The purpose of the activity can be to improve physical and mental health (well-
being) and improving capabilities related to a profession, recreation, or sports.
Fun, just fun, to be achieved from interaction can be another aim of such envi-
ronments and is the focus of this chapter. We present several examples that span
the concept of entertainment in ambient intelligence environments, both within
and beyond the (smart) home. In our survey, we identify some main dimen-
sions of ambient entertainment. Next we turn to the design of entertainment
applications. We explain in depth which factors are important to consider when
designing for entertainment rather than for work.
Key words: ambient intelligence, ambient entertainment, games, experience design,
immersion, exertion interfaces, urban games, emergent games.
16.1 INTRODUCTION
Characteristics of games and entertainment, combined with the possibilities offered
by ambient intelligence (AmI), allow for the emergence of new entertainment
applications that we might describe using the term ambient entertainment. In this
chapter, we survey the area of computational entertainment against the background
of AmI. Instead of introducing a precise definition of the concept, we present a
number of examples of novel AmI applications that focus on entertainment, and
we discuss several dimensions that are suggestive of the coverage of the concept.
This sketches the field of ambient entertainment as we see it. We continue the
chapter with a discussion of a set of design considerations that we feel are promising
for designing novel ambient intelligence applications that focus on entertainment
rather than on work and that can make optimal use of all technical possibilities from
AmI in sensor and display technology and the ubiquity of computing devices.
The chapter ends with a short conclusion.
16.2 AMBIENT ENTERTAINMENT APPLICATIONS
In this section we discuss a number of ambient entertainment applications. Many
games and media applications can take place in an AmI environment but not all of
these, we feel, are representative of the concept of ambient entertainment. We will
not address traditional PC or console-based gaming that merely uses novel tech-
nology for control or that uses novel display technology such as one may find in
AmI environments. In this section, several entertainment applications are presented
that we see, for varying reasons, as examples of ambient entertainment. This will
provide a context for subsequent sections and should give an idea of the coverage
of the concept.
394 CHAPTER 16 Games and Entertainment in Ambient Intelligence
16.2.1 Ubiquitous Devices
Some ambient entertainment applications rely on the ubiquity of handheld devices
such as PDAs and mobile phones. Such devices allow for social gaming experiences
with a strong “anytime, anywhere” quality—whenever (potential) players meet, they
can play a game together. For example, Suomela et al. [1] described a game in which
the camera in mobile phones is used to play a game of “assassin. A player takes pic-
tures of other players without them being aware of it; if successful, the player scores.
This game can be played anywhere, at any moment, as long as the players who sub-
scribe to it are present. Importantly, the players are aware of each other as players.
Stro¨mberg et al. [2] presented another mobile multiplayer game where players
play together or against each other using their mobile phones on a public display
(see Figure 16.1). Here, the players may not know each other and may not even
know who of the people sharing the room with them are currently participating.
In such a game, players can enter and leave at any time: There is no contract
between them to keep playing. The game anonymously connects players, just like
certain Web-based casual multiplayer games. However, in contrast to such Web-
based games , the players are co-located, interacting with the same display and phys-
ically sharing the same environment. This can have a major impact on the presence
and connectedness experienced. The kind of drop-in experience referred to above
was also discussed by Vogiazou et al. in their paper about CitiTag, another game
of “tag” played with mobile devices [3, page 57].
16.2.2 Exergames
Another example of entertaining interaction between an instrumented environment
and its inhabitants can be found in exertion interfaces or exergames as exempl ified
FIGURE 16.1
Impression of the FirstStrike multiplayer game in a public space, with one common display.
Players use their mobile phones to control the game (reprinted from [2], # Springer-Verlag,
2005).
16.2 Ambient Entertainment Applications 395

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