ARG meets AR. When Heroes collide.

16 Aug

BBC’s click ran a story a few weeks ago about Augmented Reality. Well, that’s what they call it. It was more like an ARG. AR was only a part of the whole thing.

The writer of the TV show Heroes, Tim Kring,  wrote the story for an ARG based around London. It’s called the Conspiracy for Good. A woman has knowledge about an evil corporation and now they are trying to kill her to stop her talking. People have to solve puzzles and protect her in real time to complete this game.  The ARG used a combination of live actors who gave out clues and AR tags that were painted on surfaces around London to make the game a bit different. Annoyingly, to get the AR clues, you had to use a very particular model of Nokia phone. Way to limit your audience there guys.

The tags were a neat idea though, when you spotted one, you held up your phone and a combination of AR and GPS would release the right information leading you towards the next marker and the next piece of the puzzle.

Games like this are interesting. I think they have great scope but you are limited straight away by the tech you use. If, like these guys, only use a nokia phone, you limit your audience hugely. Numbers would say you should go with an iPhone instead. Preferably, I would have custom made handheld devices given to each player, but obviously this could never really be done for cost reasons. In situations like this, go with the popular device.

The live actors are always a great touch in games like these. I think they help the immersion a lot and stop everything relying on tech. Much more personable.

This kind of game is slowly taking off, companies are using it to promote various things, Dexter the tv show is doing something similar at the moment. It’s great to see that people are making and playing these just because they can. I’d like to see more of these in the future, it would be great to have a variety of these around the country.

Quite interestingly, AR is starting to make its way into toys. The AR drone is a quadricopter that you control via your iPhone. It has a camera built in so that you can see where you are going on your phones screen. The phone also plays host to AR enemies that you have to battle off with your quadricopter. It’s all quite wonderful, it’s like a step up from imagining UFO’s around you and trying to shoot them down. I think this is a great use of AR rather than for personal usage.

I do like the idea of hiding clues around that make use of AR to have unique, visually exciting clues…

They all have their good points and bad points really. Live actors and outside help really appeal to me to make things a bit more cinematic, and also the hi-tech spy gadgetry side of hiding clues in plain sight.

This is going to be a pretty fun project I think.



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