SCORPIODROME: Mixed Reality Social Gaming for Children

SCORPIODROME : An exploration in Mixed Reality Social Gaming for Children (.pdf) by G. Metaxas, B. Metin, J. Schneider, G. Shapiro, W. Zhou and P. Markopoulos (User System Interaction Programme / Eindhoven University of Technology)

This paper describes the design of SCORPIODROME a mixed reality game for groups of 3-4 children aged 11-14. SCORPIODROME is designed for social gaming; i.e., computer gaming that is intended to support and trigger social interaction between players to occur within and around playing the game.

The SCORPIODROME is an action game played by 3 players who each control one Scorpio. Each Scorpio battles its opponents in an unconventional off-road race. Scorpios are remote-controlled toy vehicles augmented with surround-sound, graphics, and animation effects. In our game they were built by modifying remote controlled toy-cars (see figure 1). The Scorpios fight each other and interact with the physical and virtual elements of the game. The main goals for players is to drive their Scorpio as fast as possible over virtual checkpoints that are scattered on the physical landscape, to collect virtual diamonds scattered on the terrain and to make the life of other Scorpios difficult. Players are able to adjust the difficulty level of the game by altering the position and the number of physical obstacles on the platform terrain. The game mechanics of the SCORPIODROME are briefly described in the following sections.

Why do I blog this? it's a nice example of tangible computing in a copresent setting. The evaluation part of the paper is maybe too quick but it was just a poster. Interesting anyway. I think this is definitely part of a trend I see, which is the convergence of pervasive/tangible/video games and toys. This is really an intriguing phenomenon and there will be relevant research issues to investigate for that matter.