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 😀

Special thanks:

Ascii Media Works Inc.

Dwango

Koozyt Inc.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Tokyu Agency Inc.

Tokyu Corporation

Advertisements

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!