Honorable Mention | Nokia Ubimedia MindTrek Awards 2012 ( numa.fi/entries-results )
See the Prototype in action here: vimeo.com/60495355
Floating about is a game, which uses a pocket projector as an interface to create an environment that allows players to experience a connection between reality and a virtual world.
Today most augmented reality games for smart phones are bound to the small screens of their devices. Thereby only an image of reality is augmented with virtual content, not reality itself. To solve this problem, a handheld projector was used to display virtual elements. This way ordinary city walls are being transformed into multidimensional screens that allow for a deeper level of immersion.
Regarding our concept we looked into cultural and social implications that come with the spreading of technology, which provides constant internet access and is accessible with ubiquitous technologies like augmented reality. The result is the demystification of reality and a lack of authenticity in everyday life. We sought to craft an authentic experience that makes players focus their attention back on reality.
The game is appealing to a broad audience, but is actually a social intervention. Furthermore we looked at the situationist practice of dérive, a playful method that involves the rapid movement through an urban landscape in order to analyze its effects on the emotions and behavior of individuals. We incorporated some fundamental ideas of this practice into the design of the game. Players will have an experience similar to a dérive, wandering through the city guided by its architectural characteristics and the encounters they find there.
With mobile games it is possible for players to move through the city have an alternate gaming experience depending on their location. We made use of this by evolving our game around the setting of a parallel universe that is linked to our world. With our gaming device the player can open up a window to look into the other world and can see a different section of it depending on the location.
While they play, they discover the city, because they are not bound to everyday routines in the selection of their paths through an urban environment. At the same time they reveal a hidden layer, consisting of Twitter Tweets, that appears like an invisible fog, lying over the city. The virtual world is generated using OpenStreetMap data. The emerging novelty is captivating for further exploration. Buildings from the real city are represented by elements in the virtual World. Like a parallel world, it can be explored with our gaming device. The core gaming motivation lies in collecting and exploring and thereby bringing the parallel world to life. In the course of the gameplay, the players discover the connections between the real world and the gameworld.
To explain the game szenario to the players, we developed a story, that is motivating and provides a challenge. Parts of this story are told in the beginning and the rest is communicated through the gameworld itself. By embedding the experience and the interaction into a story, it becomes comprehensible to the player. In order to provide a fun and engaging way of exploring the elements of the virtual world, an interaction concept was developed, which is based on a metaphor relating to the usage of a flashlight. The interaction becomes playful and easy. To create a fitting mood for this experience, we designed a visual concept, that allows such an immersive gameplay. In the beginning the parallel world appears dark and empty, but blooms and flourishes, when the players interact with it.
Since all of the games components are based on data that changes in time and space, the virtual game world has to be generated automatically on every game start.
A sound concept supports the visual parts of the game. The movement of the inhabitants of the gameworld is inspired by nature, to create a world, that seems alive and credible.
To create the “world-behind-the-wall”-look, we realized a position tracking with Wii-Remotes, that allows us, in combination with iPhone internal sensors, to move the game world in a way, that a perspectival illusion of spatiality occurs.
Music: New Earth Objects - Headphonica