EMBEDDED GAMES


JOHN PAUL BICHARD


An exploration of gaming
in the everyday

2004 - ongoing
 
 

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Neighbourhood Games is funded by Proboscis as part of the Social Tapestries research programme http://socialtapestries.net


EMBEDDING GAMES


Real World Game Engine
By associating game properties to real world objects, much in the same way that a videogame uses an object orientated approach to associate properties and rules to modelled and textured objects, real world objects can be orgamised and related to form embedded game environments.


All trees in the countryside have 'tree' properties: you can gather wood and leaves, climb them, hide stuff in them. Pine trees have additional properties, you can gather resin from them or needles and they make a different sound. The next trees you encounter will be scary, something has happened that you are about to discover in the next wood you come across.

Using existing mapping databases where almost every object in the country has been measured, located and referenced then organised into layers of: roads, rivers, buildings, post codes, topographic data and so on, complex relationships, rules and properties can be assigned to the world around us. In this way - it is possible to assign multiple and complex values and relationships to a vast number of object groups as well as more local groups without having to literally code vast numbers of objects. It is then possible to assign highly detailed specifics to a very small number of plot specific objects that can be triggered either by proximity, plot order or time.


Further, by introducing structured ways of engaging with objects and task ordering, objects can be assigned multiple functions i.e. the ability to combine objects to make new objects by collect 'resources' embedded in the real environment, the use of objects as part of game related tasks, or the use of objects or locations to affect overall game play and progression. Unlike many existing augmented reality games where a game is 'projected' onto the environment allowing the player to engage the game on top of their surroundings, the Real World Game model treats the surroundings as site the game itself, directing the relationship between player and location.

By location I refer to notions of presence, proximity and intention not just cartesian coordinates; "where do I want play or exploration to happen" "where do I want to be" rather than "where exactly am I?". The focus is on presence; where the player feels they are or want to be. In this way, play can be dissociated from actual location allowing location to become an abstraction of the play experience.

By changing the relationship between player, object, environment and location, the real world game engine changes the way that games can be percieved in our everday, allowing us to populate our surroundings with rich embedded experiences that develop as we encounter them.

Associative Gaming
a term for the association of videogame locations and objects to real world objects and locations; enabling game continuity between the two states. This would, for instance, allow a door in the real world to connect to an in-video game door or portal allowing an embedded game in the real world to be played near-seamlessly with a device centric video game... more to follow.

 


copyright © 2004 John Paul Bichard. All rights reserved.
copyright © 2005 John Paul Bichard. All rights reserved.
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