Build It

I went to Larkin’ About‘s Mini Game Jam at Contact Theatre where a game workshop that brainstormed hacks and uses of modern computers akin to the likes of the Copenhagen Games Collective took place and several physical games were played (e.g., Werewolf, Turtle Wushu, Urban Cap Games created at the 2012 PlayPublik Festival in Berlin urban hacking with bottle-caps, Berlin’s most popular waste) and/or tested (e.g., Meeple, Attack the Block).

I like physical games. Contemporary physical games such as 2.8 Hours Later resembles the chase games and tap games I played when I was little, but with a more engaging storyline (usually apocalyptic these days), and perhaps mediated / supported by mobile, wearable computing technologies. For example, one of the facilitators today Greg Foster (who was introduced earlier in this blog) showed the participants how Johann Sebastian Joust or Idiots Attack the Top Noodle utilised the PlayStation Move controller, PlayStation Wonderbook, brainwave reader (mindwave reader) to stage physical games in urban environments.

During the mini game jam, Gareth Williams and I came up with a game concept for such a computer mediated physical game, which was provisionally named “Build the World (and Take Over)”. Inspired by SearchLight created by Hide&Seek and RTS games such as “Sim City” or “Civilization“, this game would use a Kinect (or an EyeToy) and a projector to enable a physical Real-Time-Strategy game, where two players would compete simultaneously to see who build the world (and take over it) first. The stage would be divided into several grids, which would be covered with projected images. Each grid has a task to complete – when stepping into one grid, the player would be required to follow the instruction to build some assets (tasks) by moving their bodies to perform the pre-defined body movements / gestures which would be captured, recognised, and judged by Kinect or EyeToy. If successfully identified by the console, the player would be awarded points based on the types of assets they build or the tasks they complete: for example, planting vegs or trees or flowers in a garden (3 points), building residential houses (5 points) or opening a supermarket (10 points), starting a school (15 points), building a hospital (20 points) etc.. The player who gains more points in a given time wins.

A video of the show-and-tell from this mini game jam is available here, and the facilitator Greg Foster also blogged about it.

Let’s see if this game can be realised in not so distant future.


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