Jeri Ellsworth recently launched the Kickstarter for Tilt Five, a mixed-reality headset and game board. Its proprietary approach to augmented reality allows gamers to bring Dungeons & Dragons, racing, pinball, and other games to life, using either symmetrical or asymmetrical gameplay, both locally and online. Having successfully reached its crowdfunding goal of $450,000 in just 17 hours, Tilt Five is on track to ship in the summer of 2020.
In this podcast interview, Jeri and I talk about what makes Tilt Five unique among todays many approaches to mixed reality (MR); how its technology and applications differ from professional-grade devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens; whether Tilt Five is aimed more at video gamers or board gamers; what lessons Jeri learned from her previous MR project, castAR; what she’s doing differently this time to avoid the obstacles castAR encountered; and Tilt Five’s reception at PAX West and JoCoCruise.
Stream the audio edition of this interview below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for links to resources mentioned in this episode and a transcript.
- Tilt Five
- Jeri Ellsworth
- castAR on Kickstarter
- “Tilt Five brings Jeri Ellsworth’s unique AR glasses back from the dead” (The Verge)
- Kicktraq crowdfunding projection for Tilt Five
Voiceover: Welcome to the Polygamer Podcast where gaming is for everyone. Join us as we expand the boundaries of the gaming community.
Ken Gagne: Hello and welcome to the Polygamer Podcast episode number 94 for Wednesday, October 9, 2019. I’m your host Ken Gagne. I’d like to tell you about my friend Jeri. Jeri and I have known each other for about 16 years in which time we’ve shot pool, gone bowling, sang karaoke, bunked at a retro computing convention, and were passengers on the JoCoCruise.
Ken Gagne: Jeri has also been a race car driver, roller derby athlete, pinball wizard, hardware hacker, indie film actor, Commodore 64 enthusiast, and entrepreneur. Jeri’s most recent accomplishment, launching a Kickstarter that met its fundraising goal of 450 thousand dollars in just 17 hours and is already at more than 200% funded.
Ken Gagne: So we’re here today to talk about that project. Allow me to introduce, Jeri Ellsworth CEO of Tilt Five. Hi, Jeri.
Jeri Ellsworth: Hi Ken. Thanks for having me. I want to mention I hope the video of us doing karaoke doesn’t exist out there.
Ken Gagne: For the right price it won’t.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yikes.
Ken Gagne: You sound a little crackley there, that’ll clear up around 27 minutes in. Let’s just dive right in. Jeri, congratulations on your amazing Kickstarter for Tilt Five, a mixed reality system which I backed at a small amount. I was happy to be able to help. I wish I could’ve given more. Tell us a little bit about what is Tilt Five?
Jeri Ellsworth: Tilt Five is a headset that you wear. It’s a mixed reality headset. So you slip on these glasses, you flip open a game board, and game characters will just spring from your table. What we’re trying to achieve is to take the things that you love about video games and the things that you love about traditional board games and blend those together.
Jeri Ellsworth: The ability to have fancy graphics and sound and rich animations combined with real world cardboard and plastic figures and sitting across table from your friends and being able to look them in the eye and have a social connection.
Ken Gagne: That’s amazing. This is being described as mixed reality. I think a lot of people are familiar with augmented reality, especially with the advent of Pokemon Go. How do you describe the different between mixed reality and augmented reality?
Jeri Ellsworth: This space is really noisy right now with different lingo. Some people have heard of virtual reality that takes you completely out of the world. Then there’s augmented reality which is even murkier which can stand from holding your phone up like with Pokemon Go and seeing some video games characters standing in your world to headsets that you wear that actually start to blend those graphics fairly seamlessly into your world.
Jeri Ellsworth: So what we’re trying to achieve with mixed reality, yet another piece of lingo that’s confusing in the industry, is we want to take physical pieces and blend them with graphics. So you put your toy dragon or your mini dragon on the table, it could breathe virtual fire towards the villagers. Or if you put your hand into the scene, you can actually push game characters around with your hands. So really blending the physical world and the virtual world together.
Ken Gagne: When you talk about pushing stuff around, do I need some sort of haptic device like gloves to do this?
Jeri Ellsworth: A couple different ways you can interact with these virtual characters. The first one, we have a magic wand which gives you buttons and triggers and things that you’re familiar with if you’re a video game player but it also gives you the ability to point like a magic wand. You can poke things with the stick, you can pick things up with it by jabbing them with the end of the wand and then lifting them into the air.
Jeri Ellsworth: We also have the ability to track hands, so you can reach in with your hands and touch things and push things around, which is pretty magical. We also have the ability to track objects. Objects can be anything from your mini, your little figures that you put out there, your Meeples to playing cards, chips, and tokens. So when you place these things out on the game board, can trigger events into your game. Put a poker chip down and the computer detects that you’ve placed a bet, for instance.
Ken Gagne: These goggles and the wand work uniquely with the board. It’s not something that you can project onto any surface.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. That’s a unique characteristic of our system. There’s other AR systems out there that let you put graphics anywhere in the world but they’re limited to really small image size and they’re extremely expensive. Through a clear optical technique that we used called retro reflection, we can make a headset that’s only $299 that can fill your entire table with all of this graphics and all of this capability, but it is limited to a table type experience.
Ken Gagne: That 299, does that include the goggles, the wand, and the board?
Jeri Ellsworth: Yup. The kit. You get everything that you need. You get the wand, you get the headset, you get the game board, you get some playing cards and little tokens to get you up and going and a half dozen introductory games. If you’re a developer, it also gives you the SDK to develop for the system as well.
Ken Gagne: Wow. It’s that easy to create your own games for.
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh yeah. It’s super simple. We support Unity and Unreal, which are the two big game engines for making games. We’ve made the plug in so easy that it’s basically drag and drop. You import our SDK into your game project and you just drag it onto the camera that’s inside your game. That’s the majority of what you have to do to get your first game up and running.
Ken Gagne: Awesome. I want to talk more about the developers and publishers you have but first, let’s go back for a moment about what comes with the kit. If I’m going to play with other people sitting around the same board, they don’t need to have their own board as well. How do I get just additional goggles?
Jeri Ellsworth: We have a group pack in our Kickstarter, so you can buy three headsets at once. That allows you and multiple of your friends to sit around the table and you can look into the same virtual space, which opens up a lot of really interesting game play mechanics.
Ken Gagne: Like what?
Jeri Ellsworth: Ah. So, I like to talk about the Dungeons and Dragons example because it’s really easy to understand. You have your game master or your dungeon master. Your dungeon master might spend a little bit of time before your game to set up this entire world. You’ll have a map and you’ll put all the monsters and traps and dungeons in and when you’re playing the game, he gets to see what’s coming up next. He gets to see the monsters and the traps and things like that.
Jeri Ellsworth: Your friends sitting around the table don’t necessarily get to see it, those monsters, until that dramatic moment when the dungeon master wants to reveal them. So it could be something like, the dungeon master could wave his hands over the game board and say like, “An eerie mist settles into the valley.” And so it could actually have an eerie mist dropping out of his or her hand into the valley and then it would be revealed to the other players around the table.
Jeri Ellsworth: Then you could say something like, “The villagers told you not to enter the cave.” All the players would see the entrance to the cave and he would trigger the event and then the monster would spring out of the cave. So, that’s really interesting. There’s these Fog of War game play elements that are really unique to our system that you can’t get with a 2D screen like if you’re trying to play Xbox in your living room because everyone gets to see everything all the time that’s on the screen. With our system, each person gets their own unique view from their own perspective into the game board.
Jeri Ellsworth: I’m also really excited about this connecting and linking game boards over long distances. This virtual space can be shared between homes. If your friends can’t come over to play this game with you, you can link your game boards over the internet and you have a shared space. So that same scenario with the dungeon master, when he waves his hand across the table and the eerie fog settles into the village, you can actually see an avatar representation of their hand moving through the scene and the fog would be dropping in, but you would see that from a distance.
Jeri Ellsworth: Our headset has microphone and speaker built in, so you can have full telephony and be communicating with your friends over distance. Our main objective in that case is to try to make it feel like you’re really in the same room playing the game together so when you actually pick up that dragon mini and put it on the table, you would see a holographic representation of that show up remotely and people could reach in and point and say, “Hey. Let’s go over here.” They would see your hand and finger would show up and you’d be able to point to actual places on the map.
Jeri Ellsworth: So that was a dungeons and dragons example. We span the spectrum anywhere from cardboard and plastic pieces with very little augmentation all the way to peer video games. We can do action games, we can do real time strategies which have no physical components at all. What you actually get with that is the opportunity to have your friends sit around the table and play head to head and face to face, which is super unique.
Ken Gagne: So when you talk about more traditional video games, are you talking about Pinball or Halo or what?
Jeri Ellsworth: We can do a lot of top down god type games with our current system. Since it’s a game board, you’re looking down on it. Pinball is an obvious one you can do because of the top down type game so you could have a virtual Pinball experience. It could mimic a real Pinball machine and not have very much different from a Pinball machine but it also opens up the opportunity to have effects and the ball fly off the table and the Pinball game board to reconfigure itself at any point.
Jeri Ellsworth: Real time strategies, you can have your top down war simulations where you’re reaching in with your wand and you’re selecting all of your units and you’re clicking and you’re sending them over to battle with these big elaborate maps that are scrolling past.
Jeri Ellsworth: You asked about Halo. Halo’s a little bit different. That’s a Triple A game title and that’s actually not the type of game that we want to go after at first. A lot of ways it’s story based, very linear, it’s a one time play through. We’re looking for more of games that you’ll come back to time and time again. So the sandbox style games like Minecraft where you’re just constantly building all the time or party games where your friends come over and you’re doing virtual bowling on your table and you just can play it a thousand times and there’s a little bit less story element to it.
Jeri Ellsworth: Not that we wouldn’t love to have the story games but we think that the biggest value is getting people to pick the headsets up and use them time and time again.
Ken Gagne: That sounds like a great fit for this system. You’ve worked so many amazing features into it. There is so much opportunity for innovation in this field. As you said, it’s still relatively young and murky.
Jeri Ellsworth: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ken Gagne: What was your scope when you set out to create this? How did you know these are the features we must have for launch, these are things we can work on later, and this is what we can launch with?
Jeri Ellsworth: I’ve worked in this space for quite some time. I got my start in augmented reality at Valve software. I was hired in to Valve software to put together their R&D team. This was seven or eight years ago. We put together this dream team just to research how can we make games more fun? Gabe Newell, the founder of the company gave me this mission.
Jeri Ellsworth: He said, “I want you to come up with game play scenarios and hardware that bring the whole family together.” The way he put it was like, “I want grandma, grandpa, all the way down to the grandkids and everyone in between playing video games in the living room.” So that’s what we set out to do. We did a ton of research, that’s the HTC Vive VR headset came from those efforts, there were a bunch of different things.
Jeri Ellsworth: We did a ton of fundamental research and we actually did a lot of play testing through brute force. We actually built these AR and VR systems and we brought people in to play. While I was there, I got hooked on augmented reality because it really does fulfill that grand mission of making a system that anyone can just jump into and feel comfortable playing because it’s so relatable to the real world.
Jeri Ellsworth: I can take my magic wand, everyone knows how to poke something with a stick. That’s why we chose to use the magic wand input. Anyone can pick it up, anyone knows how to poke at something. Over the years, for like seven or eight years I’d been thinking about this a lot. You asked, “Do you have to put a glove on to do something?” We did glove research to these hand tracking gloves and we learned pretty early on that the friction of putting a glove on is a terrible experience. We learned that that was not a good way to do it.
Jeri Ellsworth: So we said, “Okay. We have to figure out a way to track peoples’ hands without putting gloves on.” For years, we’ve been working on making that feature work. Early on, we discovered people really love having things in their hands and placing them into this virtual environment that the first time you grab a little plastic figure and put it in and you see it spawn to life … you put that dragon down and a virtual dragon just jumps out at the side of it and goes flying across the game board, it’s really a magical experience.
Jeri Ellsworth: Taking your physical and then transferring it into the virtual space is truly magical. Just to summarize, it’s been years of research to condense this down to a set of features that has the maximum wow factor for the price. We could’ve done a lot of things. We could’ve done the HoloLens style headset, but they cost $3500 to put all those features in so we had to pare it down to things that people could afford. We had to make sure it was something you could just flip open on your coffee table and go. You didn’t have to do extensive set up to use it. That’s basically it.
Ken Gagne: You mentioned the Microsoft HoloLens, I didn’t realize it was quite that expensive, my goodness.
Jeri Ellsworth: I think the HoloLens 2 is like $3500 now. It’s been going up in price over the years.
Ken Gagne: It should go just the opposite. What’s happening there?
Jeri Ellsworth: In the early days of AR, HoloLens came out with a video talking about the potential of AR and they were showing people playing video games in their living room and walking around the world and advertisements are popping outside of buildings and a lot of really exciting stuff, I don’t know if ads popping out of buildings is exciting, but the reality set in for these AR companies that it’s really really a difficult problem.
Jeri Ellsworth: If you want to completely augment your life, it takes a lot of sensors and a lot of compute and a lot of batteries. The headsets have to be pretty big. In recent years, companies like Microsoft have changed their focus from trying to do everything for everyone and boil the ocean to settling into their niche. Our niche is delighting home users on their coffee table with board games and video games. HoloLens has settled on business to business, business type and industrial application.
Jeri Ellsworth: You see a lot of people use HoloLens to go work on a jet or something. You put the HoloLens on and then it shows you how to repair a jet engine. Places that can afford $3500 headsets. I think in time, there’s a lot of physics and computational challenges in front of us. In time, in the next decade, decade and a half, we’re going to start seeing these AR everywhere headsets start to get cheaper and there’ll be most mass adoption for them. Of course, we’ll be moving into that direction too.
Jeri Ellsworth: Microsoft’s coming from industrial applications towards consumer. We’re going to go from consumer the opposite direction. So we’re going to lift people off the table eventually and let them move around their home and kind of augment a few more things in their home. Eventually, they’ll be able to leave their home and augment more of their world.
Ken Gagne: That would explain why you’re focusing at first on entertainment software and games as opposed to more business applications because those might have higher demands and thus a higher price tag.
Jeri Ellsworth: Exactly. I think if you look historically at emerging technology, there’s always been a two or three prong adoption strategy out there. You look at the early days of home computers and computing technology. It was people doing spreadsheets and buying really expensive personal computers for doing that. Then, on the other side, there were really low end Commodore 64 Ataris that were really good at doing video games but not so much on the business side.
Jeri Ellsworth: You just see that time and time again in emerging tech. AR is really the computer of the future. It’s hard to say how long it’s going to take to get there but it’s very wise for us to go after the video game market first and it’s very wise for Microsoft to go after the business side.
Ken Gagne: Yeah. There’s a lot of things that the two teams are doing differently. The different approaches to AR and you’ve done a lot of unique things here. For example, yours projects and reflects light. That means that there isn’t anything being projected directly into the eyes, which Oculus Rift has to deal with for example. Another thing that you’re doing is that you’re off boarding the processing and the power so these devices actually require another system. Is that correct?
Jeri Ellsworth: Correct. Correct. With our system, instead of trying to put the light directly into your eye, which presents tons of human factor problems like the headsets get really big and heavy, the images are at a fixed focus. In those systems, you have to force your eyes to focus at the wrong distance, which can give people headaches and strenuous viewing experiences.
Jeri Ellsworth: Our system in turn, we actually use this special reflective material so light comes out of the glasses, goes to the game board, does a 180 degree turn, and bounces back to the user. The special material allows us to be in focus wherever your head position is, so you don’t have those eye strain issues. It also allows us to have this massive field of view that fills up the entire table with the virtual experience, and it allows us to be able to see each other as we sit around the table.
Jeri Ellsworth: The glasses are feather weight. They’re 85 grams. You just forget they’re on your face. On the compute side of things, if we were to jam everything into the headset we’d have limited battery life, we would make the headset even heavier, it would make the headset super expensive. We opted for making the system so you could plug it into your Android cellphone or into a PC, multiple headsets into a PC, so that power comes from the phone or from the PC, the compute comes from the PC. It lowers the cost and everyone already has these devices, so it was a natural direction for us to go.
Ken Gagne: Where is that phone sitting while I’m using the Tilt Five? Is it in my pocket … somewhere in the device?
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. There’s a little cable. There’s this really thin micro coax that comes down and it does USBC over micro coax. Pretty proud of the cable because it’s so thin. It plugs into your phone. The phone, you could just sit it on the table. A lot of people, a lot of game developers are actually going to use that touch screen and that secondary screen to do stuff.
Jeri Ellsworth: Imagine holding your phone and you’re playing a card game, for instance, and you have a bunch of cards on the phone. You could just swipe the screen and the card jumps off your phone and goes into the virtual space. Or use it to select your characters or you could use it as an indirect input right into the virtual space.
Ken Gagne: Oh. That’s true because since this device only works directly with the board, you can’t hold a hand of virtual cards. You need to have some sort or a display in your hand.
Jeri Ellsworth: Or you actually use physical cards. We’re going to be providing cards that are generic so that you can play games with your friends over distance. This might be a little technical but it’s really cool. You can take these cards, and we’re going to make them generic with some reflective panels on it so the computer can actually project what the card is.
Jeri Ellsworth: If you want to play, let’s just use poker for an example. You both get your set of generic five cards out, you put them on the table. It’s your turn to draw, you pull a card off, it’s actually a blank card until the computer decides what’s going to be on it. So it’s like, is it an ace or not an ace? The computer will decide. Your friends playing across the world, they’ll pick up a generic card and they’ll look at it and the computer will decide what type of card that is.
Jeri Ellsworth: That allows us to do really interesting things that aren’t possible any other way. Let’s you really work with physical cards, allows us to play these games where you have this virtual shared deck.
Ken Gagne: That’s really cool. You mentioned that you’ve been working in VR for at least seven years and Tilt Five is not your first stab at penetrating the AR or MR market.
Jeri Ellsworth: No.
Ken Gagne: There was castAR of course as well before that. Can you give us a brief summary of what castAR was?
Jeri Ellsworth: castAR was very similar, a very similar mission. So when I left Valve, I actually bought some of the technology from Valve to so castAR which is this projection optics system. Back then, virtual reality was really hot and exciting and no one really knew how things were going to shake out. We knew that AR was going to be the technology that really brings people together.
Jeri Ellsworth: So we got in super early and we started this company. We actually, we did a Kickstarter on it and we did really well. We raised a million dollars on that Kickstarter. We shipped some of the units, then we went to Silicon Valley and we raised money from Silicon Valley venture capitalists. These venture capitalists were like, “Love what you’re doing but you need to go in a different direction.” They encouraged us just to drop what we were doing with the Kickstarter.
Jeri Ellsworth: I’m super proud of this. They probably would’ve been happy if we would’ve just left everyone hanging but I insisted that we refund everyone their money and we went off into this other direction. Super valuable lesson that I learned being first time venture backed start up, you have to be strong, you have to have your own vision. As soon as you let the investors come in and start bringing their people in, which is what happened, they replaced all our leadership with their people, things went right off the rails immediately. They burned through our money and bankrupted the company very quickly.
Jeri Ellsworth: A group of us, the core people in the company, we came together and we purchased the technology back from the bank and that’s what we used for the foundation to do Tilt Five. Tons of lessons learned there, holy cow. I think my biggest lesson I learned from that is, we had a good mission. We may not have been as focused as we are today, but we knew what we were doing and we should’ve believed in ourselves and we shouldn’t have let these people with a lot of clout come in and convince us that we should go in a different direction.
Ken Gagne: So since you bought the technology back, that means there’s no issues with licensing or IP to reuse anything that you developed for castAR?
Jeri Ellsworth: No. It’s fantastic. We’d raised 15 million dollars and we put 15 million dollars of work into it, give or take. That means we had a bunch of patents, we got all of the patents, we got all of the software which includes games and tracking techniques and optical techniques. So we got all of that. That really accelerated Tilt Five because we didn’t have to reinvent a bunch of that stuff. So it was all ours free and clear.
Jeri Ellsworth: What we did was when castAR went through that crisis and had to shut down, the group of us, we sat down before we even purchased the technology and we made a charter for what the company was going to do and we made some decisions. One of the decisions was my co-founders were like, “Jeri, you’ve always held the vision of what this was going to be. You are going to be CEO forever. We’re not going it unless you’re the CEO.”
Jeri Ellsworth: I agree. It was bad that I left go of the CEO position before. Also, we looked at the market and the market had evolved a bunch. It went from people thinking that AR everywhere was coming right around the corner to people being more realistic like, this is going to take a couple of decades to arrive. How do we delight people and last long enough for AR everywhere?
Jeri Ellsworth: That’s where this new focusing of the company came from. We can either go enterprise and business to business type things or industrial, or we can stick with our roots, we’re all gamers ourselves, and we can do the gaming thing. That’s where we thought about, “Well, emerging technology in the old days, it always split. So let’s go towards gaming.” So we focused the company on table top games.
Ken Gagne: If there is so much overlap in the technology and in the people, why not just call this castAR?
Jeri Ellsworth: We always hated the name, which is funny. Just to be completely candid. So castAR originally, we were going to our very first public showing of the hardware and we hadn’t decided what the name was and we had been driving for 12 hours and one of the people in the car said something like, “Oh. I had a telecaster guitar.” Or something like that. And someone was like, “Oh. Let’s call it the castAR.” So it was actually a weird thing, a discussion about guitars and it was called castAR.
Jeri Ellsworth: We showed up at the event a day or two early and we printed a bunch of banners and it was castAR from that point on. This goes back to silly things that our executives did and wasted money. Everyone was unhappy with the name so they came in and were like, “We’re going to change the name of the company.” They hired a company for three quarters of a million dollars to rename the company. They came up with a bunch of names and they renamed the product and then they did an all hands meeting. Everyone came together and they announced the new name, VoyageAR.
Jeri Ellsworth: The look on everyone’s face. The company just drooped. Not only was it kind of a not great name, we read it in printed on screen, it looked like Voyagar. So, no, no, no. It was even worse. So when we started Tilt Five, again we struggled with the name. We’re like, “This time, we’re choosing a name that we like because it’s a bit of an inside joke and it’s generic enough that 10 years from now, if we’re an enterprise router company, it’s fine. It’d doesn’t have AR in it. It doesn’t have VR in it, XR, MR, any of these things that are relevant today that’re going to be outdated in a decade or two.”
Jeri Ellsworth: Even as product name in our Kickstarter, we didn’t want to name it anything. We decided, “We’re the Tilt Five gaming system. We’re going to have the LE and the XE kits.” The limited edition and the more premium edition. Give the customers something to latch on. “I got the LE system or the XE system.” We were kind of thinking about the Nintendo entertainment system when we were deciding not to really name the product.
Ken Gagne: You said there was an inside joke behind Tilt Five. Can you share that with us or would it not be inside anymore?
Jeri Ellsworth: It wouldn’t be inside anymore. I can’t tell you.
Ken Gagne: I have to imagine Tilt comes from your passion from Pinball.
Jeri Ellsworth: No. No. You guys are wrong. Everyone thinks that.
Ken Gagne: Well, understandably so.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. I’m a Pinball collector for the listeners that don’t know. I have 80 Pinball machines, so yeah I do love Pinball. But it doesn’t have anything to do with Pinball.
Ken Gagne: All right. Well I’ll get it out of you next time I see you then.
Jeri Ellsworth: All right.
Ken Gagne: So the technology between castAR and Tilt Five is similar, the staff is similar, you’re using Kickstarter for both of them. What are you doing differently this time around?
Jeri Ellsworth: We’re doing a ton of things differently. Just to put this in perspective, when we did castAR, we were a bunch of technologists just like, “Hey. We have this cool piece of tech. Here you go world.” And we had no games for it, we hadn’t really worked through all of the user experience pieces of it. That was kind of the state of the market back then. Now things have shifted. People demand to have this out of box experience be complete.
Jeri Ellsworth: For the last couple years when were working on Tilt Five, we went out, we searched for the perfect developers to work with, we made sure that all of the pieces for the interaction were really refined so there is a clear message of, “This is how you’re going to use it. It’s blending board games with video games.” And we made sure that we could actually do those things. We’re making a complete package this time.
Jeri Ellsworth: Instead of targeting in the tech gadget person, we’re targeting anyone that wants to play this blended table top experience. It’s been a lot of work. We went out and we’ve talked to hundreds of developers, we’ve got dozens of developers making really relevant content for us. Some of them we can’t announce yet because game developers don’t announce anything unless it’s on their timeline. We have a bunch that are announced on our Kickstarter, which is exciting.
Jeri Ellsworth: The one I’m most excited about is Fantasy Grounds, which is this awesome platform for people that play RPGs. They have thousands of licensed D&D and Pathfinder adventure packs where you can use their platform to play these RPGs with your friends and they’re using our features so you can link game boards together so it really is going to appeal to those RPG players.
Jeri Ellsworth: We also had a bunch of games that we brought over from castAR and we continue to develop those, which are party games. When your friends come over, you can sit around and you can play these party games. We have this awesome game called Tumbling Towers, which is my favorite one, where there are all these towers that’re coming into the table … it can be played solo or with your friends, but you have to try to collect all the green blocks and you can shoot these red blocks over and cause a lot of problems for your friends and it’s a really fun party game.
Jeri Ellsworth: We also have this cart racing game which is very reminiscent to Mario Kart. So you can have up to six players sitting around the table playing this cart racing game. It also has this battle arena mode where it’s kind of reminiscent to Rocket League. So it has a bunch of different game play elements in it like get the ball into the goal or capture the flag and there’s all kinds of traps and stuff that you can drive your car into.
Jeri Ellsworth: Then on the more action side, we have some developers working on these more action games. So there’s like Kill All Zombies, which is a really cool cross platform game where you’re defending yourself against the hordes of zombies coming in and you can actually play it across PC and phones and your friends can do things to you while you’re playing. So, they can send more zombies in and things like that.
Jeri Ellsworth: I was going a little rambley there, but complete package. That’s been our mantra this entire time. This is not just a piece of technology, this is an experience and we have to make sure it’s a complete experience.
Ken Gagne: Well since you’re talking about software, I think one of the things Nintendo found with the Wii and the Wii U being so different from the Sony and Microsoft consoles was the developers couldn’t just take a game and port it as is from one system to the other. The same may be true for AR and MR as well where it’s a unique environment and not easily translated to or from. Do you have known publishers or known IPs who might be interested in publishing for Tilt Five?
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. Of course we can’t announce any of the big guys because they just don’t do that, but games do port over pretty easy to our system. In comparison to the Wii, the Wii had a completely different input scheme to it. It was bowling, you’re swinging the Wiimote and that doesn’t map very well to an RTS. Ours maps very well.
Jeri Ellsworth: I’ll just go back to Kill All Zombies. That was an easy port for us to help them with because it was already a top down game, it already had traditional joystick kinds of inputs. What we bring to them is the ability to have … it’s definitely 3D. All this stuff is flying out of the table towards you but also your friends can sit around the table and share that experience so that’s super unique features we can add to a traditional game.
Jeri Ellsworth: There’s a lot of other, and we’re going to see this, really cool cross overs between some of the other titles. I actually explored this at Valve originally. We took Left 4 Dead, I’m not saying that Left 4 Dead is coming but we took Left 4 Dead at Valve, which is their zombie first person shooter, we hooked it up to AR so that you could use the wand to drop zombies and health packs in. So you sit next to your friend on the couch who’s playing Left 4 Dead on the TV and you’re dropping health packs and zombies in. It becomes insanely fun and it’s a really easy thing for developers to implement.
Jeri Ellsworth: In that scenario, as you would do, the first thing you do is you drop in a thousand zombies and kill your buddy and he or she reaches over and punches you in the arm, tells you to stop it. The next time they run through, you drop a bunch of zombies and you give them a bunch of health packs. It just really heightens this game because it becomes this frantic thing where you bring them to one bar of health, they’re almost ready to die and you’re dropping health packs in but they’re running right past the health packs and you’re like, “Dude, get the health pack. Get the health. I’m dropping another one. Get it. Get it. Get it.”
Jeri Ellsworth: It takes this competitive, cooperative thing and really blurs the lines of what coop versus competitive god mode type experiences are like.
Ken Gagne: That’s awesome. You’ve described a lot of different kinds of games too. Certainly there’s overlap between video games and board games, or at least the people who play them. Would you say that this system is more likely to appeal to one or the other?
Jeri Ellsworth: That’s a good question. We don’t know. I think that’s the answer. We didn’t want to exclude the video game players, we didn’t want to exclude the board game players because it’s really good for both. Which one is going to take off at first, we’re not sure. We took the bet that for initial offering, the table top gamers would be a little bit more interested than the video game players and there’s a reason for that.
Jeri Ellsworth: If we go head to head and say that we’re an Xbox killer, we don’t stand a chance. Microsoft has billions of dollars that they put into launching Xbox and we have pennies. We don’t have any budget to go up against them. However, going to the board game folks and saying, “Hey. Wouldn’t it be great if you could play a board game at any point? Your friends can’t come over, you just call them on the phone and say, ‘Hey. Let’s just jump on and play a game of Catan.'”
Jeri Ellsworth: There’s real value in that easy to message that to them. It’s working out. Our Kickstarter is going really well. I think that we chose the right direction. Of course, as a business we have to think about how we keep expanding that user base and make that bubble bigger and bigger. As we become more successful, we’ll start expanding that into more complicated gaming scenarios. Eventually non gaming applications as well.
Jeri Ellsworth: We have a ton of people reaching out to us to use it for professional uses, which we think is really cool. We’ve not going to be putting any marketing dollars into that right away because we need to stay focused. Back to lessons learned, if we don’t stay focused we’re doomed. Choose a market, nail it, move to the next one.
Ken Gagne: When you talk about all these potential expansions and then also saying you have pennies compared to Microsoft’s billions, are you going to be seeking outside investment again?
Jeri Ellsworth: TBD. TBD. As you grow a business, there’s times where you need to accelerate growth. I see a scenario where we get a lot of traction with this Kickstarter and then we want to push it into retail and so we’ll have to seek outside funding to float all of that inventory, advertising budgets. It’s just the natural evolution of start ups if you want to go fast.
Jeri Ellsworth: We’re leaving that open. We’re not going to rush to do anything. If we can grow organically, it’s a whole lot better than having too many cooks in the kitchen again.
Ken Gagne: Right. Just based on what you’ve told me in the last hour, it sounds like the inside investment is where things got off the rails with your last project and I’d hate to see that happen again.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. It doesn’t have to be that way though. I think, again lessons learned. We got into that situation because we were naïve going into it. Here in Silicon Valley, you throw a rock and you’re gong to hit a founder and the founder is like, “Oh yeah. I did three start ups and each one of them blew up in various bad ways but now I’m Steve Jobs or whatever.”
Jeri Ellsworth: It’s kind of a rite of passage down here to get some black eyes and bloody noses and learn those valuable lessons. It’s pretty rare to come right out of the gate and not make a bunch of mistakes. I think we’re better positioned this time not to make at least the same mistakes. We’re certainly going to make mistakes. Our biggest goal this time is to make sure that when we make those mistakes, they’re not fatal.
Jeri Ellsworth: It comes back to focus. That’s all we talk about. Should we engage with this developer because we have tons of developers coming towards us and we’re turning away far more developers than we’re working with because we have such limited resources. To port a game over, there’s going to be questions and we only have a few people on our side that are there to answer the questions and if the game doesn’t look like a natural fit we’re like, “You’re welcome to get a developer kit and go it alone but if you’re going to need support from us, we can’t help you for several months until we staff up a bit more and after this Kickstarter is done.”
Ken Gagne: One more question about how things have changed in the last six years, The Verge wrote an article about Tilt Five’s Kickstarter and one of their comments was, “It’s still as an intriguing and limiting idea as it originally was in 2013.” Referring to castAR.
Jeri Ellsworth: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ken Gagne: Intriguing and limiting. What do you think they meant by that and are they right or are the wrong?
Jeri Ellsworth: No. I think they’re right. I think good products are limited. Bad products are ones that try to be everything for everyone but aren’t great for any one given thing. You can just see it time and time again in different products. There’s a notion out there, and it’s still a lot of people hold onto this, is that someday around the corner really soon, Apple’s going to snap their fingers and you’re going to have these glasses that’re infinitely lightweight, super thin and super sexy and stylish that do everything that we’ve ever seen in movies. Everything from Hollow Chest to the Minority Report.
Jeri Ellsworth: That’s not realistic. To be successful, we have to limit the scope, make sure that we just absolutely nail a use case that appeals to a set of users before we move on and try to do something else. There’s other companies out there that’ve raised billions of dollars doing AR glasses and they’ve sold virtually no glasses and it’s just a prime example of trying to be everything for everyone and not focusing.
Jeri Ellsworth: I think they’re right and I think … I don’t know if they were trying to be disparaging with that or not but I think it’s a virtue that we have limits to our system. It definitely makes messaging a lot easier. When we were trying … there’s a lot of stuff you can do with our system. We have a game board and all of the images show up on the game board. You could potentially hang the same retro reflective material on every single wall and surface of your house and you could have AR everywhere with that.
Jeri Ellsworth: The message becomes so muddy at that point. How do you message that to grandma and grandpa that want to get this and play games with their grandkids? It’s a terrible message. Instead, our message is, “Hey. It’s a game board. You know how to unfold a game board. Flip it open, magic happens. You know how to poke things with a stick. Use the magic wand, poke things with a stick. You know how to pull a trigger on a hot glue gun, the trigger on the wand is like the trigger on a hot glue gun or a BBQ lighter.”
Jeri Ellsworth: People always tease us about the look of our wand, that it looks like a BBQ lighter. That wasn’t a mistake. We don’t care that people think it looks like a BBQ lighter because everyone knows how to use a BBQ lighter.
Ken Gagne: So that was an intentional design? You sat down and you said, “Let’s make a controller that looks like a BBQ lighter.”
Jeri Ellsworth: Well, we had a lot of discussions that it had to be relatable. There’s a reason BBQ lighters look the way they do. Everyone can pick them up, it’s a natural ergonomics, it’s a natural motion for your fingers. Yeah. Not a mistake.
Ken Gagne: How about that. Speaking of having a targeted audience, what sort of reception did Tilt Five get at Pax West?
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh my god. We had lines constantly. We have a video of it. We had a videographer capturing some of it. We’ve experienced this before, it’s pretty magical. The first time people put the glasses on, they say, “Wow.” It’s almost 100%. People say wow when they see all this holographic content popping up out of the table. Then you let them actually touch and interact with the holograms and they’re floored. Then they run off after they get the demo and they drag their friends back. They drag five people back and then those five people drag another five people back.
Jeri Ellsworth: It was fantastic. We probably ran a thousand to fifteen hundred people through. It was really tiring. When we were running people through demos as fast as we can, we were also at Gen Con. We were quite the hit at Gen Con. Gen Con’s a big board game convention. A hundred thousand board gamers show up there. That was super awesome. It was really valuable for us too.
Jeri Ellsworth: In our Kickstarter view, we show a very grandiose view of what this is going to be like. People often look at the video and they’re like, “Oh. That’s bullshit.” We are actually showing those types of experiences at the shows and it really brings a level of legitimacy to what we’re doing.
Ken Gagne: It was at Pax West that you shot your Kickstarter video, didn’t you?
Jeri Ellsworth: Part of it, yeah. We actually, our Kickstarter video was super fun to make. Here I’ll draw a contrast between castAR. castAR, we’re a bunch of technologists, we think the technology is cool. We just grabbed our buddy that could film and we just shot a bunch of vignettes of technology basically. We did okay. We raised a million dollars on that campaign.
Jeri Ellsworth: This time around we’re like, “No. We’re experience focused. Let’s not even discuss the technology at all in the Kickstarter video, let’s just talk about the experience. We can talk about the technology on the page and other videos.” So that’s what we did. We hired a videographer, we wrote the script, it’s super cheesy and we all laughed the entire time we were writing it. Shot this thing, I actually did all of the … so there’s compositing in it, to be completely candid. We had to do that because of the way that actors had to interact and we had to have all these low camera angles and all that stuff.
Jeri Ellsworth: I actually wrote, I’m not a programmer, but I wrote all of the Unity projects, these video game projects that are seen in the video and that are composited in. Then we reshot the same videos through the lens of the glasses so that we could prove our system could do that.
Jeri Ellsworth: It’s been fun. The reception has been very polarizing. The techy nerds that comes through, which I put myself in that camp, look at this video and they’re just like, “Screw you. Why aren’t you talking about the technology? Why are you showing me all of this people having fun?”
Ken Gagne: Wow.
Jeri Ellsworth: I’m being extreme here. But then the people that are like table top gamers, video gamers, they look at this and they’re like, “Holy shit. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Star Wars Chess is here.” Or like, “Holy shit. I can finally play board games with my friends over the internet. This is what I’ve been waiting for for years.” Or, “Holy shit. I’ve always dreamed of being able to play Warhammer and actually have all these virtual effects coming off of my minis.”
Jeri Ellsworth: So yeah, it’s fun. I love, absolutely love … I don’t mind that people hate it and I love that people love it. I think it’s just really interesting psychology to watch the people that hate, hate, hate it and then the people that love, love, love it. Because it’s like you either fall on either side of the fence.
Ken Gagne: I think you have enough people who are loving it based on your current funding. Today is October 2nd as we’re recording this and you are at $954 thousand dollars, so certainly going to hit a million. The campaign doesn’t end until October 29th, so still almost a month to go.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah.
Ken Gagne: And according to the website Kicktrack.com, you’re actually trending toward $3.5 million.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. That would be a champagne moment for us. There’s a lot of reasons why that’s a champagne moment for us. If we were to just end here, that’s great. A million dollars is awesome, we’ve sold quite a few units. But if we can get that three or four times as much, that’s three or four times as more users out there of the system, three or four times more developers using it and opportunity for them to make money on the system as well.
Jeri Ellsworth: We really look at this as a great sign that we’re going to get some critical mass out there that there’ll be enough players online that people can go to our public lobby if they want to just pick up a game of Catan or something, they go to our public lobby and if their friends aren’t available, they can find someone that’s online that wants to play with them.
Jeri Ellsworth: We’ll continue pushing for sales after the Kickstarter as well. Of course we’re going to deliver the Kickstarter units first. You have to be in on the Kickstarter if you want to have the absolute first units. Our objective as a business that needs to make money and a business that needs to make money for our partners is, we need to get as many units out there as possible and do a fantastic job at that. I’m encouraged. I think it’s really going well.
Ken Gagne: Speaking of which, the Kickstarter units are due to be delivered in less than a year. They’re coming out summer of 2020. What needs to happen between now and then?
Jeri Ellsworth: A lot of the stuff that needs to be done … right now we’re working through some manufacturing issues. For instance, on the glasses, the arms are supposed to snap open and stay open and they just kind of fall closed. So a little latch problem on there. A lot of it is software. There’s a couple bugs in the SDK. We’re working with developers to squash those bugs.
Jeri Ellsworth: The biggest thing is we need to … we’re going to be heads down working with developers to make sure the content’s there and ready to go. We’re working with Fantasy Grounds to make sure all the D&D players are taken care of. The folks from Beatshapers so that all of their games are working.
Jeri Ellsworth: It’s not going to be very much fun if we ship it out and it’s just a piece of plastic and no games on it. It’s looking good. A bunch of the content’s already demo able and we’re just in the polish stage.
Ken Gagne: It’s a lot of work to get this product shipped. You’re doing a lot of that, I certainly don’t want to imply that you’re doing it by yourself. You have a great team supporting you.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. They’re amazing.
Ken Gagne: Any body you want to give a shout out to?
Jeri Ellsworth: I have to say, my co-founder Jaime, he’s fantastic. He’s the guy that’s doing all the algorithms. Two years ago … I should back up. Big kudos to Jaime for achieving something I’ve been talking about for probably eight years. When I was at Valve software, I predicted that there was going to be a way that everyone was going to do image stabilization in headsets and people thought I was insane.
Jeri Ellsworth: When we started Tilt Five, we’re like okay, we all believe that this image reprojection is what it’s called, it’s where we can take an image from the game engine that might be running at 60 frames per second or 30 frames per second, frame rates go up and down in these game engines. The VR guy solve this by making all the users get a really big beefy PC so they can maintain a certain frame rate.
Jeri Ellsworth: We want to be different. We want to be able to use phones and use any old PC. So for the last two years, he’s worked on this image reprojection and he got it working. What happens is, the game engine sends a picture up the headset at whatever frame rate it can manage. It can be super low frame rate even. Then his algorithms upscale that to 180 frames per second so the image is rock solid on the table even if the game engine bogs down briefly.
Jeri Ellsworth: It also allows us to plug multiple headsets into the same computer because we don’t have to maintain a particular frame rate. So kudos to Jaime working two years tirelessly pretty much by himself on that challenge and making it work. A lot of other great people working with us as well, like Amy. She’s just amazing at wrangling developers and keeping them on track. I could go on and on.
Ken Gagne: Even though you have all this amazing support and contributions from a very talented team, it doesn’t change the fact that you are the CEO and this is your idea and you’re the one on the show for it, Pax demoing it. You’re juggling a lot of responsibilities. How do you manage all that?
Jeri Ellsworth: It’s been tough. Oh my god, it’s been tough. It’s been a lot of work getting ready for the Kickstarter. It was crazy. We already have venture money, so we have strategic partners from the industry. We chose manufacturing partners to put money into us this time. We don’t have a ton of money. We couldn’t hire people to do all these visual effects. When it came time to do the visual effects, I could either derail the team that’s actually working with developers and working on the hardware and those pieces or pick it up myself.
Jeri Ellsworth: I ended up doing 20 hour days doing all the visual effects to get ready for the Kickstarter. It turned out great. I think they look great. They could’ve been better if I would’ve gotten a professional, but that’s what you got to do when you’re in a start up and you’re the CEO.
Jeri Ellsworth: Now I’m more on the podcast circuit and the trade show circuit. That’s my job. I have to keep us in the press, I have to keep telling the vision of the company, make sure it’s very clear, and keep refining that message. I made an agreement with my co-founders that I wouldn’t be burying my head in the sand working on technology. Let me go back to castAR. I’m an electrical engineer, I’m a product designer, that’s what I like to do. So when things get difficult, my natural instinct is to just bury my head in the sand and go work on something technical.
Jeri Ellsworth: At castAR when things got difficult or scary, I just let these executives come in and take care of it. That was a big mistake. This time I’m having to stretch. My co-founders don’t let me do technical stuff typically. Every once in a while I get to sneak in and do something technical but they’re like, “We’re hiring people to do that stuff.” You can’t hire people to have the vision of the company or to go out and be the evangelist for the company or you can’t really hire people who don’t understand the product to go and make sure that developers are onboard.
Ken Gagne: I hope that doesn’t divorce you from the things that you do love like electrical engineering.
Jeri Ellsworth: I have weekends. I can do stuff on the weekends.
Ken Gagne: Excellent.
Jeri Ellsworth: Last night I put a little Pinball game together for our system. It was pretty fun.
Ken Gagne: Oh. That’s great.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. It’s so easy to use. I’m not a programmer but if I can do it anyone can do it.
Ken Gagne: So Pinball is one of the many interests I mentioned at the top of the show, also Commodore 64, racing, roller derby. You told us what you love about VR but what is the common thread among all your many diverse, exotic, and intense hobbies?
Jeri Ellsworth: That’s a good question. I think for me, I don’t like mysteries in the world. Since I was a kid, I always took everything apart. Every toy I got, I would open it up to see how it works. I have a YouTube channel where on the weekends I’ll do hardcore science. I’ll take on optical challenges or chemistry experiments. I’ll just dive in deep just for my own satisfaction. “How does this chemical reaction work or how does this optical reaction work?” I’ll just figure it out and then I’ll put it on YouTube. A lot of people appreciate that. It’s like we’re learning together and I’m giving back.
Jeri Ellsworth: Now on the roller derby and the race car side, the race car side was really interesting. I was pretty young and wild and I was looking for a thrill, so it was great. I’ve always been kind of an adrenaline junky. There was also a lot of technology so that really gave me an outlet to innovate. I built all my own race cars, I built traction control systems, I built all the electronics for the traction control system and that was really really fun, maybe more fun in the long run than actually doing the racing.
Jeri Ellsworth: Roller derby, I don’t know. I did that for four years or so a few years ago. I think that was probably just like a mid life crisis but it was super fun. I really liked the thrill. It was very much like racing, going out there and skating around and knocking people down and getting knocked down.
Ken Gagne: And yet every time you get knocked down, you get right back up.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. Yeah. That might be an analogy for my life. When castAR shut down, one of the co-workers gave me a shirt, it has I think it’s a Japanese phrase on it and it says something like, “Get knocked down seven times, stand up eight.” It’s like, I love that because you are going to get knocked down and you just have to get right back up and with the same conviction.
Ken Gagne: I love it. You are our own Captain Marvel. I love it. So Jeri, we’ve talked about so much today and there is so much of course that goes into this amazing new project of yours, is there anything we haven’t chatted about that you want to be sure our listeners knew about?
Jeri Ellsworth: Gosh. There’s so much that our system can do. I’m so excited about it. There’s the traditional video games, the traditional board games, it’s easy to imagine that. Things that really, I’m excited about is, what new gaming experiences are going to come out of this system. We can’t even imagine it. We won’t know what those experiences are until developers have spent a year or two working with the system and exploring all these new tools that we have provided so super super excited. I hope your listeners consider backing our project.
Jeri Ellsworth: It really is magical once you get a change to try it. We’re going to be at trade shows, you’ll see for yourself that it’s real. We’ve done a lot of interviews with people that have actually came in and used the hardware. Tested came through a few days ago and tried it and they were floored. They’ve been tweeting and posting videos about it, super excited. It’s the real deal. Just go check it out.
Ken Gagne: And where can they do that?
Jeri Ellsworth: Tiltfive.com So you can either spell Tilt and the number five or Tilt and the letters five. You can search for us on Kickstarter and on the Kickstarter page, it’s probably a better place to go because we put a lot of effort in documenting what the experience is like and you can see our partners there and we’re constantly updating it as we do our announcements.
Jeri Ellsworth: It’s fun. I’ve been learning so much about marketing by taking the challenge on my self to learn about marketing and learned all these techniques. Yeah, you don’t just go tell everything up front. You spread it out over the month. So that’s what we’re doing. There’ll be announcements all throughout the month as the Kickstarter campaign goes. It’s worth checking it out often.
Ken Gagne: Any announcements you want to share here?
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh. You said this is going to come out Thursday?
Ken Gagne: Next Wednesday, the 9th.
Jeri Ellsworth: Next Wednesday. Oh gosh. I wish I would’ve known ahead of time.
Ken Gagne: I’m sorry.
Jeri Ellsworth: I better not say anything but there’s content partner announcements about the time this podcast comes out. So that’s going to be pretty exciting. I’m pretty excited about these next couple of announcements. I think it’s really going to resonate with folks.
Ken Gagne: That’s awesome. To be honest, an actual MR kit is not in my budget at this time. That’s one of the reasons that I backed your project is because that subscribes me to the email updates and I get all the backer updates and I get to find out stuff along with everybody else just as they’re hearing about it.
Jeri Ellsworth: Have you been watching our Twitter?
Ken Gagne: To be honest, I haven’t.
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh. I should talk about our Twitter, people might be interested in our Twitter. At castAR when the executives came in, they went super corporate. They’re like, “We’re going to be super boring and corporate.” They didn’t actually say it that way but that’s what happened. When we set up our social media, and we’re big fans of Twitter, we were like, “We are going to be as genuine as possible on Twitter.”
Jeri Ellsworth: It was a bold move for us and kind of scary but it’s worked out really well. We’re constantly on there engaging with our fans, we’re sending silly gifts all the time so if you don’t like gifts you probably shouldn’t subscribe to our Twitter account. We’re super open and candid. We’re constantly putting our foot in our mouth and make mistakes all the time but that’s what people really love about our Twitter.
Jeri Ellsworth: When I go to trade shows, people come up and they’re like, “Jeri, is that you behind Twitter?” I’m like, “No. It’s not me.” They’re like, “Oh. We love it so much. Don’t change a thing.” We don’t plan on changing that at all. We share when things go completely sideways, we share it. It’s like, “What do we have to lose?” Either people can accept it or they can celebrate it like we celebrate it and move forward.
Ken Gagne: I love it. Being authentic and being sincere is actually quite difficult and I find that’s often rewarded. Kudos to you for taking that approach.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. Hopefully it never changes.
Ken Gagne: For those who want to follow you specifically, because I’ve got to be honest, one of my co-workers said to me, “Oh my god. You’re interviewing Jeri Ellsworth? She’s my hero.”
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh gosh.
Ken Gagne: Where can they find you online?
Jeri Ellsworth: I’m also very active on Twitter. So you can just look me up on all the usual places. Jeri Ellsworth. J-E-R-I and then Ellsworth E-L-L-S-W-O-R-T-H. Twitter is a great place. YouTube if you’re really into science, my YouTube channel is pretty interesting. I don’t do Facebook, I think they’re Evil Corp and spy on everyone. So you won’t find me there. Where else am I? LinkedIn if you want to be connected to me in more of a professional way. Always happy to talk to other professionals there.
Ken Gagne: Fantastic. I’ll include links to all of this in the show notes including to the Kickstarter for Tilt Five, which ends on Tuesday, October 29th and if people want to back it, that’s where they can go. Jeri, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure to catch up with you and I hope to see you on a JoCoCruise or at KansasFest some day soon.
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh my gosh. Thank you for having me on your show and everyone should go on JoCoCruise. They’ll have to rent three or four boats eventually. Love it, love it, love it. Yeah. KansasFest. Got to get out there again.
Ken Gagne: Whether it’s JoCo or KansasFest, bring the Tilt Five with you.
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh yeah. Did you get a chance to try it when we were on JoCo last year?
Ken Gagne: I wasn’t on JoCo last year unfortunately.
Jeri Ellsworth: Oh. We did a super duper stealthy secret reveal on JoCo. We kind of secretly let people know that the new hardware was going to be there, and we let a couple dozen people try it in secret. It was really really fun. We’re definitely bringing it on JoCo this year.
Ken Gagne: Oh. It’s not too late to register. I’ll include a link to that in the show notes.
Jeri Ellsworth: Yeah. Maybe we’ll have some new secret stuff to show there again.
Ken Gagne: I hope so. Well Jeri, thank you so much again.
Jeri Ellsworth: Thank you.
Voiceover: This has been Polygamer, a Gamebits Production. Find more episodes, read our blog, or send feedback at polygamer.net.
I backed Tilt Five’s Kickstarter.