3ds StreetPass and pedometers – new social gaming twist

A feature of the new 3ds handheld that does get mentioned but is generally overshadowed by the lenticular lens 3d screen is its network capabilities. StreetPass may seem an odd concept but in terms of ensuring you have the console on your person at all times and powered up it is fascinating.
What StreetPass does is keep the 3ds wireless running whilst in standby but in a low power mode. It looks for other 3ds consoles within about 30 metres of it at any time. Why? Well it does this so that if a fellow 3ds owner passes you in the street the two machines will exchange data with one another whilst sat in you bag or pocket. It is a form of digital business card exchange.
Nintendo have, with this, gone and invented a whole new dynamic to social gaming in a networked world. You often bump into gamers online in games that you play at the times that you play them. i.e. fully distributed networks. With StreetPass you are bumping into gamers at a time and physical place which gives you something in common, and hence makes that person of interest.
What interested me, aside from the tech, was how this felt. Whilst I was in London heading back from the BBC I had my 3ds on standby in my pocket on the tube. I actually got off at a stop I did not need to, in this case picadilly circus, and walked down to leicester square in order to see if my StreetPass would connect with anyone.
This physical activity did in fact yield a few StreetPass exchanges. So when i got back on the tube train I was able to see a few Mii’s (the little avatars you create as a calling card/game character) now residing on my handheld. One was even from someone form Spain. My epredator Mii had also been delivered to them of course. I had, as an experiment also put Feeding Edge Ltd as my greeting so it was a kind of advert !
Mii visitors
These Mii’s also come with things that relate to games, such as a specific piece of a puzzle, or they can be used to drive a mini game. We are only scratching the surface of how this will pan out.
I had been playing a bit of Street Fighter IV which is tremendous game on the DS and has been crafted superbly. Part of that is the ability to win in game figures. These figures form part of a collection that can be traded wirelessly, but more excitingly you are able to assemble a fantasy fighting team from the figures.You are given a certain number of skill and attribute points that you are allowed to spend and then the different figures and characters can be user to create the team. Once created this can be StreetPass enabled. I obviously wandered past a fellow SF IV player as we basically exchanged team data. Once you spark up the game again it asks if you want to run the simulated battle using this data. I did, I won 🙂 in winning I gained some more currency to spend on more in game figures to build the team. It’s almost like play by mail rock/paper/scissors with a huge techie twist.
3ds SF IV team
Just to complete the behaviour altering loop though the 3ds also acts as a pedometer. It counts your steps, the more steps you do the more game coins you are credited with. These game coins can be used to purchase in game items. In the case of SF IV it is, yes you guessed it, more game figures to build the team with.
So, I was carrying a 3ds in my pocket, deliberately walked through the centre of London to see how it worked, gathered some other gamers data, played an offline game with that data which earned me more game points to be able to do that again and the act of walking wash also gaining those game points too.
I think this is going to be a fascinating twist, and may surpass the 3d elements of the nintendo handheld. It has shades of the Wiimote for being genre changing. In a world of online social games they have reintroduced the physical environment to the mix and I am sure some very cool ideas will spring out of that.
(I have not even begun to riff on the AR capabilities which are awesome too, more on that later)

Excited about Metaplace

Today I dived back into Metaplace and I have to say I am now very excited by its potential. I realized I had a stack of invites still so I twittered about it as one does.

So why now? Well I am busy looking at all sorts of platforms and anything that lets people just get on and do things, whilst sharing with others works for me.


Some key points.

1. My avatar can have green hair (Something PS3 home and Xbox Live still don’t do for some reason). i.e. flexible to what I personally want to do. It sounds minor but it really is important.

2. The car there as an isometric 3d object that can be rotated through 4 angles has come from Google Warehouse.

3. The image of epredator’s workplace is from my Keynote as the ACE conference. Its imported from my machine (as a jpg but its powerpoint/keynote in world) 

4. You cant see the alien creature I added from the metaplace store. It is a 3d alien, but I clicked the properties to add movement code to it, and selected it should avoid me as a player. So it ran away. Scripts and code…. tick. 

5. I was able to create my own space, in this case a feeding edge room. (group space and branding now playing a part)

So with imports, code to make things happen, all running in flash, backed up by a linked social network its letting people just get on and build. Always a design feature but its working really well.