The latest in awesome homebrew Kinect development, a Kickstarter project called Doodle Defense, literally brings my childhood imagination to life. As a kid I developed a white board game that was essentially Age of Empires with dry erase markers. Armies, resources and regional boundaries were erased and redrawn as the eras advanced. Conflicts presented the tantalizing opportunity of physically erasing an opponent's units from the whiteboard.
Doodle Defense melds the basics of that concept--drawing your game world into existence--with the Kinect, turning it into a more interactive experience. Automated enemies charge across the screen, and defensive towers and mazes bring them down and control their movement. It's brilliant.
Where most tower defense games focus on the addictive relationship between resource management and tactical weapon placement, Doodle Defense encourages creativity above all else. It's less defined as a game--makes sense, considering it was born as a project for a college course in algorithmic animation--but is off-the-scales cool in terms of digital/physical interaction.
Doodle Defense currently operates on a Mac connected to a projector that displays the game on a white board. Kinect interprets the drawings. The whole thing is an open source project, meaning the software should only improve as interest grows. Kids can delight in littering the field with towers that destroy every enemy. Arists can design clever mazes; the hardcore can maximize the game space with massive labyrinths.
With $775 in backing, Doodle Defense is halfway to its $1500 goal. Creator Andy Wallace wants to use the money to get artists and sound designers involved and created a polished product worthy of inclusion in an event like Indiecade. He also hopes to develop an iPad version--not as mind-blowing as the white board game, but a tad more commercially viable.