Mr. Virtuoso Teaches Art History
with Augmented Reality (2005)
Virtuoso is a collaborative educational game designed to showcase the possibilities of the Handheld Augmented Reality (AR) framework. The game’s objective is to sort a collection of artworks according to their date of creation along a timeline drawn on a wall-mounted billboard (left = earlier, right = later). Every mark (fiducial) on the timeline carries one of the artworks, which are only visible through the player’s AR PDA. Initially the artworks are in random order. The player can pick up any artwork with his PDA, by clicking on the artwork on the display and drop it on a free position by clicking on the free fiducial on the display. Since all positions are initially occupied, the game requires two or more players to cooperate in swapping or rearranging the sequence of artworks.
While an item is located on the PDA, the player can access explanations about it. If a player is stuck, the virtual art history expert Mr. Virtuoso can be queried for advice by placing the artwork on his desk. The multi-lingual Mr. Virtuoso will then be prompted to provide his expertise on the subject. After an artwork is placed onto its correct position, it cannot be moved again.
Besides the hints from Mr. Virtuoso, the game engine allow configurable levels of difficulty by choosing where and when the exact date of creation of an artwork will be revealed:
Beginner’s level: All dates are always shown
Intermediate level: Date is shown when an artwork is put into ist final position
Advanced level: Dates are only revealed when all artworks are correctly placed
As an additional help, the game engine can show through „left“ and „right“ arrows next to the artwork if it should be placed earlier or later on the timeline.
The game is currently limited to four players (which is not a technical restriction). Click on the thumbnails below to get an impression on how the game looks.
Given the compact game platform, Virtuoso includes a comparably large amount of multimedia content. It features an overall selection of 20 artworks from which the game master can select a subset for play. The game features textured, anmiated 3D models, multimedia background material and audio narration in three languages (english, german, spanish). A graphical user interface for the game master allows runtime configuration of all game features.
Virtuoso uses the STUDIERSTUBE Augmented Reality framework, which allows rapid prototyping of AR applications for PDAs and PC workstations. While tracking, graphics and interaction are performed locally on the PDA, the game content is downloaded on demand from the Muddleware realtime database. Muddleware is also responsible for robust multiuser synchronization, even in the event of client failure. While the current implenentation of the game is intended for 2-4 concurrent players, the architecture is intended for dozens of simultaneous players.
A high quality version of this video can be found in the Media/Press section.