Alternative Augmented Reality Games

Alternative Augmented Reality Games

From SSRG Annoki

Jump to: navigation, search

People Involved

Lucio Guttierrez

CS: Ioanis Nikolaidis, Eleni Stroulia

Medicine: Sarah Forgie

Ed Psychology: Patricia Boechler, Michael Carbonaro, Sharla King

Humanities Computing: Sean Gouglas, Geoffrey Rockwell

Outbreak on fAARS

Lindley first conceptualized trans-reality games in 2004 but the idea was barely explored due to the technical challenges involved in the integration of real and virtual worlds as a single playground. However, the convergence of (a) the smart-phone technologies, (b) the proliferation of virtual worlds, and (c) the emergence of a general “gamification” culture location-based services, has recently motivated intense experimentation in the area. Taking advantage of this synergy, we have implemented fAARS (for Augmented Alternate Reality Services), an event-driven service-oriented platform for the development of trans-reality games.

“Outbreak: Safety First” is the most complex game built on fAARS to date; it fully exploits the capabilities of the platform and it exemplifies the concept of trans-reality games with three different variants played in different game-play modalities. In this paper, we describe the fAARS platform using the “Outbreak: Safety First” game as an example, and we report a preliminary set of results of our first experience with playing the game. We conclude with some preliminary lessons from this experience and our plans for the future.

Pictures from the Game Play

Videos from the Game Play

Past Work

The power of play to motivate, inform, educate, and entertain remains a relatively untapped resource in collaborative learning environments. We propose to develop a systematic method and a supporting technological infrastructure for creating campus and city-wide collaborative, educational, augmented-alternate reality games (AARGs). The game players will interact with the game (a) in the real world through location-specific clues (communicated to them through cellphones, PDAs, and sensors embedded in the environment) and (b) in a parallel virtual world that will reflect the real world in some dimensions and will augment it in others. Our primary focus area will be health education, specifically games for collaborative medical diagnosis, containment of highly contagious epidemics, and collaborative, healthy-lifestyle promotion games for physical education and rehabilitation. Although health education will serve as the prototype for this project, the gaming infrastructure will open up numerous research avenues in the social sciences, humanities, and fine arts, specifically in AARGS in participatory theatre, historical reenactment or civic participation.

This work is done in the context of the GRAND NCE.

We are developing a general platform for developing Augmented-Alternative Reality Games, called fAR-Play -

The first of these games was called “Campus Mysteries” and took place within the UofA campus. This game is envisioned as a virtual ghost hunt where users capture ghosts of the UofA’s past by going around the campus to find and capture ghosts, and solving a series of mysteries. In order to play the game, two essential mobile applications should be installed in smart phones, the Augmented Reality Browser Layar to capture ghosts in outdoor environments, and the QR Code reader BeeTagg to capture ghosts in interior spaces. The platform that runs the game was implemented as a client-server software application, using a wide spectrum of technologies for its implementation.

Another game (played with stationary bikes immersed in a virtual world) was developed in the context of a CMPUT401 in Winter 2010, in collaboration with the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. The game is envisioned to motivate children with CP to exercise and integrates SunSPOTS ( and OpenWonderland ( See a video on their work SunSPOTs-in-WL.