All In: A Game of Chance
An interactive story I developed with Nathan Newland, released in June 2017. I wrote the script and soundtrack, did the majority of the programming, and was responsible for the game's creative direction.
Based on a play I wrote, this choice-based adventure game presents its story in three parts, each of them iterations of a different story (the story of the play). By telling the story differently each time based on the player's knowledge, the game becomes a story about a story.
The game features full voice acting and an arranged soundtrack of 18 songs.
Play the game here and download the soundtrack here.
Augmented Reality Space Activation Game
Patrick Tuohy and I conducted research on augmented reality and its possible use in space-activation games from May to June 2017. We wanted to investigate how augmented reality can be used to activate a space and help people in universities and other spaces become familiar with the space around them in a new way and build a community around this new understanding. The main purpose we have in mind for this game is teaching new university students the layout of their campus upon orientation.
Our research sought to answer this question: "How is Augmented Reality best implemented in the field of space activation?"
The game we designed was played as follows: Each player started at a certain point in the space that the game takes place in. They explore the area to find various images printed on walls that they can scan with their phone, which enable them to buy virtual commodities with the game's virtual currency. They travel between different areas (called villages) that sell different commodities and buy them at different prices, trying to make as much profit as they can. Players can influence the prices at which commodities can be bought and sold, and can find limited amounts of virtual currency lying around (also in the form of real images, printed in hidden places).
We built the game's infrastructure using Conducctr and Layar - Conducctr would control the main functions of the game, controlling each player's commodities and currency and what images they could access, while Layar would be used to interact with the images themselves. A player would find an image, scan it with Layar, and Layar would send a tweet that would be read by Conducctr. Conducctr would send a tweet back to let the player know what else they can do with the image the scanned. The image above is one of the images that the players could scan with Layar.
The development of the game revealed a lot about the possibilities of AR space-activating games. While the game worked perfectly in theory, it took a (relatively) long time to respond to the user, due to the speed at which we were able to upload tweets and the speed at which Conducctr was able to read them and respond. The speed at which it could respond would only increase with an increase in the number of players, which would largely undermine the game's purpose as a means of teaching students about campus layouts en masse. We found that the game was large enough and versatile enough to have gameplay objects covering the entire AUT city campus; however, programming all of the necessary objects in Conducctr was more difficult than expected, as it did not support coding techniques such as using methods or classes to create in-game objects; each individual image, commodity, village and every other game objects had to be created on its own from scratch. This lack of supporting infrastructure could be one reason why AR has not been used in space-activating games. In the future, perhaps this game should be made using a dedicated server and a Twitter 'bot' to allow more flexibility; that is, if the app is not given a more reliable or dedicated method of communication than Twitter. A method of communication other than Wi-Fi might also be worth exploring, given the enormous load that a large group of students playing the game at the same time might put on a university's Wi-Fi networks.
We conducted a survey of AUT students who were already familiar with their campus to measure people's reactions to our AR game.
The vast majority of people surveyed indicated potential interest in our game, with only 9.1% of people saying that they would have no interest whatsoever. However, when told that the game would send tweets from their phone and would send them tweets back, 63.6% of respondents said they were less likely to play the game. A lesser majority (81.8%) said that they would consider playing the game to meet new people, with 36.4% of people saying they were more likely to play the game to meet people than to explore the campus. 27.3% of people stated that they would prefer a game that used real objects instead of digitally tracked commodities using AR, while the other 72.7% responded that they would prefer AR. Respondents were also asked if the idea of AR being used for space activation had any apparent purposes to them beyond university campuses; respondents named entire cities, schools and Auckland Airport as places they would like to explore using an AR game similar to ours. This clearly indicated an interest and wish to engage with an AR game such as ours, and indicated that the best way to implement AR in space activation might be to combine the social and spacial elements to create a group exploration experience.
Below, you can find the results of our survey.
A theme song generator based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that I made in June 2016. I wrote a solo instrumental track representing each individual letter used to classify MBTI types, and made a program to allow the user to select their own MBTI type and theme song.