Deciphering Tokyo Voxels over Coffee
New Zealander James White, 30, owns Pico Pico Café in Tokyo and he is also an independent game designer, musician and futurist; the café doubles as the home of Lexaloffle Games, White’s one-man game studio. White also wants Pico Pico Café to be a place where Tokyo’s indie developers can come work together.
White is currently coding a game for the future; a game designed from its foundation to be displayed on a technology so expensive, so unreliable and so unusual that White once wondered if he’d ever have a chance to see it.
Three words: voxel, volumetric, Voxatron. “The strict definition of voxel,” White says, “is a volumetric element. In the same way, a pixel is a picture element. A voxel is like a 3D pixel.”
Voxatron is like a world within a world: The setting, the characters, the menu – everything – is drawn in voxels into the virtual volumetric display which itself is drawn onto the computer’s screen.
At NY Tech Day earlier this year, founder of New York City Kinect Group and author of Meet the Kinect, Sean Kean and his company (now called Voxon), announced their joint partnership with White’s Lexaloffle Games, along with plans to debut “the first volumetric 3D arcade table cabinet machine that will allow glassesless 3D gameplay for up to eight players at a time seated 360 degrees around the interactive colour image volume of Voxatron.”
They call it the “Voxatron Table,” and it’s outfitted with eight joysticks plus buttons. The game can be played with four players, Kean says, in the fashion of the 1982 arcade game Robotron: 2084 – a heavy influence on Voxatron’s design.
The table has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $29,800 and is available for purchase now.