Debugging Lenovo + Disney’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

25 Jan

by Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Lenovo + Disney’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is an imperfect augmented reality game. This product can be ordered direct from the manufacturer or online. Best Buy had this product as an exclusive before the movie The Last Jedi. Fans lucky enough to get this product as a gift were no doubt excited, and hopefully, they did not have to return it as not all smartphones work. This product supplies the hardware to play and the software needs to be downloaded. This game is definitely for the lightsaber enthusiast. Trials of Combat, provides one heck of a workout for the arms and the other two (Insight and Leadership), knowing some board game battle strategy helps.

However, one huge problem exists: The tracking beacon (aka the Holocron) is supposed to indicate where the “floor” is. When I held it in my hand, the software did not recognize how close it was to my face and the hologram being projected did not scale down like it is supposed to (as seen in the series). I was often staring at the lower part of the map or my opponent’s feet.

Either I did something wrong in calibrating the game or the projections do not adjust at all. The game’s online FAQ does not address this problem. All the opponents appear floating a few feet off the ground. The best distance for this beacon to be placed is about seven feet. Players walk towards the training circle, battlefield or chess table. If real obstacles are near, the simulacrums will jut through them like ghosts. Even though Lenovo provided a video on how to properly set up the hardware and software, I still feel a few details are missing.

With the lightsaber game, my opponents are not standing on the ground. To have an in-game preference to fix this problem is preferable. I’m okay with the game of Dejarik or the Battle Simulator (it kind of plays like Games Workshop’s battle game Warhammer but is far better) hovering in front of me. To walk around the battlefield like a God manipulating how the miniature monsters or Rebel Alliance fights makes a great experience but these other games will not be for everyone.

The bugs in this game mainly deal with the latency issues of moving the lightsaber around. It also has a habit of it bending to a crazy angle when rapidly swinging the sword. Fortunately, there’s a reset button that can be pressed in game. A booklet is included but it does not address potential problems like the FAQ. The online help suggests holding the lightsaber at a 45-degree angle in front of you when calibrating and you want to make as wide of figure eight as possible and move it as fast as possible. The data sampling time needs to be longer because the initial information does not show a gamer’s swing at full speed.

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