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Portables (Games) Wireless Networking Hardware

Using Wireless Signals in Games 93

MetaByte writes "A swiss group has created a game for the Nintendo DS that utilizes the surrounding WiFi transmissions to set up the game world. By moving through the city, the game changes. Another game for the Nintendo DS creates an audible city from the wlan-waves. The Austrian artist Gordan Savicic takes the wlan landscape to a painful level. The density of the waves and strength of the encryption cause servos to tighten a corset. Moving lets you feel being disclosed of encrypted digital worlds that turns into useless electrosmog."
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Using Wireless Signals in Games

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:34PM (#21625559)
    how much fun these games must be in a Faraday cage!
  • Porn city (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:38PM (#21625585)
    Based on what I suspect all my neighbors are downloading, the game world should turn into a giant red-light district.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:47PM (#21625667)
      I have Japanese neighbors, so I imagine my game would turn into an octopus city.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by beckerist ( 985855 )
        and would a wide-open network equate to anarchy? would a game like this promote funking around with your router for a different experience? is this actually promoting bad security?!
  • by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:47PM (#21625663)
    "Moving lets you feel being disclosed of encrypted digital worlds that turns into useless electrosmog."

    Double You Tee Eff?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Elledan ( 582730 )
      That's how an artist says that he has not a clue what he is talking about, and ran out of practical ideas about ten years ago.

      Modern art: learn it, love it~ :P
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by reboot246 ( 623534 )
      If you're referring to Austrian artist Gordan Savicic, we can see in his video how smart he is. Who in their right mind would walk around town rigged up like a suicide bomber? He should try that in Tel Aviv or Baghdad if he wants to experience the pain of the world. :)
  • A great innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowakuwa ( 1199733 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:50PM (#21625685)
  • Neat. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by solios ( 53048 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:52PM (#21625693) Homepage
    Now the big question: How long until major developers (Square, Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, etc.) start integrating elements of this concept into their games? Picture a Castlevania that determines enemy strength or random drops based on ambient wifi traffic... or a Final Fantasy that uses wifi traffic as a random seed for enemy encounters, money drops, gambling odds, etc. Heck, even randomly generated enemies (imagine a wlan full of pr0n browsers - your sedate Animal Crossing-like environment would suddenly mutate into Urotsukidoji!) You could program a reasonably robust set of default variables in the event there's no wlan available, of course... ... but really, I'd like to see the DS wifi used for more than deathmatch, email and trading. And this, in my opinion, may well set a nice precedent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eternauta3k ( 680157 )
      I don't get what's so cool about using wifi for your random seeds, instead of anything else.
      • Re:Neat. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by solios ( 53048 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:05PM (#21625815) Homepage
        The cool comes from the potential to make it less random. For example, taking the results of a portscan and feeding that into an enemy generator - if there's a lot of AIM traffic, you'd be able to deduce this from the fact that you're fighting a lot of trolls... if more people are using Yahoo IM, you'd run into more Orcs, etceteras. I probably misspoke when I said random "seed" - the attraction with something like this is using the traffic to generate enough variation in the game environment to make each play experience different.
        • couldnt you just base it off of something else, like the DS clock?
        • But do we really need to analyze network traffic to make randomness in a game? I can get sufficient randomness to create cryptographic keys such that nobody can guess them without analyzing network traffic. It would be cool to use the wifi information for increased randomness in cryptographic applications, but I simply can't see how that level of randomness is necessary for making a game non-repetative.
          • Re:Neat. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by flowsnake ( 1051494 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @04:10PM (#21626315)
            Like Solios said, the point is to have less randomness, not more. The point is to make the game respond to the physical environment in which the gamer exists, unlike most games which are their own little universe. Mobile gaming platforms allow us to move our games through cities and public spaces, which are awash with life. Wireless network traffic is just one type of information with which a game designer can make the game dynamic to the gamer's surroundings, but it has the neat property that the necessary hardware is already available.
            There was a game years back which used your computer's directory structure to generate game maps. I think the idea of this game was you were fighting viruses within your own computer or something like that, but it's unimportant. The point was that the game design was dynamic to factors beyond the 'game world'.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by XdevXnull ( 905214 )
              The DS also has a built in mic. Mostly I've seen it utilized in-game such that the player has to talk or yell or blow on the mic (e.g. in the latest Zelda you blow on the mic to blow out a candle). There's also potential here to collect ambient (audio) noise from the environment and integrate that somehow into the game. Combined with the wifi sampling, and you could have a very interesting way to change the game in very populous / busy areas.
            • Yes! Inner Space [], where you fly a cute little spaceship around, fighting to reclaim your hard drive from viruses, and capturing Icons from the actual programs therein. (Or blowing them up, if you really hate their applications). Man, that game was fun. I found it (or a trial copy of it) on a used 486 years ago; it was great fun, even if you couldn't save, or be more than one ship, or buy most of the fun weapons (though there were tricks to switch to another ship on your team, and you can have your enemy's a
        • Re:Neat. (Score:5, Funny)

          by mauthbaux ( 652274 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:47PM (#21626113) Homepage
          Imagine the Gamefaqs walkthrough on games like these: "If you're running into too many Orcs, try moving across the state, or hiding in the woods. No, not your in-game avatar. You physically. Oh, and never play in crowded cities or subways, that's just asking for hurt."
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Obyron ( 615547 )
            I can see the directions for different difficulty modes. "Go to the North Woods to play Easy mode. For Normal mode, please play in a suburban residential area. For Hard mode play on the New York subway. To experience Nightmare mode, play the game in downtown Beirut wearing a t-shirt that says 'I Hate Arabs'. Are you a bad enough dude to slay orcs while dodging incoming mortars?"
        • I don't see the benefit of making it less random. Most people will generally play in the same environments and so using the environment will mostly limit the variety of game play instead of enhancing it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Glonoinha ( 587375 )
            You are listening, but you're not hearing. That's the difference (obscure reference : white people can listen to Jimmy Hendrix, but they aren't hearing Jimmy.)

            This is next-generation, it's evolution towards an integration of extended perception into an environment most people are only vaguely aware exists. You can see a rainbow right now, red orange yellow green blue purple - guess what, there are other colors of light on either edge that you don't know exist, because you can't see them and never thought
            • I understand what you're saying perfectly fine, but you have yet to explain one thing. Why the HELL should we care? To use an earlier example, how will using internet traffic to make the gameworld cause my gameplay experience to be any better? It's not going to cause more immersion, it's not going to make the story or graphics any better, it won't improve the gameplay... there seems to be no benefit whatsoever to this idea.

              Cool, but utterly pointless.

        • Maybe that explains why I'm always fighting chairs in Castlevania...
          • Maybe that explains why I'm always fighting chairs in Castlevania...
            I had just the opposite experience. I was playing Castlevania on the WLAN with my BSD box and got a message from Netcraft confirming Dracula's death.
        • Don't forget that this encourages people to play their games in lots of different places, to see what changes. I have a feeling we're about to see a lot more DSes roaming the streets, and increased awareness of their product can only help Nintendo. This is truly some kick-ass stealth marketing.
        • by mjmeyer ( 828839 )

          if there's a lot of AIM traffic, you'd be able to deduce this from the fact that you're fighting a lot of trolls
          I had that figured out years ago.
    • I swear that this is exactly the same thing that Metal Gear: Portable Ops does. I haven't played it so I can't say for sure, but it sounds the same to me.
    • Re:Neat. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:47PM (#21626121) Homepage
      I really don't see the point. What good is it to integrate data into your game that has no relation what so ever with your game? The only good use I can think of would be Dr. Kawashima making some witty comments when you are in a Wifi flooded area, but enemy formation and such? What would be the point in connecting that with random Wifi data?
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      Now the big question: How long until major developers (Square, Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, etc.) start integrating elements of this concept into their games?

      My bet is on never. There are reasonably good random number generators out there already. If you base it off wifi, then you could potentially make things less random. It is one of those concept that is interesting but offers nothing unique that can't be done already.
      • If you base it off wifi, then you could potentially make things less random.

        And what if that was the intent? As the game absorbs and integrates environmental factors from the user's environment, it offers a minute but significant blur at the subconscious between game and reality. Real world environment isn't random. It is slowly changing, but those changes are predictable. What if the real-world weather could be reflected in a flight sim, making the weather in the sim match the weather outside the user'
        • by grumbel ( 592662 )
          ### it offers a minute but significant blur at the subconscious between game and reality.

          Most often those things burst any suspension of disbelieve, since instead of playing the game, you twiddle with the system clock to get the game to behave as you want, since well, having a game being always night, just because you happen to play it late after work gets annoying really quick.

          For a flightsim or sports game it of course might be a nice additional option to have "Weather: Sunny, Rainy, Snowy, Current", but
          • The way I understood it, the presence of WLANs and whether or not they were encrypted were all it used, not the actual data (or scrambled data if encrypted) - so the game behaves one way at home, behaves slightly different at your friend's house, and could potentially do crazy things if you played it while riding a bus downtown (signals changing all the time.) Then again I didn't RTFA.

            All I know is that my car sees a few spectrums that I can't see (RADAR, GPS, LASER detection, temperature, AM/FM) and inter
          • Its not invisible with one of these []...
    • A better option would to have the enemy strength INVERSELY related to ambient wifi traffic... then all the epic battles happen in the countryside!
  • by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:57PM (#21625743)
    There was a game of "Monopoly" in London a while back that did this. I believe it's called Monopoly Live []
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:58PM (#21625765)
    The Austrian artist Gordan Savicic takes the wlan landscape to a painful level. The density of the waves and strength of the encryption cause servos to tighten a corset.

    I'd like to see this designed by H.R. Giger. Forget the corset: you'd be enclosed in a giant organic vagina, which would pulsate rhythmically to indicate encryption strength.
  • electrosmog (Score:4, Funny)

    by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:06PM (#21625829)
    Moving lets you feel being disclosed of encrypted digital worlds that turns into useless electrosmog.

    If ever there was a perfect example of useless electrosmog, that sentence is it.

  • Virus (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:21PM (#21625943)
    David Braben's pc game Virus (several years old) had the contents of your hard drive popping up during gameplay. For instance, the contents of random text files might scroll by while playing. The game was aware of your disk structure, account settings, etc. At least, that's how it was described to me.

    Seemed neat but dangerous. A certain amount of awareness of your environment can make games more interesting. Animal Crossing is another example; it's aware of the real time and date, and the passage of non-game time.
    • Animal crossing is aware of whatever time you tell it, it is. Every time it starts up the game, it asks you if it has the right time, and lets you adjust it. Then it sets the game clock relative to the actual system clock. So if you set the game clock 3 days ahead, it will always be 3 days ahead of the system until you tell it differently. By writing down the time you last played, you can play once a week, and make it look like you never missed a day, as long as you set the time properly each time you s
    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      I've got a game called Virus that does this (action RTS with Descent-style FPS mode) but I don't think it was made by David Braben. Braben's Virus was about aliens attacking Earth and probably didn't have any computer references.

      Virus 1997 action RTS []
      Virus 1988 arcade game by David Braben also known as Zarch []
      V2000, more or less a sequel to Braben's Virus []
    • Reminds me of Brutal File Manager []
  • "Moving lets you feel being disclosed of" Is that some sort of Engrish?
    • A google translate of the sentence from english to japanese and back returns this:

      Obviously running feel, and you can encrypt the digital world to turn into a needless electrosmog

      Makes as much sense, I s'pose.

  • by wardk ( 3037 )
    how does this jibe with the brave new world of wifi being virtually illegal? as you move around, whose connections are you using?
  • I thought we were already doing 'distributed games' like this? Its a rather logical idea.
  • Random Seed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shritish ( 1177411 )
    Couldn't technology like this help with random number generators? If we can take useless "electrosmog" and use it to create structures within a game, I'm sure something like this could be used to generate something more towards 'true random'. If it has come down to things like the windows random number generator security problem [] and attempts at simple methods of circumvention [], maybe it's time to lo
    • Actually, technology like this does the opposite of a random number generator or, at least something different. The layout of hotspots is static, that is, it doesn't least none that I know of. In a game like the one from TFA, certain hotspots generate certain enemies. For example, say I'm playing some sort of RPG and I want to battle a specific opponent; I can say something like "Hey, I know exactly where I can find some Mega-Goblins! Starbucks!!" You get the picture.
  • "No officer, I'm not wardriving, I'm just playing a videogame!"
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      "No officer, I'm not wardriving, I'm just playing a videogame!"
      Officers know what wardriving is?
  • For home consoles, this might be okay, but on portables, I don't want WiFi on and draining my battery power unless I intentionally choose to connect to the internet for web surfing or playing games. The last thing I want is my battery to run out on the subway because a game required that WiFi be on at all times, draining my power twice as quick.
  • by callinyouin ( 1138469 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @09:46PM (#21628281)
    As an avid RPG fan, IMHO this approach to enemy generation is very appealing. Let's look at it this way. If I have a reason to battle a specific foe (often generated by hotspot X) it would be fun to travel in the "Real World" to a specific location as opposed to some place within the game. This is just a simple example. I'm sure there are more intuitive ways to apply this. I'm not saying that all RPG's should adapt to this approach but it would be neat on some, or in certain aspects of the game.
    • There are already Pokemon which cannot be caught unless you went to a specific event held in Japan, or get one traded through the six degrees of separation principle. Now I'll have to go to actual real-world locations to find the obscure ones?! How are we supposed to do that from our Mum's basements?!

      Also, could access points be used to simulate GPS with appropriately standardised naming schemes/info. packets?

  • From the article:
    'The project "the pain of everyday life" is a city-intervention and a digital art performance addressing public and private space within the realm of everyday constraints. It resembles an urban interface for an invisible city, an architecture which is subconsciously perceived and which constantly oscillates as resonant landscape, consisting of electromagnetic waves.'

    Ugh. This reads like something from timecube []. I think Hobbes (the tiger) but it best when he said "Maybe we can eventually ma
  • How long before the reverse becomes true, and in-game events affect real world conditions/actions ?
    • I remember a long time ago playing quake when someone burst into my room and I reflexively spun the viewpoint 180 with the mouse. That sucked.
    • by BlueQbe ( 583779 )
      I recently hooked up my weather machine to my DS. Near as I can tell weather patterns for the entire American Southwest depend heavily on how good I'm doing at Meteos at the time

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly