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Ambient Games

VIEWS: 23 PAGES: 65

									       Ambient Quest:
An ambient game simulation
                              Mark Eyles
                   Advanced Games Research Group
               Department of Creative Technologies
           Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries




       Emerging Issues in Game Design
If the seminal 1976 ambient music
album Music for Airports became a
21st century ambient role playing
game, what would it play like?




                   Emerging Issues in Game Design
Overview
•   Games
•   Computer role playing games
•   Computer technology
•   Ambient intelligence
•   Pervasive games
•   Ambient music
•   Ambient games
•   Ambient Quest
•   Ambient games future

            Emerging Issues in Game Design
What is a computer game?
• An interactive entertainment played against,
  or with the aid of, computer generated
  characters or tokens in a computer generated
  environment.
• A single player game has a series of
  interesting obstacles to overcome in order to
  gain rewards.
• A multiplayer game has a series of interesting
  obstacles to overcome at the expense and/or
  with the help of other players to gain rewards.

            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Computer game properties:
Commitment to play

• Learning curve
• Play time
• Civilization 2 vs. Tetris vs. Hangman




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Computer game properties:
Location and movement

• Fixed (Console, PC, Set top box)
• Mobile (Mobile phone, Nintendo DS)
• Require movement
  – In one location (Football, Eye Toy)
  – In many locations (Alternate Reality Game)




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Computer game properties:
Commitment and movement
                                           Stationary in one      Moving around in one      Moving around many
  Commitment required to play the game   location while playing   location while playing   locations while playing


                                          Console/                                                      Cross
                                                        Arcade                 Football     LARP
                                            PC                                                         country
                                                                    Eye Toy
                                                     Handheld



                                           Set top                   Mobile phone
                                            box



                                           Casual
                                           games                              Ambient games



                                                    Commitment needed to decide to start playing a game


                                                             Player distance travelled


                                                        Emerging Issues in Game Design
Role playing games

• To suggest a definition of computer
  role playing games:
  – Look at the history of RPGs
  – Look at the game play in RPGs
  – These two approaches then inform a
    definition of role playing games



          Emerging Issues in Game Design
History of role playing games
• Pen and paper and computer role playing
  games formalise the playful role playing of
  childrens‟ make believe worlds by adding a
  set of rules
• This formalisation of role playing allows
  details to be shared, so that the game can be
  shared and seen to be played fairly according
  to an agreed set of rules
• A key component of role playing games is
  stories

           Emerging Issues in Game Design
                                                  Chauvet Pont-d'Arc




Story telling
                                                 Le Voyage dans la lune




• Spoken
• Pictures
   – Cave paintings (30,000+ years ago)
• Written
   – Gilgamesh (around 2000 BC)
• Moving images
   – Cinema (from the 1880s)
• Interactive
   – Colossal Cave Adventure (1975ish)


                Emerging Issues in Game Design
Table top war-gaming 1

• Kriegspiel
  – 19th century
  – Lieutenant Johann von Reisswitz based on
    a design of his father Baron von Reisswitz
  – Players move tokens representing troops
    around a map, under the guidance of an
    umpire
  – Assured Prussian victories


          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Table top war-gaming 2

• Little Wars
  – A set of table top war-gaming rules
  – H. G. Wells - 1913.
  – Commenting on Kriegspiel:
     • „as it is played by the British Army, is a very dull
       and unsatisfactory exercise, lacking in realism,
       in stir and the unexpected, obsessed by the
       umpire at every turn, and of very doubtful value
       in waking up the imagination, which should be
       its chief function‟. (Wells, 1913)

            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Fantasy literature

• J.R.R. Tolkein‟s The Hobbit, 1937
• The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 1954 to
  1955




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
War-gaming + Fantasy

• Chainmail
  – First table top role playing game,1971
  – Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren
• Dungeons and Dragons
  – Tactical Studies Rules (TSR), 1974
  – Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson



          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Evolution of computer role
playing games
• Start with text adventures
    • „Advent‟ or „Adventure‟, written by William
      Crowther „around 1975 give or take a year‟
    • Expanded by Don Woods to Colossal Cave
      Adventure in 1976




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Evolution of computer role
playing games

• Zork, 1978, released by Infocom 1980




         Emerging Issues in Game Design
Evolution of computer role
playing games

• Add role playing
  – Richard Garriott‟s 1979 Apple II game
    Akalabeth




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Evolution of computer role
playing games

• Character attributes
  – Ultima 1, 1980, developed by Richard
    Garriott, published by Origin Systems Inc.




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Evolution of computer role
playing games
• Control a party of characters
• Race and character class mechanisms
  – Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad
    Overlord, 1981, Sir Tech Software




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Evolution of computer role
playing games

• Advances in technology…
  – Improvements in graphics
  – Increasing sophistication and complexity
  – Addition of 3D graphics to Multi User
    Dungeons
       …but retaining core RPG mechanisms


            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Role playing gameplay
mechanisms
• Role playing game mechanisms have
  remained very similar
  – Compare Ultima, 1980, with Oblivion, 2006




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Role playing gameplay
mechanisms

• Mechanisms commonly found in RPGs:
   Races                             Combat
   Classes                           Resource management
   Attributes                        Puzzles
   Skills                            Story and Quests
   Experience points                 Exploration
    and experience
    levels



               Emerging Issues in Game Design
Role playing gameplay mechanisms




             Emerging Issues in Game Design
RPG
mechanisms
in other
game genres




              Emerging Issues in Game Design
Core features of RPGs

•   Choice of player races
•   Choice of player classes
•   Player attributes
•   Player skill development
•   Experience points and levels



           Emerging Issues in Game Design
Suggested definition of computer
role playing games
• In computer role-playing games players control one or more
  characters that gain ‘experience’ through the completion of game
  objectives. The ‘experience’ is manifested as player moderated
  changes in player character attributes (‘strength’, ‘intelligence’
  and ‘luck’ for example) which allow the player character to
  evolve over the duration of the game.
• Additional player character customization is facilitated through
  modification of character differentia such as race and class when
  initiating a player character ready for play and by game-play
  educed character modification during play, such as development
  and improvement of a skill by repeated use of that skill, or the
  spending of ‘skill points’ gained when levelling up.
• The player character descriptors (attributes, differentia and
  game-play educed modifications) affect the in-game interactions
  between the player character, non-player characters and items in
  the game environment. The environment, objects, characters and
  interactions are effected in a virtual environment.

                 Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient technology
• This section starts with some assumptions
  about ambient games that will be made
  explicit later:
   – Ambient games are as „ignorable as they are
     interesting‟ (Eno, 1978)
   – Consequently it should be possible for the player to
     ignore the game, if they wish, while still playing it
   – The game should physically surround them
• First we will consider the growth of computer
  technology and its future


             Emerging Issues in Game Design
Growth of computer technology




 One computer        One computer          Many computers      Massively many
  Many users           One user              One user       intelligent computers
                                                                   One user
                                    Time




                Emerging Issues in Game Design
Growth of computer technology




• One computer – Many users
   –   Charles Babbage designs a computer 1821
   –   EDSAC 1 (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) 1949 the
       world‟s “first complete and fully operational regular electronic digital stored
       program computer” (Jones, 2001)


                   Emerging Issues in Game Design
Growth of computer technology




                Digital Rainbow 100 1982
                http://pc-museum.com/officewing.htm




• One computer – One user
  – 1981 IBM introduced the „personal computer‟


            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Growth of computer technology




• Many computers – One user
  – The current state of play
            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Growth of computer technology
• Ambient intelligent environments (the future)




    Tom Cruise in Minority Report
    http://www.visionnet.be/parahologram.html


• Massively many intelligent computers – One user
                                                            (Everyone is a user, not just Tom Cruise)


                                Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient intelligence
• There are a number of different technologies
  that are enabling the development of ambient
  intelligence:
   – Interconnectivity
   – Artificial intelligence
   – The proliferation of computers
• These technologies support ambient
  intelligence, which has:
   – Ubiquity
   – Transparency
   – Intelligence
                                 (Aarts et al., 2001)
             Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient intelligence -
Ubiquity

• A massive number of interconnected
  computers are embedded in the
  environment
• „It is invisible, everywhere computing
  that does not live on a personal device
  of any sort, but is in the woodwork
  everywhere.‟ (Weiser, 1996)

          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient intelligence -
Transparency

• Transparency indicates that ambient
  intelligence environments are invisible
  and in the background (Aarts et al., 2001)




           Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient intelligence -
Intelligence

• Intelligence relates to the interfaces
  and ways these interconnected
  computers respond and interact with
  people through user friendly interfaces.




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient intelligence predictions

• By 2010, when Intel expects that every chip it produces
  will have an antenna, there will be around 1,000
  microprocessors per person
• Harbor Research predicts that by 2010 worldwide
  revenues from network-related devices and associated
  services will be $800bn, around half of which will come
  from valued-added apps and services.
                   Department for Trade and Industry http://www.nextwave.org.uk/docs/markets.htm




              Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient intelligence

• Ambient intelligence environments offer
  a promising technology for creating
  pervasive games
• We will now consider pervasive games
  and ambient games



          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Pervasive games

• Pervasive games are games which extend
  gaming experiences into the real world
   – They include locative games in which players move
     into the real world while playing and their position
     and actions in the real world affect, and are affected
     by, events in a virtual world



                             (Waern, 2006)



             Emerging Issues in Game Design
Pervasive games




•   Location based games, especially using mobile technologies
     – Example: Uncle Roy All Around You
     –   Street Players use handheld computers to search for Uncle Roy, using the map and
         incoming messages to move through the city. Online Players cruise through a virtual
         map of the same area, searching for Street Players to help them find a secret
         destination.
                                 http://www.uncleroyallaroundyou.co.uk/




                      Emerging Issues in Game Design
   Pervasive games - Augmented
   reality




• Overlaying computer information onto the real world
   – Example: ARQuake at the University of South Australia
                           http://wearables.unisa.edu.au/projects/ARQuake/www/index.html




                   Emerging Issues in Game Design
Pervasive games - Alternate reality
"...an obsession-inspiring genre that blends real-life treasure hunting,
interactive storytelling, video games and online community...”   (Borland, 2005)




 •   A game in which events occurring online in a game world
     affect and are affected by game events in the real world
      – Example: Perplexcity
                               http://www.perplexcity.com/



                  Emerging Issues in Game Design
Pervasive games
• Ambient games are a type of pervasive game
• The pervasive game examples mentioned
  vary from ambient games in
   – The intention of the games (ambient games create
     moods, they are not treasure hunts)
   – The commitment the player makes to the game
     (they do not have to put on back packs of computer
     equipment)
   – The level of attention required from the player


             Emerging Issues in Game Design
          Pervasive and ambient games
GAMES
     Alternate reality

                                                                     Role
  Pervasive               AMBIENT                          AMBIENT
                                                           QUEST     playing


          Augmented reality




                              Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient music

• Ambient music informs ambient games
• Brian Eno coined the term „ambient music‟ on
  his 1978 album Ambient 1: Music for Airports
• In the sleeve notes of Music for Airports Brian
  Eno gives a definition of ambient music:
   – “Ambient Music must be able to accommodate
     many levels of listening attention without enforcing
     one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is
     interesting” (Eno, 1978)


             Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient music

• “I wanted to make a kind of music that
  would actually reduce your focus on
  this particular moment in time that you
  happened to be in and make you settle
  into time a little bit better.” (Eno, 2003)
• Think about the ways games might do
  this while accommodating many levels
  of attention and intervention

           Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games
• Progress Quest - a game that requires
  minimal player intervention




       (www.progressquest.com (Fredricksen, 2004))
            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games

• Imagine a game similar to Progress
  Quest, call it Ambient Quest, in which,
  when the player starts the game, their
  actions in the real world affect progress
  in the game world




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games

                            • The Ambient Quest
                              game world consists
                              of a virtual
                              environment
                              containing quests to
                              complete (achieved by
                                 defeating monsters at various
                                 locations)




      Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games
• The player chooses the degree to which they
  wish to manage events in the game
• At one extreme the game runs itself, gathering
  data from the player‟s actions in the real world
  and automatically applying this to the game
  world
• At the other extreme the player can determine
  how the real world data is applied in the game
  world, micromanaging game interactions.

      Passive                                Active

            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games

•  Ambient Quest should be „as ignorable as it
  is interesting‟ (Eno, 1978)
• Players can dip in and out of the game
• The game is persistent, running in the
  background, creating a mood, while players
  are engaged in other activities
• They may respond to the game by modifying
  their behaviour to affect their game progress

            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games
• Ambient games may be controlled by
  everyday actions (i.e. not using a dedicated game input
  device, mouse or keyboard) in everyday, real world
  environments that have gameplay
  consequences in a virtual game world
• These game play environments may be
  facilitated by ambient intelligent technologies
  that embed the game transparently in the
  environment

              Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games
• Ambient games allow the player to have
  experiences that range from superficially
  shallow to profoundly deep
• The player is able to choose how they focus
  their attention on the game, and can alter their
  degree of attention at will
• As with Music for Airports an ambient game
  should accommodate many levels of
  attention, many levels of involvement or
  intervention, creating a mood in the
  environment

            Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games

• The involvement of the player in the
  game is not determined by the game
• This is not a „push‟ technology, but is
  determined by the player who can
  choose when to „pull‟ game
  experiences from the ambient game


           Emerging Issues in Game Design
Defining ambient games

Ambient            Computer               Ambient              Ambient
 music         +    games           +   intelligence       =   games




                                                                Real/Virtual world
                                                                Mood/Behaviour
 Interesting
 Ignorable




                     mechanisms
                     Role playing




                                            Intelligence
                                            Transparency
                                            Ubiquity



                     Emerging Issues in Game Design
       A definition of ambient role
              playing games
•   „Ambient games are designed to create a mood in an
    environment through game interactions with players whose
    behaviours, mediated by an ambient intelligent environment
    or similar transparent game interface, create changes in a
    virtual game world.
•   Ambient games are persistent and are as interesting as they
    are ignorable, facilitating a wide variation in player
    determined levels of involvement, from unaware to intensely
    attentive play.
•   In ambient computer role-playing games player behaviours
    affect one or more characters that gain „experience‟, and
    other character customizations, through the completion of
    game objectives in a virtual world.‟



                Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient Quest – single player
ambient game simulation
• Distance walked by players determines
  progress in the virtual game world
• Players may engage more or less with the
  game by
   – Altering, or not altering, distance walked
   – Choosing moves for their avatars or letting the
     game move them automatically
• The game is „always on‟


             Emerging Issues in Game Design
Ambient Quest – single player
ambient game simulation

• Ambient Quest is designed to create a
  mood in the playing environment,
  overlaying a sense fantasy adventure
  on the real world and giving a hint of
  other hidden worlds




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Emerging Issues in Game Design
Future ambient games

• Imagine a job which involves fairly
  repetitive actions which are not in
  themselves especially rewarding.
• Could an ambient game be designed
  that ran alongside this work and
  brought an element of playfulness to
  the job?

          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Future ambient games

• Ambient Shelf Stacking Game
  – Imagine an ambient game that drew its
    data from supermarket shelf stacking
  – Employees belong to different teams that
    are represented by competing avatars in a
    virtual world




          Emerging Issues in Game Design
Future ambient games

• Co-operative gaming
   – Ambient Garden Game
      • Imagine an ambient game in which players are
        together trying to nurture the plants in a virtual garden
        through their actions in the real world
• Interpersonal relationships
   – Ambient Relationships Game
      • Imagine a Sims like game where the players‟ real
        world actions affect relationships of avatars in a
        Second Life like virtual world



             Emerging Issues in Game Design
Final thoughts
• Game players may play even when they are
  not playing!
• Embed mood and behaviour altering game
  playing in the world around us
• Open ended, endless nature of play points
  towards new mechanisms and ways of
  playing games




           Emerging Issues in Game Design
 Final thought
A sense of otherworldliness:

      „It is another world entirely and is enclosed within this
      one; it is in a sense a universal retreating mirror
      image of this one, with a peculiar geography …
      composed of a series of concentric rings, which as
      one penetrates deeper into the other world, grow
      larger … each perimeter of this series of
      concentricities encloses a larger world within‟

                                                 Little Big by John Crowley
                                                               (Crowley, 1981)



                Emerging Issues in Game Design
            Ambient Quest:
An ambient game simulation



          Questions
                             Mark Eyles
                           www.eyles.co.uk
                           mark@eyles.co.uk

                       Advanced Games Research Group
                   Department of Creative Technologies
               Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

								
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