Here is a small demo I with my project mate did. It is a color tracking-based traditional snake game. The head of the snake is controlled by the movement of the chosen color. We used a red marker cap for it. The implementation is on Beagleboard-xM which runs Angstrom OS. Frames are captured by a reasonably good Logitech USB Camera. The display is by HDMI cable from board to monitor. [The famous Sixth sense by Pranav Mistry would be extension of this simple task. As Beagleboard can be run on 5V battery which makes the device mobile] . The algorithm used is a modified CAMShift, tailored by us to optimally run on Embedded devices.
Video of the same is available below
Evolution in gaming industry has been at enormous pace. The Computer Graphics technology is struggling to meet the demands posed by the game designers. The spearhead of the evolution has been branching out of late. Today, there are different arenas of games which aim at a different purpose. The most popular genre of games is the FPS [First Person Shooter] type, where the player is a character equipped with a weapon to shoot at the enemy. The primary goal would be kill all the enemies. Another genre of games is the RPG [Role Playing Games]. This is similar to FPS and you play a role in the entire plot. You are given an objective. In the quest to achieve it, you need cross some stages. After each such stage you are given more powers to handle the new scenario. There are many more types which are based on these formats. One common thing about these types of games is that they have a storyline. The narrator narrates the story tells the objective to be achieved and even guides you in doing so. In both of these, there are only two possible outcomes. Either you win by going the way you are guided or you lose, unable to clear a stage.
Now let us have look about these from a game developer’s perspective. In FPS type, he distributes some enemy characters all around the field. He only needs to track the position of the player and stimulate the enemies in the vicinity of the player to attack him as he approaches. One thing to note is that the player is guided to move in a path. He has no freedom to choose any other path. So, his actions are predictable. The RPG type is a bit more evolved type. Here the player is given a room for freedom in the way he meets an objective. A fictitious game of this type would have a storyline like this: The player lives in a small town. Some enemy has to be killed. But the enemy is quite powerful. So the player has to equip himself with all the abilities to stand against him. So, he has to earn money and buy some weapons. Until he procures them, he cannot beat the enemy. So, that is the bottleneck. However he has freedom in delaying the process or in choosing the weapon. But he cannot change the storyline. Once again there are some sub-processes which are independent and do not effect the outcome of the game (unless you lose!!). Further, these sub-processes are given choices which are also predictable. So, still there’s no real interaction of the user in the game.
Then comes a completely newly themed game Façade. It doesn’t have a great 3D UI to boast of. However, unlike all the above types it is almost completely based on AI. The storyline is quite simple. The entire plot runs in a single room with only plain walls and hardly a few objects. The player enters the house of a couple. Both of them are childhood friends of the player. There is a small discontent among the two. Then the play starts with the real time like conversation happening between the couple and also with the player. You are allowed to interact and interrupt at anytime by typing in your dialogue. The characters respond to whatever you say and also closely keep track of your behavior. Their further course of action and response is based on your interaction. The beauty of it is that you can control the story from then on. You can either make a compromise between the two or make them fight fiercer. The player has a complete freedom to choose how he behaves. The design of this type of game is where the developers have to scratch their head. It is because; the actions of the player are completely unpredictable. Although we can categorize them, it still turns out to be large in number. Further, the player can change his behavior at any time which adds to the problems. Although it lacks a great UI, it still is a giant step in the design of such emotion-oriented games.
On one side we have best of the game UIs designed to give the real world as well as supernatural user experience while on the other games like Façade try to bring the emotion into the game. Experts opine that the future of gaming lies in the emotion oriented games which can trigger you emotionally and give a whole new meaning to the word ‘game’. In fact the unreliability of speech processing under different circumstances has prevented it from being used in the current version of Façade. The day is not far when we can actually feel the game and consciously try to distinguish it from reality.
Not every time does somebody go out of the usual course of doing things and try to do them differently. We never think of inventing a new technique of doing our daily tasks, however monotonous they may be. With a lot of advancements happening in Artificial intelligence, Computer Vision, 3D Graphics etc which mainly aim at providing a better real-world experience to the user; we can still see the traditional Desktop layout almost untouched by this technological civilization. You might have guessed by now what I am talking about. Yes, its the BumpTop. I’ve tried it and its quite impressive and promising. For those who haven’t heard about it, here is an intro.
BumpTop is a pretty cool 3D Desktop application based on Physics engine which lets you do most of the things you do with objects in a real world. There’s a tabletop in front of you surrounded by walls. Each of your icons on the desktop can be imagined as a book or a page on your table. The cool thing is, we can play around with them! We can pile up books and arrange it, scatter them around or throw them on the table and watch them fly to the corner of table. Once piled up, we can view the books as grid or flip them one by one fan them out. There is also a feature of sticking your Post-it notes on to the wall. There are still more cooler things we can do with photographs. So, say goodbye to your old, boring, crowded desktop and try out this really cool stuff which is available for free download.