Monthly Archives: August 2015

Quick Tangent: ‘Ghost Invasion’ Game Proposal

So, humor me for a moment. If you are a fan of video games at all and have even a modicum of interest in the variety of game design, you will likely have heard of the ‘horror survival’ genre, and more than likely, you will also be aware of its ‘defenseless’ subgenre, in which you have little to no recourse in fighting your antagonists (like Amnesia, for example). For those readers who aren’t aware of this subject, let me explain a source of Amnesia’s mass appeal. In this particular type of game, there are various puzzles scattered throughout a castle, and the player must resolve them by investigating, retrieving items, etc. However, the compelling element is that there are monsters wandering around the castle, and you must avoid them since you are helpless to fight back. Running, hiding, closing doors…your constant vigilance in order to escape detection becomes the adrenal lynchpin to the gameplay. So, with the world of IoT on the horizon, could we not also create such a game in our own house? In fact, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be something so complicated, and we could omit any inclusion of puzzles. It could be a simple evasion game where we entice ‘ghosts’ to chase us into planned traps. So, here is my basic proposal:

Ghost Invasion

Summary: Ghosts have invaded your house…and it’s up to you to trap them and destroy them using your special supernatural gear! Find them before they find you!

Gameplay: Before the game starts, the player will place four ‘proximity’ sensors in all four far extents of his/her home (north, south, east, west) and put two ‘destruction trap’ sensors in one room. The player will start a session using the game’s smartphone app, and the app will also convert the phone into a wearable sensor for the game’s duration. As the player walks through the house, the game’s smartphone will indicate when the ghost is close. If the ghost is between the player and the trap, the player should hide somewhere; otherwise, the player should goad the ghost into a chase and lead the ghoul into the trap and into oblivion.

Software
* Software for Proximity Sensors
* Software for Trap Sensors
* Cloud Service (like EC2 or Azure) for Hosting Game Sessions and Exposing Communication API (to smartphone and sensors)
* iPhone/Android mobile app

Equipment:
* iPhone/Android smartphone
* 4 Proximity Sensors (Raspberry Pi [Wifi/logic] + Arduino [sensing logic] + sensors)
* 2 Trap Sensors (Raspberry Pi [Wifi/logic] + Arduino [sensing logic] + sensors)

I know that there’s a good deal of elbow grease involved here, but it doesn’t seem so far out of reach. Tell me: am I crazy?

Quick Tangent: I Didn’t Invent That?

InfoQ editor Ralph Winzinger was kind enough to enlighten me the other day. During a discussion, I briefly described an idea of how to help create the next iteration towards an ideal Semantic Web. It wasn’t an amazing piece of engineering, but I thought that I may have been the first to structure this particular step towards a final solution. However, it didn’t take long for that particular bubble to be popped. He explained that such an idea had already been proposed years ago, and after further investigation, I discovered that developers were already starting to develop frameworks using it! With chagrin, I accepted the truth as an amusing way to impart some humility. However, it does make me wonder how many other such moments are shared by those of us who create software. I’m sure that it’s enough to fill volumes, and I’m also confident that it’d be an enjoyable read. 🙂