Reinventing ghost stories

10 Oct 2011

Haunted Planet Studios’ augmented reality game engine blends the real and virtual worlds, resulting in a beyond lifelike experience.

Haunted Planet Studios is a start-up company which has spun out of a joint venture project between the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) and Trinity College Dublin.

Drawing on expertise in distributed computing, location-based game development, and audio and graphic design, the development team worked with NDRC to produce an augmented reality game engine.

With the Haunted Planet Studios location-based augmented-reality game, players take on the roles of paranormal investigators, transforming their smartphones into ghost-detection devices. They explore reputedly haunted sites, gathering ghostly evidence and solving sinister mysteries from the past.

Built by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, artists and developers, the games use modern technology to reinvent the traditional gothic ghost story and bring history, as well as fiction, to life like never before.

Cultural and heritage sites have shown particular interest in Haunted Planet Studios’ technology because it provides them with a platform to present the past in a way that is fun, educational and interactive.

Market trials in 2010 demonstrated real engagement with players, with 99pc reporting that they would recommend to friends.

The Longship game engine, developed as part of a translational research project within the NDRC, takes augmented-reality gaming to a new level through the use of sophisticated, location-based audio, lifelike augmented reality and strong support for non-linear storytelling.

By setting games in historically relevant and atmospherically evocative locations, player immersion is improved further.

The result is an ultra-realistic experience that blends the real and the virtual worlds. Haunted Planet Studios is launching its first large-scale offering in 2012 to a worldwide audience.