UCLA’s Google Glass Augmented Reality Mystery Theater
This past weekend I was invited to the youtube space in LA to be a part of a test, an experiment, a role playing game, a google glass test run. A lot of nerdy stuff, how could I resist.
Not a lot of details were given, I only knew this was something created by a team at UCLA, it involved google glass and role playing. My guess was it would be something along the lines of a Dinner Theater style who done it.
upon arriving at the space we were greeted and given some very brief character sheets. We were told once we had Glass on we were those characters and also we could pretty much make up/fill in the gaps of anything we felt was in line with our character.
For the most part the only pertinent details I had were; my name was Benjamin Strand, I was a Documentary filmmaker. That’s about it. it in no way told me any specific goals, my history or how hung over i was from the previous night hanging with the PGZ cast playing Kaosball followed by Ascension.
In the youtube lobby the giant screen was broken up to one main central video switching between cameras and several single screens streaming the signals from the individual glass units. This in itself was pretty cool, as I was the first to figure it out I quickly cohered a PA to snap a shot for me (Thanks Susan!)
This is me getting my google glass unit and officially becoming Strand. I believe my unit is the 4 screen down on the sides.
We go through a debriefing, meet each other (as out characters). We get a totem, in my case a 35 mm camera covered in dust so clearly not intended to be a functional prop though I’d like to point out when the shit drops I did snap some ‘photos’ on it.
Soon screens flicker and ‘something’ is a foot. A military man rushes in, there’s some debate with the lab’s rep and we’re ushered off to meet Grace Plains, who we find lying dead on her lab floor. I snap some shots, nobody challenges me.
We soon meet Rev7 – the seemingly sentient computer life form.
If you care to you can watch what unfolded below. The video isn’t great at times and admittidly I was pretty out of it most of the time. (PGZ, booze, games, buff said). Throughout the game were sent prompts that suit our individual personas… I’m told who might make good investors in future films, etc.
I officially come on screen around 17 minutes in, so you might want to just scrub to that (or a little past it) for the actual story to start.
All in all this is definitely an interesting story telling device. As a writer I’m more interested in being on the creation side of it and some what less on the playing side. But maybe I’d feel more comfortable with it in the future. I was very much still getting used to both receiving the prompts and trying to find a natural break in the conversation to insert “my” observations.
I do in a way wish there was something that made the stakes more real, made the game more accessible to an individual player on his/her own terms, and maybe even gave us a game tie in for wearing the glass aside from just that’s how the game is played.
Something of interest that you don’t see here is the software UCLA created to send out the scripted (and improvised) prompts which was pretty cool. I would actually really like to sit down with that and see how a content creator like myself could use it.
This is a very cool advancement in story telling and potentially takes us one step closer to the Holodeck (sans holograms). You would of course need actual AI to run and create the infinite scenarios possible in something like that, but it’s going to be created through steps like this.
Here are some other trials they ran of this scenario, look for my friend Jeff Fu of Wreckless Eating in one.http://www.samproof.tv/2014/04/29/uclas-google-glass-augmented-reality-mystery-theater/https://i0.wp.com/www.samproof.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Graceplains-header.png?fit=640%2C390https://i0.wp.com/www.samproof.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Graceplains-header.png?fit=150%2C91videoWritingdinner theater,google glass,grace plains,live stream,murder mystery,UCLA,youtube