Mixed-reality environments bring digital creatures to the bedroom floor!
Gameware Development has created ‘ZOOKS’, an online-community based software product with features that enable children to watch their creations come to life and compete on the bedroom floor, rather than just in a virtual environment or TV studio.
“Building and racing the Zooks enables children to discover the fundamental rules of physics and engineering – without realising they’re learning!” says the CEO of Gameware Development. “The software blends physics, artificial intelligence and 3D graphics, but is simple to use and has a child-friendly interface that is very easy”
By using web cameras to augment real-world backgrounds with 3D images of user created Zooks, the Zook software allows users to run contests at home . The software interfaces with the image from the camera, to give the on-screen appearance of a contest taking place in the room. Once the camera is set up, background objects can be defined, and the ‘Competition Creation Pack’ used to build assault courses- Also mousetraps, marble-runs, hurdles and other contraptions to challenge the Zooks can be build by the user.
“Zookers can also build virtual competition environments or ‘Zook-ilands’” says Jeremy. “Competitions between multiple Zooks in these environments can be recorded and played back in full 3D, with interactive camera controls including pan, tilt, zoom and cut.”
Gameware hopes Zooks will be a broadband product which will have global appeal. The CEO wants to see Zook gaming sites all over the world, each with a local community, look and feel.
“I see international Zook competition!” says Jeremy. “National teams of children will create a squad of Zooks to compete in international competitions, with a ‘constructors’ championship’ for competition builders. Different nations’ Zooks websites will hoste International competition heats , with the contests themselves being given local flavour.”
“We would encourage each country’s site to have regional leagues and national competitions and to produce leader boards. This would maintain ongoing interest and aid selection of the best Zookers to go forward to compete at an international level,” he added.
The entire ZOOKS content is user-generated, and individual trials and contests can be recorded and shared with millions of other users by uploading to the ZOOKS website. The sites will also feature a rating system allowing Zookers to rank one another’s creations.
“CBBC has pioneered the BAFTA nominated and 2006 ’Prix Jeunesse’ award winning UK site for the BAMZOOKi TV show that has attracted over 2 million downloads of the Zook kit in the UK alone, and we are confident that the enhanced features of Zooks will facilitate the transformation from UK TV show into global phenomenon,” says the CEO of Gamewar Development.