ProjectEerie Enhanced Reality Interactive Experience

Eerie Enhanced Reality Interactive Experience

One of the main goals with Playground is to achieve a technical
infrastructure for creating interactive physical environments. The
EERIE activity within Playground will create one such environment for
live role-playing games.

 

Role-playing is not only used
for entertainment purposes but has become an often used tool for
education, such as management courses or team building, where the
participants take on different roles and are presented to different
situations that they have to solve or overcome. The goal is to learn
how to deal with these situations and get an understanding of the
different roles. Though within EERIE our initial aim is to create an
experience for entertainment.

 

Role-playing was one of
the first leisure related use of the Internet in its early days, and
has since then grown. Today the largest online applications are
different variation on the role-playing game theme. Within EERIE, we
want to move these activities into a new dimension bring it out of the
virtual world and merge it with the real world. This mix can also be
seen as a way of doing real interactive movies: someone has created a
story line that you as a player, together with others, is going to
experience and explore. EERIE will use earlier experiences from
Playground and Kidstory, such as creation and authoring of physical
rooms and narratives, along with several technical results from these
projects.

 

EERIE is not a live role-playing game on its
own; it is a framework and a set of general tools for constructing
electronic landscapes suitable for role-play or role-play-like events.

 

EERIE
starts from a number of geographical locations such as a building with
several rooms, or a neighborhood with its streets, blocks and parks.
Added to that is a parallel world, a world under the surface of
reality. For the participants, a familiar city scape, through support
from projections, sound effects and hidden instructions, transforms
into a medieval forest or a radioactive wasteland. A dull office
becomes a haunted house, a submarine or a space station. With
assistance from different kinds of information, the players experience
the parallel world that they will explore. Sometimes more direct
guidance might be necessary and can be given by more detailed
instructions. The system as such can be run either with or without
direct intervention from game masters. A game master is someone who
knows the plot and may direct or assist players in their experience.

 

To
be able at every moment to deliver individual information as a sonic
and visual experience, the system needs the ability to identify an
individual participant and his or her position. This feature also
offers good support for splitting players into different groups or
teams. The parallel virtual world superimposed onto the real world is
an entity and participants can choose to only exist in it, thus making
remote participation possible.

 

The core technology in EERIE could be drawn from the following short scenario:

 

One
player walks into a room towards a wall, and is identified by the
system node when he is within a few meters of the wall. The system
sends a short audio clip to his headphones - he hears footsteps from
behind walking just towards him, the footsteps continue shortly passed
him and suddenly a soft voice says "Please help me, save me, I need
protection. Hold up your toolbox". Confused, the player holds up the
device he has been told is his toolbox. A wining sound is heard and the
soft voice says once more "Thanks! I'm now safely in your toolbox?" The
player looks down on the screen on the device called the toolbox and
sees a small creature there. After leaving the room he meets another
player whom earlier claimed to be a biologist. He stops her and asks if
she has seen any strange creatures, but she has not. He shows the
creature he found. She comments, let me take it into my box, I might be
able to talk to it. He beams over the creature into her box.

 

These events indicates a few needed base technologies:

 

- short range identification of players

 

- transmission of sound/images from system to players

 

- short range data transmission between players

 

A
first implementation of this technology would use PDAs with built in
infrared hardware support for the player-to-system identification and
also the communication between players. Because of the advantage when
doing quick prototyping, and past experience, the 3Com Palm PDA is used.

 

The
reason for using IR is to be able to control the range of transmission
(information can be received on one side of a wall but not the other).
However, because of the line-of-sight drawback, we would aim to use a
much smaller device with ultrasound transmission in a future
implementation.

 

The "interaction nodes" will to begin
with be using laptops/PDAs with IR support. For transmission of sound
from a system node to a participant, we will utilize off-the-shelf IR
connected headphones. This will yield a cheap short-range one-to-many
transmission.

Concept Video (14 Mb)

 

 

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