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an archive of online drama and transmedia story-telling

Augmented Reality Drama? Get real.

The arrival of AR on smart phones brings the commercial reality of AR drama ever closer. It is an area that is so ripe for exploration by dramatists and I've started a trawl of interesting AR apps that shine a light on future dramatic possibilities. I wanted to find a really cool example for Vonviral readers, but so far, as is common with emergent technology, most of the examples are of games. I like games, but I'm much more interested in the narrative possibilities of technologies. We will have to infer the storytelling possibilities from these game applications. Anybody who has further suggestions please do add comments and links below.

Facade AR was a curious experiment from 2005-2007 into creating a live drama experienced through a head mounted display. You walk into an apartment and into the relationship breakdown of two characters who are graphically superimposed on the physical space. Players could verbally communicate with the characters who were controlled live by an operator.



The video shows the hilariously ramshackle kit employed by the research team at Georgia Institute of Technology. Check out the laptop backpack. Quaint as this video seems just five years on for it's low-fi, low-res approach, AR is now much more widely available. In April 2010 Layar was claiming 1.5 million downloads to iPhone and Android phones of it's AR software. It seems eminently suitable as a game or drama platform.


A more recent video from Georgia Tech is the impressive "Second Life Avatar Enters the World" merging Second Life functionality with AR.



Gigaputt for the iPhone, a game of golf that takes you round the city, made by Gigantic Mechanic was featured at the New York Come Out and Play festival 2010.



A game of altogether more scale is this from Audience Entertainment



More subtle, ambient games by the same company are demo'd here:




More and better examples soon I hope. Get out there and make some AR drama please.


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Tags: AR games, augmented reality drama, augmented reality fiction

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Comment by Rik Lander on July 15, 2010 at 10:37
I found a brilliant example of the use of Layar - incredibly evocative. In Berlin when you point your smart phone at places where the wall ran it is recreated on the screen.

Comment by Sean Coleman on July 13, 2010 at 15:06
Have you come across Touching Stories for the iPad (limited audience right now, but proper stories, scripted, still in a slightly games environment, but heading towards immersive drama. I especially like the story where you can change POV from inside to outside the room between characters by simply turning the iPad upside down. I don't have an iPad, but got to play with this last week at a crossover lab, and actually considered buying an iPad simply so I could develop a better drama for it... http://www.contagiousmagazine.com/2010/07/touching_stories.php

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