AR tests in the football stadium


The sports stadium as augmented reality arena

Transforming the sports stadium into an augmented reality arena is the goal of the Sports++ project, currently being developed by Sander Veenhof in cooperation with V2_Lab and Layar and supported by the Dutch Gamefonds. Sports++ will offer soccer fans worldwide an additional gaming layer on top of the action happening on the playing field. This additional action can be viewed using the Layar augmented reality browser, available for iPhone or Android smartphones. Spectators pointing their smartphone camera to the playing field, will see an altered live image of the field enriched with virtual gaming elements and characters added among the sportsmen. The ball, the players and/or the referee are, with their movements and actions, unknowingly controlling the parallel game happening in the virtual universe which exists at the same physical location.

Several game formats are being developed to suit various occasions during a match. Games to be played during the break, such as massive multiplayer '4 in a row' or games to be played during an ongoing match, such as 'Soccer Frogger' or possibly '11x11 PacMan'. The technique required for this gaming environment is being researched, prototyped and developed in various stages towards a final set-up in which a full interchange exists between the virtual game and the football players, connecting the men on the field and their actions to game characters living in the mixed reality game environment, in which the audience plays an active role too.

Sports++ is augmenting reality in two ways: visually but also logically. The classic 11 to 11 gameplay on the field will be upgraded or completely redefined with a new set of rules, based on a classic proven game format: football. It with will give supporters worldwide the power to get involved in unique ways, battling their opponent for real, instead of indirectly through their yells.

The first set of experimental games will be launched in januari/februari 2011, after the "winterstop" of the Dutch soccer league.

The video below shows the first preliminary tests done in the PSV stadium in Eindhoven:

Concept / implementation: Sander Veenhof Technical support: V2_Lab / Layar Supported by: Gamefonds

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