Sport++transforming a soccer stadium into an augmented reality arena
COMING SOON: the world is getting ready for a new wave of augmented reality enthusiasm, and so are we.
We'll soon be launching a Sports++ game suitable to be experienced on the new type of holographic headsets that will soon hit the market.
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.
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.
Github Artm: Sport++
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.
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.
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
augmented reality sports today
DIY Microsoft Hololens
This image is a screenshot of a recently launched Microsoft videoclip, to help you imagine
how you'll experience being a sport spectator in the future.
But instread of imagining, why not take a real peek into a world of holographic augmented reality?
It's possible uusing your own smartphone to create a do-it-yourself 'hololens'. We're currently
converting some of our game formats to run on this type of viewer.
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.
This category of games is called 'passive arcade'. Virtual elements on the field do show
game behaviour, but there's no permanent user-control. Object need to be positioned strategically, the activity on the field is triggering the gameplay amongst the items.
Place a flag at a strategic spot on the playing field. When places, a cup on top of the pole rotates. It slows down over time, but it recieves a new swing when a player passes by.
Available in Sport++ app
dependent on player tracking hardware set-up
This category of games is called 'strategic interventions' because these will be require a user to
make strategic choices first, and then await the outcomes passively. Sports++ was in need of such a genre because it's difficult to create reliable and user-friendly action games based on the unreliable data, and at the time of releasing the first prototypes the software platform Layar was not yet including real-time controls.
Place an additional goal on a strategic spot on the playing field. Score a point whenever a player passes through the goal.
Available in Sport++ app
dependent on player tracking hardware set-up
This genre of games can be played without installing the tracking hardware. There's no direct relation between the movements of the players on the field and the events in the game. The GPS-coordinate of the field
can be used to as a way to situatie a multi-user game, but this genre also includes the more basic
game formats that are not more than just a visual intervention/overlay on top of the playing field for a single viewer.
Decades ago, the Pong game was an exciting multi-user experience. At the time of the first augmented reality browsers for mobile phones, the functional possibilities were almost similar to the limited technical options available at the time of Pong. As a tribute to Pong, a contemporary version of this classic ballgame was created to be played within the stadium as a multi-user context. Just like the old game of Pong, the game consists of bashing a 'ball' (a square, like in the old days, but then in 3D augmented reality) back and forth. "Slow gaming", as the interface of the Layar app at the time did not provide real-time controls and instant action.. In the current release of the game, there's one continuous game session, and the whole world is invited to join.
GAME RULES: point phone around, find target. Click 'shoot'. When a shot reaches the opponent, he/she needs to
shoot back. The shooter scores a point when the target fails to shoot back.
The Dinosauccer game can be played in stand-alone mode. It can be played on the most basic devices with only a compass feature, because the augmented reality works as a 360 degree visualisation circling around the user.
GAME RULES: click footsteps to move your dinosaur. Click button to kick the ball. When the fire spitting dino burns the ball or if you step on it, game over!