With The Force Awakens just hours away from its official opening, Google (GOOG) is helping people embrace their inner Jedi.
Google has teamed with Disney’s (DIS) LucasFilm to create Lightsaber Escape, a browser-based game that utilizes both your phone and your desktop browser – and is perfect for playing at your desk instead of getting actual work done (note to my editor: It was purely for research purposes… honest!).
The game itself is pretty basic – an “on-rails” action title (one that moves you along a fixed path, giving you no control on where you go) where you attempt to deflect the incoming laser blasts of storm troopers as you attempt to escape an Empire Star Destroyer. Take out one wave of troops, then move on to another. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.
What makes the game intriguing, though, is you’re not controlling your lightsaber with a mouse or keyboard, you’re using your phone. Just head to the Website (which is optimized for Chrome, but works on other browsers) and then navigate to the specific URL it gives you using your phone’s Web browser of choice.
(Tablets, by the way, are not supported. There’s no such thing as the broadsword equivalent of a lightsaber – well, that we’ve been made aware of yet, anyway.)
Calibrate your weapon, then feel the force flowing through you.
The experience is incredibly smooth and has quickly won the loyalty of players – and likely the ire of HR departments.
Google, though, says it’s not the Force that allows the two devices to work together, but some impressive (most impressive) coding wizardry.
“The experience was developed in collaboration with Disney, Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic,” says Google. “The rich 3D graphics were built with WebGL, enabling beautiful, high fidelity 3D renders within the browser. We’re also using WebRTC and WebSockets to enable high accuracy, real-time communication between your mobile and desktop devices, reducing latency and improving interactivity. Plus, building with web standards means the experience works across browsers, and without plug-ins.”
Lightsaber Escape isn’t the only Star Wars-themed experience Google has been working on. The company has also rolled out Jakku Spy, a virtual reality experience for the Google Cardboard headset that has you follow BB-8 across an alien planet.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to debut this Friday and is expected to topple box office records. Early reviews for the film, which was screened last night, have been overwhelmingly positive.
That’s only stoking fan anticipation, which was already absurdly high – and has helped collectors of vintage Star Wars collectables make a small fortune off of selling their old toys, while toy makers like Hasbro are counting on sales of The Force Awakens products to give them a big boost this holiday season.