Future Box Systems is developing an augmented reality pinball machine that combines digital and analog aspects to create a new kind of gaming experience. A transparent 3D screen projects the ball onto a real playing field. The complicated mechanics that move the ball in an analog pinball machine are not needed. In contrast to purely digital pinball machines, our real playing field provides an authentic playing experience. In addition, the transparent screen opens up new artistic and playful possibilities.

We are three recent graduates from very different backgrounds. Arbaz Attaulla, responsible for sales and marketing, studied business administration and digital marketing in Mumbai and Cologne. The other two team members, Arthur Kehrwald and Mahmoud Samy Gewily, are dedicated to product development. Mahmoud studied mechanical engineering in Alexandria and Hamburg and plans the physical construction and manufacturing of the machine. Arthur holds a bachelor’s degree in games programming from the Cologne Game Lab and develops the software and the display technology for our product.

Project History:
The first version of the ‘Future Box’ was built in early 2020 during a collaborative student project at the Cologne Game Lab. It took a second semester of work and the participation in the prototyping funding program Kickstart@TH-Köln to develop the rough first build into a presentable experience. Due to a very positive reception at events such as Gamescom and Indie Game Fest, two of the students involved decided to pursue the idea commercially by applying for the one year founder’s scholarship ‘Exist’. As of March 2024, we are supported by this scholarship and finally able to push product development and marketing for the Future Box forward full time.

At it’s core, the Future Box is a digital game. Since the ball is not real, it’s motion across the playing field is entirely simulated in software and shown on a digital screen. However, we create the impression of a partially physical game by displaying only the ball without the playing field on a transparent screen and instead showing the player a physical version of the digital playing field beneath the screen. To ensure alignment between the screen contents and the playing field elements, the player’s head is tracked by a camera system and the on-screen perspective is continuously adjusted accordingly. A special stereo 3D display creates the illusion of depth necessary to make the ball look like it is rolling around on the playing field surface rather than floating above it. Currently, the player is required to wear special 3D glasses to make this possible, but we are working on a new version that will hopefully work without any special eyewear.

Website: www.futureboxarcade.com/de/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/futureboxarcade/