Friday, 21 November 2014

Augmented Reality

I quite like games that extend beyond the period that people are together, but I appreciate that that is a lot of effort for the people organising the game. 

We don't run those games. The games we run are nicely contained, with minimum preamble and nothing after because usually everyone is dead. I like the idea that the games start with a bang and usually that bang is the point where people find out what's happening (at least for the first part of the game). We'll give them enough information to write a character, and find some stats, and that's pretty much it until they turn up. 

Footprints in the sand


It takes an immense amount of work to do anything personalised before an event. It will take longer than you think. if you only spend 10 minutes a player and have 20 players then you're already looking at over three hours, and you've just about read their backgrounds. You've not included them in anything you're writing. You've not looked at ways to link them together with other players. That's all extra. We normally run with 40-60 players (for Alone). 

I've been thinking about augmented reality today. My day job involves training people to use software, and I'm fairly certain we can improve take up and accessibility using technology. We can use the same technology to blur the lines between LRP and events, and the real world. Games like Ingress are a form of LRP. You're pretending to be in a situation and playing with that to achieve targets. For some events these same technologies can be used to get information to players, either before the event, or during time in.

With Alone we wanted to be able to give the players a way that they could see the Aliens approaching them on a scanner. This is probably something we could do now. We'd need to build units into the costumes that the players could detect using smart phones or computers. If you're running a modern day event that requires players to travel to sites to gather information you can share that information with devices such as Gimbals.

LRP has fuzzy boundaries. A lot of the definition is based on experience. I would really love to see a sci-fi fest event. Now Matt has announced his permanent site we can begin looking into running one again. If he does run one then we'll need to investigate how these technologies can be used to improve our games in order that we can make sure we've got the best chance of making things work. 

It feels like there's a huge amount we now can do. We're still trying to make it actually happen.