Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Augmented Reality Gaming

In the office we've been playing with names to call the new activity of Augmented Reality Gaming (or until recently, Geolocational Gaming). What came out of it was a fun term called auging or ogging. I prefer ogging though it does go a bit abstract.

What is auging? (pronounced ogging)

Auging is short for Augmented Reality Gaming. Unlike virtual reality that immerses your senses in an alternate world, augmented reality takes virtual information and overlays it on top of real space. This means instead of being in some kind of Matrix-style goo with implants stuck in your head you are using your own eyes and ears to interact in the real world. The only difference is you have additional sounds and images that you can view and interact with via headsets and/or handheld devices. No goo is necessary.
What is a typical auging experience?

There's nothing really typical about an auging experience, but the best comparison would be an adventure games in the real world. This genre started with games like Zork from Infocom and more recently through various LucasArts games like Secret of Monkey Island and Sam and Max Hit the Road. Remember Myst? Riven? These are all good examples of adventure games.

In the real world you can go on your own adventures while auging. Using a handheld device and GPS technology (which pinpoints your location) the device creates a gaming environment that reacts with your movements. For example at a zoo, If you're at the monkey cage you can "talk" to a monkey with your handheld computer because the handheld knows where you are and the game has a virtual monkey that "lives" at that location. In your handheld you may even have a virtual banana that you have in your inventory. Or, you may have to visit somewhere within the zoo to find the virtual banana that "lives" at another location. Although the monkey and banana doesn't exist in the real world you can easily imagine they do as part of your game.

What makes auging so exciting is that you are no longer chained to your home entertainment system or computer to play adventure games.

Is this Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG) like I Love Bees?

I Love Bees was an online promotion for Halo2 that involved going to phone booths in the real world to answer phone calls from in-game characters. Though there are similarities between ARGs and auging there is far less online interaction and more physical exertion involved. As popularity in auging increases the more likely that you will see the two activities blend together.

That's what I have so far.


EleriCooks said...

Cyan Worlds, who made Myst and Riven are just over in Spokane, and they used geocaching as part of their promotion for the (sadly ended) multiplayer online extention of Myst, Uru Live.

In fact, the annual gathering of Myst fans -Mysterium- is in Spokane this year, and will have a major evening activity of solving puzzles to find coordinates, to find caches and other goodies.

You should come along! In fact, if you'd be interested in coming and talking about auging, we'd love to have you! www.mysterium.net is the main page, and you can reach me at eleri at mysterium dot net

~Eleri (Mysterium Events Lead)

Unknown said...

This sounds like the "Locative Art" from Gibson's Spook Country...
Never mind, it just took 3 clicks to go from 'Spook Country' to 'Location-based game' on the wiki.
Good distraction while waiting for the Fisher F#%& to un@#%& itself.