Gamers don't just play Nicholas Graham's new video game, Liberi Live - they design it. While one player is rolling and bouncing a ball over obstacles and collecting coins another player can control the course design. The two interact together and with a touch of a button, obstacles or ramps can be added to completely change the game.
"Gaming has reached a bit of a cul de sac. There are first-person shooters, strategy and role-playing games, but it's been ages since a new type of game came out and that's what we're aiming for - creating a game where the players can change the game itself," says Dr. Graham, a professor in the School of Computing who also runs the EQUIS Lab which deals with video game development. "Somebody engaging in the design of the game at the same time as somebody is playing it, allows everyone far more creativity."
Dr. Graham's video game will be on display at one of the world's top conferences in human-computer interaction, TEI 2012 (Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction), taking place at Queen's University next week.
Some of the other technology on display at the conference includes a two-sided flexible TV screen that can be folded like paper; socially networked yoga mats; a glove for deaf-blind people that translates the hand-touch alphabet Lorm (a common form of communication used by deaf-blind people) into text; and a wearable system of sensors designed to improve posture among office workers by rewarding regular body movement with access to a video game during the workday.
The conference is organized by the Queen's Human Media Lab. "One of the missions of the Queen's Human Media Lab is to develop the high tech sector for Canada and Queen's. To have all the top researchers from around the world come to Kingston shows we are on the right track," says School of Computing professor Roel Vertegaal, who runs the Human Media Lab at Queen's.