Transfer by sound!
Published on 2017-01-12
This is a brilliant solution to a somewhat complex problem!
The new Skylanders game handles data transfer in a way that is not used often enough - it is very clever and it works!
Let's first look at the context!
Skylanders is a video game played on all the major consoles. The past few years the franchise has seen an annual release bringing new features and new characters and story to the universe. The characters that are controlled by the player have a physical presense and are put on a portal (powered by NFC) which gives them life inside the game. Physical toy + virtual world = infinite adventures!
The newest installment brings a new possibility for the player to create it's own heros combining abilitis and looks - collecting more looks and weapons in-game while playing. With the release of the game came a companion app for the smartphones and tablets. Using that the players can inspect all the looks they can collect (it have mini games in itself) and mess around with the looks - creating that hook back into the main game to go and actually get the items needed.
And here is the brilliant part!
It is possible to transfer the in-game creations to the tablet eg. and tinker with it while on-the-go. This means that the characters created in the game needs to be transferred to the device somehow. And as you've probably guessed by the title - it is done brilliantly, by sound!
As the Skylanders game is mostly played by children it would be very complex to have every user set up an account with username and password - verification mail etc. - not to mention the servers required to facilitate the exchange of very simple data.
Instead of going that route the developers used another approach. When the character is about the be transferred the device is set to "Listen" while the console where the game is being played is set to "Transfer" this starts a series of weird sounds - they sound a little like the modems back in the analog days - and the microphone in the device records these sounds and transforms them to the figure wearing the same stuff as in the game.