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?



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