Real FX Racing AI RC cars: Hands-on with the Kickstarter project everyone's talking about
No sooner have we seen one Scalextric replacement system than another turns up. Real FX Racing, on the face of it, has a similar premise to Anki Drive, which Pocket-lint played with during our Tech Tavern event in honour of London Technology Week.
However, the Kickstarter project is a very different kettle of fish when you check it out in the flesh. And we got a chance to do just that at London toy story Hamleys' annual Christmas in July event, which showcases forthcoming toy trends for the year.
Real FX Racing consists of fairly large cars, larger, we'd say, than traditional Scalextric vehicles - which in themselves are larger than many other slot cars. Each car has an advanced artificial intelligence system on board than ensures they stick to the laid track when activated, even keeping them as centrally located as possible. And rather than be controlled through a smartphone app, like Anki Drive, the cars have almost conventional remote controls.
Its benefits over Scalextric and other slot racing sets are immediately obvious. For a start, at the press of just one button on the remote, you can switch of the AI and take complete control of the vehicle. Even with the AI turned on, you can still weave around the track in order to prevent a rival from overtaking, etc.
The other main and obvious benefit is that the track itself is made of waterproof plastic and fixes together through simple magnets. You just overlap each piece, ensuring that you are ready to race in a minute or less. Tracks up to 200 metres can even be fitted together and the cars will still follow them without needing to learn the pattern.
And because the track pieces are made from simple materials, they are inexpensive, allowing you to grow your set without the need for a massive outlay.
One thing Real FX has in common with Anki Drive is that the cars (up to four on the track at the same time) can be set as virtual opponents, so you can still play solo, trying to beat the computer AI. However, Real FX also adds online multiplayer to the mix. And that's very neat indeed.
If you have a friend who also owns a set but lives a fair distance away, as long as you both set the track with exactly the same configuration, you can race each other. The cars record their position in relation to each other and you can technically race without being in the same location. The remote even has a headphone/mic socket (the sort you see for PC gaming) so you can also talk to your competitor while you race.
The starter set comes with two cars, two remotes and basic track parts. A full price and release date is yet to be revealed, but that will depend on the Kickstarter project being successful. By all accounts, we think it will. It certainly should.