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Pervasive Computing and Pervasive Games

Good posting on A List Apart about ubiquitous or pervasive computing, including details of two 'pervasive' games.

Adam Greenfield, who has just written "Everyware: the dawning age of ubiquitous computing", summarises some of the challenges/ blessings this wil bring:
- information becomes accessible anywhere, at any time, without needing separate 'computers' - because virtually everything has distributed intelligence built in.
- "there are powerful informatics underlying the apparent simplicity of the experience, but they never breach the surface of awareness: things Just Work....interactions with everyware feel natural, spontaneous, human." (Having just spent two hours wrestling with a javascript problem on my web project, forgive a note of cyncism about things that 'just work'!)
- concepts of privacy will change radically: people will see convenience as a trade-off for constant (usually benign) supervision.

There are at least two journals devoted to pervasiveness - eg
- Pervasive Computing. The new editor, Roy Want, says: "Never before have so
many mobile computers been in the hands of so many people. In fact, analysts have estimated that the world market for mobile semiconductors in 2004 and 2005 was greater than 35 percent of all semiconductors by volume and worth over $80 billion. In early 2005, top market research firms predicted cell phones, which constitute the largest mobile market segment, would have a total sales volume of around 775 million units, but by the fourth quarter, the
Gartner group revised their own prediction to over 800 million units.
- 'Personal and Ubiquitous Computing'

There's a reading list here.

But 'pervasive' games? Well, two involving interaction between cellphones are Supafly and Botfighters. (See this Wired article). Wired explains: "Both Supafly and Botfighters rely on features built into new cell phones that allow operators to determine a person's geographic location. Players determine whether an opponent is within a few hundred yards of them, then fire messages the opponent's way. Besides chatting, players can also perform one of 30 "actions" with their cell phone's messaging system, ranging from sending someone a "love gift" to whispering or shouting."

Botfighters says:
"BotFighters 2 is a mobile MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) where you play in the real world; using location technology, the streets become the game arena and any stranger might be your ally or enemy... BotFighters 2 has two parts: a mobile Java client that runs on your mobile phone, and a website. The mobile Java client is required to play the game and contains the central gameplay, whereas the website is optional and serves a more administrative role, featuring news flashes, highscore lists, and player forum..."

Simulation walks the streets amidst 'reality'!

The website of Daydream Software AB, the Swedish company that created Botfighter, says:
"Daydream is a Scandinavian distributor, publisher and developer of the most innovative and entertaining mobile games and content. Daydream games and content excel in their ability of utilizing the unique features of the mobile phone, such as network connectivity, personalization and positioning.
In the Daydream product portfolio brands such as Happy Tree Friends Botfighters, Bouncy, Supafly, Netbaby Grand Prix and Nuxelia are found. Daydream’s customers are handset manufacturers, mobile network operators, and major international game publishers, with whom Daydream has extensive and close relationships. Today Daydream has 16 employees working at the head office in Malmö and also in Stockholm and Karlstad. Since December 2000, Daydream’s B-share is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange’s O-list."


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