TWO Londonderry artists have hooked up with a techie from Nottingham to design an exciting new game that will allow people in Waterloo Place compete against counterparts across the United Kingdom.
Eileen Walsh and David Dryden will launch ‘Bubble Sculpture’ in Waterloo Place on Sunday (September 15) as part of the CultureTech festival.
The pair won the tender to design the interactive game which will be played on twenty BBC Big Screens throughout the UK - one of which was installed in Londonderry in time for the 2012 Olympiad and Londonderry UK City of Culture.
With the help of tech whizz, Brendan Oliver, of Floating Point Digital in Nottingham, the local duo have come up with an amazing new game that will allow people to stand in front of their local open air cinema screens and build virtual bubble scupltures against the clock.
Speaking to the Sentinel, Ms Walsh explained: “We had a big brainstorming session and then we just came up with this idea of this game called the Bubble Sculpture. I suppose it’s loosely art related with the Turner Prize coming.”
Explaining how the game works, she said: “You’re standing down in Waterloo Place, and look up at the screen, there’s a reflection, it’s like a mirror, where you can just see yourself in the screen.
“Then our game starts and there’s like a little plinth, a wee kind of cartoon plinth and all these virtual bubbles start appearing all over the screen.
“Now you can stand there and move, it’s mad like, and grab a bubble, even though you are grabbing it virtually and you move it on to the plinth and it sticks to that and there’s a wee time limit then and you can make a sculpture.”
According to Ms Walsh movement sensors are employed within the game.
“Its cameras that are sensitive to movement, so that we built that into the design. It was myself and David (Dryden), and the developer we worked with is based in Nottingham. This guy, he’s absolutely brilliant, he’s done a lot of work with the BBC big screen, so we sourced him ourselves.”
She praised both the Culture Company’s Martin Melarkey and Londonderry Digital Champion Mark Nagurski - the man who is trying to create 100 new digital companies here by 2015 - for inspiring the idea when the two artists attended a digital workshop.
“They were both just so inspiring, about the whole use of digital technology and they were basically saying: ‘You know, there are loads of programmers out there. There are loads of developers but what they need is content.’”
“So it’s the idea of marrying, I suppose, creative people with people who are good at technology. That’s when you get really interesting projects. We would both be the creative side.”
Ms Walsh believes that if the trial runs are anything to go by it’s sure to prove a hit with the public around the UK.
“We’ve built a scoreboard into it. So you could actually play someone in Leeds. It’s absolutely mad. We’ve done loads of testing. We’ve tested it here and we’ve tested it up in Belfast but it was through all sorts of different weather.
“Do you see when we were testing it and there was no-one around, the minute it came on, they were just all coming from everywhere. They probably won’t like this but even all the winos were coming along. It’s like tai chi.”