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Games Of 2020 - The Winners

What will games be like in the year 2020? Gamasutra's competition gave away 20 GDC All-Access Passes and had more than 150 excellent entries -- here are the winning essays.

greenlabel.jpg In the recent "Games of 2020" competition, Gamasutra, plus sister websites GameCareerGuide and GameSetWatch challenged readers to envision what kind of video games would be played in the year 2020.

As part of the challenge, the 20 best entries -- whether complex, clever, impish, genuine, or anywhere in between -- were awarded with All-Access GDC Passes, collectively worth over $40,000.

Entrants were tasked with naming a game that will be popular or cutting-edge tech in 2020. Contestants then needed to describe how the game is controlled, as well as its chief design concepts and innovations.

Entries were judged based on their strengths in concept, realism, and evolution of current gaming trends. It's expected that many of today's most popular genres will still thrive in the year 2020, after all, but the ways in which they are played could be quite different.

For the purpose of the competition, we presumed that the most cutting-edge games of 2020 may feature many of the same mechanics of today's games, but would include different control methods and varying degrees of lifestyle integration.

The 'Games of 2020' prizes are awarded thanks to Green Label Gaming. The Mountain Dew-backed gaming label is heavily supporting innovative gaming at GDC this year, and is committed to empowering emerging talent in the industry.

(In addition to the GDC All-Access passes, Green Label Gaming is adding $10,000 to the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival, to make the IGF's top prize $30,000 this year.)

What follows are the 20 winning entries, from an amazing set of over 150 entries, as judged by Gamasutra's editors. All details and descriptions are provided by the original authors. We encourage non-winning entrants to post their entry in Gamasutra's new blogs section.


GEO

Submitted By: Jeremy Johnston

So let me tell you about my day.

I hopped on the bus, and pulled out my GEO. 5:02. Plenty of time. Touching the icon marked PvP, the GPS loaded up and checked the immediate area, but nobody even close to my level showed up. Just some low level kids in a car going the other way (What kind of terrible parents let them set their profile to public anyways?) and a small group getting breakfast in the restaurant on the corner. I've been playing for too long to even care about wiping the floor with the lowbies, but breakfast did sound like a good idea.

I touched the PvP button again to make sure I didn't find myself unexpectedly challenged and brought up the promotions overlay. Of course, the restaurant with that group we were rapidly pulling away from was on the list. Should have known, I guess. Too late for that, I wasn't going back for what was most likely a potion or some coupon for half off coffee. I hate coffee. Turning the screen counterclockwise to zoom out, I saw another location on the way to the event. Fast food wasn't really what I wanted, but the promotions were usually good.

I got off the bus a few stops early, knowing that the walking might level me just a little bit more before noon. I considered jogging, but the cardio bonus wasn't worth it. I strapped the GEO back to my belt. No need to waste the battery life, since most likely any recharge stations that actually happened to be working would be in use.

Halfway there, I felt the long singular buzz that meant I was being challenged by an NPC fighter. I held up the GEO and turned on camera mode. The view from the lens on the back appeared on the screen, and panning the camera around revealed a man in a robe holding a staff in between the cars parked across the street. I lowered the camera just to verify that he wasn't really there (You never know the lengths cosplayers will go to on a day like today) and decided that his minuscule percentage to drop anything I want combined with my hunger made the choice easy.

I got to the entrance and pulled my GEO back out. "5:39" chirped the kitty. "Good Morning!".

Looking at the line of patrons with the same idea as me, I disagreed. Still plenty of time, but did I want to waste that much of it here? It was at that point I realized that I hadn't checked the PvP in this area. I flipped on the switch, and realized that the girl two people in front of me, LayzerPennguin, was about my level. Perfect.

I sent her a challenge to a pets only matchup, since Blackwing seemed like he was on the verge of leveling. I saw her look down at her buzzing GEO (one long buzz indicating a challenge) and press a button. The fact that she only hit one button let me know the contents of the message before I got it. "Try Again Later, Challenge Denied". Getting Talcd is nothing new, although I wondered why she would mark herself ready for PvP just to lose experience Talcing me. As I contemplated that, the sound of buzzing filled the room. I felt a series of short buzzes that meant that apparently, 5:45 was polling time today.

I turned off PvP (wouldn't make that mistake twice) and took a moment to glance around the room. LayzerPennguin didn't even bother with hers as she was ordering her food, but twelve or thirteen others did. Good news for me, since the more people locally who entered, the bigger the region prize was. I answered the question about the color of my first bike, just in time to make it to the front of the line while the polls were closing.

I slide the GEO into the automated ordering machine and it gave me my options. The sausage burrito was already sold out, which was unfortunate, since the posters and stickers everywhere told me it was the breakfast item of the month, and came with the best chances of finding a rare item. I picked the bacon burrito instead, and after paying (cash, not GEO money), a mystery box appeared on the screen. I popped my GEO out of the machine and sat down for lunch. The mystery box ended up being a dollar off my subscription fee for that month. Not terrible by any means, but I'd definitely had better.

Ironically, that was also an accurate description of the burrito.

Once I was back on the bus, I tapped the globe that formed the O in the GEO logo, bringing me to the worldwide info screen. Turns out that black (which happened to be the color of my first bike) wasn't randomly chosen, and there was no way I could be my region's lottery winner that day.

Out of mild curiosity, I looked up the current worldwide connection numbers, seeing a flurry of fluctuating activity in the middle east. Made sense, since while it was still (too) early in the morning here, it would be early in the evening there. The bus went into a long tunnel, and I lost my connection to the GEO satellite, booting me back to the local screen.

I hit the button to switch back to the local detection functions. The GEO connected to someone a block or two away, who luckily had his GPS capabilities intact. Back in business. I used him to bring back up my PvP map, and to find a dueling partner. With how today's events had been going so far, I found it surprising I didn't get Talc'd. The alternating short-long-short buzz meant combat was about to begin. Finally.

xBlueGreenBluex's first mistake was accepting a pets only battle without sizing up both of our pet selections. (I admit I was so desperate to level up Blackwing that this paragraph could have easily started with "My first mistake") All of his pets, while extremely powerful in melee fights, had very limited range on their attacks. Sending Blackwing airborne allowed the timing window against for dodging melee attacks to become super loose.

Combining flying with my skill at timing dodges (When I first started I used to shake the GEO so hard my arms would be sore after a day of battling, but now I realize it's all in the wrist), I ended up gaining the "untouchable" bonus exp. I felt bad for winning so quickly in such an unfair match however, so I emailed him a pet potion to recover. It was definitely worth it, and Blackwing leveled up. Victory! I turned off PvP.

By the time the battle was over, I was almost at my destination. I prepared myself for the series of events to come by buying a few extra super potions and making sure my armor was in top condition. I double checked the camera, and it seemed to be in working order. Lastly, I switched to my second battery, just in case, and tested to make sure it had full charge. I was ready.

I stepped off the bus into the crowded mass of players. I had already bought my ticket into the amusement park beforehand, so I skipped the massive line and headed through the gate. As I walked through, my GEO buzzed letting me know I had been counted in attendance and received a ticket I could redeem for special gear. I glanced at the estimated number of PvP flagged players in the general area: 1680. My jaw dropped.

While exploring the theme park and checking out all of the high level battles, I came across a few hundred players gathered around a small group. Upon closer inspection, I didn't even need to pull out my local scanner to know who they were. Chad and John Welker, who ylou may recognize from the U.S. leaderboards. If you've looked any time in the past year, you would have seen them at the top. Their guild is the stuff of legends, and they are the reason. Highest level, highest gear, highest pets, highest everything. So good that they have already earned everything in the game for free, and have been able to make a good living solely off of GEO. And here I was, in their presence. Unbelievable.

Without a doubt, it was at that moment that I realized why everybody who had ever been to one of the monthly event had told me I needed to attend, even if I felt I had no chance of winning. Because as I was crowding the brothers Welker with everyone else, that was the moment the Bat Dragon appeared. I didn't realize what was happening at first because I had never felt that buzzing pattern before, but soon they were shouting orders. I pulled out my GEO, loaded the camera, aimed in the same general direction as everyone else, and there it was.

By now you've heard what happened with the Bat Dragon. It took us three hours to take it (and all of the other random spawning mobs) down, and the brothers eventually had to split up to the different halves of the theme park, since the Dragon would flee and regenerate when it was being attacked by 10,000 players or more. I followed John's group, and when the beast was finally slain, it was revealed that I was one of 846 players who survived without having to be resurrected. Which means I've reluctantly replaced my GEO's kitty with a special edition Lizard.

It was the single most amazing experience of my life, and the only thing that can top it is next month.

Saturday, April 11th, 2020
Location: TBD after bidding
Price: Location Admission + $200
Will you be there?

-Posted from Superrodan's GEO on 3/4/20


Paper Planes

Submitted By: Tarl Telford

Imagination is our greatest natural resource. Feel free to recycle. Or, if you prefer, fold, bend, spindle, and mutilate. It's only paper. Got a dream? Put it on paper.

Paper Planes is the incredible new Massive Online Community (MOC) - the first of its kind to implement console ScrollUp integration. Never again will you look at gameplay as a solitary journey. Imagine a community of creative dreamers, just like you. You'll find every type of player here in Paper Planes. Wander through vast landscapes of user generated content. Interact with other players in museums or challenge a gargantuan mecha to an origami deathmatch in the arena in the Waste Paper Lands.

Where other MOCs give you toolsets to create your space, Paper Planes gives you paper – and plenty of it. Limited world interaction will be a thing of the past after you discover the amazing power of the Spindle Engine, powered in part by the robust Crumple Algorithm.

With your imagination as a toolset and a ScrollUp in your hands, you make your future.

Control Devices

ScrollUp Screenpaper – flexible, bendable, creaseable plastic game screen. Hard to believe that just a decade ago, these flexible screens were considered a rarity. Now with full microLEDs and nanocircuitry, you can take your creations with you. Just synch with your mobile device and bring your creative tools with you wherever you go.

The current model ScrollUp with the Origamix2.1 upgrade allows you to store up to 10,000 models from our database. Whether you're in the middle of a game or waiting for the latest download, just unroll your screen and choose your model. The LEDs will light up, showing where to fold the ScreenPaper. If you're feeling especially creative, you can experiment on your own and save your creations with a single button press. Upload your models to your album or our museum through our encrypted datastream. When you're finished, ScrollUp reverts to its flat state with a single command.

In its flat state, the ScrollUp can function as both a controller and a viewing screen. For controlling movement, just move your fingers in the direction you wish to go. Program the interface for a control keyboard, or shape the item into a joystick. There are truly endless possibilities for this adaptive controller.

As a screen, this unit has infinitely expandable potential for gameplay and advertising. If you pick up a piece of paper in-game to manipulate, the ScrollUp assumes that color. If you rip an advertisement out of an in-game magazine, it assumes that material, allowing for custom folding if you wish to preserve a certain area of the page.

TipTop Gloves – wireless fingertip controllers allow the user to manipulate in-game objects, from folding new origami objects to launching attacks in the Waste Paper Arena. The motion and spatial sensory transmitters in the gloves communicate location, speed, force and grip to the console, allowing precise digital manipulation of in-game objects.

With microLEDs built into the TipTops, eye-hand coordination becomes easier. Searching your memory for a particular fold for a model? Let the TipTops guide your fingers. With intuitive flash patterns these gloves can walk you through even the most difficult origami model. Once the finger LEDs are completely lit, you have completed the movement.

Game World

The world of Paper Planes could best be described as a book of maps. The Planes are separated by walls of aether. This keeps the various sections of the community able to come and go at will. Good fences make good neighbors. Each plane has certain user restrictions, much like user-generated content on wikis and other community websites. The permissions are View Only, Collaborate, Edit, and Delete / Destroy. These are decided on a Plane level by the administrators, but on a local level by the individual users.

For users that enjoy creating original origami content, but don't want to see their creations edited or destroyed, they may set up their home in a View Only plane. For competitive aggressors there are areas of constant chaos and battle. For lurkers who just like to see what's new, the options are also available.

While the community has grown tremendously since launch, the primary Planes that you may currently explore are:

* Waste Paper Lands – arena combat, scavengers and chop shops. Collaboration, editing and destruction at will.

* Dinotopia – danger around every crumpled corner. Monsters of all sorts and battles galore. Collaboration and editing only.

* Faerie Wilds – mystical creatures, fantastic gardens and more. Viewers and Collaboration with permission only.

* Urbania – Find pop culture upgrades and customizations here. Advertisers wanted. Collaboration and editing only.

* Home of the Muses – museums of previous creations, galleries of user content. Viewing only.

* Shoptropolis – storefronts for third-party created content. View Only. Paypal.

In each of these planes you'll find users that have made their base of operations. This has its drawbacks, depending on the End User License Agreement (EULA) of the Plane. With every plane there are mandatory control schemes enforced by the console. For example, when users pass from one plane to another, they agree to be bound by the EULA - which changes the configuration of their controls. So a giant paper robot dinosaur cannot enter into the Faerie Wilds and stomp on everything. Their player controls would be configured to the allowable control scheme for that plane (View Only – stop to smell the paper roses).

With the EULA carefully guarding player interactions in the various Planes, griefing disappears almost entirely.

These can be viewed top down for regional navigation with the game search features. Travel Maps plugins easily make the jump from reporting real-time traffic to guiding game players from place to place. Enter your search destination. Enter your start point. Follow the path. If you desire a ground-view path, it can appear right in front of you.

Each plane has a quest-line that you can follow to increase experience, gain aether and upgrade your collection. Completed quests win the player experience and aether points.

(Paper Planes' full game design document can be downloaded here.)


Fate

Submitted By: David R. Lorentz

The development of gaming in the next eleven years will be revolutionary but quiet. The technological arms race will begin to slow down, hampered by skyrocketing development costs and diminishing returns. In its place, smaller games with a broader range of dramatic theme will emerge.

Games will come into their own as a dramatic form, and begin to settle into their place beside music, novels, theater, and films. Many of today's arbitrary barriers will fall—those between the online and the offline, the real and the digital, the social and the mechanical. Styles and platforms will merge, and creators will come from everywhere.

As games' cultural significance broadens, their pervasiveness in everyday life will deepen. The continuing development of mobile technology, and the explosion of wearable, trackable tech, will interface the social world with the digital world, merging ARGs with traditional video games, and bringing large-scale gaming to the streets. Popular games will be cultural phenomena, discussed among friends and analyzed by art critics.

A popular game in 2020 is titled Fate. Like a lot of games of its era, it combines a simple gameplay mechanic with an integrated narrative theme, and extends a structured single-player experience to an open social game. A description of the game's central mechanics, and an analysis of each mechanic as a reflection on the state of games in 2020, follows.

Mechanic 1: Programming a robot

Description

Fate begins as a single-player experience, consisting of a tightly structured gameplay experience that presents clear rules and consequences to the player. It is a simple tile-based puzzle game, with narrative elements intertwined.

The player is charged with using a deck of cards to program a robot with if-then statements (for instance, if there is a wall ahead, then turn left), then setting the robot free to autonomously navigate obstacle courses. At each tile, the robot evaluates his cards, and performs the first action corresponding to a true If card. If none of the If cards is true, the robot moves forward by default.

Within and between levels, the robot talks to the player and opines his existence. He is not happy that all his actions are determined by a set of cards. He resents the player for controlling him, but at the same time he appreciates the player for causing him to do anything at all. As the game progresses, the robot seeks to achieve self-determination in a variety of ways; each tack affects a series of levels.

For instance, at one point the robot acquires a randomization chip, and for the set of levels that follow, some of the if-then slots are randomized. The robot is inevitably disappointed as he gradually realizes that everything in the physical world, even the human brain, is a deterministic system governed by rules.

Analysis

Technologically and mechanically, this portion of the game could easily have existed in an equivalent form in decades past. In fact, many games with similar gameplay mechanics preceded Fate. But the characteristic that exposes Fate as a game of its era is the integrated narrative theme.

The developers of Fate carefully developed the theme alongside the gameplay; both the gameplay mechanics and the story revolve around autonomy, self-determination, and fate—themes which were chosen for their dramatic relevance to the gaming culture of the time. This sort of integrated thematic development is common practice in 2020.

Mechanic 2: Programming a Human

Description

As the single-player game develops and the robot begins to question the concept of self-determination, the robot asks the player to conduct experiments on humans. If humans were programmed like I am, the robot wonders, would they feel any differently than they usually do? To perform these experiments, the gameplay extends to real people in the real world—to others playing Fate.

In this portion of the game, players write programs intended to guide other players from a defined real-world start point to a clandestine end point. Every player is a programmer, and every player is also capable of executing others' programs in the world.

As players go about their everyday lives, they encounter the start points programmed by other players, and may choose to take on programs. Wearable tech (network-enabled glasses and contact lenses), used commonly in everyday life, provides a real-world HUD for players to identify start points, displays the program when players choose to take it on, and displays the end point when found.

The programming process follows the mechanism established in the single-player portion of the game: the programmer draws from a large set of If and Then cards, in some cases writing his own cards, to program the path. For instance, “If you encounter a manhole cover, then enter the nearest subway station.” The craziest, most interesting, most surprising programs garner recognition amongst the Fate community and become hits; players can replay programs they like, though points are only rewarded the first time through.

The programmer's goal in this portion of the game is to accumulate points, representing data points in the robot's study, by guiding players correctly to the end point. Both the programmer and those being programmed are rewarded when they reach the correct end point.

If players get lost (defined as moving beyond x meters from the target area) or stuck in an infinite loop, the programmer loses points. If a player following a program fails to follow the program to a T, he loses points. All of this is enabled by the everyday mobile technology of 2020, which tracks player position and visually records player activity.

Analysis

This portion of the game extends the tradition of “big games” and ARGs that began to develop around the turn of the century. The thorough integration of technology and life that is possible in 2020 allows for a set of digital rules in the physical world to be evaluated concisely (by the system rather than the players), enforced, and integrated directly with the digital game. This supplantation of carefully designed and balanced digital game mechanics into the social world is responsible for the explosive popularity of games like Fate.

In 2020, many of the most popular digital games involve play in public spaces. To those not involved in the game and therefore largely unaware of the HUD elements that define other players' activities, these players' actions can seem inexplicable.

However, to anyone who has lived to the year 2020, these inexplicable actions no longer seem weird. A new breed of nerd has emerged, and come to be called the herd: this term describes the serious public game player, who allows the majority of his public acts to be defined by the games he is playing rather than his own agency.

This social phenomenon is important to the thematic impact of Fate; its relevance to the game's themes of determinism and fate goes unsaid, but is crystal clear to the gamers of 2020.

Conclusion

Games like Fate will play a central role in the game space of the future. The task of their famed creators will be to hone game mechanics to a sharp point, which penetrates from game, to life, to meaningfulness. The goal is for integrated gameplay and narrative to provide perspectives on a central dramatic premise. Technology will enable this revolution, but creativity and passion will fuel it.


Appliance Gaming 2020

Submitted By: Daniel Cook

The massive success of WiiFit was a wakeup call, not for the game industry, but for Maytag and Whirlpool. With a dash of simple game design, a simple bathroom scale outsold the most popular bathroom scales in the history of mankind by an order of magnitude.

A cadre of lapsed game developers, reinvigorated by their new 40-hour a week jobs, saw the obvious business opportunity and leapt for it. The resulting product: cloud connected household appliances combined with simple games and an augmented reality feedback system. The resulting consumer boom is widely credited with ending the economic malaise of America's Lost Decade.

Technology

The basic technology was quite straight forward. Hook up some inexpensive sensors and a wireless connection to assorted dishwashers,vacuums, refrigerators and washing machines. Add a feedback device in the form of a vision aware monocle. Viola, you've turned your every day environment into an omnipresent game machine.

The monocle displays a high definition HUD over the players normal view of the world. A camera with depth sensing captures the 20 megapixel scene at 60 FPS. This is then converted into a 3D representation and game objects are inserted in.

The resulting image is then redisplayed on the monocle. Such augmented reality systems are now quite popular. Why watch a static George Clooney on a TV screen when you can be doing the dishes and map a youthful George Clooney's face and voice in real time onto that of your spouse?

appliance2.jpg

Games

Application games were initially simple mini-game collections when you cleaned and tidied for points. These were pooh poohed as a fad by gaming geriatrics who still thought it was hip to wire a heavily DRM'd box to a "television".

Luckily, they eventually died out along with all the other solitary gamers. Over time, market competition drove the development of rich story lines, massive multiplayer worlds, and 18+ content involving the surprisingly successful maid games genre.

Business

Appliance gaming uses the popular "Free"-to-Live model. Appliances are provided at no charge, dropped off at your door by burly men who are themselves 80th level delivery paladins. Players pay for new play modes and status abilities.

For example, you can either play 20 hours or pay 300 yuan to unlock the warm rinse cycle on your washing machine. Since your household cleaning patterns are automatically Twittered (or Twoogled ever since Twitter engulfed Google) to your extended friends network, washing with highly taxed hot water has become an irresistible item drop in billion dollar franchises like World of Washcraft.

Adoption

Once wives and girlfriends found that their men were addicted to vacuuming as long as it involved augmented reality death matches, signups went viral. Within two years, 82% of American household considered themselves to be a moderate to compulsive appliance gamers.

There are downsides. Household arguments often devolve into husbands pleading to do 'just one more load of laundry.' The industry's current biggest challenge is breaking away from the 'hardchore gamers' and wooing women back to housework. Nintendo calls this the Pink Ocean.

Our bright future

Ian Bogost, Senior Vice President of the Hoover Games and Consumables division was caught on government spyeye commenting. "Given the correct reward system, you'd be completely shocked at the things we can convince people do with a vacuum cleaner. Why coerce when you can persuade?"

appliance3.jpg

His lunch companion, Sir Miyamoto laughed knowingly. Then they both hopped onto a co-op WiiBike and sped off on a tour of the Los Angeles Crater.


Birthmark

Submitted By: Jennifer Estaris

It begins with a touch.

Video games have long been accused of segregating gamers from real life interactions. Gamers emerge listless and bleary-eyed after hours in front of a screen, their lovers snap, untouched and feeling unloved, and after a few restless hours of sleep the cycle continues.

Here Birthmark falls in, with a hope to reconnect couples.

Birthmark stems from massage theories, experimental touchscreen gameplay, and Jeanette Winterson's Written on the Body, a novel of loss and love. The body is a coded text; as Winterson writes: "Written on the body is a secret code only visible in certain lights: the accumulations of a lifetime gather there."

Like the novel, Birthmark is a journey of discovery. It is a journey to discover the accumulations of someone's lifetime. By 2020, technology will evolve to allow for a new game console accessory: the Body Suit. Today's analog would be the Wii Balance Board, if the Balance Board also had a touchscreen.

The person who wears the Body Suit thus becomes the body-host. The game is controlled by the touch of the player (the person who touches the body-host) and muscle reaction and external response of the playee (the person who is the body-host). The interactions range from a slight touch to a deep tissue massage. It's relaxing; it's beautiful; it's intimate.

Certain areas of the body suit's interface glow, others spin with fractal or other designs, and some areas simply sparkle -- these special effects are the game's "birthmarks". The player's touch and the playee's body's movements affect the playing field. Finding, interacting with, and correctly manipulating each "birthmark" uncover music and poetic text, similar to the body writings from Greenaway's film Pillow Book.

The player and playee work together to learn which is the "correct" manipulation via pattern recognition. But in this game, there is no universal correct versus incorrect; there is simply what feels right to the playee -- what body-shades, what touch-feeling does the playee respond to and enjoy most? The playee responds via the muscle or skin's reaction to a touch (Does she shiver? Does the muscle spasm?) or via external response -- e.g. manually inputting in the degree of pleasure.

When the playee responds positively to a player-touch, the Birthmark system remembers and recommends other areas and touch methods. For example, if the playee enjoys a rolling movement of hands over her back, perhaps she may enjoy a rolling movement of hands down her arm – hence a sparkling waterfall may animate, as if falling from the shoulder to the wrist.

While the player massages the arm in a downward motion, the water image fragments into drops, and the splashing sound quiets to a few drips. Those who enjoy rolling touches fall under a certain “Massage Shade” (e.g. “Shiatsu shade”, as shiatsu employs rolling as one technique). The win condition is discovering and agreeing upon the player and playee's Massage Shade, as well as reaching a point of satisfaction. Gameplay can last anywhere from a quick ten minutes to a luxurious two hours.

On the most basic level, Birthmark helps couples learn about each other's bodies; in the single player version, the person learns about his/her own body. It also teaches basic massage (and brushes on the different methods, whether Swedish or Balinese or Esalen). On a more aesthetic level, Birthmark is about relating our body's energy to our internal energy; it is about stimulating our bodies as well as our minds with others.

Like a Kindle for the body, Birthmark has a wide range of content. The player and playee can select literary texts from innovative writers such as Ben Marcus and Shelley Jackson, erotica and romance, the classics, or even the latest news, stocks, and sports.

Music can range from sensual, Bjork-like tones to fun Electroplankton-style manipulations to calming New Age pieces found in a beauty spa. Massage styles can range in methods as well as theme, so that romantic couples, friends, family, and individuals can partake in the benefits of massage.

The game also includes other modes beyond the exploratory, open-body (as opposed to open-world) sandbox. Players can choose from typical forms of gameplay. One is following a set pattern – think Dance Dance Revolution with hands instead of feet (in most cases) and the playee's back instead of a dance platform.

Another takes word games to a feel-good level – players spell out words on a back, whether for Scrabble-style or Word Whomp-style play. And of course, arcade style gameplay allows players to trace over backs for a Pac-Man-inspired maze escape.

As the years pass, Birthmark's expansions could whirlwind out into how-to's for breast cancer detection, auxiliaries for cuddle parties (which currently exist, see http://cuddleparty.com/), prenatal preparations, combat practice (for self-defense rather than offensive purposes), and dual body-suit use (such as for partner yoga, dance, or even foreplay).

But until then, for now, or rather, for 2020, there is just the playing, the reconnecting, and most of all, the touching.


Chow Time

Submitted By: Trevor Paradise

My game is called Chow Time. I imagine that video games will benefit the human race and not just benefit an entertainment aspect of a persons' life.

Like the Wii has done when Nintendo created Wii Fit, my game concept will help your diet through manipulating your brain to think you are eating something delectable while you are eating something healthy.

Chow Time will come with a diet guide that would help achieve your goals, along with a guide for physical fitness through another iteration of this game type.

The controls consist of a visor to cover your eyes that would use LEDs to show you the food you want to eat such as, Indian food, Mexican, Fast Food, Italian, etc.; but in fact you are eating something healthy.

Also, your nose will be connected to a smell device that would give you the smell of the food you have purchased. It will come in any flavor and any type of food you want this will trick your brain into thinking something else and since a lot of taste is connected through smell it will feel like you are eating the food you have purchased.

This game is meant for all ages and is a try to stop the overweight problems in America and promote healthy eating even if you think you are eating something bad for your body.

Through Chow Time you will be able to connect to Food TV channels and taste the food they are making in case you wanted to buy that food in the future. Television would also involve more senses through this game and inspire other people to make TV more interactive and feel real.

Chow Time will bring the world to a realization that games are not just a child's play thing and a device to change the world and help people with real world issues.

By making this game, hopefully healthy food will lower in price and raise the prices of negative food and also make the fast food companies change to smell food companies, delivering great taste and not just extra pounds.


beat

Submitted By: Andy Sage

beat's goal is to use various elements of the “Web 2.0 philosophy” to make the music game into less of a game and more of a fluid way to experience music. The basic premise of beat is that players should be able to choose exactly what music they want to play along to, how they want to play along to it, and where all of this takes place.

Several things conspire to make this possible. First is beat's platform independence. In the current generation, all of the content for a game on a certain platform is encapsulated within that platform. beat, however, encourages players to experience it wherever and however they like.

To this end, versions of beat exist for every major console, handheld, and mobile device in 2020, but the same content can be enjoyed on all of them! This is made possible by beat's revolutionary approach to content management. When a user purchases a beat song module, that user's right to play that song extends to all beat games on all platforms. (See below for how gameplay works in this model.)

Supporting this platform independence is beat's distribution model. Traditionally, music games come packaged with a number of “on-disc” songs that all users receive. Their flexibility comes from a diverse selection of downloadable content (DLC) that each player can pick and choose from. beat takes this a step further – all songs featured in beat can be chosen by the player from the very start.

In a way, every song is “DLC”. Purchasing beat for a specific platform entitles the player to a certain number of prepaid song modules, to be selected from beat's constantly-growing library of music. After these prepaid songs, additional modules can be purchased like traditional DLC, and delivered to any beat platform at any time.

The platforms of 2020 are more than well-equipped enough to handle this kind of content delivery; omnipresent 3G data networks let any mobile device access the beat library at will, for example.

The most revolutionary aspect of beat is its modular approach to gameplay, which is what makes platform independence possible. Like most contemporary music games, the basic premise of beat is that the player is playing along to a specific music track as accurately as possible. But in contrast to traditional music games, beat has literally no restrictions on what parts of the song are followed by the player.

Part of beat's philosophy is that users should not be tied to a specific peripheral or platform to enjoy their favorite instrument. To make this possible, every version of beat features many different gameplay interfaces. While each of these is tied to a specific peripheral (i.e. a guitar controller) or other mode of input (i.e. a touch-screen with a stylus), instruments are not tied to a specific interface – so a player on a home console can choose between a guitar controller and their console's normal controller to play a song's guitar part, for example. (Some restrictions will still be in place; using the guitar interface for a song's drum part, for example, makes no sense.)

Each beat song module will support at least two official interface charts for every track in the song, including vocals. For home consoles, this will usually be one for a specific peripheral and one for a normal controller; for handhelds and mobile devices, it'll be two very different ways to use the device's normal input to interact with the song.

And, of course, beat has robust multiplayer modes – up to four different players, local or networked, can play together on songs that all players share, on any combination of instruments.

Why specify “official” charts? Another of beat's notable features is its integrated support for user-created content, in the form of custom gameplay charts for official modules, using any compatible interface the user wishes. As stated above, every first-party beat module includes interfaces for each of the tracks included with the song.

But what if a player is dissatisfied with a certain interface's chart, or wants to play along on a peripheral not included in the original module? The console versions of beat provide in-game chart creation for any of its interfaces, including interfaces that don't have to be tied to a specific instrument track. (This provides support for dance pad peripherals, for example, on electronica or dance songs.)

A finite number of each user's custom charts can be optionally hosted on beat's central servers, where other users can download and rate them. The highest-rated charts will appear at the top of each song module's “User Content” section, and each week, the beat development staff will select the best few for special recognition. Custom charts even fit in multiplayer modes, as the data needed to display custom charts is minimal, and can be sent to all players as required. This user-centric approach ensures that every song is enjoyed to its fullest by the entire player base.

While beat strives for platform-independence for purposes of content accessibility, each platform will offer unique takes on other aspects of the game (and, of course, each platform's interfaces will vary greatly). Home console versions of beat, for example, might offer customizable avatars that can be improved and upgraded through a robust career mode tailored to that player's track library.

Consoles or handhelds that provide console-tied avatars could implement those in the game as well. Perhaps some modules could provide the song's official music video. The game's modular nature makes it possible to include many such song-specific elements in a module, such as avatar animations, instrument samples or effects to be used with appropriate interfaces, and bonus content like band trivia or artwork. (This document deals mostly with high-level concepts, so non-gameplay specifics like this are intentionally left vague. Developers for specific platforms will be given freedom to explore different ways to interpret the parts of each module.)

beat is a music experience unlike any other. If its scope sounds too grand to be possible, consider its chief design concepts: modularity and accessibility. Every aspect of beat is modular: every song is a self-contained unit that can be interpreted in any number of ways, each of which is also its own module.

The flexibility this gives a developer in distributing content, both songs and ways to play them, is immense. And because of this flexibility with user inputs, beat isn't tied to a specific genre of music – hip-hop can be enjoyed next to classic rock, or a player might segue from Metallica to Daft Punk.

Combined with the user's complete control over their library, gone are the days of “I've never heard of any of these”, or “I don't like this style of music”. Never has a music game been so accessible! beat's goal is to eventually become the norm for music distribution, and between its platform independent nature, the cross-demographic appeal of its wide variety of gameplay, and the replayability provided by user content, this is a goal that it can definitely achieve.

(beat's full game design document can be downloaded here.)


Household Chores: Broom Breeze

Submitted By: Wesley Wiebe

The object of the game is to sweep the floor clean of debris.

Technology

It is controlled with any type of broom as you sweep up in your home. You wear 3D computer image displaying glasses with cameras on them. These cameras send data back to the PC or videogame console.

The house has already been digitally modelled by playing a different game that had the players looking around the house while wearing the glasses. The glasses can show a digital layer and a see-thru layer. The see-thru layer is so the player does not get disoriented with their enviroment. The digital layer defined by the console in this example is for productive fun.

Chief design concepts and innovations

The 2 chief design concepts are to sweep away water on the floor to reveal the real floor. The second is to splash or softly create waves of water while the sound and sights of a windy breeze interact with the 3D water on the floor and the player.

The 3 chief design innovations are to provide a more enjoyable and relaxing experience while sweeping, secondly, use data from a digitally modelled home in a cyclically, productive and fulfilling way and third the ease of use.

Minute-to-minute gameplay

Before the game starts you choose where you want to pile the dirt. (The water will collect into a fountain there when swept) Once the game starts, the floor will look like there is a 2 inch layer of water on it.

As you sweep, naturally with any type of broom, the water ebbs and flows based on your broom interacting with it. The water will form into small water fountains where there is piles of debris, the fountains will get larger and larger with more debris. It will take a pre-chosen amount of sweep passes to fully move the water (mostly people probably would choose 2 passes) to show the floor water free.

The way the broom looks to interact with the water is like running a broom through 2 inches of bath water. A secondary interaction is that the speed and accumulated sweep passes will increase the breeze sound and digital wind will blow on the water.

Finally, when the sweeping is done it's time to pick up the debris, when the dust pan is put over the fountain the fountain becomes plugged until you pickup the debris. Once the debris is picked up the fountain overflows like a geyser for awhile. When the sweeping task is over there will be little geysers certifying another successful swept floor.

Controls and extra detail and imagination

The player controls a broom while sweeping.

Additional layers will accompany the game. Broom breeze is seen as a layer over sweeping. Layer examples: Flower Fun where flower pettles are on the floor and must be swept into mini tornados, Kitty Catcher : sweep the playful kitties into the kennel to quiet them, Beach Bum Breeze where sounds and sights of the beach abound, sweep the sand away and look out for the palm trees. These work while still showing 30 - 90 % of your external enviroment.

Additional Info

Socially and fulfilling - The family will have a challenge picking who will sweep next because of the fulfilling and entertaining feelings they will get from Household Chores: Broom Breeze.

Lifestyle Integration - Scheduling can be used since the player will probably use the glasses atleast a few times a week for many things. The act of sweeping will integrate easily , just add glasses, for a dramatically different experience.

Complex hand or body gestures - This game uses speech recognition and hand recognition to choose layers, options and to know players desired actions.

Worktime - This game could work seamlessly into your sweeping worktime.


Muses

Submitted By: Will Jennings

I pull my lens out of the inside pocket of my purse by feel. Ack, no, that's my driver's license. I put my license back, fish out the lens, and hold it up in front of me. The screen takes a moment to come on, and then it shows the soup aisle in front of me. I turn and the view changes, like looking through an empty picture frame. The image lags behind my movement just enough to remind me it's technology, just enough to make me wonder again how they make the cameras so little.

I get all my usual info overlaid on the scene: the actual price I'd pay with my discount card, the X in front of non-vegan varieties. But I've been playing Muses again, so I'm looking for... there he is. Through the lens, leaning against the Cream of Mushroom shelf, is Joe Jonas, DJ Danger, the brother who never got arrested, looking a little bored in a cute way but happy to see me.

"Would you do something for me, May?" The speakers on the lens are highly directional and only I'd be able to hear him very well.

"Probably, what?" I move my mouth like I'm talking, but don't vocalize. The lens's lip-reading is pretty good, and even though everybody else does it, I get a little embarassed talking to someone that isn't there.

"There's a sweet old lady in the apartment building next door to you, just got out of the hospital from a hip replacement, could use a meal and some company. Loves green bean casserole with the crispy fried onions on top, but use the low-sodium kind, okay?" A scruffy man with a basket of beef and beer approaches the soup cans; in my lens, Joe Jonas strolls out of his way.

"I can do that," I mouth. On the frame of the lens, my task list icon brightens. When I pull it up, there will be a few tasks like the one I've just accepted, things that the game asked of me that I might not otherwise think about doing, but most of it's just my list of everything I want to get done. The way that Muses really helps is by forcing me to break down all of my goals into clear, measurable steps, showing me my progress, encouraging me, and rewarding me. It's kind of like having a personal trainer for everything.

In my lens, a can of Cream of Mushroom pulses. Must need that for the casserole. I drop it in my cart, my shopping list slides out from the side of the lens (the ingredients for the casserole are highlighted, since they've just been added), and in the air, I draw a line through "1 can, Cream of Mushroom soup". The list could update automatically, sure, but it's so much more satisfying to cross things off yourself.

"Cool. Call me later." Joe sticks his hands in his jeans pockets and walks down the aisle and out of sight.

Funny thing: I know I got an eldercare task because last night I told Muses I was feeling just a little lonely and useless, and the app knows from my facial expression logs that this kind of task has cheered me up in the past. I know it's all algorithms and stuff. But it still makes me feel like I get to do favors for Joe Jonas, not just for me, not just for my neighbors.

I know people that use a different Muse for every to-do on their lists, but I've stuck with DJ Danger for a long time now, long after I got our relationship to BFF and unlocked all of his guitar lessons. First it was for the retro kitsch factor, but now it's just kind of out of habit. Okay, for a while I was using Shirtless Joe Jonas, but that was a grey mod and after I updated the firmware on my lens, I started getting unauthorized celebrity likeness usage surcharges on my bill like you wouldn't believe. So that was the end of that.

Four months after my mother died, I tried switching my Muse to her. I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, and it was always my mom that woke me up when I was little. An hour before my first class, my lens rang on the bedside table. I fumbled for it, and there was her voice: "Would you do something for me, May?"

When I looked through the lens, there she was on the window seat, wearing her red blouse, pieced together from all of the video and pictures of her anyone had ever put on Flickr. It wasn't as weird as I'd expected. It wasn't as weird as cleaning out her saved letters or watching her wedding video.

"Get up and go for your jog, won't you? I've put a route in your lens."

"I can do that," I said, and I put my hair in an elastic and grabbed my sweats. On the bedside table, my lens showed her relationship bar creep slightly to the right. There were a few ghosts of the badges I could unlock with her, but I didn't care about those.

She woke me up on time every morning for a month, and I haven't had any special trouble getting out of bed since. I changed my Muse back to DJ Danger then. I'm not really sure why. Maybe the Muse of my mom was just too proud of me to be believable; maybe I got my chance to say goodbye. Maybe my mom just isn't as hot as Joe Jonas.

MUSES (2020) (For lens devices meeting the 4L standar.)

- Attaches game incentives to real-world tasks

- Integrates with a personal task tracker

- Uses connectivity and life-logging data to generate missions that let strangers be of service to one another

- Representations of famous or beloved people take a personal interest in your mundane successes

- Controlled by voice / lip-synching, touch screen, and by video analysis of real-world interactions


Big Game Hunters

Submitted By: John Daly

It's just an average day at your job. Noon swings around and it's time to amble out of the cubicle farm and venture outside into the city to find some lunch. You put on your slick steel framed Hunters Glasses, place your Hunters earpiece, and with black and white Hunters Gloves on, step out of the building and onto the street.

After a block suddenly your dark tinted shades switch to a red tint. A silky female voice echoes in your ear, “Players within range. Good Hunting.” The glasses are acting as a WiFi enabled computer screen.

You swivel your head to scope the scene and find someone standing out within the red crowd as a white outline. The man with the white outline is scouting the area as well, trying to find who else is in the game right now.

You get within range, pack a virtual snow ball with your gloves, approach slowly, wind up and throw with all your might the virtual snow ball at the man with the white outline.

“Player Eliminated,” says the female voice, “Uploading Statistics.”

The man in white turns to see you and drops his head in shame. He walks up and introduces himself, “Nice shot man. I couldn't find you.”

Your screen remains red as you discuss strategy with the new friend. Suddenly, a blue ball flies by your head.

You spin around to find another person with a white outline. Stay on your toes, there's more than one player within range. You form a ball yourself and continue the volley. Meanwhile, all the people without Hunters Gear go about their business and look at the Hunters players as just people jumping and swinging their arms. They are not even aware of the game taking place. This is Big Game Hunters.

About

Big Game Hunters is the future of first person shooter games. Think having a snowball fight with 1,000 people and the playing field is an entire city. Big Game Hunters will consist of a variety of different game modes with the most popular being “Free-For-All” mode.

The object of the game is to find other players (or Hunters) by looking through the Hunters Glasses, use the Hunters gloves to form a virtual snowball that only people wearing Hunters Glasses can see, and throw it at the other player.

If you hit them, that person is eliminated from the tournament. Meanwhile, they are trying to hit you as well. Players have registered on the Big Game Hunters website for FFA tournaments and the person with the most hits wins the tournament.

How Does It Work?

Big Game Hunters will be active over the wireless networks of cities or neighborhoods. In 2020, wireless technology is ubiquitous, fast, and free. Think 3G Network on steroids. Lots of steroids. Players will purchase the Hunters Gear at any local entertainment store or via the Big Game Hunters website. The gear includes:

Hunters Glasses

These glasses can work as regular sunglasses when not playing but are constantly synching with the Big Game Hunters servers. They are also pinging out into the world around you for any other Hunters who may be around.

If another Hunter comes within 50 yards of you, the glasses change to a red tint and create a white aura over the other player. You can still see everything else going on in the world around you, just the other player will stand out.

The glasses will constantly be downloading information based on the other player's movements and transmit your movements as well. If they form a snow ball (more on that later) you will see them doing so. If they throw it, you will see it fly through the air. If it does not hit a Hunter, the ball will keep floating through the air until it exits the 50 yard zone.

Hunters Earpiece

The earpiece will connect to the Hunters Glasses and provide you with running commentary when another Hunter comes into play. The programmable voice will let you know when your screen goes red that another player is nearby with the phrase “Players within range. Good Hunting.”

The voice will also provide your current score, ranking, and time left in a tournament per request by navigating through the screen using your gloves (more on that next.)

Hunters Gloves

The Hunters Gloves are what make the game fun. Once your glasses go red and you enter into Hunter View. Each movement with your gloves becomes calculated and sent out to the servers and other players.

By bringing your hands together as if to clap, then pulling them apart as if shaping an orb with clay. You create a “blue snow ball” in virtual space nobody can see but Hunters. This orb stays in your hand until you move your arm like throwing a baseball. The ball will then “fly” through the air and hit something.

The location of the ball, its speed and trajectory will be calculated through your Hunter computer (the glasses) and sent out to the other players so they can track its movements on their screens. The right hand of the gloves will also have arrow keys and a few buttonsto bring up menus within your Hunters Glasses. The menus can access statistics like hits you've made, top player, time left in the tournament, etc.

Game Modes

Hunters will register or create games via the Big Game Hunters website. On the site, Hunters can sign up for Free-For-All Tournaments in select cities with large numbers of people. These tournaments will be capped at time lengths of anywhere from a week to a month. It does not have to be just games with strangers.

Hunters can setup private games and tournaments for their friends or coworkers. Match types can be anywhere from “Last Man Standing” where players get eliminated (like the above scenario) or “Most Hits” where it is just throw as man snow balls as much as you want.

Other modes can include Team Matches and Capture the Flag (there are designated flag spots the player must place their Hunters Gloves over to grab the “flag” and return to their base.)

Summary

Big Game Hunters becomes a real life FPS where players are constantly moving and playing in their own world. It becomes harmless fun with boundless potential. Players are physically active, on their toes at all times, and constantly with a smile on their face when playing Big Game Hunters.


Room 23

Submitted By: Patrick Delaney

The next major innovation in video game technology will be the computer's recognition of the player's speech coupled with the mathematical decoding of human emotion in vocals and the believable synthesis of emotion and nuance in the human voice.

A relatively recent addition to the arsenal of gadgets owned by gamers is the microphone. Whether clipped to the ear or controller, attached to the side of a pair of gaming headphones, or installed inside a laptop or hand-held gaming device's framework, gaming microphones are now cheap, powerful, and easy to implement into a game's design.

Though right now they are only used to converse with other players or play inane mini-games, there is a rich vein of potential within the art of conversation.

Imagine: dialogue trees no longer mapped out in blocks of text but influenced through variables determined by emotion, inflection, and word choice. Imagine transforming a friendly soldier AI into a living, breathing entity whose propensity towards aiding the player is determined by whether or not the player took the time to talk to him after a vicious firefight.

Imagine shattering the wall between player and game by eliminating typed dialogue options, erasing structural distinctions between character classes, and providing unique interactions based on the individual player's temperament and mood.

While any genre of game could be revolutionized with this technology, the most visible improvement would be within games in which the player's interactions with NPCs played a dramatic and dynamic role in determining the player's experience. Though this applies to several genres, including RPG, Action, and Adventure games, I believe the most effective genre would be survival horror.

Video Game Title: Room 23

Operating System: Any with microphone support and enough CPU power to perform layers of complex calculations on the fly.

Required Hardware: Microphone

Room 23 is a 1st-person survival horror video game fashioned in the vein of such brutal horror games as Condemned: Criminal Origins, Manhunt, and the Silent Hill series. Gameplay consists of 1st person melee combat, high-tension puzzle solving, and dynamic interaction with NPCs. In the game, the players find themselves trapped in a sadistic modern labyrinth of concrete, metal, and human viscera.

Each room yields fresh new traps designed to weed out the weak in the most brutal fashion possible. Gibbering humanoid monsters populate the hallways between rooms. They are the unlucky ones: the labyrinth didn't kill them, it just drove them insane.

There's a horrible logic at work, some greater design controlling this machine. But who cares? Survival is all that matters right now and you'll never make it on your own. To survive you must team up with the people you meet as you descend into the Labyrinth, each with his own personality, secrets, and motivations.

This is where the conversation technology comes in: like the cult-classic sci-fi-horror film Cube, the determining factor of whether the player makes it out alive is not his individual capability but the relationships he forms with the people he meets. Not only does vocal interaction between player and NPC result in a more visceral experience, it increases tension by removing conveniently visible dialogue trees.

In their places are invisible networks of cause and effect, leaving the player in the dark as to all the possibilities. A given NPC may only have two dialogue results: friendly or hostile. Yet with the dialogue branches obscured, the player will always second-guess his choice: did he say the right thing? Was there another solution?

Removing visible dialogue options also helps prevent the player tactic of quick-saving before a conversation and then testing the results of each dialogue option, essentially removing any tension from the conversation.

While this sort of interaction may sound near impossible, it's really quite simple provided you structure the situation properly. Case in point: the player meets an NPC named "Mark" outside a room. Mark is in mild shock and looks ready to snap. To talk to him the player must initiate the conversation by talking into the microphone instead of tapping a button.

If the player is inside the "conversation vicinity" and the computer detects words or phrases such as "hello", "what's wrong", and so on, the camera focuses on him and conversation is initiated. With vocal communication, no dialogue options appear and the screen is left blank.

Mark demands to know who they are and what this place is. As the player responds by talking into the microphone, the voice-analysis software searches for key words and phrases such as "help", "calm", "it's ok", or "shut up", "don't know", "get lost", etc.. At the same time, the player's tone and emotion are also being monitored and converted into computable variables: an angry tone combined with rapid word succession influencing the "emotional variables" in a "negative" way, while a calm, slow tone would influence the variables in a "positive" way.

This positive or negative data, combined with word choice, allows the computer to steer the dialogue in a specific direction. In this case, if the result is positive, Mark will befriend the player and help him solve the trap. If it is negative, Mark will refuse to talk to the player or may even attack him. It is possible for the player to exit the conversation at any point by using phrases such as "good-bye", "got to go", "so long", and so on. At no point does any hint as to the player's full range of responses appear before the player.

It is in Mark's responses to the player that believable synthesis of the human voice is key. For example, if we want Mark to respond in a unique manner to the player's words we will need to make small adjustments to word choice and inflection: if the player says "Don't worry, tell me what's going on", we would want Mark to respond along the lines of "I don't know". Trying to think of every response, much less getting an actor to recite each, would be nearly impossible. Even when it is done, as with the indie game Façade, the result is stilted and unnatural.

Instead, Mark's words and emotion would have to be generated on the fly based on the computer analyzing the player's aforementioned emotional data as well as recognizing key groups of words at the end of the player's sentence. Again, good scripting is essential: it is possible to say "I don't know" in any number of ways, be it angry, sad, flirty, rude, or nonchalant. By controlling the environment as well as the tone of Mark's initial words to the player, a sea of possibilities can be channeled into a handful of manageable options: there's no reason to make Mark cheerful or glib if he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

It's all a matter of leading the player to dialogue "choke points" that come down to a specific set of pre-defined pathways. If the environment and initial interaction are properly calculated, synthesized dialogue can actually cut down on development time. Not only can it be changed to accommodate development changes, it eliminates the need to hire new actors for each project or to hire one actor to play multiple characters (as was painfully obvious in Fallout 3).

Synthetic voices and free-form dialogue will probably never replace the human voice, just as computer graphics will never capture the grit of on-site filmmaking. That doesn't mean they can't open up countless plot nuances that would otherwise be impossible to account for.

Even now games try to provide the player with magical, unique experiences that inspire them to fill forums with breathless tales of daring escapades. By their very nature, unscripted conversations conform to the individual. That means more exited players, more hype generated, more units moved, and a stronger argument for sequels.

Unscripted conversations won't reinvent the wheel by themselves, but they will make jaded veterans and doe-eyed newbies excited about the wheel all over again.


Olympic Revolution 2020

Submitted By: David R. Adams

2020: The year that videogames transformed mere mortals into Olympians...

It's the year 2020, and advances in videogame graphics, peripherals and business models have converged to create the ultimate in immersive, total-body workout and sports training applications.

A unprecedented consortium of video game companies, commercial fitness companies and the US Olympic Committee have joined forces to create Olympic Revolution 2020™ (OR20X), a transportable version of the state-of-the-art electronic training facilities used for all Olympic Athletes, and deployed them at fitness centers around the country.

Building upon the latest in immersive 3D sports gaming, players literally take their positions, alongside past and present champions, or online players from around the country, competing in the full set of non-aquatic summer Olympic events.

Within the dedicated OR20X facilities, the Gyro-Resistance Body Bands and Traction Control footwear on the Omni Track™ treadmill enable OR20X to simulate the conditions and demands of almost any event in any environment with difficulty ranging from beginner to amateur to Olympian intensity levels.

olympic2.jpg

In the largest national videogame tournament ever created, OR20X Gold Medalists are awarded all-expense paid trips to the 2020 Olympic games and a chance to qualify for the 2020 US National Olympic team.

Olympic Revolution Blog Entries
by Jake Thompson, Amateur Marathoner, February 4, 2020

4:15 PM - I can't recall whether this is the tenth or hundredth time I've tried to beat this level. It's been enough times that strapping on those 14 Gyro bands and getting calibrated is taking me only 5 minutes compared to like 20 when I first started. Then again, maybe I'm just moving faster given the 10 lbs I've lost trying to beat this stupid game. ;)

4:23 PM – Omni Track is available in 15 minutes. Good, they're running on time today. Between all the wannabe Olympians and newbie gamers taking advantage of the beginner mode, with its weight reduction and strength amplification features, the lines have been crazy lately. Good thing the articulation and velocity safety controls are in place, else most of those guys would end up in traction! I still can't get over how powerful these Gyro bands are. I know I'm never trying that virtual discus stunt again…even at intermediate levels the follow-thru damn near tore my shoulder out of its socket.

4:35 PM – Crap, prep's started. They've activated the fatigue simulators on the bands, and my arms and legs are already dragging like I've run 30 km. I haven't even gotten on the Omni Track yet, and the way it pulls on my shoes makes me feel like I'm running through mud. Oh well, focus Jake. I beat this and the next time I run a real marathon I'm going to lap that punk Bill. Bill, if you're reading this let's put some cash down on NY or Boston ;)

4:58 PM – THAT WAS TOTAL BS! Some idiot in the control booth left the game on Olympic difficulty. That was NOT cool. It pisses me off, ‘cause I was in my zone and I didn't even pay attention to the change in weather. That is until I slipped on a wet spot and landed on my ass. Didn't see that coming! Guess the traction controls are more forgiving at the amateur level. Ever try getting up in a mass of angry virtual runners, these stupid bands jerking you around as you're getting virtually stepped on? And I swear that Australian runner elbowed me on purpose. I know he flipped me off when I yelled at him. Anyway, I'm taking this gear off and finding someone in charge to file a complaint.

5:41 PM –Waiting to see the manager at the gym…supposedly he's going to vid' in a customer service rep from OR20X. Good…I'll get to show them the bruise on my ribcage from that stupid Aussie. I know my physical realism was set on high, but I didn't expect to get beat up. It's not like I was virtual boxing. (BTW, anyone doing that must be NUTZ!). At least the articulation safeties prevented me from twisting my ankle.

8:24 PM – OK, all ends well I think. Got an apology, a free massage at the gym and a bunch of credits for additional OR20X play. In hindsight, that Olympic difficulty was bad ass…sometimes you forget how much more difficult competition is at that level. And, allin- all, I did finish the race and didn't come in last. Makes you think…trials are still 4 months away. Stranger things have happened…

(Olympic Revolution 2020's full game design document can be downloaded here.) 


The Probe

Submitted By: John Rose

The following is a record of three days in the summer of 2020. During this time I encountered The Probe, a new and very underground video game. From the beginning I knew it was different; the disc came with an enigmatic black clip-on device.

This was the Probe itself— it resembled a tiny black eye and contained a century of spy technology. The manual told me to wear it on me, to take it everywhere. I did.

Wednesday, 6/10/2020

I go to work from 9:00 to 6:00. My boss is being annoying. At lunch I stop at the mall to pick up a copy of Mirror's Edge 9. A cell phone salesman hounds me about wireless plans; I hate those guys. After work, I go to Grandma's house to check up on the old lady and mow her lawn. I get home late and watch ESPN highlights (Denver dominates).

Later that night:

I put in the disc, insert the Probe device, and launch the game. I expect some kind of training sequence via shooting range. Instead, I'm shocked to recognize my Grandma's kitchen. And there she is, polygon for polygon, smiling and making me cinnamon toast. But what's this? A horde of zombie cell phone salesmen erupt from the cabinets!

A Masked Villain makes his entrance, accompanied by ominous guitar music. He takes Grandma hostage and directs his zombies at me. I see something shining in the darkness: a Lawnmower Sword + 10! Instantly I pull the starter cord and my sword buzzes to life, whipping limbs from bodies. As evidenced by the gore on the appliances, I'm winning and my sweet old Grandma seems safe.

Suddenly the Masked Villain makes his escape, but not before spawning an Explosive Salesman. With only seconds to react, I pause the game and scroll through my Abilities Menu. At last I find a Field Goal upgrade, unlock it, and equip it to my foot. I wind up and deliver a ruthless kick to the monster's jewels – my upgraded foot rips upward through his body and pops off his head. Fatality.

Thursday, 6/11/2020

There's an hour-long traffic jam on my way to work. Right before my exit, an El Camino cuts me off and I swerve to the shoulder. Flat tire. The Probe makes a sound like laughter (I'm still not sure how it can see out of my pocket). After changing the tire, I arrive at work late and have to stay until 7:00. My boss has gone from annoying meddler to meddling jackass. Finally I get out and hit the gym. That treadmill chick wants me bad, I can feel it. Later, I'm too tired to do anything but watch a movie on cable. Das Boot – how can I resist three and a half hours of pure epic? I prop the Probe up on a cushion to make it comfortable.

Later that night:

After enjoying it so much the first time, I just can't say no to The Probe. The level starts, and there I am on an endless highway. The pavement is clogged with abandoned cars, burning under an apocalyptic sun. Unexpectedly, the earth cracks with volcanic fury, and an army of demonic El Caminos emerge from the depths.

They close on me with intentions of roadkill, but I'm ready with my trusty tire iron. I beat them back one by one, shattering windshields and cracking axels. I'm suddenly ambushed by a ten-storey El Camino, and behind the wheel is the Masked Villain. He runs me down and I black out. I awaken miraculously in the hands of the treadmill chick; she caresses my muscles back to life, but I pass out again.

When I come to, I see the treadmill chick running for her life down the highway. I stand – I am healed! But the treadmill chick is in danger, running (I love to watch her run) from the beast. It closes on her. I reach for the sky and summon my steed. A flying u-boat glides gracefully from the heavens and I leap to the bridge. Flank speed! The smaller El Caminos rally to stop me in my pursuit, but I have already manned the deck gun. I spit thunder and death from the weapon until the minions are totaled.

Finally I can see my enemy, and he has nearly caught up to her. I man the conning tower and take careful aim. Fire one! Fire two! I fire all of my torpedoes, and they carve the air toward my foe. They erupt where car becomes truck, and put a smoky end to the abomination. Somehow the Villain has escaped again. Landing my u-boat, I give the treadmill chick some hearty, hearty thanks.

Friday, 6/12/2020

Work sucks – 9:00 to 8:00. The guy across the hall smells like rotten ass (I have a bad feeling that the Probe can smell it too). I buy some Girl Scout cookies – Thin Mints – but all I can taste is body odor. Plus my boss is so irritating that I'm basically looking for reasons to let him live through the day (note to self: maybe this game is messing with my sense of reality).

Anyway, he's lucky it's Friday. It's all good, because there's an Ozzy concert tonight. The man's 72 and still melts my face from my skull. The Probe is knocked to the floor of the mosh pit during “Paranoid.” I take some bruises finding it, but it's undamaged. In fact, it blinks a little red light as though it's enjoying itself. After the show, I trudge back home and turn on the season finale of Top Chef. I can't believe that moron won.

Later that night:

I plug in the Probe and take a deep breath. I can feel the final confrontation coming, inevitable. Ready for the worst, I'm still horrified to see the level start in my office! The Probe really knows what I fear most. I can hear the maniacal snicker of the Masked Villain, stalking me. In the gloom I see a mini-boss: my co-worker's floating, horrifically stank armpit. Seeing that my magic points are full, I summon an army of bloodthirsty Girl Scouts to defend me.

But they're no match for the foul demon and they quickly fall prey to its attacks. It comes at me in stomach-turning thrusts. Succumbing to the stench, I puke on the beast but it only seems to get stronger. Suddenly, I know what to do, if only I can remember the combo. I grab a nearby pair of scissors and unleash a fury of button presses until I hit on a special move from Top Chef.

It's an angry combo, full of dicing and paring and carving, and it leaves a clinging cloud of blood in the air. As I wipe my hands, I sense movement. I deftly avoid a teleportation attack and roll to my feet. I know now that my animal instincts are too much for the Masked Villain. The enemy strikes again, but this time I'm ready. A button prompt flashes beneath his face – I hit the X button! Another button prompt, and another, and another – B, X, Y!

With the fury borne of a successful quick time event, my hand rips the mask from his face. My boss sneers at me with an expression of fear and rage! I see a final button prompt and tap the A button as fast as I can. Ozzy's spirit rushes through me. I crank my boss' head nearer and nearer, my jaws gaping wider and wider, until… chomp! I remove his skull with a single bite and spit it to the floor. Rock and roll!


Symphonix

Submitted By: Richard Marzo

Symphonix uses thought input and 3D gestural input for its controls. It provides players with a way to create, literally, the music of their imaginations.

Thought input works like this. The user imagines a sound, which is then virtualized and played back by the game system. Depending on the user's whims, they can then adjust the real (game) world sound using their own hearing, or they can re-imagine the sound and play it again. The results of all these thoughts can vary, from individual sonic phonemes to complete symphonies.

It is anticipated however, that controls which gradually shift to more physical, bodily usage: i.e. to fully 3D gestural controls. For most people, gestures allow a more naturalistic way to control multiple sound objects than do thoughts, as shown in the following example.

A user named User imagines a collection of sounds over a period of time, say a week. At the end of the week, User then goes through their collection and picks a dozen or so sounds. User is less than an experienced professional musician, but nonetheless has some musical talent, though not enough to hold 12 sounds in their head at once. So they move to gestural controls in order to compose and conduct some music.

User arranges the twelve sounds in a circular arc around their body as represented on screen. Each sound can be grabbed out of this arc, allowing for a total of two sounds (one per hand) at any given moment. Each sound is a complex thing in itself, akin to a simple musical instrument. As defined by User, certain finger, hand, or wrist movements will modulate the tone, pitch, frequency, amplitude, or volume of the "sound instrument". In this way, User is able to create truly original music to their liking.

Of course, users around the world are able to share, sell, and buy their music using public or private servers.

During development, the testers create a meta-game. Whenever a song from another game gets stuck in the heads of one of the testers, the tester will play Symphonix and use its thought input controls to see if other testers can guess which game the music comes from.

This is the essence of the game as the developer wanted it to be. The developer has certain ethical commitments, however, so the game itself is free-to-play, drm-free, ad-free, and micro-transact-free (this differs from the music created with the game, which belongs to the users). Monthly, the developer publishes a disc-compilation of the best user submitted music, available for a nominal fee. But its copiability makes it a nearly trivial source of income.

Instead, the developer makes money through the most traditional forms of trade: food, fashion, and furniture. An interface which shares many ideas as the musical part of the game is also used for real-world shopping.

Video of players taken at home (a variant of gestural input) is captured and used for modeling their basic bodily shape and range of movement. This information can then be used by local or nearby shops to create custom-fitted shoes, hats, jackets, and jewelry. The designs can be player-made, but don't have to be.

Players get hungry, imagine something they want to eat (thought input), and Symphonix suggests good places to go. Or, one can order delivery from a collection of restaurants by means of gesture controls.

Ambitious players can even make customized furniture, that fits their own needs, by using a camera around their house/apartment/bedroom, and creating virtual furniture with their own imaginations.

A deal is worked out between the developer and providers of these products, which is lucrative enough for both parties and seen as a good deal by customers who are never forced to shop, but always have the option.

The shop can be accessed at any time during play, and makes itself known in the politest way possible, given the culture (Symphonix is an international game with global sensibilities, and released simultaneously world-wide at the same second). Or at least within the same minute.


MyBots

Submitted By: David Wessman

I envision a new gaming technology based on a convergence of miniaturization, robotics, VR interfaces, and wireless connectivity - what a mad game designer would do with networked super-advanced RC toys.

MyBots are mini-, micro- and nano-scale tele-operated robots that may be controlled through any gaming platform with wireless connectivity, (mobile devices, handheld game consoles, home consoles, laptops, desktops and wearable PCs.)

MyBots are designed and scaled to fit the needs of a wide variety of games – any game where the player controls one or more avatars or units.

The control interface is scalable to take advantage of whatever input devices the player can afford: from mouse and keyboard, gamepad, and touchscreen to VR glove and glasses to voice control and brain wave interfaces two or three generations more advanced than Emotiv.

Game Examples

Bug Hunt

Inspired by the 1997 novel Bug Park by James P. Hogan. The player controls an insect-sized “battlemech” style robot in combat against real insects. The player's perspective is first person from their MyBot's point of view. (Additional semi-autonomous camera bots may be deployed to afford other views.) The game world is the real world – wherever there are pest insects that need to be exterminated – your own backyard, the nearest farm or the town dump!

I imagine this having terrific appeal to anyone with a desire to hone their skills as a hunter/warrior, plus it has a real-world benefit of a pest control method that doesn't use the blunt force application of toxins or risky genetic tampering.

A variant of this concept uses dragonfly or even bat-sized UAVs to go after flying pests. As an old-school flight combat game designer, this one has special appeal to me!

Super Immunity

Concept inspired by the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage. The player controls a micrometer-sized “submarine” style robot that is used to attack and destroy harmful bacteria, cancerous cells, etc. The game world is within the player's own body!

This one raises some scary ethics and liability issues but I think it's a very compelling idea. I imagine patients with certain terminal illnesses would be quite thrilled to be able to take such a direct and decisive role in curing themselves!

Any Existing Tabletop Miniatures Game

Whereas the previous two examples could be considered "serious games", this is firmly back inside the magic circle of frivolity and fun. Whether you're recreating the battles of ancient Rome, Napoleon, WWII, the War of the Ring or Warhammer 40K, the game comes to life in an amazing new way when the figures are fully animated and semi-autonomous!

The games needn't be restricted to being played on a table, though if that tabletop had something like Microsoft's Surface technology, that would be cool!


RetroSpectacles

Submitted By: Jake Sones

I have been to the year 2020. Time travel was perfected in late 2019 and it was shortly afterwards discovered that you can only move backwards through time and you can only move once.

I decided that this was the perfect time to come back to so abuse my knowledge of the future and win an all-access pass to the 2009 GDC… also, I left my sports almanac in the future and this is the only thing I figured I could cheat at.

In the future, all videogames fulfill 3 different criteria:

1) They are portable systems. Gone are the days of clunky machines attached to large display units. The only older systems that generate any interest among collectors are the Nintendo DS and the iPhone (which has yet tobecome passé or outdated).

2) They promote physical interaction. There are strict governmental regulations about the amount of couch potato time that each citizen is allowed. It may sound harsh, but it got us out of the depression. The Wii is considered the grandfather of modern gaming.

3) They use cutting edge technology. This is going to be the most difficult to explain to you as none of it has been invented yet.

With these three rules in mind I had considered discussing several different modern amusements from the new style of Frisbee (it keeps score and displays it in 3' tall giant floating letters) to laser boards (imagine light bikes from Tron combined with the hoverboards from Back To The Future 2… no pun intended).

I decided that the obvious choice was to try and explain RetroSpectacles, the one system that no person is without.

schematic.jpg

Using advanced scanning technology, the RetroSpectacles analyze the world around you and modify your perception of it. In order to enhance your experience, they network with your friends to ensure that you both perceive the same thing.

For example, if you were to enable a monster hunting game, the RetroSpectacles would scan your environment and hide a monster within it appropriately. If you had decided to look in the forest behind your house then you and your friends would be able to work together to find and fight the monster.

This is what it looks like without RetroSpectacles, or just using a “standard” game of pretend:

woods_playing.jpg

This is what it looks like to you and all of your friends with RetroSpectacles:

woods_monster.jpg

Once you've found the monster, you can turn that stick in your hand into a magical sword, you could have created this sword beforehand using RetroSpectacles: Blacksmithing, or you could have found it in the treasure horde of a monster that you had previously defeated:

woods_sword.jpg

RetroSpectacles aren't just limited to objects that you encounter, they can also be used to change who you are. Clearly you would have a better chance of defeating that forest yeti if you happened to be… oh, I dunno… A ROBOT?!

woods_robot.jpg

In addition to modifying how you perceive the world, RetroSpectacles handle all of the backend systems necessary to create an entire interactive experience. It knows by how you're flailing your arms that how you're moving your arms that you're attempting to invoke the magical powers of your sword and send a sonic wave at that yeti, it can detect your furious blinking and correctly interpret that as robotic laser eye blasts unleashed upon the foul beast.

It also knows how much damage each of those should do to the creature and that it would retaliate with its frost breath attack, which causes you to see the world in a cold blue light for a few seconds.

There are several built-in objects that RetroSpectacles recognize by default. Of these, the most widespread has been a favorite among those wealthy with imagination and those blessed with natural pretend for many generations.

Observe the simple transformations applied to the cardboard box once viewed through the RetroSpectacles.

triple_before_sm.jpg

 

aftercardboard.jpg

 

 

As you can see, RetroSpectacles are clearly far superior to a standard imagination. Through the advanced shape and environment recognition, you'll never be at a loss for pretending.


Wizards of Wisflow

Submitted By: Christopher LaCalamita

Genre: Enhanced Interactivity Action Adventure RPG

Tagline: Utilizing Microsoft's XBOX 1080's cutting edge “Programmable Matter” technology, build your own potions, conjure magic, investigate treasures, and read ancient scrolls right from the palm of your own hands as you venture deep into the fantasy world of “Wisflow” on a magical adventure.

Concept Summary: Programmable matter is an exciting new technology almost indistinguishable from magic. Currently being developed by Intel with help from the academic community, programmable matter allows a person to interact with and morph three dimensional shape shifting materials right in the palm of their hands!

With the ability to call on and render these objects in real-time, the impact it can have on game development and interactive entertainment is tremendous if applied correctly.

In the Enhanced Interactivity Action Adventure RPG “Wizards of Wisflow”, you begin your journey as a young wizard in an incredibly imaginative fantasy world. Utilizing proven game design elements of the genre, you venture off into “Wisflow” exploring villages, caves, dungeons, mountains, and vast forests while building your character as you progress.

However, by combining the advanced technology that Programmable Matter provides, you end up with a brand new genre and a completely revamped role playing experience.

Game Snapshot

Setting: “You recently entered a dark dungeon full of smoke and fire and had been fighting through swarms of goblins as you ventured deep into this ancient evil cave. Just a few moments ago, you faced a large ogre and had been battling it for some time now. You don't have much life left and neither does he. Something tells you that one more devastating blow will defeat him once and for all.”

Real Life Interaction: Using your controller, you call on your inventory. It immediately appears three dimensionally right in front of you on your “Programmable Matter Pad” that you have placed on your coffee table. Within your inventory, you quickly pull up your magic scrolls and select your favorite spell, “Dragons of Fire”.

The ancient scroll appears in front of you for you to unroll and read. You read a line thus activating the magic spell. The scroll disintegrates and then morphs into three flaming dragon heads right in front of your eyes! At that moment, the dragons seem to zip towards your television screen targeting the near dead ogre. That graphic translates onto your television screen and smashes the ogre defeating him once and for all.

Afterwards, you walk your character over to a treasure chest and open it. Instead seeing text on your television screen describing what you found, the treasure chest and the objects appear right in front of you on your “Programmable Matter Pad” for you yourself to investigate.

Justification: This is just one game design I have considered that utilizes “Programmable Matter”. The possibilities of this technology within the interactive entertainment industry are endless.

Whether it is used for pure entertainment, educational, or even product placement purposes, “Programmable Matter” is the future technology that will change the way we design games.

I encourage you to review this CNN video explaining Programmable Matter via the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZlE4AH3enU


PacYourSack

Submitted By: David Tidd

Video games have wheedled their way into many areas of our daily lives. At work you can shirk you duties by playing flash games on your computer; while driving you can play cell phones games instead of observing the traffic laws; and, of course, at home console games are a great way to avoid bond with your family. Life sure has become convenient.

Unfortunately, sometimes we are forced to put down those devices and deal with reality. But by the year 2020, that problem will be corrected, as even the most onerous of tasks, such as grocery shopping, will be made enjoyable through the incorporation of video games.

PacYourSack is a game system that transforms the grocery shopping experience into the classic Pac-Man arcade game. The hardware needed to run PacYourSack consists of:

1. A small, battery-powered display screen which clips onto the front of the cart so that the shopper/player can see it while he or she pushes the cart.

2. A server which wirelessly communicates with the carts, somewhere in the store.

3. A computer terminal at which the customer can input a grocery list.

PacYourSack is played as follows. When customers come into the store, they prepare to play by going to the computer terminal and entering their grocery list.

They enter their grocery list by choosing products in the computer's database, which should have all items available in the store. Once that's done, this list is downloaded into one of the displays which the customers then put on the front of their cart.

Now the game is ready to start. The server loads the Pac-Man-like maze onto the display which is a map of the aisles in the store, as well as power pellets at the locations of the items on the list. The player's character, Sackman, is also loaded at the location of the player's cart.

The game then plays like a traditional game of Pac-Man. The shopper moves Sackman around by physically moving the cart through the aisles, avoiding the ghosts, and collecting the items on the list. Whenever the player gets caught by a ghost, the ghosts are reset and the player's score is decreased, but there is no “Game Over” in this version of Pac-Man.

One possibility to get players more interested in the game would be to reward them for how well they did. When they finish shopping they will return the display to the cashier who will give them a discount on their purchase based on how good their score is.

This game is more reasonable in the year 2020 due to increasing percentage of the population that games casually. Right now, most shoppers would probably gawk at such a system, but in eleven years, stores may be competing for customers by having the most enjoyable shopping experience through games.


Play Everywhere

Submitted By: Angie Oikawa

I. GAME OVERVIEW

A. Essence Statement & Future Trend Overview

Play Everywhere! is a diverse collection of casual, social gaming experiences that integrate easily into a persons everyday life. PE! is a mobile "game platform" that allows people to choose virtual "Smart Game Objects", customize them, and place them into real world locations for friends to find and play with.

With the PE! platform, real world "Location-Based Gaming" blurs the lines of fantasy and reality, allowing society to strengthen its overall creative expression and empathetic connections.

Play Everywhere! draws upon and projects into the future of several current key trends including the mobile functionality and tight feature integration of the GPS-capable iPhone, the real life intuitiveness of the Wii, and various layers and ad hoc events within the social networks of Facebook. I believe that mobile technology will become even more widespread offering powerful media platforms with much higher computing power, bandwidth and visual fidelity.

Whether it is an evolved smart phone with a high resolution holographic display, or glasses that allow a person to superimpose virtual objects into the real world, there will likely be a widely-accessible mobile platform that can allow people to participate in virtual reality enhanced, location-based gaming.

B. Play Everywhere! Example Gameplay Experiences

1. Receiving something from a friend:

Imagine you are on your way to work, and suddenly you receive a notification on your phone telling you that your friend has left something for you at the coffee shop you go to. You stop by on the way to work, scan the area with your information device, and a large statue rises up from the ground which only you can see. It asks you a joke that only you and a best friend would know.

2. Leaving a surprise for a friend:

It's your anniversary and you want to do something really unique for your wife. You surprise her at work with a notification that there is something waiting for her at home. She comes in, scans the area and is greeted by a flock of doves who sing to her and drop rose petals across the hall way into the bedroom where you are waiting for her.

3. Flash Mob alerts:

You're out taking a walk one day and you're notified of a New "Flash Mob" destination. You are told to wear a pink shirt and meet in a specific location at a certain time. You get there and there are 200 people wearing pink, but no one knows why. You get a message telling you to walk 5 blocks to another location, where you find out that you just did a walk to raise money for breast cancer.

C. Key Features

- Brings gaming into a person's daily life; they don't have to adapt to the constraints of gaming on consoles and computers, the fun is where you choose it to be.

- Friends, family, strangers - any two people who share something in common can share in one of these casual experiences.

- The experiences are fun and personalized, and have the potential to add a whole new layer to life, in an easy and accessible way.

- Provides players with the freedom to express deeper, use their imagination to it's full potential in a fun, "sandbox" environment that is familiar to them.

- The future of social gaming/networking engages people on an emotionally fulfilling level, and creates an experience that allows people to feel more connected.

D. Key Current Trends:

Some examples of how current trends project into this experience.

1. Facebook:

- The world becomes your wall. Instead of a "Wall Post", a person can make a "World Post" and leave a Smart Game Object for one or more people in a real world location.

2. iPhone:

- Accessible and portable, to make strong use of location based devices. (like GPS)

3. Wii:

- Brings real world conventions to us, like sports, and yoga, into our daily routine.

- Take it a step further, bringing your own fun to coffee shops, your school etc.

II. GAMEPLAY DESCRIPTION

Play Everywhere! s is a game platform that allows anyone to invite their friends into a simple game experience that ties into their daily lives. The key to the simple, location based fun of Play Everywhere! is the concept of Smart Game Objects.

A. Smart Game Objects

These objects allow players to choose or create a large variety of casual gaming elements and superimpose them into real-world locations. Players can either choose from a library of pre-created objects, or go to the Game Construction Workshop to modify or create their own. These objects then become available to the wider Play Everywhere! community.

- A virtual object that can be selected from a library or created from scratch.

- These objects come with game logic, which can be Artificial Intelligence (e.g. a talking statue that asks riddles or simply insults someone in a personalized way), a puzzle (e.g. place the seed into the pot and watch it sprout into a tree with "magical" fruit), or something with a clear gameplay objective (e.g. a large robot chases you and you need to shoot it with your ray gun in vital areas until it is disabled).

- An object can be tagged to any location in the world, and can be accessible to one person, or to many people.

- Through a mobile information device (like an iPhone), these objects can be created and shared anytime, anywhere.

B. Social Networking:

Play Everywhere! is a gaming platform integrated tightly with a strong social networking community.

1. How to get into the game; Receiving Friend invite:

- Receiving notification, click a link, and connect to a GPS map showing you the location of your item.

2. How to get others into the game; Sending Friend invite:

- Create an item in the game Construction workshop and invite friends through any communication medium.

a. To leave an item for your friend:

- Choose an item by using already created ones from the website, or create your own with the Item Creator Tool.

- Enter location you want to leave the item.

- Enter your friends email or other contact information.

- Friend instantly receives the notification on his phone, showing the location of the item on his GPS.

- Friend shows up at location and scans area.

- To make item visible, friend must speak a password via voice recognition or other secure method.

C. Game Construction Workshop:

Here is where you find, create or customize your personal items. This is your ability to plant an interactive object anywhere in the world and choose to have it public or private.

1. How to find an item to place in the world: Library:

- Open library and see what's there. Customize the item.

- Ability to take an object from the library and place it into the world. These objects come with a set of conditions such as: AI, Scores, Puzzle Mechanics, etc.

- Take objects and place them in the real world to use as we choose using GPS and location-based functionality on mobile devices.

2. How to customize or create your own items: Tools:

- Simple, easy to pick up, browse library and choose an item.

- Library is adaptive and learns from your preferences, the more you use it the more it delivers you what youre looking for simialar to the iTunes genius.

- Choose the theme of your world or participate in another person's theme.

- Items have gameplay logic and conditions such as AI - items can interact with you, each other, and other players.

D. Additional Fun Gameplay Examples:

- Set up a scavenger hunt for your next birthday party.

- Leave sexy clues for your husband to find on your anniversary.

- Write a poem for your crush across an entire building.

- Travel into space without leaving your bedroom.

- Play a practical joke on your best friend by leaving a surprise package at their door.


Structures

Submitted By: Jim McGinley

We're driving to the cottage when I spot it. The GPS channel is showing a giant deposit of carbon nanotubes at the next exit. "Our problems are solved!" I announce. "You found TUBES!!?" she screams while swiveling the screen to face her.

I take the exit (we're going to be late) while my wife claims the find via her iP6hone. "On the count of 3... 2... 1..." All members of our union are subjected to a broadcast of my wife and I shouting "Tubes! I repeat - TUBES! Woo-Hoo! Start Building!!!" Generally I avoid mass broadcasts, but this is important.

She immediately remotes into the PSXBOX 724 (thanks to some funky hacks, her phone doubles as a controller). Work required me to get a static IP address for the car, and getting the PSXBOX 724 to broadcast to it was a cinch (surprisingly). That means she doesn't have to play on her tiny screen. She changes the LCD input from GPS to Game (along with the Radio channel), and we're ready to oversee the construction.

As usual, most of the new members are creating pipes. Nothing wrong with that, every city needs them to route the never ending water and sewage. Plus, laying and splitting the pipes is always fun, which is probably why you can build them freely.

If the players attached to each other they'd be a lot more efficient, but that's something you need to learn for yourself. Needless to say, I haven't laid pipes in about a month.

A group of people have gathered. Thanks to all the tubes, they're going to attempt a 50 segment structure. That's really ambitious, but if it works we can use it to create some really tall buildings in the city. The bottom of the structure is composed of 20 segments, each a seasoned player who can drive properly.

The rest of the players are attaching themselves to this foundation, and a workable torso, chest and shoulder are now in place. A humerus is forming, and my wife attaches herself to it becoming an elbow of sorts. The remaining players attach to my wife forming a halfway decent arm. From a distance, it looks like a large wireframe King Kong full of people (if King Kong was fat, deformed, and 1 armed).

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so - someone has just plastered a picture of King Kong's head at the top. Now there's a 500 foot furry cat tail coming out the rear. It's wagging. I'm not sure how they did that. Luckily, today we only need to be a crane.

structures.jpg

The conductor sends out instructions to move Fat Kitty Kong. Keeping 50 segments in sync is no easy task, especially if you're trying to walk or rotate the structure. Luckily, the players only need to press the buttons at the right time (following the individual patterns sent by the conductor).

I find the dynamically generated music helps in this regard, but not everyone agrees. Our conductor sticks to the basic movement patterns generated by the A.I. We walk to the quarry, rotate the torso, extend the arm (which automatically grabs clay), and begin walking the clay to the city.

While walking, we slowly begin to tip over. The drivers stop walking, but we're still tipping. My wife quickly contracts her segment, causing the elbow to retract, bringing the heavy clay closer to the body of the structure resulting in a better center of balance.

We stop tipping, and everyone begins cheering. We begin walking once again. We dump the clay on top of a small building and watch it automatically grow several stories. This city is really shaping up.

I've seen expert conductors (and improvising segments) get their structures to slither like a snake, run like a tiger and dance like Michael Jackson. We're not that good. When our union improvises, the aftermath is usually disastrous - albeit hilarious.

We've managed to perfect a silly walk, and that's mostly thanks to the fact we formed a giant pair of wireframe pants. When I first started playing, we used to build structures as high as possible, and then try moving in different directions all at the same time.

Once we realized Blizzard charged extra to bring players back to life, we stopped. Needless to say, we won't be playing Structure versus Structure anytime soon.

We're near the cottage. My wife leaves the A.I. in charge of her segment, and turns off the PSXBOX 724 and then her phone. Hopefully 3 hours was enough for the A.I. to learn how to emulate my wife.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if half the structures in the game are completely A.I. It's impossible to tell, especially since Facebook began allowing fake profiles. As I exit the car, it dawns on me that I won't be playing this weekend (we've agreed to no electronic devices while on vacation). I wish A.I. could emulate my time at the cottage.

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