c[AR]d experience

Team Members: Yuxuan Liu, Yuanchu Si

c[AR]d is a mixed reality game that uses both technologies of AR and VR to create a tangible yet life-like board game experience. Players play board games with tangible paper cards, but also can see monsters and characters wandering around or explosions happen nearby.

Project Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1B28_sWhimnyP8GITVkvXLmE_Y5o-5I0n

c[AR]d trailer
cARd gameplay


The motivation of this game came from the exploration of new input system for current VR headset. The initial thought is that we think the current VR controller sometimes can cause motion sickness problem because what player see don’t match with players’ real action. Since the VR headset provide a more immersive and engagement environment, we want to find a way to let player interaction with the virtual environment more naturally.

With this idea in mind, we realized that the board game could be a good example of exploring other formats of the input system. Besides, the virtual environment also could potentially increase the original board game experience. So we started to look for a game that simple enough for implementation and has the potential to add more visual effects in the VR environment. At first, we wanted to recreate a chess game in the virtual environment, the idea is that we use an additional camera to capture the real chess movement and render it the VR environment. However, it turns out that it could be extremely difficult to do real-time object recognization so switch the idea to the card game since the image target is easier to track.

Design Inspiration and Prototype:

When I was a child, I always like to collect the cards from my favorite anime. One of my favorite anime is called Digimon. My friends and I play a lot of simulation fight games with those cards we have. Sometimes I think it could be cool if we can see the Digimon fight against each other besides me. Nowadays with the rapid development of mixed reality technology, it has become possible to play to the game in real life. I think using AR is a possible way to achieve it, but the VR headset could provide a much better immersive experience and visual effects compared to the AR display. That brought the initial idea of creating this mixed reality card game.

To demonstrate this idea, we found a game called Concentration perfectly matches the requirement. This is a memory game with very simple and straightforward rules. The players will start with a set of unrevealed cards. Each player can flip two cards one time and players will play in turn. If those two cards front pattern matches, the player who flips it will win the pair, and if not the players need to flip the cards back.

The poetic moment in our game is depicted as the moment that virtual characters like Digimons come into life from printed cards.

Guilmon Comes to Life

To create such experience, in the first prototype we built a PC version of the game and did the first round playtest. In the first prototype, we collected the user’s feedback and refined the game based on that.

User Testing and Evaluation:

Once we had the VR build of the game, we did an experiment to compare the player experience of the traditional board game and VR environment. There are three things we want to measure in this experiment, it includes (1) the general player experience in both environment (2) the social engagement in both environment, and (3) whether the player likes the tangible interaction.

We conducted a survey the explore these three problems and the following graph is the result.

All the survey’s questions are a 7-point Likert scale which 1 indicates total disagree and 7 means totally agree.

The Median of General Game Experience Questions

From the result, it is obvious that the VR version of this game provides a more immersive and engaging experience compared to the traditional version. Players could get more clear feedback and generally more enjoy the VR version of the game. However, the VR environment also increases the difficulty and limited the freedom of how the player plays this game.

The Median of Social Engagement Questions

In terms of questions about social engagement, I found that the traditional set up is outperformed than the VR environment. Although both setup players are able to talk to each other, players still feel less connected to the VR headset. From the chart, we can see that most of the players hold a slightly disagree attitude towards interacting with other players in the VR environment while strongly agreed that they have some sort of interaction and connect with the other player in a traditional manner.

The Median of Tangible Interaction Questions

From our result of tangible interaction questions, I find that most of the players hold a neutral attitude towards the tangible interaction and the median result even shows that sometimes they even disagree that tangible interaction would improve their player experience. But when they switched to the VR environment, most of the players started to miss the feeling of touching cards and those game pieces. This result shows that although the players do not think to add those tangible interactions will improve their general experience, they still prefer the original cards and pieces compared to the controller.

Based on the result, I think the idea of enhancing the board game experience with VR headset is proved to be possible and beneficial. The current VR environment is lacking the content that encourages social communication but I think we can optimize it by adding a virtual avatar, motion synchronization, and even facial expression synchronization in future development. For the tangible interaction, this game is limited to interact with cards so the result might not typical enough to prove that it significantly contributes to the player experience. It is still worth to be explored in the future since most of the players still want it in the VR environment.


Player (you) is a board game hobbyist. Last year, you started playing a fantasy setting board game and you love it. You always play with friends, but much more than that. Sometimes you dreamed of the dragons and monsters in the game. You commanded the army of the magic creatures to fight your ways in the fantasy world.

Recently the dreams get more intense. The fights are more real to you and sometimes when you wake up, your body feels the pain when the magic missile from an enemy mage that hurt you. You are afraid that the dream consumes your sleep too much, but you just can’t help playing it for fun.

Yesterday, when you played with your friend, you played your favorite black dragon on the board again. Something wrong happened. Immediately you see huge shadow casting on your window. When you look out of the window, you see the real dragon flying in the sky and prepares to breathe fire to your friend. You were so shocked and woke up.

c[AR]d is a mixed reality game that uses both technologies of AR and VR to create a tangible yet life-like board game experience. Players play board games with tangible paper cards, but also can see monsters and characters wandering around or explosions happen nearby.

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