Advances in technology have opened up new avenues for videogames to explore. Not all of them have been successful (like the Kinect), but others continue to show promise (like the Oculus Rift). The goal in all of these advances has been to increase gamers’ immersion. There’s only so immersed you can become in a game while you’re holding a controller. We do our best to increase our immersion artificially, such as by playing in a dark room or wearing headphones. But there still exists the question can we physically put ourselves in the game.
Augmented reality has become an increasingly attractive & viable means to achieve this end. In the most basic terms, “augmented reality” is when we use technology to overlap with the real world. Using a device, we can see programs in action in the real world. Google’s experiment with the Google Glass is one such example. This growing field is ripe with potential to expand the gaming experience as well.
One game in development seeking to give us a unique experience is Night Terrors. Billed as an augmented reality survival horror game, think of it as physically putting you in Fatal Frame or Outlast. Developer Novum Analytics aims to turn your very own home into their stage of terror via your mobile phone.
While the plot behind Night Terrors is nothing particularly special — your goal is to find & save a little girl trapped in another plane — the twist is that you must search through your own home with the use of your mobile phone, which reveals the demons lurking in the dark. Using technology & algorithms, Night Terrors will respond to feedback from your phone to map out your house. The game will understand your environment & augment it with a truly personalized, terrifying experience. According to the devs, everything about the game, from what you see to what you hear, will be tailored to this feedback. If an enemy is behind a wall in the next room, it will sound like it’s in another room.
Your phone is your only weapon, revealing the dangers & lighting your way.
I won’t claim to understand all of the technology backing this project, but I can say I find it intriguing. It removes the final barrier between true immersion. Walking around your own house with nothing but your phone to illuminate the way… it has a lot of potential for a uniquely terrifying experience. I’m curious as to how the game itself functions. Are you expected to run away & hide from enemies? How would that work? I can imagine for some organic experiences depending on your house’s layout. Like having to hide in a closet or behind the sofa.
Currently the game is in development under IndieGoGo. At the time of this post, it has raised 30% of its goal & has over a month left. If you’re interested in this project, you can donate anywhere from $5-$30,000, which $5 the minimum for a copy of the game upon release. The game will initially be released for iOS, but will later come to Androids & (potentially) Windows.