Paranormal Reality Game App Shows Augmented Activity

Author: Michael Kaufman AIA
Published: February 23, 2011 at 7:25 am

Further proof that we are on the brink of an evolutionary leap in how we, as intelligent beings, experience our surroundings is provided by an iPhone application from Ogmento, a company dedicated to developing augmented reality games. By fusing real and virtual worlds Ogmento is spearheading the next generation of video games played in the real world. "Paranormal Activity: Sanctuary" (iTunes link) is a "massively multiplayer game set in the real world where your home town, your office, your neighborhood becomes the front lines of a supernatural conflict." A vehicle for the Paranormal Activity movie franchise, the application is an example of most everything we have discussed in the "Enhanced Environment" series (review the series through this link).

I will leave the game review to other, more focused outlets, but I will say that the merger of game mechanics, augmented reality and cutting-edge software is simply beautiful. For example, the user's ability to "cast a spell" is increased when a pentagram is drawn on a real-world piece of paper and viewed through the iPhone's camera — the drawing on the screen is virtually traced with a burning line and the spell's power is increased. This is intriguing on many levels: the pentagram is accurately traced... unless it is too poorly drawn, which causes the "boost" to fail.

Another example is found when the user decides to "investigate," the image streamed through the camera is modified into a faux low-light image and the user must search for paranormal activity. The first image below is taken in my kitchen this afternoon with the normal iPhone camera application. The second image, taken during an "investigation" moments later, shows a mysterious figure.The real world The "Paranormal" World

By adding items to our environment with which we are going to engage, not just observe, and making real-time changes to the world, the framework that supports "Paranormal Activity: Sanctuary" is another step towards a universally enhanced environment.

What do you think of a world where everything is "augmented" and available for the taking?


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Article Author: Michael Kaufman AIA

By merging a passion for new and emerging technologies with professional experience as a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Michael Kaufman has become recognized as an expert in the area of the user's experience of consumer technology. …

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