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Location-based Experiences (Attack on Titan Quest)

robert | June 29, 2017  ‐  No Comments

Lunched earlier this week and expected to go into overdrive this weekend at the Anime Expo in LA, Attack on Titan Quest is a two-part location-based experience developed by Conducttr for AoT publisher Kodansha.

The narrative of the experience is that the convention center for Anime Expo, LA is “inside the wall” and Little Tokyo is “outside the wall”. Consistent with the AoT storyworld, inside the wall is positioned as a training exercise requiring players to find five missing soldiers while outside the wall is a full-on mission to defeat increasing stronger Titans.

Both quests are independent of the other but it’s more fun to complete both.

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The outside quest uses a web application built on our Communicator framework (with back-end naturally powered by the Conducttr story-gaming engine) and requires the player to be in LA and to enable location services on their browser. During development and testing we could play online without going to a specific location but licencing restrictions allow us only to offer the location-based LA experience to the public.

The inside quest is a more familiar SMS-based scavenger hunt. Part of the reason for the switch of channels is expectations of poor WiFi and internet reception that is typical of most conference venues.

While the inside quest requires players to follow a pre-defined path (as discovering each checkpoint reveals a clue to finding the next), the outside quest allows a more free-flowing route with players able to visit Titan hotspots in the order of their choosing.

Defeating Titans

Those familiar with AoT will know that to kill a Titan requires the soldier to slice the back of the neck. In our game we test the player’s sword skills with increasingly complex swipe patterns (see image above) against a vanishing fight period.

This simple mechanic combined with the minimally frustrating requirement to maintain a sufficient gas supply (the swords are gas-powered) delivers an extremely fun experience.

Character phone calls

A highlight of the SMS experience is several phone calls from the popular AoT character, Mikasa. The calls were recorded by the same actress that is the voice-over artist for the anime which screens on Funimation. This means the voice is familiar to the show’s millions of viewers and when heard directly spoken to YOU via your phone creates an incredible intimacy that is actually quite mind-blowing.

Wider applications

In our mission to make everyone’s life an adventure, we continually look for opportunities to employ our technology in the widest ways to improve people’s health, wealth and happiness.

Clearly there’s been a lot of attention on location-based games and their potential to improve public health, simply because it gets people moving. We certainly feel there’s lots of potential here and especially if it were combined with an activity tracker like Fitbit or Moves (as we can do but didn’t for this project).

2017-06-24_07-51-49The other popular use case is tourism. As this article explains, location-based experiences can connect people to culture and heritage – and of course an opportunity to collect data about popular locations and the times and days that people visit. The image above uses data from early play-testing in San Francisco to show popular hotspots. Using Conducttr as the multi-channel story-gaming engine offers many advantages including easy relocation and refinement of hotspots by an admin with no development skills, easy integration across experiences and services such that follow-up emails can be specifically targeted based on activity or locations visited and of course deep data mining of player activity across multiple channels.

Outside of the obvious health and tourism applications, the technology could be used for onboarding – either requiring new employees to visit locations to become familiar with their whereabouts or just as a team game that reveals more about the company and gets people talking. The AoT game is a single-player experience but there’s no reason why this couldn’t be played competitively with teams.

Go play the game!

If you’re in LA between June 29th and July 4th 2017, go play it for yourself https://aot.cm.cr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blended Training

robert | June 20, 2017  ‐  No Comments

WHIST 14 Lo

It’s typical to think of VR, AR and branching narrative as different disciplines or technologies but in our podcast we talk with Aoi Nakamura one of directors of WHIST, an immersive experience that combines them all.

The audience, wearing the low-cost GEAR VR headsets, explore a physical space (the headset uses the phone’s camera to allow the audience to see the space) until specific objects are recognized by AR software. The recognition triggers a 360 movie which can branch depending on your gaze (i.e. where you look).

At the end of the experience, each audience member gets a personalized psychometric profile based on the way they navigated the space and the 360 movies.

While WHIST is an artistic endeavor, it’s not hard to see how the approach could be used in training to explore complex spaces like the bridge of a ship or oil & gas rigs: the headset would guide the trainee through the real physical space and trigger pertinent video playback that might be, say, the dramatization of a crisis.  During the 360 video crisis, the system tracks where the trainee is focusing attention and could allow them to trigger decisions with their gaze that de-escalates the unfolding drama. At the end of the session, the trainee gets a performance assessment about how they navigated the space and how they responded to the crisis.