Dungeons & Dragons and Settlers of Catan with Projection Mapping

Dungeons & Dragons and Settlers of Catan with Projection Mapping

What do you get when you combine projectors and board games? Well, Reddit user Silverlight, a developer at Roll20, used the Roll20 distributed gaming mat in combination with a ceiling mounted projector, to enhance one of the most popular board games of our generation: Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Yes, that’s right folks, you can now play a D&D game with dynamic digital maps that displays content right on top of your physical D&D tokens.

In Silverlight’s own words:

“We ran a D&D game recently (the Starter Set for 5E). I used Roll20 to power the digital gaming mat, and projected that image down onto a physical table. We used minis on top of that for the PCs and monsters.”



With Roll20, Silverlight was able to include the characters actual line of sight to reveal various parts of the map. While this was done manually with Roll20’s online system, we can see some amazing extensions that incorporate real time tracking.



Silverlight used an Epson projector to project the maps (cheap Epson projectors run around $300 on Amazon) along with an Apple TV connected to the projector to output the map. Though the word is still out on if an average board game player will supplement their experience with a $300 purchase, what a fun way to use projection mapping! Perhaps as pico projectors get cheaper and brighter, we’ll see a whole new set of projection mapping applications that are directly geared for board game consumers.


As it turns out, SilverLight isn’t the only gamer who has thought about D&D and projection mapping. A separate user created a similar setup:

using an Optoma Pro350W projector and ceiling mounted mirror:


Now, D&D isn’t the only board game projector combination we’ve seen. Five years ago, the folks at the Human Media Lab created a projection based version of Settlers of Catan using a hexagonal tracked physical tile. Users could put together tiles to unlock physical affordances like setting up battles between armies. Hit the jump below to learn more:

To the gaming community: We’d love to hear about any other awesome board game combinations out there. Get in touch and let us know!

[Source: Images]
[Source: DailyDot]

Rajinder Sodhi
For my PhD research, I tinker with new sensing and display techniques (like projection mapping) to make our interactions with computers feel more natural, all in the name of science! I've worked for Walt Disney Imagineering and Microsoft Research and made things along the way like Aireal and RoomAlive. Check em' out at rsodhi.com, @lumenra.