The Songs of North

The Songs of North

The Songs of North (Pohjoisen laulut) is a prototype for persistent multiplayer mixed-reality mobile game, in which a player takes a role of northern wizard. In the past, the magical device Sampo, which brought fortune to its owner and caused wars, was thought to be destroyed; but it was only shattered and those who have gift to see can still find the pieces of Sampo. As a descendant to the accident wizards, you have gift for magic and sensitivity to sense the spirit world. It is up to you to help the world by tracking down the pieces of Sampo and return its energy back to the Earth and help it regain; or you can boost your own magical power with the pieces of Sampo, but consequently draining the Earth.

The spirit world is superimposed on the top of the physical world; the game world is consequently combination of the spirit world and game world. The game utilizes GSM cell positioning to track players when they play. To find items or visit a location, players need to move in physical world. When playing, players are able to hear what is happening in spirit world and what is near by there. The sounds are updated in real time. On the other hand, spirit world is visually only available through the magic drum, in which different bones represent things in the spirit world. The drum is not updated real time like the sounds; to see situation with a drum, players need to cast a spell. The spells are cast by drumming and each spell has different pattern.

In addition to main quest, the Sampo quest, there are smaller quest that the players can take. The quest can be obtained from non-player characters or can possible found. It is possible to search items and new spells. Some spells enable the player to create new magic items. Wizards are able to teach each other, if they so choose.

The communication was also possible via shouting or using magic. If shout is used the all nearby wizards gets the message. Magical message, on the other hand, is only received by the target. It is also possible to carve messages to items and read them from items.

Players have also some access to the game and their wizards’ information through the game’s www site. For example, it is possible to view inventory and spells via web interface.

Credits: Petri Lankoski, Jussi Lahti, Jani Nummela, Inger Ekman, Satu Heliö, Laura Ermi, Frans Mäyrä, Aki Järvinen, Jussi Holopainen, Sami Koponen

Published by lankoski

Petri Lankoski, D.Arts, is a Associate Professor in Game Studies at the school of Communication, Media and IT at the Södertörn University, Sweden. His research focuses on game design, game characters, role-playing, and playing experience. Petri has been concentrating on single-player video games but researched also (multi-player) pnp and live-action role-playing games. This blog focuses on his research on games and related things.

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