*A Cunning PLAN

Other types of cross-media storytelling are ‘pervasive gaming’ and ‘locative arts’. Both include the use of multiple media, usually with running through streets, GPS and other exciting tech-performance type works. The Pervasive and Locative Arts Network (PLAN) is hoping to develop understanding of best-practice in this emerging area. They have called for artists, scientists, industry and academics to work together:

* To review the scope of the research that is currently being carried out in these fields through a focused workshop, leading to an integrated ‘state of the art’ survey paper.
* To identify the key research issues that need to be addressed in order to further develop pervasive and locative media to support culture and creativity, leading to a series of discussion ‘white papers’.
* To seed future projects by bringing artists, scientists and industry together in a creative environment so that they can generate and practically explore new ideas, and also to provide a forum for publicly demonstrating some of these.
* To produce online and offline resources to support researchers, artists, industry and to promote public understanding of this emerging field, including a public website, an online document repository for members and a newsletter and DVD.

If you don’t know about locative arts and pervasive gaming, check out the exciting projects by Blast Theory and the papers by Jane McGonigal:

McGonigal, J. (2004) ‘The Runaway Game: Spectacle and Performance in Public Play’ presented at StoryEngines Conference, Stanford University, February [pdf]

McGonigal, J. (2003) ‘A Real Little Game: The Performance of Belief in Pervasive Play’ presented at Digital Games Research Associaton (DiGRA) “Level Up” Conference, November [pdf]

There is also the IPerG project, that is investigating pervasive gaming. They have a section on Crossmedia gaming on their website:

The aim of the Crossmedia showcase is to untie the game play from specific media channels to provide a game space which is accessible anytime and anywhere. We will investigate the potential of combining several media streams for game control, presentation and broadcast. At the same time, we will support collaborative game play and allow for a broad audience participating in the game.

Crossmedia is a game genre that employs a wide range of media devices. In our prototypes, not only the same gaming applications, but also the same gaming sessions will be accessible with different devices. Persons equipped with smart phones will be able to play with persons sitting in front of their TV or using Augmented Reality technology. It will also be possible to switch gaming devices during a gaming session, such that players can access an ongoing game session with their favourite gaming devices. To allow for collaborative game play and a broad audience, we will study options to let users participate both actively and passively in the game sessions. To enable interaction with a mass audience we will support community building and voting functionality for very large user groups. Apart from playing with different media devices and in different groups, Crossmedia allows for playing across the border of virtual and physical game spaces. To closely interweave the virtual with the physical game space events in the “real” world such as weather conditions or political events will have a strong influence on the game course.

Our first Crossmedia prototype will focus on interactive TV, cellular phones as well as mobile Augmented Reality technology and will implemented basic functionality for collaborative game play. For the second prototype we will refine the design of the first prototype based on the experience we have gained with the first test runs. The second prototype will enhance the first prototype in respect to size of the addressed audience and media devices employed.