GDC 2013: Interview with Chris Allen of Infrared5/Brass Monkey

At GDC 2013, Ultrabook Community Manager Bob Duffy sat down with Chris Allen, president and co-founder of Infrared5 and one of the Challengers in the Ultimate Coder Challenge: Going Perceptual contest. The Infrared5/Brass Monkey team was at GDC to show off the latest version of their game, Kiwi Catapult Revenge, as well as present on perceptual computing at the GDC Theater and interact with their fellow challengers and judges.

What does the Infrared5 team think of the challenge so far? As many of our coders have reported, everyone in this contest is going all out, holding nothing back. Every single challenger is bringing a lot to the table, and the competition is fierce! The lead software developer for Infrared5, Steff Kelsey, has been especially involved with their project, working over the weekends and putting lots of extra time into the game. The possibilities are endless, but the limiting factor is definitely time; Infrared5 (like many other Challengers) have loads of ideas that they want to implement, but there’s just not enough time before the end of the contest. Lots of energy, not a lot of time to accomplish ideas, which makes the contest that much more compelling!

Impressions of the SDK and camera: Chris responds quite candidly when he says that the Perceptual Computing SDK “has a long way to go”. However, he goes on to say that Intel is doing the right thing by bringing it out early enough so developers can dive in and really work with it, making it even better with their expert feedback. The Creative* Interactive Gesture camera is “really interesting”, and he reports that the depth data is incredibly accurate, which gives developers a whole host of intriguing possibilities. The team has taken on both face and head tracking for the purposes of the Challenge, with people tracking next on the agenda, but again, time is a factor.

Implementing features into Kiwi Catapult Revenge: This game was built in Unity. It’s basically the story of a flightless bird that has super powers: he can breathe fire and shoot lasers out of his eyes, among other things. One cool perceptual computing integration is that users can open their mouths to literally “breathe” fire. A mobile phone is used as a controller (that’s where the Brass Monkey platform comes into play); with plenty of PerC input controls. More about the Brass Monkey platform:

“Brass Monkey® is video game console that uses smartphones as controllers and any screen with a web browser as the main display.

Brass Monkey provides a free SDK (software development kit) that lets developers create games with similar features to traditional consoles (XBox, PS3, Wii, Wii U, etc.) using familiar tools for creating Web based games: HTML5, Unity and/or Flash.” –

Tilting your head to line up a shot also changes perspective within the game world, so it’s very immersive and interactive.  The accelerometer input of a phone gives the user control over flying and steering the bird.

Integrating Perceptual Computing controls with the existing Brass Monkey input controls gives the game a whole new look and feel.  Brass Monkey technology is something that the team has been working on for a while; it’s not only a fun way to play games, but it’s also a platform that developers can use to build upon. It turns a smartphone into a controller, and with support for over 96 different phones, there’s no shortage of available inputs. The Brass Monkey technology leverages the motion sensors in both Android and iOS phones, as well as touch screens. The design and development possibilities here are amazing, but when you combine this technology with perceptual computing it’s especially intriguing to image the opportunities.

For more information, visit Brass Monkey, get Brass Monkey information for developers, or visit


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