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Wednesday, May 29, 2002
ARQuake Brings Death Knights Into the Real World
9:34 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

A group of students at the University of South Australia working in the school's Wearable Computer Laboratory have taken Quake I into a whole new arena: specifically, the city of Adelaide.

Augmented Reality Quake (ARQuake) may be the most inventive use of the Quake source code ever devised: the students, along with their professor, have actually come up with a method to take the monsters and weapons of Quake and place them in real world environments via the use of semi-transparent VR goggles, a strap-on computer, and a complex system of Global Positioning System (GPS) and pattern recognition technologies.

While not yet fully perfected, the current prototypes operate by taking a pre-built vector map of the desired real-world area, then placing it into the Quake engine. The textures are then made transparent, and the monsters and heads-up display are inserted. The result, when projected into and viewed through the special VR goggles, is that the monsters appear to exist in the real world.

This system is then coupled with the GPS and other technologies to synchronize the digital map with the real-world environment that it represents. Thus, when the user looks at a real building, and that Shambler coming out of it, through the goggles, he can turn his head and watch as the digital monster moves with the real world structure.

The implications of technology on the gaming industry are staggering. But don't expect to see any new AR games on store shelves for a long time to come. More than likely, we'll see this kind of technology used by the government, the military, and high-tech industries first.

To find out more about this amazing project, and to see some shots of it in action, go to the UniSA Wearable Computer Laboratory web site by following the link below.

Wearable Computer Laboratory: ARQuake

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