Category Archives: casual games

Virtual Interface Tools

This fall, WIRED Magazine is bringing its vision of a new world’s fair to Los Angeles. Experience more than 160 exciting exhibits from scientists, researchers, and inventors around the globe. WIRED NextFest features innovations in communication, design, entertainment, exploration, health, play, robots, transportation, security, and green living.

WIRED NextFest kicks off today in Los Angeles. It runs from September 13th-16th in the South Hall (J and K) at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Exhibitors are offering the opportunity to experience first hand their vision of the future. For those attending the four day event we recommend checking out Brainloop.

Brainloop is an interactive performance platform which employs an application called Brain Computer Interface (BCI) that lets users explore virtual spaces such as Google Earth simply by imagining basic movements. The exhibit is a production of Aksioma – an Institute for Contemporary Arts in Ljubljana.

Virtual experiences todate have been limited by computer peripherals such as the mouse and keyboard. Unchanged for decades these interface tools were designed primarily for a 2D world of data input. Last year Nintendo gave people a glimpse of just what is possible with the launch of its wii remote which harnessed motion sensor technology.

As Christian Renaud points out peoples perceptions of what is real and what is virtual will evolve over time. This will accelerate as more interactive performance platforms (driven by voice, motion and ultimately thoughts) to interface within 2D and 3D environments become available. Interesting times indeed.

Fun with Fundamentals

According to a 2007 survey by the eLearning Guild, which polled nearly 1,500 of its members, from large and small companies throughout the U.S., 38% of insurance companies are investigating using games for work. In finance, accounting, and banking, that figure was above 50%.

Business Week has a special report titled The Power of Gaming which is recommended reading. It showcases how businesses such as McKinsey, Johnson & Johnson, Sears and Royal Philips Electronics are currently using gaming as recruitment, training and collaboration tools. Market research which previously took cool hunters a year to compile is now readily available in real time globally. Many of the tools we have seen todate are remarkably primitive relative to some of the offerings coming to market over the next 18 months.

Whole new industries are being created by a handful of designers and developers who stepped outside of their respective comfort zones within the gaming and entertainment industries. They are taking advantage of the ever increasing number of platforms becoming both accessible and affordable. Some were present at the fifth annual Edinburgh Interactive Festival whose theme this year was Expanding the Creative Culture of Games. For those interested Andrew Doull did a great job in live blogging many of the sessions.

It is refreshing to see public acknowledgment of the fact that games both entertain and educate. Authors such as John Beck, Steven Johnson and David Shaffer have been banging the drum for a number of years now. With generous benefactors such as the MacArthur Foundation funding digital research projects our awareness and understanding of the opportunities to hand will become more common place.

Having fun with fundamentals is something The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (TRLPO) understands. If you fancy joining TRLPO for a live performance in Second Life on September 14th then register to win a free ticket to the event. It promises to be a new experience for all concerned.