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Feature: 'amBX: Rumble in the Sofa'

In one of today's main Gamasutra features, and highlighting a more environmental approach to video game immersion, Iain Simons visited Philips' UK research labs to take a...
In one of today's main Gamasutra features, and highlighting a more environmental approach to video game immersion, Iain Simons visited Philips' UK research labs to take a look at the company's amBX initiative, which aims to use light, color, sound, heat and air to submerge the gamer within a complete "sensory surround experience". According to Simons' comments on seeing the technology in action: "Arriving at the Philips labs in Redhill, Surrey, it's difficult not be seduced by this fascinating proposition. The demonstration begins with footage from Revolution Software's Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon title. Footage set in the desert, and the ambient lighting in the room floods yellow. As we move into darkness, so the light dims. In another scene, a flame burns to the right of the screen – and so to the right the lighting in the room flickers orange/red. As collision events occur within the game, rumble features react from within the arms of the sofa we are sitting on. Finally, as a plane flies toward us on screen fans are activated in front of us and we are blown with air. Experientially, this is probably the most striking moment – albeit also the most surreal. Lighting, sound and rumble are features we are conversant with as players – but air?" You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including more the intriguing, if distinctly alternative game-related technology, which is due to launch a set of PC-compatible peripherals later in 2006 (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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