Type: pervasive mobile adventure game
Purpose: increase environmental and cultural awareness through wireless sensor enhanced learning environment.
Place: North Karelian Biosphere Reserve, Finland
Technologies: Client: J2ME; server: Java, MySQL; ZigBee wireless sensor network
Contributors: Ubium Oy, Kitak Yong, Jinchul Choi, Anna Gimbitskaya and Ewa Kowalik.
Heroes of Koskenniska is a pervasive mobile adventure game for increasing environmental and cultural awareness among visitors of the Koskenniska Inn and Mill museum area at the North Karelian Biosphere Reserve. Much of the game concerns the nature in the surrounding area.
In this project, we established a range of technologies and systems to allow conversation with the environment by visitors of the area. Together with our colleagues from the MNLab, Ajou University (South Korea), we first developed a demo system (see figure) that comprises a mobile device, a sensor embedded into a plant (tree) and a server managing data collection from the sensor. Mobile device, operated by the user, presents a user interface through which the user is able to have a conversation with the tree. In this short storyline a confused tree prompts user’s help to define its state. Definition is done through interaction with various sensors (e.g. temperature, illumination, humidity) and this interaction effectively helps the user to understand how changes in measured properties would effect the tree’s life.
Based on the experiences with the demo Heroes of Koskenniska game was created and released in June 2009. The game system combines wireless sensor components and mobile technology that form an interactive, context-aware learning environment for environmental and cultural education. Figure below shows details of the game architecture which allows flexible construction and combination of screen types into a game flow.
The game has storytelling elements and various task types through which the visitor is able to be immersed in the learning experience. Characters are borrowed from the Finnish national epic story, Kalevala. In the game the player adventures through various Magic Spots each having a specific theme such as beginning of life, afterlife, energy, animals and time. Ukko, the high god in Kalevala, is helping the player by training him/her for the battle against Hiisi, the evil and malicious spirit that seeks to destroy the connection between the man and the nature. Following figures illustrate concept art of Ukko and Hiisi as well as a photographs from the first game session.