Yanna Vogiazou's 'multiplayer presence' games are nearing a key trial with Hewlett-Packard's Research Lab in Bristol. The game is a stripped down version of a massively-multiplayer 'city roaming' game envisaged by Yanna and co-designer Bas Raijmakers, simplified for a trial run to test all the gadetry involved.
The test version will run on 'fully-loaded' HP iPaq Pocket PC's, equipped with Wi-Fi, GPS location detection, a Flash game client, a layer of 'Mobile Bristol' middleware, and mutliplayer server software that manages the gameplay. HP Labs is providing 20 such iPaqs for this round of testing as part of its Mobile Bristol project.
The gameplay concept involves players roaming through city-wide outdoor areas covered by both Wi-Fi and GPS capability– the players participate in a game involving deliberately simple states, but a hidden degree of complexity is provided by the actual number of players interacting in the real world. The client was conceived and storyboarded by Yanna and Bas, and its underlying logic has been implemented in Flash by CNM's Jon Linney; the server software has been implemented by CNM's Kevin Quick and relies on Macromedia's Flashcom server.
Yanna and Kevin were joined at HP Labs Bristol UK Research Centre by Peter Scott and Marc Eisenstadt yesterday for a brainstorming session at HP's Mobile Bristol lab site. HP's Jo Reid, Ben Clayton, Richard Hull, Paul Marsh, Erik Geelhoed, Phil Stenton attended the catch-up meeting, along with co-designer Bas Raijmakers from the Royal College of Art.