For Charting the Digital Charting the Digital: Play, Discourse, Disruption Venice Italy
Theme: Playful cartography & Future Mapping: Attitudinal MiniMaps and Embodied Interaction
Various virtual environments have used ideas like world maps or minimaps,small-scale pictures within pictures ofthe world, to allow quick orientation through large virtual environments.Generally, these ideas are to facilitate navigation and orientation, but they could also be used thematically to increase immersion in virtual environments, show the behavioral states of other players, or reveal different perspectives of the same ‘world’.
In virtual environments, users do not have access to peripheral visual information available to them in reality (due to the lesser field of vision, no sideways glances and no natural sideways motion of the eyes through ambulation). In game design, the player often wishes to know where enemies are without having to leave the screen.
Designers often create a hybrid visual environment of 3D world and translucent overlay map as a way of getting around these problems.
Rather than directly recreate the 3D environment as plan objects, game designers often represent the moving players and rotate the map view to always reflect what is in front of the player.
Figure 1: Lugaru-an example of a game using an overlayed rotating map (lower right corner).
For example, in the game Lugaru (Fig. 1),the overlay map rotates with orientation of the player’s bunny avatar, and reveals only the plan outlines of buildings. Lugaru notonly shows other moving characters and where they are facing (the enemies are represented by triangles), but the moving map symbols of the enemies change colour to indicate if they are just walking,in a sensing state, or have found and arechasing the player’s avatar.
I suggest that these types of minimaps and similar devices in games are of great practical and creative potential for future environments, especially when coupled with the recent development of more affordable and reliable biofeedback devices.
We have been developing biofeedback (Fig. 2) and camera tracking peripherals and interfaces for a variety of purposes, but as far as we know they have not yet been employed in public visualization and large surround displays for use with interactive maps and gazetteers.
Figure 2: Biofeedback applied to the gameplay, music, AI and cinematic shaders of a horror game mod
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