Hunter Gatherer

Hunter Gatherer is one of the newest collaborative project between the Interactive Media Division (IMD) of the University of Southern California’s (USC) School of Cinema Television in Los Angeles, and the Mixed Reality Lab (MXR) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, with the working title “Hunter/Gatherer”.

Thesis available for download now.

Hunter/Gatherer is a mixed reality game in which one set of players (heretofore known as “the Guides”) remotely navigate the path of another set of players (heretofore known as “the Gatherers”), throughout the campus of the University of Southern California. Equipped with a variety of augmented reality devices, and dressed in an animal costume, the Gatherers are like human avatar for the Guides with whom they must cooperate in order to win the game. This game also incorporates unscripted social interaction as a growth and maintenance mechanic, requiring the Gatherers to constant solicit the involvement of non-players on campus in order for him/her to “stay alive”.

Modeled on a scavenging squirrel, the Gatherer-character interfaces with the game through a wearable computer. This wearable computer controls his audio and video inputs as well as his audio output. His/her objective is to gather food (“bread crumbs from strangers”) through convincing non-players on campus to send text message the game sever via their mobile phones. If s/he does not eat, the Gatherer’s senses are effected, and his/her hearing and vision become impaired.

The Gatherer players (a minimum of 2 players), are monitored by players from a remote control room. These are called the Guides and they help the Gatherers navigate a 3D maze, invisible to the Gatherers. The campus appears to the Guides as a 3D map in which they can see both the Gatherer and predators (“the Hunters”) which haunt the map likes ghosts in Packman. The map is invisible to the Gatherers. However, they can hear the predators through a spatialized sound interface built into the Gatherers’ animal hats.

With all of the mobile hardware and software development led by NTU’s mixed reality research team, and the game design led by the IMD team, this project is intended to encourage players to explore two distinct yet interconnected form of augmented environment.

Hunter/Gatherer will be an experience that has competitive game mechanics but which also has abstract artistic qualities. Conceptually, it is important that the project plays with notions of seeing and being seen, thus demonstrating the potential of new tracking technologies through a bio-memetic metaphor.

Technical Document
Ashwini Kumar Sahu, a member of the Hunter Gatherer project has published a 38-page project reference guide on “Food-Chain, A Location Based Mixed Reality Experience”. Click the link below to view the guide.

PDF Format

Word Format

Thesis on Hunter Gatherer

NTU FYP Student Lancelot Yap Thesis (Word format) (PDF format)

NTU FYP Student Simon Koh (Word format) (PDF format)

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