams the image onto a retroreflective pad that rests on the tabletop, effectively turning the pad into the display.

The dots around the pad are seen by cameras on the headset and used to determine its position, which allows the projected image to update in real time according to the movements of the user. The headset itself plugs into a host device for processing, and Tilt Five currently indicates compatibility with Windows and Android but doesn’t mention iOS.

The nature of the retro reflective surface means that the light from the projector bounces straight back to the user, while others nearby can’t actually see the image. That means that a single pad can be used to give perspective-correct views to multiple players (you can think of it like a 3D display which gives each user the correct view based on their position). This also means that players can have unique views of the ‘same’ board, which could, for instance, come in handy in a game where one player sets traps that the others can’t see, or for a dungeon master to see the entire playing field while explorers see a ‘fog of war’ covering the landscape.

Image courtesy Tilt Five

Though the Tilt Five headset certain encourages multi-user play (including the potential for networked multiplayer games), the board is also pitched as supporting single player games too. Each of the Kickstarter tiers includes an introductory game pack which includes six titles, some of which are single player and some multiplayer (though you’ll need more than one headset for the multiplayer games). All of the included games work on Android and Windows.

Image courtesy Tilt Five

Tilt Five starts at $300 for a complete kit, which includes the headset, wand controller, display board, and more. Two SKUs are available, the LE and the XE, with the only difference being the size of the display board (and the XE comes with a ‘kickstand’ which allows you to prop up the side of the board allowing you to see further into the virtual world. More expensive tiers offer up the larger board, a deluxe box with carrying handle,” and access to stretch goal options. Yet more expensive tiers offer more than one headset in the box so that you can play with your friends.

Image courtesy Tilt Five

According to Tilt Five, the headset has 720p resolution, 110 degree diagonal field of view, and supports games up to 60Hz. There’s also on-board audio, a microphone, and an 8MP camera on-board for computer vision. Meanwhile, the headset weighs just 85 grams.

Though the company says it’s for “early adopters”, Tilt Five is not explicitly designating the headset as a dev kit, but says that any version of the headset can be used as such  for developers who want to build games for the platform using an SDK provided by the company, including support for Unity and UE4.

SEE ALSO
Lenovo Mirage AR Headset Returns with New Marvel Game & 6DOF Controllers

Tilt Five says that third-party developers are already building content for the platform, including a commitment from Fantasy Grounds, a virtual tabletop platform that supports popular tabletop RPGs like Dungeon & Dragons.

If you’re thinking some of Tilt Five’s work looks and sounds familiar, it isn’t déjà vu.

CastAR prototype headset | Photo by Road to VR

Technical Illusions, which spun out of Valve in 2013 with Jeri Ellsworth (also one of Tilt Five’s founders), was working on very similar projection-based headset called CastAR for several years, though its ambitions went far beyond tabletop gaming. Though the company raised $15 million in venture funding, it was reportedly shut down in 2017 before it was able to get its AR system to market.

Though we don’t know the full reincarnation story at this point, Tilt Five has taken a much more tractable approach by focusing specifically on the tabletop gaming use-case, and looks ready to springboard off of the late CastAR.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • Jan Ciger

    Ben, the “full reincarnation story” is quite well known, Jeri herself made it public.

    CastAR has gone bust mostly due to mismanagement and VC pressure, then the founders bought out the key assets at an auction when CastAR was liquidated and started Tilt Five with it.

    This interview gives a pretty detailed post-mortem of what has happened:
    https://theamphour.com/394-jeri-ellsworth-and-the-demise-of-castar/

    • Immersive_Computing

      There’s a great interview with Jeri on Skarredghost, she talks about taking VC funding and it’s pitfalls (losing control of the company).

      Tilt Five looks very promising and has a wealth of tabletop gaming to leverage going back decades (D&D, Shadowrun, Battletech,etc.) and a huge tabletop gaming market to serve. Good luck!

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Looks cool and don’t forget to pickup now a Lenovo mirage ar.Jesus is mankind’s sole hope for your soul and without Him,nope.

    • MosBen

      Just curious, but do you follow the Glass Cannon podcasts? I thought I saw someone on Twitter with a similar picture the other day.

  • Darshan

    Please correct title it’s ‘Tilt Five’ not tile five.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    Reasonably priced at $299 plus AR seems like a very good fit for tabletops. Wishing Jeri all the success.

  • brandon9271

    I really hope this comes to light because I was excited about the potential of CastAR but I’m super cynical at this point. Especially with this one being a once-failed start-up. That really isn’t going to help this time around but I hope it succeeds.

  • psuedonymous

    It’d be nice to have a budget option for head-mounted projectors, existing industrial units are pretty expensive.

  • Moe Curley

    I think this concept is the dark horse. It has so much potential and upside.

  • Paul W

    $1200 for table top and 4 glasses!??? Yikes. Great tech but overpriced and needs real game content classics like Risk, battleship, etc

    • Jarom Madsen

      Well, these are dev kits and it’s only $1200 for 4 complete sets which includes the glasses and the boards and the accessories and the games etc. etc. etc.

      Frankly I think $300 for the great tech is super good value. They’re also pushing the point that you can still play online with friends on their phones or laptops and all their included games have pass’n’play.

      As far as classics they’re also working on a Tabletop Simulator integration. Hopefully that works out because it’d do wonders for them.

      • MosBen

        I feel like a sweet spot for consumer unites would be $200-$250 for two HMDs and a mat, with additional HMDs offered at $100-$150. I’m not sure if those prices are feasible, but I feel like that’s a price that people would be willing to pay for the type of experiences that they’re selling.

        • Jarom Madsen

          That is basically spot on with their original price point goals for glasses without integrated computing. They were targeting $299 for a all-in-one headset. It seems they’ve gone back to just focusing on the headset but kept the price, I’m guessing to focus on quality of materials and production. I’m hopeful that if this does well enough that they’ll reconsider their original target as I do want at least 4 of these in my home someday.

  • Peter

    I participated in the kickstarter. I hope it works out – can’t wait to try it out.

  • Jim P

    How much for just extra glasses?

  • SO Nerdy….

    I’m glad to see CastAR hasn’t completely disappeared into realm of Vaporware. The price isn’t too bad, although not too good either. It’s not really AR and it’s certainly not VR, but it’s not impossible to imagine it has a niche. But that niche isn’t board-games.

    The cost of getting just 3 friends into a game would be HUGE, and I question the value of the tech as opposed to simple markers and dice. There’s tactile joy in rolling dice and moving game pieces that toy wands won’t have. What this does have is a high price tag, clunky hardware, and an absurd look that you will pray to GOD never ends up as pictures on Facebook. I have often played board-games at the bar, and this is a HUGE no-go. There’s like 10 people in Silicon Valley that would use this for board-games. Jeri has to give up on this board-game idea, it’s just not good.

    But as a tech toy with gaming potential at home, I can see this having alot value. This would make an amazing 3D game of Pac-Man. Or maybe a tower defense game between two people? I’d love to see a Diablo-clone for it. Any top-down video game would be great, even 2.5D games like Don’t Starve. But enough of the board-games! Just No.

    • Caven

      You can still roll physical dice and use physical miniatures with such a system. If I recall correctly, one of their videos even showed physical miniatures.

      Also, playing in an RPG that started with markers and went digital, there are lots of benefits to digital. Scrolling maps, the ability to easily return to previous locations, fog of war, fancy pre-generated content from a variety of tools and sources, the ability to play with remote players, and more. Markers and a vinyl mat are serviceable, but digital maps are much quicker and easier to work with than constantly erasing and redrawing maps, and there are tools readily available to quickly create maps that rival the ones in professionally published modules.

    • jay kusnetz

      One of the backers has been working on a pacman like game for it. He’s posted pics on the discord channel.

  • Niklas Fritzell

    Double

  • Niklas Fritzell

    If they keep it up like magic leap, then all of that money will be spent in an afternoon.

  • Mopar Onine

    I just want something to replace my Jenga, Scrabble, dominoes, checkers, chess, operation, battleship, Monopoly, and jigsaw puzzle. I don’t care for dungeons and dragons or story telling.

    • Moe Curley

      I agree. And all those games with animated pieces and action will be very cool.

  • Trenix

    Might be good for board games with long setups, but seems like a bad idea overall.

    1) Tabletop VR already exists, so why even bother getting together if you’re just going to be playing in a semi-viral world anyway.
    2) People play tabletop games because they want to get away from technology.
    3) Board games are meant to be played in the physical world, where you touch cards and pieces, it’s what tabletop games are about and make them what they are. This is the equivalent of going camping but spending your entire time inside the RV. It’s just stupid.

    • Jarom Madsen

      1) VR is cumbersome to setup and get into and removes you from reality. This allows online play of a physical board game.
      2) I play tabletop games because I like the tactile feel of a board and pieces and the social aspect of having people actually present.
      3) This system can project onto physical cards and pieces! This is the equivalent of going camping with the luxuries of an RV without the hassle of an RV. You’re right sometimes the primitiveness is the point but this seems like an awesome midway point and frankly the best and most affordable AR system to come out to date! Plus the tech is wild!

      • MosBen

        As someone that’s just starting out as a GM with a table of players that are also mostly new to playing, the idea of being able to bring the game to life in real time sounds pretty exciting to me.

  • dota

    I like it

  • Greyl

    It’s probably not going to replace traditional table top gaming, especially from a spectator standpoint. It turns a very social activity, which anyone can look upon with interest, to something that’s very exclusive to AR users.

  • visual

    I’m weary with all the deja vu years later

  • Ted Joseph

    I knew this would be a success when I seen the first demo video on Youtube. Going to be a great addition to my new product gaming tech!

  • flamaest

    Does each pair of glasses still require a computer or can you connect your glasses to a phone? What’s the earliest version of Android that this will support? Hopefully don’t need to use $1,000 phone or PC to connect with this, otherwise … Fail.

  • MosBen

    This is great for them, and I hope that they can bring this to market. I’m kind of done buying prototype hardware to beta test it, only to have the more polished version come out a while later. This is a cool seeming product, and I hope that I get a chance to buy a final version.