transforming a soccer stadium into an augmented reality arena


The aim of the Sport++ project is to provide a set-up that enables anyone anywhere to launch a game intervention on a playing field. The graphic below shows the various software and hardware components required to achieve this.

Tech overview with seperate hardware/software tracking technology (2013)

Games brainstorms

There's a wide range in features and preciseness to be achieved, based on a puzzle with hardware, software and organisational requirements and difficulties. Instant real-time multi-user action with exact field integration is the ultimate game format. But even with a reduced set of features, a lot of interesting game formats are possible. At the time when the first Sports++ prototype games were developed, the available browser was not yet capable of handling real-time interaction. A series of pre-destinied strategy games was conceptualised, using the movements on the field to calculate scores and game events. To lower the barrier of trying out a Sport++ game, the final category does not require any hardware set-up. Still, it allows people to get a peek into a world of parallel reality gaming.



Any stadium can be turned into an augmented reality arena. Check the location-aware app to find if someone in your stadium has already installed the required hardware, or is planning to install it.

If there's no session scheduled yet, you can either start a basic game (without field detection) or bring the required hardware and schedule/launch a session. To prepare such a session, compile the software in this Github repository and bring a laptop and webcam into the stadium. Set-up your webcam, and adjust the perspective of the screen. Start the data-feed and activate your stadium location in the app (2013)
 Github Artm: Sport++


Sport++ concept

Sports++ will offer soccer fans worldwide an additional gaming layer on top of the action happening on the playing field. This additional action can be viewed using an augmented reality app. Spectators that point their smart phone camera onto the soccer field will be able to see an altered live image of the field, augmented with virtual gaming elements and characters. The ball, the players and/or the referee will be, with their movements and actions, unknowingly controlling the parallel game happening in the virtual universe. Sports++ aims to fully connect the soccer players and their actions to the game characters living in the mixed reality game environment, to allow the audience to play an active role and to give supporters worldwide the power to get involved in the game in unique ways. The image below shows some of the sketches that triggered the original inspiration to develop a series of parallel reality games. (2010)

Artistic intervention

Making sure that the field integration would be more than just a generator of random numbers and game impulses, the challenge was to come up with concepts that resulted in a constructive mix of real and virtual elements, in the sense that the outcome was really making use of both components.

Within this category, the 'generative art' is a sub-category that's less about scores, less about preciseness but more about artistic visualisations of the ongoing gameplay.

Issues encountered

Unfortunately, the intended bring-along hardware set-up required for autonomous field intervention isn't very easy to use. Configuration is difficult for a variety of reasons. Hereby a list of problems we encountered during our prototyping phase:

  • Webcam needs to be set-up high up the field, so only a huge stadium is appropriate
  • Huge stadiums attract a lot of people, 3G connection drops dramatically and wifi is often unavailable
  • Press areas have wired connections, but organising parallel reality games on the field is not top priority for a stadium
  • A match at night or a match during daylight with huge contrasts on the screen have a negative impact on the scanning


Not only can AR and VR be used to enhance the experience of the spectator, with a portable VR wearable it's possible to create field-sized VR sports using GPS positioning to track your position across the field.

A first experiment was launched at the App Olympics event in juli 2017.

App Olympics #1