Can You See me Now
Created by the artists group Blast Theory and the Mixed Reality Laboratory (MRL) at the University of Nottingham as part of EPSRC’s Equator project, Can You See Me Now? is a game of chase in which online players, logged on over the Internet, are chased through a 3D virtual model of a city by street players who, equipped with handheld computers, have to run through the actual city streets to catch them. Following its premiere in Sheffield in 2001, Can You See Me Now? Has toured internationally, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2002, and was awarded the 2003 Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for interactive art. Ethnographic studies of this work shed light on how participants and designers can deal with the uncertainties inherent in GPS and wireless communications such as lack of coverage in built-up urban environments.
Tokyo 2005 Can You See Me Now? (video, short)
Tokyo 2005 Can You See Me Now? (video, long)
Sheffield 2001 Can You See Me Now? (video, short)
Sheffield 2001 Can You See Me Now? (video, long)
Uncle Roy All Around You
Also created by Blast Theory and the MRL under the umbrella of Equator, Uncle Roy All Around You asks street players to explore the streets of a city in search of the elusive figure Uncle Roy. Guided by clues from the game and also by remote online players who can follow their progress, these players eventually make their way to Uncle Roy’s office and from there to a phone box, and ultimately to an encounter with an actor in a limousine. Published studies of Uncle Roy All Around You focused on the use of self-reported positioning and on the ambiguous framing of mobile experiences that take place in the highly public setting of the city streets.
Uncle Roy All Around You (video)
Savannah was an educational game created by Futurelab, the BBC, HP and the Universities of Bristol and Nottingham with support from the DTI/EPSRC funded Mobile Bristol project. Using handheld computers with GPS and WiFi, groups of six children at a time explored a virtual savannah that appeared to be overlaid on their school playing field as part of a simulation of lion behaviour. Back in the den in their classroom they replayed their activities and reflected on each session. Studies of Savannah focused on its educational potential and also on collaborative interactions with invisible sensing systems such as GPS.
Feeding Yoshii is an example of a seamful game in which apparent ‘seams’ in ubiquitous technologies such as limited coverage of positioning and communications systems are used as a resource in the game design. In Feeding Yoshi players have to search a city for Yoshiis and collect seeds from them, search the city for plantations where they can plant these to grow fruit, and then carry the fruit back to the Yoshii’s and feed them to win points. Yoshii’s and plantations are mapped to secured and unsecured WiFi access points, requiring players to explore and chart the WiFi topography of their city over a week of play, for example while commuting. Feeding Yoshii was created by the Universities of Glasgow and Nottingham as part of the Equator project.
Feeding Yoshii (powerpoint presentation with embedded video).
Day of the Figurines
Day of the Figurines is a slow text messaging game for mobile phones that is played using SMS. Players visit a venue and choose a plastic figurine that is placed in a virtual city, represented by a large physical game board. From that point on they control their figurine using SMS, visiting different destinations in the city, chatting with other players and experiencing events, missions and dilemmas. This is a deliberately slow paced game, with one day of virtual game time being mapped to twenty four days of real time. Day of the Figurines was created by Blast Theory, the University of Nottingham, Sony, the Fraunhofer Institute and the Interactive Institute as part of the European Integrated project on Pervasive Gaming (iPerG).
Day of the Figurines video documentation of first performance, Berlin 2006, London, 2005 (video)
Epidemic Menace is a crossmedia game that combines mobile augmented reality with various online and personal interfaces. Following an initial back-story video, players have to search a campus to find and neutralise an invisible virus that has been released by evil scientists, using wearable augmented reality interfaces to reveal its presence and communicate with remote players back at base. Epidemic menace was created by Sony, the Fraunhofer Institute and the University of Nottingham as part of the European Integrated project on Pervasive Gaming (iPerG).
Epidemic Menace (video)
`Ere be Dragons
`Ere be Dragons is a location based game created by the artists Active Ingredient in collaboration with support from the Middlesex Institute of Sport Science, HP Labs, ScienceScope and the University of Nottingham. The game combines wearable heart rate monitors with GPS positioning to create an experience in which players have to explore a city while maintaining their heart rate at an optimum level in order to generate virtual territory that they see on a handheld computer. ‘Ere Be Dragons provides an example of a game that adapts to player’s physiological state as well as their location and has been played in Nottingham and Berlin.
Ere be Dragons (video)
The Shape Living Exhibition
The Shape Living Exhibition was created as part of the European Shape project. This mobile museum visiting project was distinctive in the way that it used the familiar and everyday medium of paper rather than mobile phones or handheld computers as a mobile interface that connected different static installations. Visitors to Nottingham Castle museum collected sets of paper clues that they completed as they toured the grounds. RFID tags attached to the paper clues enabled them to be used to trigger multimedia content at two different installations, a mini-immersive interface called the storytent and the sandpit where they could dig for images.
The Augurscope is a stand-mounted location-based display for viewing 3D virtual models, which might be reconstructions of the past or projections of the future, in outdoors locations. An onboard GPS receiver combined with an electronic compass enables the augurscope to match the view of the 3Dmodel to its current physical vantage point as it is moved around its local environment. The stand-mounted form evolved over a series of tests at Nottingham Castle Museum to reflect the need for groups of users to be able to share the experience and to be able to easily walk up to the device, use it for a few minutes and then walk away (in contrast to having to put on and take off head-mounted displays).
The Augurscope (video)
Desert Rain was a mixed reality installation created by the artists group Blast Theory in collaboration with the Mixed Reality Laboratory at Nottingham. Following its opening at Nottingham’s NOW festival in 1998, this work went on to tour internationally over the following years. Inspired by the first Gulf Way, Desert Rain took six players at a time on a mission through a combination of a shared virtual world and extended physical set to locate six targets, people who had been associated with the war in different ways. At the heart of Desert Rain was the technology of the ‘rain curtain’ where the graphical virtual world was projected onto a sheet of falling water spray, creating a screen that could be physically traversed by the players and actors, offering the illusion of stepping between physical and virtual worlds.
Desert Rain (video)
The Thrill Laboratory
Developed by the artist Brendan Walker in collaboration with the Universities of Nottingham and Bristol and UCL as part of the Equator project, Health-Smart and the Dana Centre at the Science Museum, The Thrill Laboratory explores the notions of thrill and spectating in relation to fairground rides. Three fairground rides were constructed at the Dana Centre. Riders were instrumented with wireless video cameras, heart-rate monitors and accelerometers and the captured data was streamed live and displayed on a large projection screen for spectators to see and experts to discuss.
The Ambient Wood is an outdoor playful learning experience developed by the Universities of Sussex, Bristol, Southampton and Nottingham and the Royal College of Art as part of the Equator project. Pervasive technologies are used to digitally augment a woodland in a contextually relevant way, enhancing the ‘usual’ physical experience available to children when exploring the outdoor world.
Ambient wood (video)
Enlighten from Visible Interactions, a spin-out from the University of Nottingham, transforms everyday flashlights into magical interactives. Visitors shine flashlights onto walls, ceilings, posters and projection screens to trigger sound, graphics and video for a magical shared experience. Enlighten recognises individual flashlights, delivering personalised content. It tracks multiple flashlights simultaneously, encouraging collaboration. It scales from flashlights up to searchlights and from posters up to entire buildings. There is no need to alter the surface you wish to make interactive. Instead, point a webcam, and our software brings the surface to life, making Enlighten the ideal solution for interpreting inaccessible or delicate features. Authoring an experience simply involves using our software to draw targets on the camera’s view. Enlighten has been deployed in caves, science centres and industrial museums.