Bose and Playcrafting have been holding Game jams around the country to foster the development of Audio Augmented Reality (AAR) games. The culmination of these efforts has resulted in the creation of Bose Arcade, a platform that showcases new games created in Unity using the Bose AR platform.  
 
The Bose Arcade showcases many of the fun and interesting games that came directly from these code jamsFor this blog, we will share the journey and highlights of one such game and the team behind it - Tightrope AR.
 
Going to the circus for the first time is an experience most people will never forget. Your senses are bombarded with bright colors, sights and sounds along with the smell of peanuts, popcorn, and yes - Animal dung!
 
At a recent game jam held by Bose and Playcrafting in Seattle, the Tightrope AR team came to life. Unity developers Samantha Kalman, Catherine Brinegar, Akash Thakkar, and Rachél Bazelais joined forces to re-create that memorable circus experience in an entertaining, engaging, unique, and most of all enjoyable way.
 
After various brainstorming sessions, the team decided that putting the user in the role of a tightrope-walker would not only uniquely showcase the circus experience but also offer a unique advantage in the form of Bose AR’s sensors. These sensors enhance the gameplay with spatial audio and detecting body movements and actions. 
 
A hilarious concept they clowned around with was an idea where you vigorously tap your nose to hear the honking sound of a clown horn.  The team considered the simple premise that sensing a nose tap would be possible with the help of AI and machine learning. The sensor package within Bose AR-Enabled devices is sensitive enough to detect the subtle face tapping clown gesture.  The magic to this clown horn trick would be developing a custom machine learning model.   
 
But not every idea makes the final cut. So, if you’re inclined to hack a bit on your own and take on a Machine Learning challenge, check out this example created by Bose Developer Advocate, Daniel Zeitman to help you visualize what a clown tapping gesture looks like.  If you want to take it a step further, build your model, train it and tell Dan how that goes!  
 
Gameplay
The gameplay for Tightrope AR is challenging. They decided that any tightrope-walker worth their salt should be able to handle some projectiles being lobbed at them from cannons below. With nowhere to go but down, the game tests the player’s ability to stay balanced and calm.
 
The game is 100% hands-free and uses nothing more than your ability to hear. Playing the game is simple. Pair your Bose AR Enabled device, stand up and wait until you can hear the sound of the pop of a cannon. Listen to the whistling of air as a projectile flies at you. To score, the player must jump and dodge.  Needless to say, the experience of the bystanders watching the gameplay is equally enjoyable!
 
Samantha Kalman, one of the developers of Tightrope AR envisions this experience as a Party Gamethe kind of game you play at parties to break the ice and get everyone engaged. Also, it’s fun! 
 
Jump and Duck!
The team expanded on the motion detection and accelerometer examples hosted on the BoseDevs GitHub repo to track the user’s gameplay movements and actions.   
 
Under the hood, they’ve created a system that procedurally places a series of cannons around the player. The Cannons will move either in the air or on the ground as you make it through several volleys. This process makes each iteration a unique experience where the players are always compelled to stay attentive and focused on the sounds located around them.
 
By taking advantage of the accelerometer in the Bose AR Enabled device, the team was able to track when player motion occurs such as jumping from there.  
 
"Overall, we wanted to utilize the hardware at our disposal to create something near everyone can enjoy and put a smile on their face" - Samantha Kalman, Developer at Tightrope AR
What’s Next?
The Tightrope AR team hopes to add more obstacles for the player to dodge, in addition to a deeper audio experience and more methods of movement for the player to perform to avoid the various obstacles.
 
With Tightrope AR, players feel like they have been transported into the world of a circus while sitting in the comfort of their living rooms, and without the unpleasant smells!
 
Download and experience Tightrope AR and add some icebreakers to your next house party!