As one of UEI’s AR (Alternative Reality) experiments, we hold a reality game, “Crimsonfox – Find the Codes Hidden in  Real City” on the 13th March 2010.

In the Crimsonfox,  players search for and collect the codes with iPhone to find the goal. The players becomes detectives, Crimsonfox,  and search for the codes to find the hideout of the secret society, “Moonlights”. Both codes and the hideout are hidden in real city, this time in Shibuya. Players use the app “Shibuya scanner“, developed by Mr Kondo.  When the app is launched, the places of codes are indicated in camera overlay view. The app can show the direction and length to the place by getting the GPS information and using the build-in compass of the iPhone.

The codes are indicated in red, and the sky blue one is the goal. The goal will shown after the player got a certain points. Although, the places are shown on the iPhone, the information of GPS is not precise. So, clues are also given to find the codes. For example, if a code is hidden under the planter in front of a restaurant, the clue says, “Check the wooden bowl in front of a house to eat lunch.”

Clues and GPS information will let players find the hidden codes like this. When players read the code with the Shibuya Scanner, the moon emblem will shown as the proof that the player got the code successfully.

Players will get points as they collect the codes. Players can end the game when they read the final code in the goal. They got the raffles according to the points they got during the game.  The special present was iPad (Ryo will get it in America and we’ll send it to the player who got the prize as soon as we’ve got it)!!

Role playing games can provide players with another world. We thought that it would be more interesting and exciting if the players can experience the game actually in their world. The role of games, I think, is to make the life more interesting, not to isolate the players from their real world. So, “AR” for the Crimsonfox has double meaning. One is the “augmented reality” that let you know the information you cannot see or know in usual life. The other is the “alternative reality” which provide you with another or more possibility of experience.

Originally, this event was planned as the spin-off project of Japanese government, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Recently, the Internet is well developed and becomes popular.  People get the information of the city in advance and go directly to the shop or place. Less people walk around the city without special aim. Even Shibuya is such city. Some places or buildings are really popular, like the shop building, 109, or meeting point, Hachi-ko stature. But people don’t go to or search for the places voluntarily except such popular places.

To make such stagnancy of the city recover, this game was suitable. We set the codes not only center but also outside or minor streets of Shibuya. The event was took place from the noon and 7 pm. So player will visit the places which they don’t go or know through their usual life.  Also, they have much time to visit and enter the places actually, because to complete the game itself takes one or two hours.

Following “#crimsonfox” on Twitter, we could know that players enjoyed the game and they actually go to the restaurants or shops during the game or after the game! Game lovers, couples, families, more people played the game than we expected.  The total number of the players was over 200!

The event programms for the event were broadcasted through “Nico-nico Namahousou” (live broadcasting) twice during the day. The first was the introduction of the event by Toshiro Fukuoka (Ascii Media Works) and Ryo. We could invite the special guest, Kenji Kamiyama, the director of the animation movie, “Eden of the East, the Movie Ⅱ -Paradise Lost-“. The movie was shown the first time  in Shibuya on that day, so we could  meet him and he favourably come to our programme.

The next one was broadcasted in the afternoon of the day. We invited Satoshi Endo (Ascii Media Works) as the MC and Mikiya Kato (The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) as a commentator. The programme was relay broadcasting of model playing of the Crimsonfox.  Kohei Suzuki was the player.

The total viewer of morning and evening programmes reached over 7000! We could read many buzz in the twitter too.

We could hold this event thanks to the help and cooperation of many many companies and friends. The image recognition system use in Shibuya Scanner was developed by Koozyt.  The KART system was the necessary to develop the app. Though usually there is not the license for the system, they agreed our plan and favorably lend it to us on the day when we visited their office!

We cannot say much thanks to the everyone who helped us. Although, organizing this event was really tough task, we were really happy to see the players’ smiles and to hear that they enjoyed the game. Our project of the reality game was just started. We’d like to produce more interesting and exciting reality game in the future to see people’s smile :D

Special thanks:

Ascii Media Works Inc.

Dwango

Koozyt Inc.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Tokyu Agency Inc.

Tokyu Corporation

On 17th October, Akihabara, we played experimented in AR tag again. Only 2 people were in the first, most of us were new players in this second time.

Makoto (UEI) developed an AR camera app for this tag game and we used it experimentally.  

As you can see, players and It are shown as blue circle and the building of Yodobashi-camera is shown as red one. The lengths to them are also indicated.  The app was better than expected and we could find the place and direction to It easily.

A camera pass-through AR makes invisible information visible like this app indicates the places of the players, so it has a similar effect to the application of optical camouflage innovated by Mr Inami.

Also we played the game in much narrower area, Kanda-izumichou.  The area is narrow and complicated. So we utilized such uniqueness of the map and made a strategy. We pretended to gather in the same place by pushing repeatedly “search” button.  When it came near, we run away at the same time to different directions.

 

However, team of It also made their strategy. They shut out our ways and attached us from bot sides!

The man in leather jacket and the girl were It…! 

Though our strategy was failed unfortunately, but it was really thrilling time as that was the first intellectual play in these AR tag games! 

The server for AR tag app (the same one as before) seemed to be enhanced and fixed so we could use it more smoothly.

Interesting time passed really quickly and our iPhones’ batteries were also consumed so we stopped playing after 4 games has been done. This time was really enjoyable as the first.

Thanks so much everyone for coming! 

Oh! I should not forget to tell a great contribution by Mr Itoh. His live camera recorded how we play the game.  Check it out from here!

I suppose that Akihabara is well known as digital city in Tokyo. But do you know that on 12th October, some “adults” gathered there to play tag!!

Of course, it is unusual tag, it’s a “digital” tag using iPhone app for the play (currently available only in Japanese).

iPhone app for tag by Kunihiro Takedomi

iPhone app for tag by Kunihiro Takedomi

自分の今いてる場所が表示されます。レーダーを使うと鬼か逃亡者かはわからないですが参加者が緑で表示されます。その際他の参加者にはレーダーを使った人の方角が矢印で表示されます。

The map monitored by tag radar

Your current location is shown at the centre of the map. Players caught by app’s radar are shown as green points, though it is unsure they are It or not. The player can know the direction to the green points on the upper left of the screen.

When a player is trapped by virtual bomb of It

When a player is trapped by virtual bomb of It

It can leave a virtual bomb at its current place. If other players pass there, the location of the player is informed to It for 5 minutes. So the 5 minutes becomes hellish time for the player!

After got the app, shi3z became to try it really and 12 hours before the play, shi3z called for people to play with in Akihabara. On the day of tag, 2 pm, 18 free curious people gathered in front of Yodobashi-Akiba.

AR tag players

AR tag players

The players wore blue tape on their right arms so that players can distinguish the players from other people.

The followings are the rule of the tag.

  • Don’t trouble other people. (It was national holiday and many people were there!)
  • Don’t run.
  • When It catches a player, both It and the caught player will be It.
  • Don’t enter buildings. But passing under piloti is OK.
  • Follow the traffic rules as usual.
  • Time limit: 30 minutes.
  • It starts to play 5 minutes after others.

Thought the server of the app seemed to be not good and we couldn’t access to the map or use chat system at the beginning, we played tag 3 times.  From the second, It could remove their blue tapes to disguise them as usual passengers.

It looks for pray...

It looks for prey...

found preys!

found preys!

Oh, no, caught!

Oh, no, caught!

Radar in the tag

Radar in the tag

We could use the radar sometimes during the plays.  We found that the radar is a kind of sonar to roughly know the places of targets. The app doesn’t  distinguish It and other players. Though the system make the game more thrilling in a sense, we need another one to distinguish them.

We have done exciting 3 tag plays peacefully.  The official event will be taken place on 24th October. We hope the server will be fixed and system will work properly. But anyway, it was really nice time to play such a technological tag. Thank you players for coming!! When shall we meet up for the next?

Further Research of ARider

September 14, 2009

Hello, how you doing?

I mentioned the iPhone “chonmage” bike rider, or ARider on the last post. Today, I will talk about more detail and our impression of the equipment usage.

The HMD used in this experiment is T3-A by Scalar Corporation.  

The test was done between Hongo and Roppongi, Tokyo. To avoid crushes or falling down, we used a retractable HMD and used it while stopping. (Actually the HMD was being shaken so much during the ride so it is difficult to check the map even it is always shown.)

The HMD was light so it was fixed on the helmet with Scotch tape. Actually this equipment can be used not only while riding a bike, but also while walking. A GPS receiver, a compass, a main CPU, and a communication unit, all are included in the iPhone. So just connecting the HMD to iPhone, it is ready to be used.

This time, we had iPhone not on the helmet, but in a pocket, to avoid iPhone falling down.  Seen from a little far, the HMD is not so noticiable. It may be better than using other HMDs.

The screen of iPhone app is not directly displayed so we developed and used an original mapping app to display maps on HMDs. 

Our impression of the equipment usage is not bad. Rather, we felt it is more convenient to use it than to check the iPhone directly because it saves the time is to taking it out from the pocket. Thought the resolution of map on the HMD is not good, it is possible to check rough map and the direction. When the iPhone is equipped on the helmet, the map changes the direction following to the direction of your face. It can sense more slight moving than car navigation systems. 

You may think using a camera through AR is more useful. Regarding that, the camera captures images seen by either right or left eye when a HMD is used. However, if you see with both of your eyes, the image shown by the HMD is doubled on what you see really. So that is not necessary. Rather, if more simple information, such as the direction of your goal, is shown, that is enough. 

It seems to be longer to developed the “Cyberspace glasses” which themselves can receive your location and indicate the direction. However, the “Cyberspace helmet” or the “Cyberspace hat,” devices like above, would be appear before so long. 

Considering the safety, it should not be used during the ride. But as a navigation system for walkers or  bike riders these devices would be paid attention. Also, if a camera through AR is used and equip it on a backpack, the device can work as a rearview mirror.

As car navigation systems become more popular than before, the systems for other transferring, especially bike rider or walker should be, or would be developed and more popular in the future. We are also interested in it so much.

logo-arider

Hello, we haven’t seen you for ages, but under our silence, we are creating some new apps.

Do you remember that I mentioned the sister of iShodo, the app of MONTBLANC’s fountain pen? To tell the truth, it has already been released in Japan. So, today, I will introduce more detail of the app.

MB 001

Just tap “WRITE NOW” and write anything you want on the sheet!

MB 004 

If you tap on the left edge of the screen, you can select the boldness of line: EF (thin), F(middle),  and M(bold). 

MB 002

Also, by tapping right edge, 4 ink pods will show up. 4 colours are available:  Royal blue, Blue-black, violet, and Bordeaux.

Of course, your work can be saved in your photo library and be sent to your Twitter account with your comment.  

This application is the first official application of Montblanc and is designed for its longtime support to the children aid organisation, UNICEF. The model of this is a traditional and well-known fountain pen of Montblanc, Meisterstu”ck, loved by many people since its first appearance in 1924. 

This is FREE app, but we contribute 1 yen to UNICEF according to the number of download (total in December 2009)of this application. 

Your download will be contribution to the UNICEF!

Oh, but sorry users overseas… I know that some readers of this blog are really interested in this app, but currently, it is available only in Japan. It will be released at the AppStore around the world bofore so long. Sorry but thank you for your understanidng.

See you soon.

Hi everyone,

Regarding our goal to create alternative stationary for future, that does not mean to eliminate traditional ones. What we try to do is to renovate them for future style, so iPhone app is the new way for the renovation…

iShodo was born in December and have been loved by many users since its released. We are really happy our app is loved by many users. Regarding the app, her sister was born!!!

She is s fountain pen application. As for fountain pens, many people would use the fountain pens by MONTBLANC. The company is one of the most famous stationary makers in the world, and the new application was created in collaboration with the company! The same technology as iShodo is applied to her to realize the reality of the way to write with a fountain pen.

The baby’s face is now open to the pubic at Mitsukoshi in Nihonbashi, Japan. I put some pictures of her on this post. She will stand with her feet and start to walk before so long. First in Japan, and soon after that, she will be able to visit your iPhone around the world!

 

MONiShodo1

 

MONiShodo2

MONiShodo3

 

MONiShodo4

Hope you will love the application and we can create something interesting for you. Please wait for her until she is released on the AppStore!

As for our new application for iPhone OS 3.0, we have released QuickPigeon. It’s FREE app and now available on the AppStore ;-)

QPicon

Some of you may have already noticed on the AppStore! The top middle one is it!

This is a “carrier pigeon” application which utilizes the Push Notification Service, one of new features of iPhone OS 3.0. Though, a few decades ago, carrier pigeons were more popular than now, recently, instead of them, we use email, mobile phones and iPhone.

Email or text are much faster and certain way to send someone specifically something and get contact with them. But don’t you feel that email took longer to get replies to casual short question, such as “How about having lunch with me?” “Do you wanna go to drink?” and text is expensive to do that?  If you have felt such things, please try QuickPigeon!

Just write and send Yes/No question to your friends, and your questions will be sent as HTML mail.  Your friends can directly answer Yes or No to the mail.

IMG_0013

IMG_0657

By the Push Notification Service, the Pigeon will tell you that you have received the answers. His notification singing will be different depending on the answer. After some exchanges, you will be able to know whether the answer is Yes or No only by hearing his singing.

When you asked more than one friend, you can chekc their answers in a list.

QPimage

Though, this application utilizes the Push Notification Service, you can send your pigeon to any version of iPhone/ iPod touch and Mac. Receivers can also reply with any of them.

How about experiencing the little excitement of sending and receiving pigeons again with this application?

Hope this application will make  your iPhone life and communication a little more joyful  and a bit dear.

Hum… I feel like going have lunch with friends, “Have you have had lunch?” and send it to them by my Pigeon … OK!

IMG_0641

QuickPigeion Official Website

ピクチャ 1

WWDC is now being held in San Francisco. As one of developers of iPhone/iPod touch Apps, of course, we are attending the conference and heard the keynote. We are very excited.

2009-06-08_05-15-11_IMG_3669

2009-06-08_07-30-58_IMG_0003

On the first day, we stood in the line of attendees from early morning. Though we tried going there as early as possible, there had been already some other attendees when we arrived at Moscone Center!

2009-06-08_09-47-31_IMG_0007

2009-06-08_10-56-17_IMG_0008

You would be glad at the new features of iPhone, such as copy and past from app to app. For us, interesting new points are voice control and built-in digital compass. I often roughly estimate the direction by seeing the direction of the sun. But from iPhone 3G S, such primitive way you (I) do not have to use anymore. You (I) will be able to read maps smarter with the compass ;-)

2009-06-08_11-55-19_IMG_0019

Regarding Apps, Push Notification Service would push the usability and possibility of Zeptotools up.  iPhone is changing people’s life style, and we hope Zeptotools will change people’s work style too, for more easire and comfortable way.

Before we developed ZeptoPad and Zeptoline, we had to sit in front of PC or on the chair to write documents or draw images with PC or by handwriting.But now, using ZeptoPad and ZeptoLiner, we can write draft of documents and share image sketches wherever and whenever.

Up to now, Apps’ new notification was shown only when we checked it. However, Push Notification Service will notify you of something new in the Apps automatically. In addition, iPhone’s alarm sounds are changeable in each App. So, we think that the system will provide something new work style as well as some tricks!

2009-06-08_12-04-14_2009-06-08_12-03-50_IMG_0032

Considering such things, we are planning to develop something new app using the system. Of course, we are upgrading ZeptoPad and ZeptoLiner to be more tactful tools. I’m really looking forward to the future of iPhone, Apps and Zeptotools.

Hope the future will be more exciting and wonderful for you.

See you on next post or at WWDC!

Hi all, how things going?

The other day, I finally, finally completed all levels of Glandarius Wing Strike!!! Yetta!!

GWS 002

Maybe some of them also have completed all the stages and seen the ending. But some have not yet. The attacks by enemies especially in level 5 or 6 are extremely hard and merciless. Some people might think that the game is too hard to complete and quit playing. However, please try it again! Because we have released Glandarius 1.2 that has easier levels in addition to current ones.

GWS 003

In “Easy” mode, you can play 5 levels. The situations are almost the same, but there are less enemies and less attacks of them. Also, it is easier to defeat enemies than normal mode. Your score will be ranked separately in normal and easy mode. Let’s upgrade to 1.2 and go through all the levels of Glandarius Wing Strike!

I’m looking forward to your join in the rankings.

See you :)

Hi all, how’s going?

Do you enjoy Glandarius Wing Strike? I’m now at level 5 and struggling with the incredibly armed boss… I’ve sent my score to the website of GWS. We’re looking forward to your join the ranking. Please check it out and renew it one after another!

GWS level3

GWS level3

By the way, some players may also be struggling with the challenging levels. So I’d like to let you know some little tips to break through the levels!

First of all, many lives make it easier to endure enemy’s merciless attacks.  At every 300 thousand points, you can earn one more player life. To get more point, it’s better to succeed in “chains.” If you locked on 4 enemies at the same time and defeat them, you can earn a chain count. The number of the count multiplys the points you get. So, the more you add the chain count, the easier to earn your player’s lives. If you get used to, you will earn 3 lives at the first level.

GWS level4

GWS level4

And more, actually, collision detection is set low. So, it is not so difficult to slip into the openings between enemies’ attacks. Just try it when you thought your player was surrounded by enemies’ attacks and couldn’t escape from them!

GWS level5

GWS level5

Have you seen level 6? Up to level 5, you can check the images on the official website, but the final one is still top secret. Hope these tips will take you to the next level and you will see the final level!

See you at the ranking;-)

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