Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Swimming in the Depths of Kinetics and Physically Rooted Leisure Sports

This past Friday, as a friend and I were attempting to pass the time despite its dry nature, I became inspired to create a real life version of Angry Birds. Regardless of the fact that this idea was probably the result of heat delusion, I mentioned it briefly to another friend of mine via text and he pointed out to me that such had already been executed.

So I watched this and was quite impressed:

I love this kind of stuff. Limited by the bounds of the physical world, one sets out to use illusion and practical means to create a fantastically experience. The greatest example of this craft can be found in the work of the Disney Imagineers and the incredible work found within the Disney Land theme parks.

After some convincing, I got my buddy to take me out to the his shed to look for some cardboard boxes to build the destructible structures with. We then grabbed a bag of around twenty tennis balls and started to experiment away. One of the great advantages of creating a sport is that one does not have to program the physics engine, thus the focus could be entirely on drafting rules, discovering new ways of play, and testing out new gameplay elements.

By this point the idea to recreate Angry Birds had evolved into something much more interesting. Instead of launching projectiles using a sling (the general lack of elastic in American homes contributed to this development) we decided that are game would have the players simply throwing the tennis balls at the cardboard structures. There was experimentation with what sort of goals and challenges could be interesting to achieve using reality's physics. In Angry Birds the goal is to kill pigs by inflicting a certain amount of stress upon them; having them fall from a great height or be crushed by a collapsing pillar. To emulate this we implemented water balloons, but these proved to be too time consuming to produce and far too fragile. So instead, we focused on placing cones within our layouts that the player would have to knock over. These worked far better, but the types of structures we could build were extremely limited by the rather unfortunate selection of corrugated boxes presented to use.

After all of this there are now plans to purchase high quality boxes to use for building structures and to further experiment with both the rules and the play of the game. While this activity is not quite a formal game yet, it still presents an excellent opportunity to learn and have fun and to perhaps create something new and exciting.

As far as I know, this could turn into the great new sport of the 21st century. Yes, idealistic, but hopeful!

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