Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Frank Lloyd Wright/Organic Architecture

"Form and function are one, joined in spiritual union"

The belief that architecture was a product of both its place and time was the cornerstone of Frank Lloyd Wright's method of design. He believed firmly in the idea that architecture was a union between the structure and its context. Organic Architecture grows out of these ideas and takes center stage in the building you are now standing.

While the Monona Terrace is not the only building of Wright's in Madison, it is definitely his most prominent and problematic. Designed orginally to serve a multitude of functions, the building was completed almost forty years after the architect's death . Suffering though several setbacks, it was only through Wright's dedication and the desire of others that Madison would have a masterpiece of one of its most prominent citizens.

"Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders' spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground."

Site - Monona Terrace

Challenge - Show us a model of Organic Architecture

Media - photos

"Wisconsin" statue

Since 1914, I have been standing here, intimately viewing the actions of Madison from high above its streets. From this perspective, I am able to watch the daily movements of Madison's residents as they go about their activities. I have seen parades and protests, days of warmth and days of cold. There is little that has not happened under my watchful eye.

You see me as a statue, wearing the symbols of the state, gesturing you to continue forward toward the future. My outstreched hand pointing you on. These are the requirements of my position. Unable to move, yet beckoning you on.

As I glisten in the sun, my desire is to be more that just a distance figure. A glimpse in the eye of a tourist. My hope is to represent an idea. An idea that leads to progress and abundance.

Site - The end of MLK Blvd. at the capitol

Challenge - To photograph an idea about progress

Medai - Photo with possible audio

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hans Christian Heg

"They are amongst the best and the bravest of our soldiers. Descendants of the sturdy vikings of medieval times, they have in the long lapse of years lost none of that daring valor, power of endurance, and remarkable coolness in times of excitement, which characterized their ancestors. Next to bravery, their most marked quality is calmness. Always cool and collected, they act with the same deliberation and forethought in the trying hours of danger as in the transactions of every-day life. Temperate and virtuous, obedient and well disciplined, they are in every respect model soldiers, and challenge the admiration and respect of all whose good fortune it is to mingle with them."

An immigrant of Norway, Hans Christian Heg lead the fabled Wisconsin 15th regiment in the Civil War. Know for their bravery and cunning, this group was made mainly of Scandinavian immigrants from Wisconsin and neighboring states.

Early on the morning of August 28, 1863, Colonel Heg lead the 15th into daring raid at the Battle of Chickimauga, being the first Union regiment to cross the Tennessee River. The group sustained heavy casualties including Colonel Heg.

The group sang a song as they went into battle - "I Shan't Forget The Day"

I shan't forget that day
When first I went away.
Me lassie dear she would not stay,
Of course she would not stay.
You cannot go along,
Through warfare, strife and throng.
But if they don't kill me, dear,
I shall return with song.
I would, was there no danger, Sis,
as lief remain with thee,
But all the girls of North, you see,
rely just now on me.

And therefore I will fight
The rebels left and right,
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

Site - Infront of the Heg statue at the top of King St.

Challenge - Perform a daring raid

Media - Photo of Col. Heg

Otis Redding

The day leading up to December 10th, 1967 had been unseasonably warm, causing a think haze to hover over the four lakes that surround Madison. Just before 3:30pm a twin engine Beechcraft airplane was making it's approach into Madison carring singer Otis Redding and his band for a gig that they were to play later that evening at the Factory. Three miles away from the runway the plane lurched before going into a spin and then crashing into the icy waters of Lake Monona. On the shores of the lake a Bernard Reese heard the sounds of the sputtering plane before it's fateful decent into the water. He immediately notified the authorities. After hours of searching the area police pulled 7 bodies from the water with only one man still alive. The death of Otis Redding just weeks from the release of his hit record "(Sitting) On the Dock of the Bay" continues to mysteriously haunt the lake. Yet another talent coming to a tragic end at only the age of 26.

Site - On top of Monona Terrace - There are several benches dedicated to the singer.

Challenge - Re-enact the crash of the plane

Media - Photo of Otis Redding and the song "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Scaffolding in AR Games

For reading, the reader can control her/his pace and thus always keep herself/himself in meaningful reading.

For a good video game, the gamer will not be able to proceed to another level unless she/he has good understanding of the game mechanism.

For both reading and video game, there are user-controlled mechanism to make the reading/gaming activity stay meaningful.

How about AR games? How do we keep it meaningful for AR gamers? This question is about the difference between reading/video-gaming and ar-gaming. It is also a question about the affordances of AR games.

For self-paced activities like video-games and reading, the gamer and reader have more control of the activities they are involved in. For AR games, the pace control falls on both the designers and the gamers (you would ask me why, wouldn't you). Hence the designer should be more conscious of the issues generated by pace contol.

One of the major issues is the comprehensibility.

Some players don't get the game in the beginning and therefore could not get it later.
Why? Some gamers don't read as well as other readers, whether video or text. There might be some design flaws which make capable readers less capable. If the game is incomprehensible, there must be something wrong with the gamers or the designers. Of course, we don't blame the gamers for not understanding the game or not having fun. Thus, the faults fall on the shoulders of the designers.

What can the designers do in terms of making the game more meaningful for less capable readers/gamers? How do we scaffold gamers in game?

Here are my solutions based on previous design experience.
1. Team work: gamers collaborate to understand the game.
2. Pace control: Allow gamers to have more control of their walking/reading pace in game. On the other hand, some gamers like to run and rush the game. The designer has to be aware of that because it hurts the game.
3. Provide a framework for thinking in the beginning of the game, either by the introduction or by the first few virtual interveiws. If the designer really wants to make a hard game, make it hard at the latter part to engage gamers.
4. Divide the game into a few portions/levels and have a reality check (such as a short debriefing) between portions/levels.

Other thoughts?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Keeping it rolling

Title: Black Hawk War

Location: Anywhere on the isthmus - the episode detailed here happened “somewhere along the Monona shore of today’s Marquette neighborhood” – but we could probably put it anywhere.

Text: In the spring of 1832, the native Sauk Indians, led by a chief named Black Hawk, launched a series of attacks against the frontier outposts of settlers that were encroaching on their homelands in Wisconsin and Illinois. The settlers quickly formed militias and called in support from the regular army. The Sauk, unable to gain the hoped for support of other local Indian tribes, were soon outnumbered and on the run. On July 20th, a thousand Sauk warriors streamed across the isthmus you are standing on, closely pursued by three thousand mounted militiamen. One of the militiamen found an elderly Sauk man hiding in the thicket that covered the isthmus at that time, grabbed the man’s knife and scalped him with it. Unfortunately, the knife was rather dull and the man screamed terribly. The soldier retorted, “If you don’t like being scalped with a dull knife, why don’t you keep a better one?” The remark quickly became the slogan of the militia, who caught up to and slaughtered the fleeing Indians twelve days later. [Is this one too long? Maybe we can do it next to the plaque and take some of the history out of our text, assuming that they will get it from the plaque.]

Challenge: Scalp somebody.

Media: Picture of Black Hawk

Title: Eyesores

Location: Everywhere – maybe this one can be given just as they leave the convention center

Text: Madison was not always the beautiful city you see around you. In the early years, it was essentially a dirty frontier town. As the city grew in population and significance, cleaning things up became an important civic goal. Newspapers in the 1850’s ran articles condemning homes that were not well kept and urging their owners to clean them up for the betterment of the entire community: “Nothing can be more disgusting than a shabby house with two or three fence posts in front, a few remnants of boards or rails giving the outline of a lot, some of the aquatic races sporting in a frog pond under the window, and a long-shanked porker snoozing on the doorstep. Such a specimen of domestic felicity passes all our comprehension…”

Challenge: Deteriorating fences and snoozing hogs are no longer much of a concern to Madisonians, but that is only because they have been replaced by more modern eyesores. Take a picture of the ugliest building you can find.

Media: Photo of a run down cabin.

Title: Breaking the Rules

Location: The terrace at Memorial Union, or anywhere along the lakefront.

Text: The University of Wisconsin’s students, like all young people, are occasionally prone to bending and even breaking the rules. This photo from 1935 depicts just such an occasion. In Madison at that time, men’s bathing trunks were perfectly legal, but both straps had to be on the shoulder if a man wore a tank suit. The fellow in the middle of this photo is clearly a rebel!

Challenge: Photograph someone doing something illegal, forbidden, or just plain morally reprehensible.

Media: Swimmers on the pier.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Getting the ball rolling

I have typed up details for three sites using the general spirit of John's form to format the info. Of course, everything here is subject to change, so give me your comments.

Title: The Forty Theives

Location: Corner of Doty and Martin Luther King

Text: Early in 1853, a group of lobbyists seeking a charter for a new railroad called the “Rock River Valley Union Railroad Company” invaded Madison. Their aggressive and unethical tactics manipulated the young legislature and created a scandal that became a sensation throughout the state. The men operated out of a club house located on this corner, where they threw many extravagant dinner parties that ended in late night orgies. They dubbed their club house Monk’s Hall and called themselves the Monks of Monk’s Hall, but to the scandalized citizens of Madison, they became known as The Forty Thieves. Over time, their legacy became entrenched in the lexicon of the Wisconsin legislature as the moniker of “Forty Thieves” became a generalized term for participants in subsequent political scandals.

Reenact a scene involving a legislator being manipulated/coerced by one of The Forty Thieves (extra points for manipulating an actual legislator).

Couldn’t find a picture of these guys, or even of their building, so I went with some random railroad image. Maybe if anyone stumbles across a photo of some sleazy looking guys in suits from the mid-1800s, we could use that instead.

Title: Pigs in the Capitol

Location: The Capitol building

Text: In November of 1838, the legislature of the territory met in Madison for the first time, despite the fact that the first capitol building was still under construction. The condition of the legislators’ accommodations that first winter was primitive to the point of being absurd. The contractor that was building the Capitol even kept his pigs in the cellar, which was just below the room in which the legislature met. One legislator made a place for himself in history by interrupting the long winded speeches of his rivals by going into the cellar with a pole and poking the pigs so that their raucous squealing would drown out the speaker above.

Go into the Capitol and recreate this scene of poking pigs to make them squeal.

I went with a picture of the first Capitol building for this one.

Title: Roving Animals

Location: Capitol Lawn

Text: By the mid 1800’s, Madison had become an important political and commercial center, but still had very much the appearance of a rough frontier town. Upstanding citizens wanted to clean up Madison – both its image and its environment. One of the problems involved a multitude of dogs, pigs, sheep, and other livestock roaming freely around the Capitol grounds. In 1855, proclamations and ordinances attempted to deal with the problem. Any roaming pigs were subject to be rounded up and sold to the highest bidder, and the village marshal was given the power to kill any loose dogs on sight.

Round up some pigs and take their picture OR find a dog and shoot it (figuratively of course...).

Need a picture of some hogs or pack of dogs or something like that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

GLS AR game: design strategies

In the Greenbush AR game that Mingfong and I are doing, one of the ways we are getting the content into "game form" is by giving the students these sheets to fill out. They've done so much research on the neighborhood that they have too much info to put into the game. So we came up with this sheet as a way for them to filter what they have down into game-digestible chunks. They have the image of the neighborhood map (on present and one historical) as it will appear on the handheld, and a space for an image (photograph, video clip description, etc.) that will appear as a media item at the location, and some limited space for text. The text space is limited because we figured about 100 words per screen, and found that any more than 3 screens of text is too much to keep the players' attention.

Since we are a bit more technologically advanced (with the blog and all), I thought we might try the same sort of exercise. Grab a location (building, statue, etc.) describe or upload the media (picture, video, scanned document, etc.), and write up the challenge or "quest" for that location.

If we get 30, I think we've got enough for a good game. We can show our ideas to the rest of the committee tomorrow and hopefully they'll come up with a few more ideas -- and/or refine them.

We Make Money Not Art

A good resource to look to for information on AR Gaming is we make money not art. It's a Webby Award winning blog that covers a wide range of topics related to art, culture, and technology, including quite a bit of AR coverage.

I could scour the archives and post a bunch of stuff here, but you're probably better of just looking at the games archive yourself.

I'm not sure if this is old news to most of you, so my apologies if it is.

GLS AR game Map

I think this is the largest map area we can effectively use in the game. If you click on it, it will come up at the 600x600 pixel resolution I pulled it off of Google Earth at, but this displayed 200x200 pixel size is what the players will have to follow on screen, so I don't think we can make it much larger

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Geotagged sound samples

Sound + Place = Freesound's Geotags. check out this article on Creative Digital Music
Rather than dig through samples by abstract categories, you can use Freesound’s geotags to pull the exact ambience of certain parts of the world. It gives you the power to soak up the vibe of the beach at Playa del Medio without having to actually suffer through . . . erm . . . being at the beach. Okay, bad example. But while there’s the expected bias toward the U.S. and Europe, field recordings are slowly finding their way from other corners of the globe, too.
Granted, this may not be the kind of thing you'd need to hear if you were actually on the beach, but what if you were touring in Greece and wanted to hear the sweet sweet sounds of Yanni in the Acropolis? Just plug your headset in and hear it fade out as you run away. And will they soon be uploadable from your GPS-enabled mobile phone? Why not? Let's get on it Big Phone Companies! (Hey small phone companies! Here's your chance!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Another Handheld AR game

Two projects currently underway at the Handheld Augmented Reality Project.

Mr. Virtuoso Teaches Art History with Augmented Reality (2005)

Virtuoso is a collaborative educational game designed to showcase the possibilities of the Handheld Augmented Reality (AR) framework. The game’s objective is to sort a collection of artworks according to their date of creation along a timeline drawn on a wall-mounted billboard (left = earlier, right = later). Every mark (fiducial) on the timeline carries one of the artworks, which are only visible through the player’s AR PDA. Initially the artworks are in random order. The player can pick up any artwork with his PDA, by clicking on the artwork on the display and drop it on a free position by clicking on the free fiducial on the display. Since all positions are initially occupied, the game requires two or more players to cooperate in swapping or rearranging the sequence of artworks.

The Invisible Train

The Invisible Train is the first real multi-user Augmented Reality application for handheld devices (PDAs). Unlike other projects, in which wearable devices were merely used as thin-clients, while powerful (PC-based) servers performed a majority of the computations (such as graphics rendering), our software runs independently on off-the-shelf PDAs - eliminating the need for an expensive infractructure.

The Invisible Train is a mobile, collaborative multi-user Augmented Reality (AR) game, in which players control virtual trains on a real wooden miniature railroad track. These virtual trains are only visible to players through their PDA's video see-through display as they don't exist in the physical world. This type of user interface is commonly called the "magic lens metaphor".
While these are Augmented Reality games, they are not Place Based games inthe same way that the ones we are looking at are.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Greenbush game

Mingfong and I did a presentation on the Greenbush AR game at the"The Greenbush: Past, Present, Future" conference at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at the Italian Workmen's Club, 914 Regent St.

I've got the slideshow posted on my website here.

Mark says it looks like we might be able to get Mayor Dave to do an introduction to the game.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

GLS AR game

Here are our notes from Tuesday’s GLS AR game meeting.

We’ve recruited David Deal (from Constance’s Thursday night class), and Andy Dayton (not sure where Matt got him, but we’re glad to have him), and Matt and myself (John Martin). We went over a brief history of the game, what it can and can’t do (sort of), and what we were trying to do for the GLS conference. We tried to come up with something:

  • simple
  • engaging
  • as short or long as the players wanted to make it
  • that included some sort of mandatory feedback on the gameplay and design
  • (but didn’t feel like “mandatory feedback”)
  • that allowed the participants to have as much (or little) agency in gameplay as they wanted
  • that allowed competition in different forms (and encouraged others conference participants to want to try it)
  • that made the game “visible” (to others at the conference, and Madison spectators) but not unwieldy
  • gave a taste of the potential of such a game, in a way that was fun, and not overly “schooly”

Scenario: [Pseudo-] Historical Re-Creation

Welcome to Madison! There’s a lot of rich history hidden in the back alleys—even around the capitol area. Here’s the deal—you photo-document your group’s adventures in Madison.

How to Play
You walk around downtown with a GPS-enabled PDA and a digital camera that you check out from the game steward. As you walk around, your location will be tracked on the map on PDA in your hand. On that map, you will see ~30 locations that you can go to with titles (and maybe photographs?) of the location. When you reach the location, you can click to get information about them. When you get to certain spots, if you choose (like drawing a card), you will be prompted to do something relating to the historical tidbits of the location and/or specific things at hand, and to document it with a digital photograph. This is where it gets creative—use your imagination, the people at hand (bonus if you get innocent bystanders), and the location itself to create and document a scene based on the prompt that comes up at that location.

You walk to the corner of King and Doty, and this narrative appears: “A ghost is said to live in the Great Dane Brewery building. Get a picture of that ghost.” Obviously you can’t see a ghost; or if you can, the camera probably can’t, and yet you must meet the challenge. What to do? You can talk to the cute bartender (or wait staff) and ask them about the ghost—maybe they know and can point to exactly where the ghost lives; maybe they don’t know anything about it and think you’re kinda crazy. Maybe they think your cute/crazy and who cares about the ghost at that point?

Possible Approaches

  • photo of the ghostly reflection of a guy drinking beer
  • photo of a guy with a ghostly T-Shirt over his head drinking beer
  • photo of 3 guys looking very scared and pointing at something ghostly that might not be easily captured on pixel.
  • other, more creative, ideas…

Who can play?
Ideally, we’d set it up (sell it) with a game box cover of a few extraordinarily-fun examples that don’t actually appear in the game, or with impossibly happy people playing the game. And we’ll have the game steward in the GLS lounge to check out the PDA/GPS and camera (from CIMC?) gear to anyone who deposits a valid ID. They can take the game out with a group of their friends (1-20) and bring it back in a few hours.


  • the more creative, the better
  • involve as many people as possible in your group
  • bonus points for getting strangers involved

When you turn in the camera, the photos will be downloaded with your cryptically-enhanced I.D. Pictures will be printed off and posted in the GLS lounge, where they will be ogled, envied, and judged. Winners each day get some stupid little thing that they surely wouldn’t want to live without.

Give Feedback!
PLEASE, tell us what you think! This is not even close to being set in stone, but is just an idea we’re tossing around, that we think we can do by the conference. Feedback is key! Is this a sort ofd game you’d like to play?