Could Playing in the Sandbox Be the Future for Wargaming?

February 27, 2015 by dracs

An interesting post on Kotaku caught our eye today, one which could show a new way for wargaming terrain to go. Sandpits!


Er, no a bit more high tech than that. The army has been using Sandtables for years as a way of mapping out and recreating real world environments.

Sand Tables

These can reportedly take hours to set up, but now they are using a new piece of tech dubbed the ARES Sandtable should help to make these far easier. Using a Kinect and a projector, as well as the appropriate software, the military can accurately recreate the layout of an area on their sandtable.


ARES Sandtable

This tech allows people to shape the layout of the sandtable in accordance with the geography of the area and then project the features of the environment onto the table, letting them get an accurate idea about the terrain.

Of course, this got us all thinking; could we use this for wargaming? Sure, we would have to have a sandbox, but is that really such an issue? Using this tech, we gamers could map out new and interesting tabletops for each new game, with all the terrain we need projected onto the 3D environment!

One of the most interesting features of ARES is that researchers are currently trying to enable them to network, letting sandtables link up across the world.

ARES Video Game view

Combined with the ARES “video game view”, which allows you to track the movement of units and tanks and effect the image on the table, would mean that players would be able to engage in tactile, digital tabletop games while on the other side of the planet if they so wished.

The gaming possibilities for this is endless! I suppose then it is no surprise that Sega have come up with a Sandbox Arcade Game using similar tech.

Sandbox Arcade Game

Watch the incredibly Japanese video above and tell me you don’t want to be a kid again to play on this thing.

With all this new tech, the future is looking bright for interactive tabletops. Combining it with sand wasn’t something I had really considered, but looking at this I could definitely see it working. As long as you don’t mind getting sand everywhere.

Could you see sand tables being used for future gaming?

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"We could map out new tabletops for each game, with all the terrain we need projected onto the 3D environment!"