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The Sky Remains is a groundbreaking alternate reality game (ARG) experience combining interactive narrative, social networking and GPS-based technology. Designed by studio residents Hazel Grian and Jon Williams of Licorice Ltd. it combines the innovative creativity of pervasive computing researchers at HP Labs Bristol and the artistic creativity of Licorice Films. The Sky Remains is a sci-fi mystery set in the Sixth Dimension, where gamers are new recruits in a detective agency, collecting clues from cyberspace and the real world to solve crimes. Game-play will centre on a dedicated networking site (www.skyremains.co.uk) administered by Licorice Film. where players will be able to watch and upload video content and solve puzzles.
The Sky Remains will also use HP’s prototype mscapes technology (see www.mscapers.com). Jointly developed by HP Labs and HP’s Personal Systems Group (PSG), mscapes creates a digital media overlay on a physical landscape to increase engagement with the real world. In The Sky Remains, mscapes will extend the experiences available to the participants as they solve the mysteries of the detective agency significantly enhancing the ARG’s mix of on-line and physical activity. After solving the initial case, users will then be given the tool kit to create and customise their own cases and mscapes, allowing gamers to perpetuate the game. For HP Labs, HP’s advanced research organisation, The Sky Remains provides a rich research platform for studying players and game play over an extended period of time. It also provides an opportunity to expand the world-wide mscapers community through this new type of game, and to investigate the possibilities of creating new and innovative pervasive gaming experiences.