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Smartphone game is out of this world
A STUDENT who wanted to tackle social rules and taboos has created a challenging game for smartphone users – and has had his work recognised at a scientific world conference.
Nick Bull, of Bishops Avenue in Merrimans Hill, near Worcester, graduated from the University of Lincoln in September with a degree in games computing.
His app, Shhh! was developed from his dissertation.
The initial idea for the computer game came from Mr Bull’s research at the university, which focused on developing smartphone games that related to people’s interactions in the real world.
“I concentrated on mixed-reality games, which means the merging of real and virtual worlds, to produce new environments where physical and digital objects interact in real time,” he said.
“The idea is that physical actions carried out in reality will have an impact on the computer game.
“I looked at whether I could create a game in which the rules are not compatible with those of the real environment. And I found a way to make it work.”
Shhh! is designed to be played in a library because of the rule that everyone there should be quiet for the benefit of people who are reading or studying.
The aim of the game is to make a noise after pressing the ‘go’ button and see if the player can get a high score by not holding back and breaking the rules set out for the game.
Once Mr Bull had submitted his dissertation his tutor suggested that he should have it published.
It had an immediate impact on the industry and was presented in November at ACE 2013 – the 10th international conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology – by lecturer Conor Linehan.
Mr Lineham, of the School of Computer Science and a member of the Lincoln Games Research Group, said: “We are seeing more of a trend in these kinds of mixed-reality games, so one of our areas of research is to explore the possibility of being able to interact with the real environment instead of simply staring at a screen.
“It’s a very different type of game playing. Nick is very much at the forefront of this technology.”
Since finishing university, Mr Bull has been creating a spaceship shooter game based on old arcade games.
He has been working as a web developer with Bluebox, a website developer company in Lowesmoor Wharf, Worcester.
The Shhh! app is available for download to Android-powered smartphones through Google Play, or you can search for it online at the Android store.