January 9, 2014

Reality is Only a Matter of Perspective in The Museum of Simulation Technology

Pillow Castle Games - The Museum of Simulation Technology

"What you see is what you get" is about to take on a whole new meaning. Pillow Castle Games, a group of Entertainment Technology students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, is developing an experimental new game concept that turns visual illusion into physical reality. In an early tech demo video of The Museum of Simulation Technology, the player navigates rooms in first-person, manipulating objects and using the tricks of perspective to literally make things as large or small as they appear to the viewer. For example, a model of the Eiffel Tower may be physically immense, but because it appears smaller when viewed from far away it can be picked up off the horizon and held. While in the player's grasp, the tower's size relative to the camera remains constant -- and it can easily be brought over to a nearby table and placed aside tiny pieces on a chessboard.

It's difficult to describe exactly what is going on in words, so take a look at this proof-of-concept video:

Some of the feats pulled off in these clips are so dream-like, it's hard to make sense of it. Just when I started to think "Okay, I think I understand the ramifications of this," the next room showed off something even more unbelievable. Making some blocks big enough to step on, by moving them closer to a horizon line, was just the beginning. Re-sizing a window so that it's large enough to fit though was starting to get pretty wild. Plucking the moon out of the sky and combing it for a hidden doorway was really crazy. And that last one, where they re-sized the doorway and came out bigger? Absolutely bonkers.

It's unclear exactly what the final product will be like, but already the folks at Pillow Castle Games are proving themselves to be visionaries in the field of perception-based puzzles and imaginative gameplay concepts. I'll be thrilled to hear more news from them in the future.

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