Comino
Comino

Comino

Comino is a collaborative game for up to four players. In Comino the players have to solve puzzles using virtual and real domino blocks and custom built physical interfaces in order to complete the different levels. Using the wireless pen-interface and special tangible menus, players can “draw” lines of virtual domino blocks in order to connect a designated start domino block with the finish domino block. But be careful, the virtual environment does not allow virtual domino blocks to be placed everywhere. For some areas the user needs to switch to the real world using custom-built physical portals that allow a physical impulse to be “transferred” to the physical world and vice versa. Hence virtual domino block can cause real domino blocks to topple over and the other way around. For this game (in addition to the software), several game components had to be built in hardware, and interfaced with the computer using micro-controllers, servos and sensors.

Thesis Abstract:

Surface Computing has turned normal tables into interactive workspaces. Embedded display technology allows users to show multimedia content on various surfaces. These advancements in technology have also created a new platform for computer-games. Developers of such games face new challenges and have to consider the affordances of tabletops in order to take full advantage of the platform. Both game-concept and game-interaction have to be adapted to fit the users’ requirements . The possibilities are growing rapidly as technology becomes more available and the limits of tabletop-systems haven’t been reached yet. The focus of this thesis is the overlapping area of three research topics: tabletop-games, physical computing and interface design. It gives a brief introduction to the different topics and summarizes the work on the tabletop game Comino. This thesis presents recent research in the field of tabletop applications and tabletop-platforms, followed by the description and discussion of the implemented tabletop-game Comino. Comino is a tabletop game which combines both virtual and real game elements in a new way. Both custom hardware and software components were implemented for this game to enable new ways of multi-user interaction and interaction between the virtual and the physical world. In this thesis the development process of the game is presented, including game concept, interface-design, level design and discussion of user feedback on the game. Finally, we conclude with an overview over possible future development of similar tabletop games.

Long Description:

Comino is a collaborative game for up to four players. In Comino the players have to solve puzzles using virtual and real domino blocks and custom built physical interfaces in order to complete the different levels. Using a wireless pen-interface and special tangible menus, players can “draw” lines of virtual domino blocks in order to connect a designated start domino block with the finish domino block. But be careful, the virtual environment does not allow virtual domino blocks to be placed everywhere. For some areas the user needs to switch to the real world using custom-built physical portals that allow a physical impulse to be “transferred” to the physical world and vice versa. Hence virtual domino block can cause real domino blocks to topple over and the other way around. For this game (in addition to the software), several game components had to be built in hardware, and interfaced with the computer using micro-controllers, servos and sensors.

In Comino, up to four players can work together to complete each one of several levels, using a tangible menu and wireless pens as input devices. The players can select between different actions like setting up domino blocks, repositioning or deleting domino blocks on the tangible menu. Once selected, these actions can be executed directly on the back-projection tabletop surface. At the same time, other users can start setting up real domino blocks directly on the same surface of the rear projection table, creating a very strong mixed reality experience. While playing, the users can move freely around the table. Comino has no dedicated mode for setting up the domino blocks. Hence it happens quite often that either the real or the virtual domino blocks start toppling over before the chain-reaction is started by the users, forcing the users to work together even more. The tension of the players is at its peak once everything is set up, the chain-reaction is started and everybody is hoping for his part of the domino line to work until the last block has fallen down and the game advances to the next level.

Video Download Links:

Comino Matroska File

Comino Avi File

Published: February 18, 2008

Authors

Jakob Leitner
Media Interaction Lab

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