GDC 2007 Day 2: Planted in the Press Room

The second day of GDC is underway and there are panels galore. None of which are particularly relevant to the CG shtick. I’ve planted myself in the press room and am attempting to update the site as the server smokes and flames and sputters toward oblivion after getting two front page diggs.

My highlights yesterday were small, but interesting. There is little in the way of gadget and hardware interests starting until tomorrow. On Monday, I did sit in on a cool panel conducted by Mobile Radicals.

Using Nokia 5500 phones, the team was able to utilize the phone’s accelerometer for various tack and yaw functions. They also utilized RFID phones for some pretty intriguing mixed reality games.

The most notable of the games was a real-world Pac-Man game called Pac-Lan. Using RFID tags on players and tags positioned around a pedestrian area, they were able to make the game happen in the real-world. There was a Pac-Man and ghosts and pellets all existing simultaneously in the real-world and online.

As you can see, the game play is something like an elaborate game of tag:

Notice that the players hit the tags on the other players’ backs using their cell phones. The RFID chips carry distinctive identity codes and can distinguish one another. This indicates whether a chip is Pac-Man, a ghost or a pill.

This video shows the Pac-Man client as the game progresses:

While the person playing Pac-Man moves around, the client tracks his movement in the virtual world. All players see a representation of where the Pac-Man exists on the course and manipulating RFID in the real-world, changes it within the game.

This isn’t the most advanced technology in the world, but it’s an interesting use of RFID—a technology that is set to be everywhere soon. I appreciate the ingenuity involved in creating something distinctive.