Dancing in the streetview

Written by on 16th October 2011 in Experiments, References, Thoughts with Leave a comment

More streetview stuff! Played around with a “working” interactive game salad demo, first with a little clay man and then with some footage of me dancing awkwardly, because I just happen to have that already keyed. (The video is a little wonky at the start. The black shouldn’t be there..) Got me thinking about what you can do in this space. I initially thought of it more as a prototyping tool for building objects. But maybe it’s more interesting as a prototyping tool for imagining how people can potentially use the space?

I also went for a comped version in AE because I felt like it would better convey what I was talking about. I like the idea of this dynamic people adding tool. Like, what if it was a tool for simulating/prototyping flash mobs? I sort of relate it to how people simulate massive armies. I would just prefer my armies to be full of people dancing in the street. I’ve had this deep desire to have a dance troupe for quite some time…

I’ve been trying to think about what it would be like as a multi-player experience, partially inspired by the ideas from conversations @ thatgamecompany the other day. I just think it would be amazing to be able to see other (non-static) people who happen to be in the same streetview space as you. When I was playing Journey the most pleasant surprise was when I was suddenly joined by a second person and we got to run around the space together. The question then, is what can the two of you do together once you’re there in street view land? Another thing I really like about Journey’s multi-player aspect was that you just sort of sing/shout at your friend, which keeps it all part of the same world.

Streetview space is really just as virtual as something like second life but at the same time because it’s backdrop is the real world (in all it’s blurry low-res glory) it’s so much more appealing to me. Plus there’s the fact that the avatars don’t have to be CG people, but in fact real people though perhaps animated in a sort of stop motion way. Stop motion is actually pretty fitting for that world since it’s all just photographic stills. I think it would also be sort of funny if the avatars also all have blurred out faces so there’s still some level of anonymity and it fits into the world.  That doesn’t mean it would be limited to “real” things though. I can imagine the fact that you’re using photographic models as opposed to CG models it would open the world to a wider range of interesting creations.

One thing I really want to avoid though is thinking about this as an “augmented reality” thing, because I’m really not that interested in AR. Or at least not in the ways I’ve seen it implemented. It’s also not quite “virtual reality.” Perhaps it’s something closer to “real augmented virtuality”. Does that even make sense?

I feel like a lot of the technology  to make this happen is already there. I started looking into the Google Maps API and it seems like there’s a lot of potential in there (see Streetview Zombie Apocalypse).  I’m not sure how the multi-player aspect would work though. And I wonder if there is a way to make it include collaboration within the same physical space. Like can two people use it at once?

Anyways, things like this make me think it’s not too far off….

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