Mixed Reality Game for Jupiter Artland

Jupiter Minecraft 3

Challenge

The project is a collaboration between Jupiter Artland and Edinburgh Napier University and proposed by designer as a continuation of previous project for the art gallery. It is an investigation of user interaction with mixed reality environments. This project employs storytelling as a method for the creation of mixed reality experience. The game design for Jupiter Artland, a contemporary art park and gallery, will include a digital environment in terms of a Minecraft, facsimile of the space as well as mobile technologies and micro controllers. At the moment the project is in progress but it was already subject of attention of newspapers: The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News.

Mixed reality game is an experience combining virtual and physical environments, very often using mobile technology in urban environments. This embeds computing technology into everyday life and space, a concept often termed ubiquitous computing. Mixed reality games are collaborative experience played both in real space, using mobile technology and simultaneously in virtual space. This  particular project will use a virtual facsimile of Jupiter Artland, created in Minecraft, which will be used by one group of players, while another group will use a mobile application.


Objectives

  • Producing an immersive mixed reality experience for Jupiter Artland visitors. To achieve this the project will involve digital storytelling, user experience and interaction design theory as well as technological solutions. Technology employed is a 3D Minecraft environment and a mobile application.
  • The secondary aim of the project is to research sense of the presence in a mixed reality space.

Target Audience and process

The main target audience group are primary school children as the main target audience of Jupiter Artland. However, the experience will be designed to be attractive for adult visitors as well. The experience will use observations and research from the previous project. Design process will involve cross media storytelling and trajectories theories as well as participatory design, interviews and testing with Ratho Primary School.

System design

Participants working in teams trying to find the treasure and uncovering the story:

  • Group A: uses Jupiter Artland in Minecraft looking for Beacons and via Walkie Talkie pass directions to Group B
  • Group B: using directions from Group B looks for the passwords hidden in Jupiter Artland, and enters them to mobile application on tablet, which uncover story part by part.

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Plot Development

Participatory design and collaborative storytelling

The main theme of the game are traditional Scottish fairy tales and creatures, which is a consequence of the character of the space, surreal or ‘magical’ because of unusual artworks place at the countryside, which enable children imagination. The game is based on the treasure hunt convention. By playing the game, each team will gradually uncover parts of the plot, combining them into a complete storytelling experience to finally find the final part, and the treasure

Step one: plot development and digital art work based on children’s work. It is effect of participatory design with Ratho Primary School. Children were asked to create presented characters from traditional Scottish legends in a pixel art form, which were used to design the characters. What is more, they told short stories about the characters, which were used to build the plot, driving the game flow and trajectories.

The Blue Witch

 

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Outcomes and findings

First testing session

The testing session of Mixed Reality Experience took place in Jupiter Artland on 14th of March Read more. A group of participants, 19 children for Ratho Primary School looked for hidden treasure. While working in teams they used Minecraft version of Jupiter Artland, mobile application on tablets, walkie talkies. After the session participants filled in short questionnaire containing 4 closed questions with 7 point Likert scale and 4 open ended questions. According to the data gathered the sense of presence was strong. Children felt immersed to the experienced and enjoyed it. Not everyone noticed their involvement in design process. Overall feedback is very positive.

Questionnaire results

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The main event at Edinburgh International Science Festival

The overall feedback of the each session was very positive. Findings confirmed that the high level of sense of presence and make-believe thinking made the experience immersive and engaging which was the aim of the project. What is more participants found it entertaining, original and interesting. There is high interest in using Minecraft environment as an interactive ground for creative use as well as for promotional purposes. However, testers liked outdoor activity which includes technology. That is why standing alone mobile application, which would provide innovative and attractive way of visiting all of the artworks would be next step in the project development. High level of interest before the festival, fast tickets distribution and number of emails received after the event confirmed user testing session’s results. The paper with findings was presented during IDC 2016 demo session in Manchester.

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