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29 October 2014
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Screenshot from the 'Ere Be Dragons prototype
Screenshot from the 'Ere Be Dragons

Heartbeats needed!

A group of Nottingham designers need your heartbeats to help develop their virtual world. Lost? Read on...


'Ere Be Dragons is the prototype of a new creative game for pocket PC's that takes you into a virtual world created by your own heartbeat.

The game is currently in development but the designers, Nottingham artist-based company Active Ingredient, plan to show the prototype at Screenplay 2005, the nation's only independent festival dedicated to the world of the computer game, at the end of February.

The team of developers are after volunteers to be plugged into the game (well, a heart rate monitor) so that they can demonstrate how 'Ere Be Dragons will work. Read on to find out what you'll be getting yourself into...

The Concept

'Ere Be Dragons is a game where the player goes on a journey, as they explore the real world another world is created on their pocket PC. This is a world beyond what they see before them, a world that is created by their own heartbeat.  As they travel through this landscape the physical and physiological changes that occur in their body helps to create a different world in the game.

'Ere Be Dragons : the prototype
'Ere Be Dragons : the prototype

At the start of the game they set their ideal heart rate range, if they go above or below this range the world will begin to fade, you need to keep walking and keep your heart rate at a steady pace to keep the world alive.  Throughout the game there is the sense of being chased. Your responses help create the way the game world changes, when you do well, the landscape blossoms and becomes colourful and light, if you do badly then the light fades a mist appears, and the landscape darkens.

The aim of the game is to build a new map of the world that represents individual player's response to exercise, when they reach the final destination they receive a map of the new world that they have built. To continue the game the player either expands the world by making new journeys or changes the existing one by improving their heart rate range over the same journey. To keep the game world alive they need to keep walking.

The Science

'Ere Be Dragons is a creative game that aims to encourage people to exercise by walking and to learn more about their body whilst they are doing this activity. It is aimed at people who live sedentary lives - regular computer games players, teenagers and people who work at a computer all day. 

Rachel Jacobs, project co-ordinator at Active Ingredient says: "Through creating a game that links computer gaming with physical activity it is our hope that we can engage people in exercise as a creative experience." 

Volunteers needed!

Active Ingredient are looking for volunteers to help with their research, to collate heart rate data whilst playing the prototype of the game on a walk round Nottingham, and to give feedback from their experience. They are looking for ten people aged between 12-18 and 18-40. If you would like to volunteer please email: rachel@i-am-ai.net

The show

'Ere Be Dragons will be on show at Screenplay 2005. Screenplay is the nation's only independent festival dedicated to the celebration and exploration of the ever-growing world of the computer game. The event will be taking place at Nottingham's Broadway Media Centre from Friday, 25th February to Sunday, 27th February 2005.

The Active Ingredient team will be discussing and displaying 'Ere Be Dragons in the Seminar Room, Broadway Media Centre at 12.00pm on Sunday, 27th February 2005. To see the prototype in action and find out more about Screenplay 2005 visit the festival's official website (you'll find a link to the site in the top right hand corner of this page).

'Ere Be Dragons is being built and devised in collaboration with Middlesex University, the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, funded by the Wellcome Trust.

last updated: 18/02/05
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