Monthly Archive for June, 2008

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Mobile Multiplayer Trans-Reality Games – part 1

MMTRG (Mobile Multiplayer Trans-Reality Games) is an evolution of MORPG (Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) fusing the real world with the virtual, digital world via your mobile and GPS. One of these is CitySlikkers and was one of the 10 Android apps I highlighted last week.

City Slikkers - Pervasive Game on the City
CitySlikkers is one of a handful of mobile games that have been devised which integrate the real world with a virtual gaming world via the mobile.

What’s brilliant about CitySlikkers is that…

“…the playing community will always be a minority they hereby form some kind of elitist, secret society which is based on knowledge, but not financial or political power.”

This elitism is the basis on which William Gibson’s ‘Spook Country’ professes to “secrets [being] the very root of cool.”

The game combines elements of strategy, role-playing, sports, social and tactical games, but in contrast to popular MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), the outcome of the actions as well as the new connections made between people, will affect normal life as the everyday city is no longer the same due to the players‘ experience.

City Slikkers - Pervasive Game on the City

CitySlikkers looks brilliant, but I’ve been thinking about games alot recently – more on that in future posts – but the lure of mobile and the additional dimension it opens up, is fascinating.

With Apple’s iPhone 2 offering 3G and GPS and Nokia’s N95 and upwards offering the same, being constantly connected and able to be pinpointed on a virtual map via GPS is becoming the norm and with it comes enormous opportunities in changing the game of Gaming.

MMTRG is a blog which documents a list of developers and the games they’ve dreamt up and news surrounding them – It’s worth a read…

Other avenues worth following include location based games, Alternate reality gaming and a couple of games that Blast Theory, based down in Brighton have already evolved:

Uncle Roy All Around You
more info here.
Can You See Me Now
iPerG
Participate
CivilAction – an urban code chase game.

What’s key to the last few examples is that at the heart of the games is storytelling. If the story isn’t convincing enough then people aren’t going to play. If it’s believable though then you’ve got a runaway hit on your hands…As always, making the technology invisible to the player is paramount to success.

Flexible Surfaces – Interfaces of the Future

A year ago, before Microsoft Surface, Microsoft created a video suggesting some of the User Interfaces of the future. Some of these are VERY cool:

None though are as cool as OLED flexible surfaces such as these…

FlicFlex:

And Sony’s OLED flexible screens:

Top 10 web design styles for 2008

Vintage / Retro Styles
2008 Design Trends

Handwritten Notes and Paper Clips
2008 Design Trends

Grungy
2008 Design Trends

Splatter Ink
2008 Design Trends

Watercolor
2008 Design Trends

Collage
2008 Design Trends

Sketches and Handwritten Fonts
2008 Design Trends

Big Fonts
2008 Design Trends

Script Fonts
2008 Design Trends

Wood Pattern
2008 Design Trends

You can be the judge as to whether they are or not, but nevertheless it’s a great list.

Lego extending its devotees through social media

lego-sculpture.jpg (JPEG Image, 450x470 pixels)

As Jake McKee commented on my previous post, there are some excellent niche communities which, over the years, have created such an active community of members that the brand they’ve advocated has had to stand up and do something about it.

In the case of Lego, they embraced the online community activity on the Internet and created a ‘Lego Ambassador Program’ back in February 2005. This, I presume was entirely down to Jake, who at the time was a Lego employee (Jake, please correct me if any of this is incorrect…).

Initially the individuals who were nominated for the Lego Ambassador Program not only had no tangible benefits, but were also a merry band of only 15. Now, with the nominations for the 08/09 Ambassadors having been announced only a few days ago, there are not only very tangible benefits but also a much larger group of Ambassadors.

Brothers-Brick is one of the major contributing communities and blogs which have generated Ambassadors. Over the last 3yrs their blog has grown to one of thousands of subscribers, all of whom have an interest and a passion in Lego from an adult perspective and now they’re embracing Facebook.

It’s fantastic to see how Lego’s confidence and belief in their customers and fans has led to a really excellent Ambassador program which is not only aspiring to the Lego enthusiasts in the community, but offers an opportunity for Ambassadors to shape the future of their favourite bricks and be first to be asked opinions on new up and coming ranges from Lego themselves.

Lego’s 50th anniversary celebration video, released to the community:

Omni-directional VR floors

Wired has an interesting article on a team based at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, unveiled the CyberWalk, an omnidirectional treadmill designed to serve as a VR-capable movement platform. (via Wired & BBC)

BBC NEWS | Technology | Scientists develop 'CyberWalk'

Bring it on! The next generation of video consoles moves from the WiiFit to omni-directional floors – cool!

There’s also a bunch of other solutions that have been developed including:

The Circula Floor

An Omni-directional Treadmill

But haven’t we already built one back in the day for JayKay’s Virtual Insanity?

Lego’s Social Strategy

Jake McKee, ex-Lego employee and now founder of social media consultancy Ant’s Eye View, talks about his work in developing a community for Lego. Interestingly, his target audience was the parents.

Thanks to Fresh Creation* for the scoop.

Yahoo’s Design Pattern library

Yahoo have created an excellent resource online called the Yahoo Design Pattern library which helps to illustrate solution to design problems; not design in the creative sense, but in the problem solving sense.
They’ve just added a bunch of solutions around manging and engaging people in reputation management online.

Reputation Parent - Yahoo! Design Pattern Library

Real racing in a virtual world: a new gaming format

The BBC posted an article about iOpener, an interactive media company, which has patented a way of sucking in real-time GPS data from racing events and pumping it out to compatible games consoles and PCs.

grand_prix_maranello.jpg

By using an enhanced type of GPS, called Differential GPS iOpenerhave created a product which can pinpoint the position of a real Formula One car within 3cms and send that information to a console within 5 secs.

“It’s clear that the next trend in gaming is going to be bringing real objects into the virtual world; playing not against other gamers but people doing the real thing,” Founder of iOpener, Andy Lurling, told the BBC. “You can compete against the best of the best.”

More info can be found here, here and here.

This opens up alot of potential, not only for racing, but also for bringing virtual objects into the real world.




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