Julian Oliver’s levelHead is an Augmented Reality videogame in which players help a silhouette navigate a nondescript building by direct manipulation of fiducial cubes that represent the avatar’s environments. A webcam extracts special marks on the cubes and Oliver’s software projects the game as though the cubes were hollow and their faces transparent.
levelHead v1.0, 3 cube speed-run (spoiler!) from Julian Oliver on Vimeo.
It’s a remarkable work, and doubly so because the code has been released to the public under the GPLv3, with art assets under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 license. There are even quite clear (if somewhat daunting) instructions on for making levelHead work. Other developers would be keeping their code under wraps while talking to Sony about a less saccharine Playstation3 Augmented Reality game (or whichever other “various parties” he is talking to according to his website), but not Oliver. Release early, walk the walk. Kudos.
I have been playing with machine vision and ARtoolkit recently, but I still have to get levelHead to work (I can’t even get it to compile properly). I did see an early non-playable prototype (Unprepared Architecture, with Simone Jones) at Medialab Madrid in 2007, and friends who’ve played with the finished game at its various showings around the world report great excitement and joy. Miriam, if you are reading this, could you please get a package going?