Betreuer: R. Malaka und M. Faust
Pervasive games use pervasive technology to create new possibilities for entertainment in the real world. The emergence of pervasive technology created a world that is filled with ubiquitous computing devices. These devices are available everywhere, every time in the physical world. The omnipresence of computing devices brought many possibilities to design innovative games those can be played socially with the help of technology. Game designers define game rules, competitions, and goals to create a temporary social community to provide fun and entertainment. The digital world executes game rules, or game logic, according to behaviours of the game participants and the game logic reacts to the participants. Pervasive games can be designed to enable mobility, interaction in the physical world with other players, and to accomplish the game missions through the real world activities. The freedom for mobility and social interactions also bring many possibilities to enhance the overall gaming experience.
Pervasive games are consisting of two different worlds; the physical world and the virtual world, or digital world, which should be coincided to play the game. The digital world contains digital devices and software components, which are responsible to execute the game mechanics. On the other hand, the physical world is the playground to play the game that consists of physical artifacts. The virtual world uses information about the physical world to execute the game mechanics. Therefore, the up-to-date information about the game entities should be provided to the virtual world to validate the information against the game rules.
The information about game artifacts in pervasive games is context dependent, which is used to execute the game mechanics. The game entities, e.g., player move from on situation to another to accomplish the game missions. The virtual world checks the contextual information of the game entities to check the game rules and to react when any of the game rules matches with current contextual information of a game object, or objects. Therefore, the context data of each object should be synchronized with the game mechanics in the digital world.
In pervasive game development the fundamental and primary requirement is to enable the use of contextual information. These issues are primary because they provide a basis to enable pervasive aspects such as matching the context data with game rules, triggering game events based on matching results, realizing seamless interactions between game entities, to channel the player behaviours according to the game environment, to deduce of new facts from context information, and to synchronize the physical world with the virtual world. For Instance, pervasive games such as Uncle Roy All Around You and Can You See Me use GPS data as context information to map players onto the virtual world.
Processing context information is challenging because requirements for pervasive games change from one to another. For example, in the game Insomnia, light sensor’s data and GPS data is used to model the vampire player’s interactions, whereas in the game Rider Spoke GPS data is used to track 1the player’s paths. Therefore, it is necessary to acquire context data from different resources to interpret its meaning according to the rules-of-conduct of the game.
A lot of research has been done on context data acquisition and its reusable representation. The context data acquisition is realized in form of frameworks and middlewares (Magerkurth et al., 2005). Current state-of-the-art in context data acquisition and processing provides toolkits (Schilit B., Adams N. & Want R., 1994), (Staffan Björk et al., 2001) to build context-aware applications, but they do not considered the pervasive gaming requirements. For example, pervasive game engine should be able to handle any kind of context according to the game theme and it should be possible to apply game rules according to the context definitions of the game participants.
Current state-of-the-art addresses issues context acquisition, representation, and its usage to development context aware application but not pervasive games. Therefore, a software component is required to use of contextual data of game objects and game rules, conveniently. The realization of a software component can reduce development time and effort by enabling the use of context data in pervasive games. It can also facilitate developers to accomplish game design challenges (Insomnia, 2007), (Steve Benford et al., 2007), (C. A. Lindley, 2003), and platform specific issues rather than handling primary tasks.
The idea of the thesis will be demonstrated by implementing a basic software component. The thesis will investigate, what kind of context definitions, e.g., (Petri Lankoski et al., 2004), (K. Salen and E. Zimmermann, 2004) are relevant for pervasive games and how they can be processed to build different pervasive games. The theoretical finding will provide requirements to implement of a software component that will reside between game logic and context acquisition. Further, this work can be extended by including a scripting language to write down game logic. This scripting language can ease developers to deploy and modify game rules, flexibly, in short time. The software component will help to define game rules, match context with games rules, and to trigger homogeneous game events to be processed by other game components.
The Implementation of a software component will facilitate pervasive game developers to conveniently use context information in pervasive games and to realize game rules more easily in a control fashion.