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    1. Ambient Quest: An ambient game simulation Mark Eyles

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

    3. Overview Games Computer role playing games Computer technology Ambient intelligence Pervasive games Ambient music Ambient games Ambient Quest Ambient games future

    4. 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.

    5. Computer game properties: Commitment to play Learning curve Play time Civilization 2 vs. Tetris vs. Hangman

    6. 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)

    7. Computer game properties: Commitment and movement

    8. 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

    9. 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

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

    11. 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

    12. 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)

    13. Fantasy literature J.R.R. Tolkeins The Hobbit, 1937 The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 1954 to 1955

    14. 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

    15. 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

    16. Evolution of computer role playing games Zork, 1978, released by Infocom 1980

    17. Evolution of computer role playing games Add role playing Richard Garriotts 1979 Apple II game Akalabeth

    18. Evolution of computer role playing games Character attributes Ultima 1, 1980, developed by Richard Garriott, published by Origin Systems Inc.

    19. 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

    20. Evolution of computer role playing games Advances in technology Improvements in graphics Increasing sophistication and complexity Addition of 3D graphics to Multi User Dungeons

    21. Role playing gameplay mechanisms Role playing game mechanisms have remained very similar Compare Ultima, 1980, with Oblivion, 2006

    22. Role playing gameplay mechanisms

    23. Role playing gameplay mechanisms

    24. RPG mechanisms in other game genres

    25. Core features of RPGs Choice of player races Choice of player classes Player attributes Player skill development Experience points and levels

    26. 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.

    27. 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

    28. Growth of computer technology

    29. Growth of computer technology One computer Many users Charles Babbage designs a computer 1821 EDSAC 1 (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) 1949 the worlds first complete and fully operational regular electronic digital stored program computer (Jones, 2001)

    30. Growth of computer technology One computer One user 1981 IBM introduced the personal computer

    31. Growth of computer technology Many computers One user The current state of play

    32. Growth of computer technology Massively many intelligent computers One user

    33. 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)

    34. 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)

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

    36. Ambient intelligence - Intelligence Intelligence relates to the interfaces and ways these interconnected computers respond and interact with people through user friendly interfaces.

    37. 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

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

    39. 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)

    40. 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.

    41. Pervasive games - Augmented reality Overlaying computer information onto the real world Example: ARQuake at the University of South Australia

    42. Pervasive games - Alternate reality A game in which events occurring online in a game world affect and are affected by game events in the real world Example: Perplexcity

    43. 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

    44. Pervasive and ambient games

    45. 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) Ambient music

    46. 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

    47. Defining ambient games Progress Quest - a game that requires minimal player intervention

    48. 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

    49. Defining ambient games The Ambient Quest game world consists of a virtual environment containing quests to complete (achieved by defeating monsters at various locations)

    50. 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 players 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.

    51. 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

    52. 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

    53. 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

    54. 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

    55. Defining ambient games

    56. 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.

    57. 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

    58. 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

    60. 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?

    61. 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

    62. 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

    63. 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

    64. Final thought 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)