By Alex J. Coyne for Great Bridge Links
RealBridge is a new online bridge platform created to provide “an online bridge experience which is closer to face-to-face bridge.” We spoke to programmer, bridgeur and blues player Graham Hazel from the development team about what RealBridge is – and what it might be able to bring to the table getting closer to its launch date.
STORY UPDATE October 2020: Real Bridge now has a website where you can sign up to play. As well, the platform is being used for tournaments in Europe. And there’s information, resources and more for clubs and teachers.
The Features (in a Nutshell)
- Built-in audio and video with other players (and director/supervisor/teacher)
- A natural intuitive interface which feels like real bridge
- Open table (see everyone) or screen mode (see just your screenmate)
- Time-delayed vugraph and kibitzing (or real-time, if preferred)
- A modern, user-friendly interface for browsing play records
- Robust, scalable architecture
Great Bridge Links: What’s the goal of RealBridge?
Graham: To provide the best online bridge experience, and to bring back the social and community aspects of the game by connecting people.
Great Bridge Links: Paid, free or both?
Graham: RealBridge will launch as a paid-for service for bridge clubs and NBOs. In time, we aim to provide a freemium tier for individuals.
Great Bridge Links: App, or in-browser?
Graham: RealBridge runs in the browser.
Great Bridge Links: What was the initial spark of a thought that started RealBridge’s development?
Graham: I wanted to play some real bridge!
It was obvious from early on that lockdown would see huge growth in video-call solutions – and it just seemed a natural idea to put bridge and video together.
With my previous experience writing online card games (I wrote a Barbu program that hundreds of people – particularly bridge players – played with for 15+ years), and my professional background in the video game industry I seemed to be in the perfect position to make it happen.
Great Bridge Links: Do you have a release date yet – or an estimate?
Graham: We’re in beta right now, with the first handful of clubs around the world using the platform.
We’ll be gradually rolling out to more clubs over the next few weeks before the official launch.
Great Bridge Links: Anything that you’d like to add to this?
Graham: Just that we’re very grateful for the huge amount of help we’ve had from alpha testers all over the world, particularly India, Australia, Argentina, North America and the UK.