The Evolution of a Mixed Reality Game Interface
The team of student developers from Centennial College have been working on the Scooter Mixed Reality Game for several months now, and during that time the main game view has slowly evolved into a more and more refined interface.
When we were first testing the main functionality of the game, which was to display all the players of a game on a Google map, the players were represented only by small red dots. At this point in the interface development there was no concept of teams, and all player icons, including your own looked exactly the same, a small red dot. There were no game objects, such as flags, health areas, or powerups. A very rudamentary interface that was meant to test our server backend and to make sure that we could track and display a large number of players.
The next version of the interface began to introduce more sophistication. Notice the player icons are now small scooters and different colours, one team red and one blue. Also notice the interface now includes flags that players can capture and return for points. The other large circle represents a team's "health area". In the next version of the interface the concept of health and shields will be introduced. Each player requires at least some health in order to capture the flag or interact with other player. Shields and health start at 100% and are depleated if players from the opposing team come near you, if your health reaches 0 you are "dead" and can no longer interact with the game. You can however move to the large circle "health area" where over a minute or so, both your shields and health will be fully restored and you can then again interact with game objects such as the flag. At this point in the interface development a player's level of health or shields are not yet incorporated, and there is no special marking for your own icon, which could lead to confusion.
The latest version of the interface is now getting very close to what we expect the final game view will look like. Notice the blue shield level indicator on the right and the green health indicator on the right. Once the blue shield indicator is completely depleted, the green health indicator will start to depleat. If the health bar becomes fully depleated that player can no longer interact with game objects and must return to the health area in order to recharge both health and shields. We will be incorporating "power-up" objects in the next version of the game which will also replenish health and/or shields. Notice that blue icon with the star, this represents your own player icon, and each player will see their own icon with the star augmentation to avoid confusing your icon with your teammate's icons. The health areas are now coloured to represent team ownership. For the next version we are going to change these to outlines rather than filled circles, since when red scooter icons move over the read health area, it can be difficult to differentiate the two red-on-red icons. We are now working on incorporating game objects like power-ups and "surprise objects" that may increase your health or kill you (what a tough choice!). Additionally, the team is still working on fixing some collision detection bugs. GPS can be hard to work with for a number of reasons, first and foremore, its accuracy is not only not great, but it is also variable, meaing its accuracy can be anywhere from 1 to 10 metre, and this can cause problems with detecting collisions between players and game objects. A new version of the interface should be ready within a week.