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Entering an age of playfulness where persistent, pervasive ambient games create moods and modify behaviour. Mark Eyles Roger Eglin. Advanced Games Research Group.

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Entering an age of playfulness where persistent, pervasive ambient games create moods and modify behaviour

Mark Eyles

Roger Eglin

Advanced Games Research Group


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


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Overview became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • Computer technology

  • Ambient intelligence

  • Pervasive games

  • Ambient music

  • Ambient games

  • Ambient Quest

  • An age of playfulness…


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Growth of computer technology became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?


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Growth of computer technology became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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)


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Growth of computer technology became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • One computer – One user

    • 1981 IBM introduced the ‘personal computer’

Digital Rainbow 100 1982

http://pc-museum.com/officewing.htm


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Growth of computer technology became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • Many computers – One user

    • The current state of play


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Growth of computer technology became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • Ambient intelligent environments (the future)

  • Massively many intelligent computers – One user

Tom Cruise in Minority Report

http://www.visionnet.be/parahologram.html

(Everyone is a user, not just Tom Cruise)


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Ambient intelligence became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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)


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Ambient intelligence predictions became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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


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Ambient intelligence became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • Ambient intelligence environments offer a promising technology for creating pervasive games…


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Computer game properties: Commitment to play became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • Learning curve

  • Play time

  • Civilization 2 vs. Tetris vs. Hangman


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Computer game properties: became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like? 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)


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Computer game properties: became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like? Commitment and movement


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Pervasive games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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)


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Pervasive games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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 - ARGs)

    • The commitment the player makes to the game (they do not have to put on back packs of computer equipment - AR)

    • The level of attention required from the player


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Pervasive and ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?


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Ambient music became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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)


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Ambient music became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • “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


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Defining ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • Progress Quest - a game that requires minimal player intervention

(www.progressquest.com (Fredricksen, 2004))


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Defining ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

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


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Passive became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

Active

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.


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Defining ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • An ambient game 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


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Defining ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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


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Defining ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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


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Defining ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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


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Defining ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?


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A definition of ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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.


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Ambient Quest – single player ambient game simulation became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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’


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Virtual world… became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

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


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Ambient Quest – single player ambient game simulation became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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


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Future ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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?


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Future ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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


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Future ambient games became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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


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Final thoughts became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

  • 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 in an emerging age of playfulness


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Final thought became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like?

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)


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Entering an age of playfulness became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like? where persistent, pervasive ambient games create moods and modify behaviour

Questions

www.ambientquest.com

Mark.Eyles@port.ac.uk

Roger.Eglin@port.ac.uk

Advanced Games Research Group