What an exciting time to be a gamer! With all the impressive games and technologies announced at E3, I’ve been glued to every social platform. Aside from taking in all the great coverage provided by some of my favourite gaming outlets, I love seeing public reactions to new products. Gamers are an incredibly passionate group of people united by a common trait – We like to play, and we like new ways of playing.
For me, the most notable highlights of E3 have been Oculus showing the consumer model of the Rift, Dice teasing Star Wars Battlefront, Bethesda’s showcase of Fallout 4, and Microsoft demoing their take on Augmented Reality gaming, with HoloLens. It seems that every developer showcasing at E3 is pushing their respected hardware to the threshold of it’s limitations, just like us at ZenFri!
Most video games are built with a platform in mind and Clandestine: Anomaly is no different! PC games are (mostly) built with the platform’s modular nature in mind, and console games are built to make the most of a console’s specific hardware. Gaming on a mobile phone, tablet, or iPod opens up new possibilities as a direct result of their unique hardware and free roaming nature.
Since as early as the 1970’s gamers have been able to enjoy electronic entertainment on the go through the use of various mobile gaming devices. Although many makes and models have come and gone throughout the years, their basic design, input, and hardware have more or less remained the same – a screen and some buttons.
In 1998 Nokia had the ingenious idea to introduce video games onto their flourishing cellular phone line-up. The game Snake proved to be a smash hit demonstrating that cellular devices can also be mobile gaming platforms. Despite being a new medium for games, the software was limited by the hardware within the device, and the ways which the user could interact with the phone. Snake is a game to be played on a screen with some buttons.
Smartphones ushered in a new era of mobile gaming. The hardware featured within these devices was far more sophisticated than that of their exclusively gaming predecessors. These new technologies allowed developers to create an experience unlike that of those previously possible on a cellular device. In 2008 Apple Inc. launched the App Store, giving all developers a new and easy platform to share their games without needing connections to a publisher or the industry.
This new platform for gaming provided new challenges for developers with its lack of physical buttons. Some games such as Super Monkey Ball used the accelerometer to control, where others relied upon on-screen buttons in the place of directional pads or joysticks. Over time more and more games began utilizing current mobile game conventions for interaction, such a swiping and pinching. But these games for the most part only utilize the touch screen and internet connectivity aspects of the mobile device’s hardware.
And here, 7 years into the App Store’s existence, Clandestine: Anomaly comes into the picture, utilizing just about every component within a mobile device and aims to bring you a new kind of gaming experience. Mobile gaming is bigger than ever, but most games stick to the conventions of already established styles of play, but they are not the only way to play. Clandestine: Anomaly bridges the gap between classic gaming protocol, and new wave gaming due to the unique hardware available within a modern mobile device.
Utilizing your device’s location services, the built-in camera, gyroscope, compass, touch screen, accelerometer, and internet connection, Clandestine: Anomaly seams together just about all your mobile device can offer. Although Clandestine: Anomaly exists within the strategy game genre, its unique use of the hardware cumulating as location-based Augmented Reality sets it apart from other titles currently available on the market.
While the majority of games transport the player into a digital environment, Clandestine: Anomaly takes a unique approach by bringing the digital into your real world surroundings. You’re the main character. You’re not playing as someone else; the lead protagonist is you, and the setting is where you start the game. This form of storytelling informs the game’s mechanics and how you as a player interacts with the game. Where most video games transport the player to a new environment, Clandestine: Anomaly transforms your environment.
Mobile games thus far have more or less taken a standard stationary video game, without any truly mobile component and ran it on batteries. This allows you to take a stationary gaming experience with you. We at ZenFri have taken a different approach to the old ways of game design and have constructed Clandestine: Anomaly with the intent of being a truly mobile experience. You are not only able to play on the go, but in fact interact with the game by being mobile within the real world play space.
Your neighbourhood is the site of an alien invasion, and just like in a real battlefield, specific locations can be essential to your side’s victory. In Clandestine: Anomaly your movement and short-distance travel to these specific locations is one way of interacting with the game.
Once you have arrived at the said locations and your mission has begun, the Augmented Reality mode (Recon), has you reexamining your environment by peering through the mobile device. To bystanders, it will appear as if you are taking photos of the sky or a well composed selfie, for mere 20 second increments. For the Leechers, it’ll be 20 seconds of utter destruction as you take them into your sights and obliterate their chance at a future.
Clandestine: Anomaly isn’t trying to turn gaming on its head, but rather introduce a fun, new way to play games. Let’s be honest, gamers are a hugely diverse group of people with different tastes, and lifestyles. We believe Clandestine: Anomaly is a great way for gamers to enjoy the outdoors (should they wish), take part in their hobby, and never travel too far from home in our 2km x 2km play-space. Mobile gaming has had a long history, and has evolved in many ways. We see Clandestine: Anomaly as part of the next evolution of mobile gaming.
We’re super excited about Clandestine: Anomaly, and we hope you are too.