Games PC Vampire - The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Developed by Troika Games - Activision (2004) - First-Person Action RPG - Rated Mature
Following Redemption, Bloodlines is second PC title based on White Wolf's successful tabletop role-playing game, Vampire: The Masquerade, and features a first-person-action style similar to that of its 2000 predecessor. In the role of vampire character, gamers adventure through a mature-themed story set in the dark underworld of a gothic Los Angeles. Players can engage in both ranged and melee combat, while exploration, character development, and other role-playing elements are also importan... Read more
Developer: Troika Games
Release Date: November, 2004
Controls: Keyboard, Mouse
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Games PC Vampire-THE Masquerade-bloodlines, size: 5.7 MB
Games PC Vampire - The Masquerade - Bloodlines
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7 April 2008
By: Calin Ciabai, Games Editor
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Cheats (PC)
God mode, spawn items and other codes
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, abbreviated as Bloodlines or VTMB, is a computer role-playing game for Windows developed by Troika Games in 2004. Like Activision's Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption, Bloodlines is set in White Wolf, Inc.'s Vampire: The Masquerade universe, but it is not a sequel to the earlier game. The new allows the player to choose one of several different vampire clans and progress through the game according to the different strengths and weaknesses of the player's character, as in its paper and pencil role playing origins.Bloodlines is notable for being the first game along with Half-Life 2 to use Valve's Source engine, which allows the game to be played from either the first-person or third-person shooter perspective. It is also Troika Games' third title and the last to be made before it closed down in February 2005.(Wikipedia)CHEATSFind the executable file's shortcut. Right click it and go to "Properties". Then, in the "Shortcut" tab, type -console 1 (with the space) at the very end of the "Target" text box. Make sure it is typed outside the quotes. When you do this, the console command will appear when you use that shortcut to start the game. It will also show up every time when the game starts up to the menu screen. Then, press ~ during game play and type one of the following codes to activate the corresponding cheat function. Press Enter or click "Submit" to activate the code. Please note: Commands entered at the console will auto-complete while you type them - just type any letter, and you can scroll up and down with the cursor keys to view the various available console commands. Click the "X" in the corner or press ~ to exit the command window.CodesGet experience points - giftxp (number) Most items and weapons - impulse 101 Spawn weapon; cursor up or down to scroll console list - give item_w_ Spawn vampire artifact or book; cursor up or down to scroll console list - give item_p_ Spawn item; cursor up or down to scroll console list - give item_g_ Spawn clothing; cursor up or down to scroll console list - give item_a_ Spawn money item; cursor up or down to scroll console list - give item_m_ Exit to the desktop - quit God mode - god Invisible to everyone - notarget Increase some female breast size by indicated amount - money (number) List console commands - cmdlist Set player character's blood pool to approximately 75% full - blood Set player character's blood pool to indicated amount - blood (number) List items that can be spawned - vitems List all console commands - vhelp Set indicated attribute to indicated value - vstats get (stat) (0-5) Add indicated value to all soak rolls - vstats get automatic_soak_successes (1-10) Add indicated value to unarmed and melee combat feat rolls - vstats get automatic_str_successes (1-10) Sell off dots in any attribute for experience points* - vstats sell Use up any xp pooled from the vstats sell code vstats buy Can give character a history during creation - vchar_edit_histories 1 Unlimited ammo for all weapons except flamethrower - debug_infinite_ammo 2 Skip sequence when sire is executed - vskip_intro Clan Chocula** - vclan player_chocula No clipping mode noclip*For example, if your character has 3 dots in Auspex, vstats sell Auspex 3 will convert your dots into 35 xp ( the cost of buying 3 dots of Auspex ). This is useful for changing the default starting disciplines of your character.**You will lose your characters model and disappear on screen, but other characters will still see you. Stat namesUse one of the following entries with the vstats get code:- animalism- auspex- celerity- charisma dementation- dexterity - dominate- fortitude- intelligence - obfuscate- potence- presenceprotean- thaumatury - wits Item namesUse one of the following entries with the give code:item_i_written- item_g_keyring- item_g_eldervitaepack- item_g_bluebloodpackitem_g_bloodpack- item_p_gargoyle_talisman- item_p_occult_heal_rateitem_p_occult_passive_durations- item_p_occult_thaum_damage- item_p_occult_dodge-
Page 1 Copyright (c) 2001-2011 Softpedia. All rights reserved. Softpedia and Softpedia logo are registered trademarks of SoftNews NET SRL.
item_p_occult_blood_buff- item_p_occult_experience- item_p_occult_strengthitem_p_occult_dexterity- item_p_occult_obfuscate- item_p_occult_presenceitem_p_occult_lockpicking- item_p_occult_frenzy- item_p_occult_hackingitem_p_occult_regen- item_p_research_lg_firearms- item_p_research_lg_stealthitem_p_research_hg_dodge- item_p_research_mg_melee- item_p_research_hg_meleeitem_p_research_lg_dodge- item_p_runwonted_rules- item_p_research_mg_brawlitem_p_research_hg_firearms- item_p_research_mg_financeitem_p_research_mg_security- item_p_research_hg_computersitem_p_research_lg_computers- item_g_astrolite- item_g_wallet- item_m_money_envelope - item_m_money_clip- item_m_wallet- item_w_unarmed- item_g_lockpickitem_a_body_armor- item_a_hvy_leather- item_a_lt_leather- item_a_hvy_clothitem_a_lt_cloth- item_d_holy_light- item_w_tzimisce3_claw- item_w_batonitem_w_osnndotnet- item_w_tire_iron- item_w_severed_arm- item_w_torchitem_w_sledgehammer- item_w_occultblade- item_w_knife- item_w_katanaitem_w_fireaxe- item_w_fists- item_w_claws_protean5- item_w_claws_protean4item_w_claws- item_w_bush_hook- item_w_baseball_bat- item_w_flamethroweritem_w_thirtyeight- item_w_uzi- item_w_sheriff_sword- item_w_supershotgunitem_w_steyr_aug- item_w_remington_m_700- item_w_mac_10- item_w_ithaca_m_37item_w_deserteagle- item_w_glock_17c- item_w_crossbow_flaming- item_w_crossbowitem_w_colt_anaconda- item_g_lilly_diary- item_g_drugs_pill_bottle Here is a gameplay trailer:
Page 2 Copyright (c) 2001-2011 Softpedia. All rights reserved. Softpedia and Softpedia logo are registered trademarks of SoftNews NET SRL.
Ambient role playing games: towards a grammar of endlessness
Mark Eyles and Roger Eglin University of Portsmouth, UK
Women in Games Conference 2007, 19th-21st April 2007, University of Wales, Newport. www.womeningames.com This paper was presented at the conference by Mark Eyles on 21st April 2007 Mark Eyles firstname.lastname@example.org www.eyles.co.uk www.port.ac.uk/games Department of Creative Technologies Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries University of Portsmouth Eldon Building Winston Churchill Avenue Portsmouth PO1 2DJ United Kingdom Dr Roger Eglin email@example.com Department of Creative Technologies Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries University of Portsmouth Eldon Building Winston Churchill Avenue Portsmouth PO1 2DJ United Kingdom
If the seminal 1976 ambient music album Music for Airports (Eno, 1978) became a 21st century ambient role playing game, what would it play like? What technologies would be required? What would we need to know for this to happen? Who would be the target audience? This paper sets out to define ambient role playing games. A computer role playing game definition is suggested; the evolution of ambient technologies is outlined and a prototyped ambient game is described. The heart of ambient gaming is embodied in Brian Enos description of ambient music as being ignorable as it is interesting (Eno, 1978). This is compared and contrasted with pervasive gaming (Waern, 2006), alternate reality gaming (Borland, 2005) and augmented reality gaming (such as ARQuake (Thomas, 2002)). There are many computer role playing games and a description of this genre is developed. The roots and history of role playing games from Gilgamesh, Kriegspiel (Michael, 2005) and Lord of the Rings to Dungeons and Dragons (Hallford, 2001) and more recently World of Warcraft (Blizzard, 2006) give a route to one possible genre definition and a list of role playing game play mechanisms. Case studies are then used to relate the gameplay mechanisms to computer role playing games and differentiate the role playing game genre. This definition and these properties are then combined with ideas of ambience to give a prescription for an ambient role playing game. The technology required for true ambient gaming is described by looking at the history of ubiquitous computing (Weiser, 1996) and showing how this is leading to an
ambient intelligence technology that features transparent, intelligent interfaces (Aarts, Harwig, Schuurmans, & Denning, 2001). Finally the development and deployment of an ambient role playing game prototype is described and future audiences and applications of this technology are suggested, with particular reference to possible requirements of ambient gaming women.
games, role playing game, pervasive, augmented reality, alternate reality, locative, live action role playing, collectable card, play by mail, ambient, ambient intelligence, ubiquitous computing, pedometer, fantasy, mobile phones, ludology, narrative, simulation, massively multiplayer, persistent worlds.
This paper sets out to define ambient role playing games and suggest ways in which they might be instantiated. The steps to a definition of ambient role playing games are: 1. Suggest a definition for computer games 2. Suggest a definition for computer role playing games 3. Outline the ambient technology suitable for developing an ambient game 4. Define Ambient Games by combining 2) and 3) with an ambient music ethos 5. Describe an ambient game prototype
By plotting player commitment against the distance the player may travel while playing it becomes clear that there is a missing class of games that do not require large commitments and in which the player may move around (perhaps be required to move around) while playing. This class of games has been labelled ambient games. See the Commitment and movement when playing games figure. This figure has a threshold marked showing the commitment required to start playing any game. Below this threshold the player has not yet made enough commitment to decide to start playing. At, and above, this threshold the player is capable of deciding to start, and actually starting, a game. Below this threshold they have not consciously decided to start playing. Note that it is possible to be unknowingly playing an ambient game and possible to have started playing before consciously having made the decision to play. This is possible since data can be collected in the game before the player has decided to commence playing.
Stationary in one location while playing Moving around in one location while playing Moving around many locations while playing
Commitment required to play the game
Arcade Eye Toy Handheld
Set top box
Commitment needed to decide to start playing a game
Player distance travelled
Figure 1: Commitment and movement when playing games
As implied by the Commitment and movement when playing games figure the key component of an ambient game is that the player may choose their level of interaction with the game. They may choose to actively influence events in the game, or may let those events evolve with input automatically gathered from the players real world activities. This will be discussed later in this paper when ambient role playing games are defined. Pervasive games are defined as games that extend gaming experiences out into the physical world (Waern, 2006). The ambient games region shown in the diagram could equally well be applied to pervasive games. Ambient games will be shown to be a particular subset of pervasive game.
Brief history of role playing games
Having broadly defined computer games in general, a specific genre of role playing games will next be examined. Pen and paper and computer role playing games formalise the playful role playing by creating make believe worlds and adding a set of rules. This formalisation of role playing allows details to be shared, so that the game can be shared and seen to be played according to an agreed set of rules. A key component of role playing games is stories. There is a thread of story telling that extends back for as long as ideas have been recorded. Stone Age cave paintings tell stories of the hunt, the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh was written down around 2000BC, scrolls and books were used to record stories for thousands of years and more 4
Figure 4: Adventure screen (ibid.)
These were the first text adventure games. In these games the player enters typed text commands to move around an environment of described locations and interact with items and characters encountered within that environment. All interactions are described in text. One of the first commercially successful text adventures was Zork, created in 1978 and released by the leading text adventure company Infocom Inc. in 1980 (Lebling, 1978).
Figure 5: Zork (ibid)
These text adventures were an inspiration for the first multi-user dungeon, or MUD, (Bartle, 2004) created in 1978 by Roy Trubshaw at Essex University. Roy was soon joined by Richard Bartle and together they produced a text based multiplayer persistent world in which players could co-operate and compete. Within a few years more multi-user, virtual world games were created and the evolution leading to more recent graphically rich massively multiplayer games was initiated (ibid). Inevitably paper based role playing games and computer games, both text adventures and the early graphical videogames, combined to create the first computer role playing games (sometimes called CRPG) such as Richard Garriotts 1979 Apple II game Akalabeth.
Figure 6: Akalabeth
By 1980 Richard Garriott had developed the first Ultima game (Plaid Dragon, 1995) which was published by Origin Systems Inc. There was a role playing system at the heart of the game as the player gained experience points as they progressed through the game.
Figure 7: Ultima I screens
Dungeons and Dragons (paper) Strength Intelligence Wisdom Dexterity Constitution Charisma Ultima I (computer) Strength Intelligence Wisdom Agility Stamina Charisma
Table 1: Comparison of D&D and Ultima attributes
Comparing the player attributes of the original Dungeon and Dragons paper based gaming system with the attributes in the Ultima I game it can clearly be seen that the Ultima I game was influenced by the Dungeons and Dragons system. From this time on computer role playing games were released with great frequency. In 1981 Sir Tech Software released Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, a game that featured game play mechanisms of race, character class and also featured the ability to control a party of characters in the game, rather than a single character (Hallford, 2001).
Figure 8: Wizardry screens
Even as the first computer role playing games were being released they very clearly belonged to a well defined game genre. They were so firmly rooted in paper based role playing games, in particular Dungeons and Dragons that the computer role playing game genre almost came into existence overnight. Other game 8
Table 2: Role playing game milieu
There are some interesting gaps here that are perhaps filled by other games genres (1st person shooters, action adventures and so on). For example where are the equivalents of films such as 2nd World War films, historical films, romantic comedies and so on?
Role playing games have outwardly come to look very similar to first person shooters (i.e. Doom) or action adventure games (i.e. Tomb Raider), however, the statistics at their heart have still remained within the games. The players characters have still continued to gain experience and develop through the game. The screenshot below from the 2006 game Oblivion (Bethesda Softworks, 2006) shows one of the player character statistics screens.
Figure 9: Oblivion character attributes screen
Compare this with the Ultima 1 character attributes screen shown earlier. The graphics might have changed but at the heart of the game there are many of the same mechanisms. The range of gameplay mechanisms found in computer role playing games serves to define the genre. Mechanisms found include the following: Races Classes Attributes Skills Experience points and experience levels Combat Resource management Puzzles Story and Quests Exploration
These gameplay mechanisms which are frequently found in computer role playing games previously cited will now be described.
Many games contain a variety of sentient species that the player can choose to play. For example in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Bethesda Softworks, 2002) there are: Argonian Breton Dark Elf Wood Elf High Elf Imperial Khajiit Redguard Nord Orc
The race selected affects the abilities and attributes available to the players character. For example if the player wishes to play a brutal warrior character they might choose to be an Orc. If they wish to be a magic user they might choose to be a High Elf.
Classes determine which profession the players character is able to pursue. For example a player might choose to be a wizard if they wish to be a magic user. They might choose to be a warrior if they wish to rely 10
on brawn. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic the player can choose between Star Wars themed classes: Scout Soldier Scoundrel Jedi Guardian Jedi Consular Jedi Sentinel
Attributes give the abilities of a character. These core elements define what the character is capable of. Sometimes when games talk about character attributes they include Race and Class as attributes and list the variables given here as abilities. The attributes vary from one game to another but often have a number of similar elements:
Icewind Dale Strength Intelligence Wisdom Dexterity Constitution Charisma Knights of the Old Republic Strength Intelligence Wisdom Dexterity Constitution Charisma Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines Strength Intelligence Wits Dexterity Stamina Charisma Manipulation Appearance Perception Final Fantasy 7 Strength Fallout Strength Intelligence Agility Endurance Charisma
Luck Magic Spirit Attack Defence
Table 3: Table comparing character attributes
Some similar or equivalent attributes have been placed in the same row. For example Dexterity and Agility have broadly the same effect as do the Constitution, Stamina, Vitality and Endurance attributes. As can be seen in the table above attributes like Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity/Agility, Constitution/Stamina/Endurance, Charisma that occur in most role playing attribute systems. There are also other less common attributes that are specific to only one or two role playing systems.
Skills are learned abilities that improve through use in the game. For example in the game Deus Ex the players character can develop the following skills: Computer Electronics Environmental Training Lockpicking Medicine Swimming Weapons: Demolition Weapons: Heavy Weapons: Low-Tech Weapons: Pistol Weapons: Rifle
In this game the player gains skill points during play (through completing missions, finding hidden areas, finding characters and so on). The player can then spend their skill points on the skills they wish to improve. Each of the skills has four levels: Untrained - Trained - Advanced - Master. In the game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion skills automatically increase as they are used. So, for example, lock picking skill improves as the players character picks more locks. Skills are an important way for players to customise and evolve their characters as they progress through games.
strike or fire. As the player repeatedly presses the attack button messages are displayed telling the player the outcome of calculations being carried out by the game. Final Fantasy VII uses a turn based system where the players characters and the enemies are transported to a separate Battle Screen where they take it in turns to launch attacks at each other. Each player controlled character has a time gauge on this screen that must refill after each strike before the next strike can be launched. The time gauge controls the pace of the battle and puts time pressure on the players. The weapons used in combat fall into three broad categories: melee, range, traps. Melee, or hand to hand, combat may be used with or without weapons and requires the combatants to be in close proximity. Melee weapons would include fists, knives, swords, clubs and so on. Range combat is used for weapons that act at a distance. The combatants are likely to be beyond each others reach (though these might be also used close up). Examples of range combat weapons are rifles, guns, bow and arrows, throwing stars, magic fireballs and so on. The third class of remote weapons, or traps, are set by the player who can then leave them and move on. They are either triggered by enemy proximity or have a timer that triggers them after a preset (user or automatically set) period.
Role playing games typically contain many items. They contain weapons and armour suitable for use by each of the different races and classes. They normally contain a range of health potions or equivalent items for healing player characters. Fantasy games are likely to have a range of magic items (spell scrolls, magic staffs and so on). They may also contain items necessary for completing the main quest. All the items collected by the player are normally managed on an inventory screen of some sort. This screen lists items and may also provide extra information on the items. It may also allow the manipulation of items. During games players make strategic choices about what they are going to need and what they can carry. The availability of resources and the amount player characters can carry are useful mechanisms for balancing role playing games. Too many resources too freely available are likely to make the game easier, restrictions in quantities of resources and the amount that can be carried are likely to make the game more difficult.
Another very important component of role playing gameplay is the solving of puzzles. The importance of puzzles is evidenced by the inclusion of an intelligence attribute in most computer role playing games. This attribute allows characters to acquire skills that may be used, amongst other things, to solve puzzles. Typical purposes of puzzles include: unlocking locations, revealing plot, gaining items, defeating enemies, helping non-player character friends. Puzzles frequently involve using objects. The word use is a catchall for activating or implementing or in some other way applying the particular properties of an object. For example, a player would use a radio to turn it on. 14
A large element of computer role playing games is exploration. Players must search the game world to discover useful items and clues. Environments may contain hidden objects and characters. They may be used to reveal story elements, both background story, sub-quest and main plot elements. They also may provide visual (and auditory) rewards for players. Exploration is very closely tied in with the story telling in role playing games but does not always serve to move the plot forward. Similarly stories can be moved forward while there is no exploration. For example, imagine entering a location and searching for food. There is very little story in this activity; this is just a background housekeeping activity to keep the player character healthy. The player is exploring the location, but there are no plot events occurring. Now imagine a non player character entering the location and talking to the player character. This conversation may be crucial to the story in the game, but is independent of exploration. Table 5 shows the range of game play mechanisms and characteristics of popular and successful computer role playing games. All these games have been marketed as role playing games and appear in lists of role playing games and hence are commonly understood to belong to the role playing game genre. Previously the historical development of role playing games was examined followed by a description of gameplay mechanisms that may be found in computer role playing games. By combining the descriptions with this analysis of role playing games a definition of computer role playing games may be created.
Races Classes Attributes Skills Experience points Experience levels Combat type Combat resolution Resource management Puzzles Exploration Many quests Story No. of players Player characters Point of view (camera) Milieu
Morrowind Y Y Y Y Y Y RM SD Y Y Y Y Y B Fa Oblivion Y Y Y Y Y Y RM S Y Y Y Y Y B Fa Baldurs Gate Y Y Y Y Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y 1 T I Fa Knights of the Old Republic Y Y Y Y Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y 1 T 3 SF Vampire TM: Bloodlines Y Y Y Y Y Y RM S Y Y Y Y Y B Ho Pokemon Y Y Y Y Y Y M D Y Y Y Y Y 3 Fa Final Fantasy 7 Y Y Y Y Y Y M D Y Y Y Y Y 1 1/T 3 Fa Nox Y Y Y Y Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y 1/M Fa Deus Ex N Y Y Y N N RM S Y Y Y Y Y F Cy Guild Wars N Y Y Y Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y Ma Fa World of Warcraft Y Y Y Y Y Y RM SD Y Y Y Y Y Ma 1 B Fa Neverwinter Nights Y Y Y Y Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y 1 T 3 Fa Fallout N N Y Y Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y 3 PA Planescape Torment N Y Y N Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y 3 Fa City of Heroes Y Y Y Y Y Y RM D Y Y Y Y Y Ma 1 B Su Legend: Y - Yes, N No, Combat type: R Range, Melee M Combat resolution: D Dice, S Skill Number of players: 1 - Single player, Mu Multiplayer, Ma Massively multiplayer Number of player characters: 1 One player character, T Team of player characters st rd st rd Camera: Te Text, F 1 person camera, person camera, B Both 1 and 3 person cameras, I Character independent Milieu: Fa Fantasy, SF Science fiction, PA Post apocalyptic, Ho Horror, Su Superhero, Cy Cyberpunk
Mark Weiser defined ubiquitous computing on his Xerox Palo Alto Research Center web page in 1996 (Weiser, 1996). He specified that there should, for example, be hundreds of wireless devices in an office that are invisible to the user. Invisible meaning that the system does not demand the users attention, it is so imbedded, so fitting, so natural, that we use it without even thinking about it (ibid). By the turn of the 20th century computers had pervaded western industrial societies. People in regions like North America and Europe came into contact with many computers daily. For example the authors of this paper interact with many devices containing computer systems daily: home desktop PC, work desktop PC, car (car engine), mobile phone, mp3 player, television, satellite receiver, DVD player, dishwasher, microwave oven, rowing and exercise machines and games consoles. Many of the devices listed are networked to other systems, exchanging information and tapping into even larger computing resources. Current computer game technology may be found in commercial devices such as consoles (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii), computers (in particular those with Windows Vista that has been designed to better support gaming), handheld devices (mobile phones, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP), set-top boxes (Gamestar on Sky Active, delivered by Sky through Sky Box satellite receivers) and arcade machines. The PlayStation Eye Toy and Nintendo Wii have interfaces that require users to stand and move around while playing, although within a very small area. There are other gesture interfaces that predate this. The Mandala video-based interactive gesture control of computer processes system was patented by GestureTek corporation in 1996 (GestureTek). The other devices listed previously are not normally mobile, except the handheld devices. Even when playing on handheld devices the user is normally in a single location though the player may be moving while playing (on a train journey for example); these location changes are not currently connected to gameplay. However, devices with global positioning systems can be used for playing locative games. The obsolete Gizmondo was an interesting example of a device that combined location and connectivity with gameplay (BBC News, 2005). Currently we are in the age of many computers one user. With the emergence of ambient intelligence and ambient intelligence environments the age of massively many intelligent computers one user is arriving. Ambient intelligence, also known as ambient technology, is being driven by interaction technology (new ways of using content, such as time shifting television programmes on hard drives, and new technologies, faster computers, greater storage and so on), experience economy (people do not just pay for goods, but for the experiences that are connected with them, for example eating at an exclusive restaurant) and ambient culture (the development of social groupings based on interests rather than on a geographical basis, for example virtual web special interest communities, like the Independent Digital Games Research Association at http://www.digra.org/) (Aarts et al., 2001). There are a number of different technologies that are enabling the development of ambient intelligence: interconnectivity, artificial intelligence and the proliferation of computers. These technologies support the ubiquity, transparency and intelligence of ambient intelligence (ibid). Ubiquity refers to ubiquitous computing in which a massive number of interconnected computers are embedded in the environment. It is invisible, everywhere computing that does not live on a personal device of any sort, but is in the woodwork everywhere. (Weiser, 1996) 19
Transparency indicates how invisible ambient intelligence environments are (Aarts et al., 2001). Intelligence relates to the interfaces and ways these interconnected computers respond and interact with people through user friendly interfaces. They are able to exhibit specific forms of social interaction (ibid). The European Unions Information Society Technologies Advisory Group (ISTAG) predicts that ambient intelligence will emerge from the convergence of three key technologies: Ubiquitous Computing, Ubiquitous Communication, Intelligent User-Friendly Interfaces (Weyrich, 1999). The research division of the Netherlands company Royal Philips Electronics (Philips) has determined that ambient intelligence should have the following characteristics: context awareness, personalized, immersive and adaptive (Philips, 2004-2006). Context awareness entails devices knowing where they are and responding appropriately; for example a mobile phone might automatically switch to a silent profile when carried into a cinema. Personalized devices are able to deliver information and experiences tailored to the user. For example, a portable device carrying games and music selected by the user and also monitoring the users health. This definition is far reaching in places and also clearly aimed at supporting Philips products, such as their Ambilight television technology in which a light located at the rear of televisions react to the colours and brightness of images on the screen. However it is a very strong indication of the acceptance and future growth of ambient intelligence. Ambient intelligence systems may also require locative information, specifying their location and also identity knowledge, they may need to differentiate between different people. For example if one of the functions of an ambient intelligence is to control the lighting within a house it not only needs to be able to turn lights on and off as people move through the house, but also set brightness levels according to the preferences of individuals. In order to fulfil the transparency requirement communication with ambient intelligences should be seamlessly integrated into the environment. Computer workstations or input panels do not fulfil transparency. The user might expect to be able to communicate with ambient intelligences through speech or gestures, with the ambient intelligences responding in speech or with their available interfaces (perhaps momentarily dimming lights to indicate that a request has been received and stored). As devices proliferate it becomes useful to be able to identify them. Different components in ubiquitous systems need identity in the same way that in games each of the non player and player characters need identity. If there was no way of identifying individual components then it would be impossible to know the outcome of interactions. Currently items may be tagged in the physical world with Radio Frequency Identification tags (RFID) tags. These are transponders that respond with a unique serial number when a reader sends a signal to them. They are frequently used for tracking goods through supply chains, where it is useful to know the location and identity of the goods (RFID Centre, 2005). People may be tracked in the real world using face recognition systems (Zhao, Chellappa, Rosenfeld, & Phillips, 2003). This recognition has great implications for ambient intelligence environments where they might be used to recognise and track people as they move around and also to ensure that the systems respond appropriately to known individuals (Grgic Ph.D, 2006).
Augmented reality games Pervasive games Alternate reality games Ambient games Role playing games
Figure 13: Pervasive games, ambient intelligence and ambient games
Alternate Reality Games (ARG), sometimes known Cross Media Entertainment (XME), are according to an article on CNET News.com: ".an obsession-inspiring genre that blends real-life treasure hunting, interactive storytelling, video games and online community. (Borland, 2005) The Alternate Reality Gaming Network defines alternate reality games as "an intensely complicated series of puzzles involving coded Web sites, real-world clues like the newspaper advertisements, phone calls in the middle of the night from game characters and more. These games (which are usually free to play) often have a specific goal of not only involving the player with the story and/or fictional characters but of connecting them to the real world and to each other. Many game puzzles can be solved only by the collaborative efforts of multiple players, sometimes requiring one or more players to get up from their computers to go outside to find clues or other planted assets in the real world" (Alternating Reality Gaming Network, 2002-2006). Unlike augmented reality games they do not normally require special equipment to be carried around by the players while they are being played, though players are likely to need access to computers, phones and other sources of information. Many alternate reality games are used for promotional purposes, for example the first alternate reality game, The Beast (archived at Cloudmakers.org (Cox, 2001-2007)), was used to promote the film AI: Artificial Intelligence in 2001. More recently, 2006, Volvo cars has used alternate reality game The Hunt to promote the release of a new XC90 car (http://thehunt.volvocars.net/uk/thehunt/). The alternate reality game Perplex City (http://www.perplexcity.com/) is not a promotional tool, but makes money from selling clue cards to players. As well as clue cards Perplex City also delivers puzzles and clues via websites, podcasts, emails, texts and live events. Alternate reality games combine events in virtual computer spaces and the real world to create a coherent gaming experience. They are frequently multiplayer, requiring co-operation between two or more players to solve puzzles and progress. The unfolding stories in these games blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy by incorporating game elements into the real the world that influence game play in online worlds. 22
Alternate reality games are very similar to ambient games, but still require a different commitment from the player, demanding specific game playing behaviours. They are not normally driven purely by normal everyday behaviours in the same way ambient games may be. Further alternate reality games are frequently designed to engage players in game play that leads to a clear victory condition (i.e. the treasure is discovered by the winning player). They are not designed to create a mood in the player, though this may occur as an emergent property of playing the game. However it is possible to imagine an alternate reality game that is also an ambient game, requiring the same kind of commitment as an ambient game. Alternate reality games and ambient games are not mutually exclusive. As has been described ambient games are a type of pervasive game that are related to augmented reality and alternate reality games. However they do not require the player to carry around equipment like the augmented reality games and they are not normally driven by the same game play behaviour as alternate reality games. Although ambient games are likely to use computer game technologies, they are different from computer and console games, allowing the player to move around an environment rather than being focussed on single computing device (albeit networked) in a single location. The next section hones in on a description of ambient games.
Ambient music, ambient games
Brian Eno coined the term ambient music on his album Ambient 1: Music for Airports released in 1978. In the sleeve notes of Music for Airports Brian Eno gives a definition of ambient music, Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting (Eno, 1978). In a talk he gave for the Long Now Foundation's series of Seminars About Long Term Thinking in 2003 he talked about Music for Airports I wanted to make a kind of music that would actually reduce your focus on this particular moment in time that you happened to be in and make you settle into time a little bit better. (Eno, 2003) Since Music for Airports there have been many pieces of music produced that purport to be ambient music. On the CD Ambient: A Brief History of Ambient Volume 1 released by Virgin Records in 1993 there are artists as diverse as Hawkwind, Gong, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Killing Joke as well as more obviously ambient artists like Harold Budd, Tangerine Dream and Holger Czukay. (Hopkins, 1993) The description of ambient music and the ambient pieces produced by Brian Eno serve as a guide to the creation of an ambient games definition and acts as a useful reference point and context for the creation of ambient games. The key questions that are addressed in this paper are If ambient music was reinterpreted as a computer role playing game, what would the game play be like? and more generally What kinds of technology might be required to create an ambient game?. Role playing games have been picked because they contain many different game play mechanisms to draw on when developing ambient game ideas. Other genres could have been chosen, though some, such as first person shooters and beat em ups, might force the player into interactions that would move the game play away from the ambient area. Without constraining this paper to one genre every game genre would need to be considered and resource and time constraints do not allow this. Future research might look in other areas, such as developing ideas for ambient real time strategy games, for example.
Ambient games do not demand the attention of the player, they are ignorable as they are interesting (Eno, 1978), allowing players a wide depth of interventions from letting the game play itself to micromanaging game events. They also allow the player to have experiences that range from superficially shallow to profoundly deep. The player is able to choose how they focus their attention on the game, and alter their degree of attention at will. As with Music for Airports an ambient game should accommodate many levels of attention and many levels of involvement or intervention designed to create a mood in the environment. The involvement of the player in the game is not determined by the game, this is not a push technology, but is determined by the player who can choose when to pull game experiences from the ambient game. Most computer games operate by pushing decisions on the player and forcing interactions. Ambient games are coexistent with the real world and may be seamlessly controlled by the intelligent interfaces of ambient intelligent environments. The interfaces give information on the progress of the players player character (or avatar) and allow the player to interact with the games virtual world through gesture, speech and movement. Other things that players do in the real world such as spending money might also be integrated into ambient games. Further the players ideally should not need to carry around equipment to play the game; it is embedded in their environment and there is no equipment that might be distract from the atmosphere or mood, the ambience, created. An example of a game in which the player carries equipment would be Dan Sutchs Fizzees (Tamogotchi like digital creatures that are nurtured by the physical actions of their owner) (Sutch, 2006). Other similar applications might require the players heart rate, respiration and so on to be used to control an avatar. Crucially these are not attached to a specific location but are independent of place. The ambient game description given allows for single player, multiplayer or massively multiplayer gaming. The number of players is not a defining feature of ambient games. Drawing together ideas of role playing games, ambient intelligence and ambient music suggests definitions of ambient games and ambient role playing games: Ambient games are designed to create a mood in an environment through game interactions with players whose behaviours, mediated by an ambient intelligent environment or similar transparent game interface, create changes in a virtual game world. Ambient games are persistent and are as interesting as they are ignorable, facilitating a wide variation in player determined levels of involvement, from unaware to intensely attentive play. In ambient computer role playing games player behaviours affect one or more characters that gain experience, and other character customizations, through the completion of game objectives in a virtual world.
Following Redemption, Bloodlines is second PC title based on White Wolf's successful tabletop role-playing game, Vampire: The Masquerade, and features a first-person-action style similar to that of its 2000 predecessor. In the role of vampire character, gamers adventure through a mature-themed story set in the dark underworld of a gothic Los Angeles. Players can engage in both ranged and melee combat, while exploration, character development, and other role-playing elements are also important. Bloodlines was developed by Troika Games, which was founded by members of the Fallout and Fallout 2 teams and is known for the well-received Arcanum, as well as the D&D-based RPG Temple of Elemental Evil. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
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