(thesis advisor)Sven Travis
Mixed Reality systems explore the overlap of the digital information and physical space. Fertile Ground is a game system that leverages this technology to create new spaces for digital play in physical space. The system works by throwing physical darts at a projected playfield, which reacts to the location of the darts through Computer Vision. The player competes against the game environment to influence the behavior of digital creatures inhabiting the playfield. The player is rewarded for their performance in controlling the creatures by building up an arsenal of new methods of affecting the creatures’ behavior. The game accepts input from players manipulation of the physical objects, without the need for control using buttons or other physical interface elements. While extensive user testing led to several iterations of the formal rules of play in the game, as well as the creation of a number of varied software systems to manage the interaction, it was determined that the emergent behaviors of the game, combined with physical, dart-based mode os input created a conflict that was resolved only by removing the goal-oriented gameplay elements of the system and allowing users to creatively interact with the emergent software system.
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