The Interactive Tag Playground (ITP) is an instrumented open space that allows for interactive play. Several players are tracked and their movements are analyzed and form the basis of several game mechanics. We use a floor-projection to visualize each player’s role, but also add novel interactive elements such as power-ups and bonuses. The ITP is more than entertainment, it doubles as a tool to record and study how people interact with each other and the environment. Our final aim is to automatically steer the interactions in such a way that all players remain engaged and physically active.
In this interactive playground, the person with the red circle is the tagger. Touch a runner’s blue circle in order to tag them! By adding power-ups, adaptive circle sizes, and other mechanisms, the game attempts to influence who is going to be tagger for how long and who is the next target, and to influence runners to take more risk, without breaking down play and without making it too obvious to the players.
We investigated whether we can increase coordination in movement between players by changing the game to enforce teamwork. This was done in a distributed exertion game of Pong in which the members of a team controlled one end of a shared paddle each. We evaluated with the members of the team distributed over the two locations vrsus collocated team members (with each team at its own location). Although the results should be taken with care, the comparisons do indicate that we could steer the amount of coordination between players in this way.
Highights of user studies
- Fun and exhaustive; much voluntary replay
- The game can steer the amount of exertion
- The game can elicit risk taking behavior
- The game can balance the cumulative duration of each player being a tagger
- The game can seduce runners to take more risks and to get closer to the tagger
- Team coordination across distributed teams is challenging
- Relations between players may change when players are not collocated in the same physical space