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Jun 08, 2005



Pardon, while I turn into a gushing fan for a moment.. That is just sooo cool.

Another step closer to sci-fi.. The inaguration of "Dream Park" style technology.


Also take a look at "augmented reality" results in google searches, or some of the efforts at MIT or CMU in the field. Right now, we're usually talking about adding XML-based "tags" to appear floating in "augmented space" in front of the user.

As intelligent agents improve, the system may be able to take voice, data, and video input, reminding you of the names of people you run into, or researching whether the product you're holding in BestBuy is cheaper elsewhere.

The gaming potential is rather substantial- a "laser tag" pervasive FPS could display damage readings above players, perhaps show "force fields." Any of the "particle effects" or user interfaces in today's games could be rendered.

Or, maybe a subtle network of "tag." Subscribers to the game see some form of UI marker identifying other subscribers. Within a set geographic area, some will be marked "it." The "it" person seeks to get in close proximity of another "it" person, using the UI tracker (NO TAGBACKS). If wearable computers were the norm, this could be a "secret game" among officer workers or commuters.

Decades later, imagine wearable machines that could capture, modify, and re-render in realtime, (along with intelligent agents that can understand the input) and you can change what a person actually sees. Now, things get really bizzarre. Through a networked server, trekkies identify other trekkies and re-render them in uniform (I AM NOT wearing the red shirt!) or maybe, with networking capabilities, you can instruct other participating UI's in how to render you in a form of "virtual cosmetics." Feel like a viking? Install the filter that re-renders your surroundings- and the people in it- in a nordic theme...

Hmm.... takes "undressing someone with ones eyes" to a frightening new level....


My prediction: Someday, someone wearing an augmented reality kit is going to walk out in front of a bus, and there will be a huge uproar, and all funding for augmented reality R&D will be cut in half.


Playing games on a human scale is nothing new, of course (there's been "living chess" played with human pieces for over 1,200 years). What's been happening recently is that with mobile phones, people can play on bigger maps, eg. Austin, and it's not restricted to board games (there's even a PacManhattan).

Augmented Reality can take this even further, and looks very exciting. As I understand it from talking to my AR colleagues (being in an Electronics department does have some advantages), there are problems with accurate positioning, though. A fidelity of a meter is reasonable with global positioning satellites, but if you want any more than that you have to use specially-constructed rooms or precisely-positions local transmitters (for radio or bluetooth, ie. active detection) or make everyone wear large identification badges (for visible light, ie. passive detection). Ultrasonics get blown off course if there's a wind. I don't know about infra-red.

The technological difficulties in getting AR accurate enough, say, to put clothes on a walking person in your field of view are mainly to do with positioning. That said, what's really opened up research in this field is the fact that small, wear-on-the-waist computers are now available, whereas before you had to cart around a laptop...



Syndicate Wars, anyone? Governments persuading people the world was all bright and shiny. Behind the scenes the world is a bad bad place, when a persons reality breaks down their 'chip' malfunctions agents (invisible to normal folk cause of augmented reality) turn up and make their life short. By the sounds of this AR tech it'll be geek only or military tech for a long time yet.



I have some experience of the Singaporean lab in question. Sorry to burst the bubble but has anyone ever actually seen this thing working? Take a good look at the project website and see how many of there claims are actually supported.

This project has been doing the rounds for a couple of years but, unless some pretty dramatic progress has been made in the last year or so, is just an exercise in hype and self-promotion.


The other Mixed Reality Lab in Nottingham has been doing similar experiments with Blast Theory for a number of years.


"Any thoughts on how pervasive gaming relates to the MMORPG genre? Is pervasive gaming techno-LARPing?"

I think it entirely relates, largely in that "pervasive gaming" adds more cards to the deck of MMORPG immersion tricks. Right now there is considered something of a divide between the Augmented Reality Gaming (which means both the high-tech wearable computing forms, but also the low-tech cell phones, pagers, and web pages form) and MMORPG worlds. I think that MMORPG could really take some things from ARG and adapt them to good use; we just don't see it yet.

It's one of the things that intriques me about Microsoft's game division, actually, because they seem right on the verge of doing it (even if I don't think they quite see it yet). Microsoft has had its hand in several of the most popular ARG games (the grandfather of ARG: The Beast, and ilovebees most recently), and yet it's MMORPG department is struggling to find something original and new. It could just be that Microsoft continues to think of ARG in terms of expensive advertising, rather than a possibly profitable enterprise. The Beast tied into the AI storyline (the Kubrick/Spielberg film). ilovebees tied into the Halo 2 storyline. Imagine if they connected ARG and MMO trappings?

Or, look at it from the other direction: how can a current MMO benefit from ARG gaming? There were so many techniques used by, say, Majestic, that are just begging to be used by an MMO. Let players opt in their phone number, for instance, and then have important events cause characters to phone the players. The Matrix Online is integrating an offline magazine and radio stations into its storyline, which is a start, but who wouldn't find it cool to come home and find on your answering machine a message from Morpheus "himself" on how he needs *your* help in a particular mission in the game as soon as possible?


SS> Sorry to burst the bubble but has anyone ever actually seen this thing working? Take a good look at the project website and see how many of there claims are actually supported.

Yeah, well, I really don't know. My intent in posting this wasn't really to point to Human Pacman as a novel breakthrough -- I did some poking around at AR stuff a while ago on a whim, and I know there are a lot of people & places doing similar work (including Nicolas Nova, of course) on integrating real & virtual spaces in game environments. As Richard notes, the mobile phone games are probably where this is making the biggest impact at the moment. (I think Smart Mobs, which is probably already old in Internet time, has a chapter on phone-based real-space games, or at least a substanital discussion.)

My point was kind of to use this, like the Skinnable World posts, to make public my interest in the relation between flat screen virtual spaces and technologically augmented real spaces -- what Worldmaker is talking about. It's funny how MMORPGs seems to share a common VR mythos with the headset bunch. And there seems to be an urge, on the part of some at least, to pin virtual space to real space, so I'm curious how the VR/AR boundary will play out in the future.


Had to do some digging, but found it.


The same principal, but not as tech-heavy. The video is entertaining, particularly the look on some of the faces in the crowds.

EDIT: Can't find the original site that had the video link


At the moment I think a lot of the attraction with virtual worlds is to create a convincing "other" world that people can escape to. Their success is often based on how fully you believe you're somewhere else and someone else.

Augmented worlds necessarily need to work with the real world, but the best ones can subvert the normal perception of the real world making it feel haunted or hint at unseen conspiricies beyond normal perception and can feel more powerful than the most immersive VR worlds due to the increased ambiguity of whats real and what's not.

This difference in the strengths and experiences of the two approaches could make linking them difficult. Explaining the connection between a very "other" virtual world full of wonderous flora and fauna and reality is difficult as they feel like very different places.

Alternatively making the virtual world more real to make the link easier undermines the ability of virtual worlds to be a very different place to escape to. Why bother with a virtual world which is just like reality?

I wonder whether the most successful combinations would be those which acknowledge the duality.

The matrix example would work better if the virtual world was the reality of the matrix and our reality was the matrix, but is undermined by the fact that players should have super powers in the matrix world.

Possibly a better fit would be a super hero game in which the player is a super hero in a virtual world which models reality and plays the heroes secret identity in the real world - finding AR clues and conspiricies that lead to online action while being careful not to use their powers and reveal their super hero identity. The duality inherent in the game allows both the AR and VR sides to exploit their strengths.

Of course, this has probably already been done.


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