City Games is a game concept that aims to alter the daily life perception of its players.

In its essence, it is a board game to be played in the city, developed with creative technologies to create a magical experience. It will come in the form of a box housing an interactive city map, various inventory items, and a story inspired by Vienna.

As players roam around the city, the boundary between reality and fiction blurs, making you think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

Funded by aws Impulse XS program, for the production of the first prototype in 2016.

Overview

The idea of City Games comes from the desire to create a system that can bring creativity and playfulness into monotony of modern life. Games can induce a state of higher consciousness, openness and enthusiasm, and application of this into a city environment, especially using technology in magical ways, is the main drive behind City Games.

A City Game comes in a box, quite similar to card or board game boxes. This box includes a map, an inventory, and a story; still the differentiating point is that these items are upgraded with technology to make the experience even more magical and unique.

The city map will be a custom designed map of Vienna and will house paper electronics inside, like a small game control microprocessor, LEDs hidden under specific locations, and capacitive areas that enable interaction. 

The inventory will come as a fabric bag and will provide items and tools that will become important throughout the process of the game. These can be be practically anything: metro tickets, blacklight stamps, keys, Bluetooth beacons, laser cut puzzle pieces, coupons, etc… 

The third, and most critical item of the City Games will be the stories and games. Some stories will put you in the footsteps of the protagonists, unlocking their stories as you roam the city. Some games will integrate to your routine, giving you a different look on the things you see every day. 

The City Games idea is to invent a platform that allows creation of perception-altering experiences in daily life. It will be open source, enabling all the interested parties to create their own games and experiences; and modular, allowing a hardware ecosystem for expandable maps and tools.

The concept will be carried out to be as reachable as possible, aiming to be open to players from age 7 to 77 by using the familiar form of a board game. It will address first the citizens of Vienna, but the experiences for non-locals will also be made possible.

Mood Images

  • LED based light orienteering for game locations and types.
  • e-ink displays for output.
  • Capacitive areas for input.
  • Bluetooth low energy and open WIFI databases for positioning.
  • Microprocessors for gameplay.
  • Time-Dependent games with real-time clocks.
  • Open source hardware and designs for Free Culture Products
  • Modular map units to expand area and capability
  • Wide range of product differentiation

Game Scenarios

Discover and collect the curiosities of Vienna, by trying to solve visual riddles on the map and spotting out the items around the city.

Inspired from The Third Man, the players go around in the city, listening with their radio investigator tool what’s happening under in the sewage systems, trying to solve the crimes of blackmarket trafficking in 1940s.

Follow the footsteps of a schizophrenic from 1930s, witness how his reality falls apart and the borders with fantasy blurs. Discover his hallucinations by using your blacklight torch to see what is not normally seen.

Technology Directions

Game locations are displayed on the map through the light navigation system. Ideally the streets and mainroads of the city form the base for LED map. Light behaviours (breath, twinkle, flicker) can define certain modalities, as well as colors for different game types. Route forming is also possible through previously unlit LEDs.

Modular design directions for city games map. inspirations based on Turkish Littlebits derivative Makey. Several Chinese low cost chips and boards will encompass gameplay algorithms. Positioning system based on bluetooth beacon (BLE) modalities. Open wifi BSSID localization can also be used for enhanced positioning, for the trade off of energy.

Blacklight inks, pens, stamps used as hint system, perception altering modality and secret communication channel. Also possible are public invisible artworks in the graffiti zones in Vienna. as part of the games.

Using open-source radio transmitters and receivers, hint and story systems can be implemented in cities. Platforms like RaspberryPi also allows integration of dynamic content distributions through radio.

Team:

The core project team:

Tamer Aslan: Founder, Creative Technologist, Electronics Engineer, Interaction Designer.

Philipp Ehmann: Director, Game Designer. pje.me

Simon Schwaighofer: Creative Director, Graphic Designer. newvienna.at

Utku Yücel: Business and Marketing Specialist. https://at.linkedin.com/in/utku-yucel-97a6a250

Sophie Stallegger: Documentation and Media Production. http://sophiestallegger.com/

Extended team that provides opinions and support, is as follows:

Imanol Gomez: Creative Technologist. imanolgomez.net

Nicole Neuberger: Service Designer. http://grounded.co.at/