This last Saturday, BC Live Productions helped to execute what could well be the birth of a whole new wave of video gaming.
Located in the basement of a converted meatpacking plant in Downtown L.A., RoboKong, is a live action, first person shooter video game experience. Players from all over the world are able to Skype in to control a real life avatar through four separate levels, varying in complexity. It was an event never before attempted to this scale.
The core of the video game takes place underground, surrounded by thick, concrete walls. Oh, and it all had to be wireless. Anyone who’s ever tried to get cell service in an underground parking garage can tell you just how hard that is.
So we went to work, designing methods to reliably send and receive video & communication signals all around the 90,000 square foot basement. We also wanted to complete the challenge in the most cost effective way possible, without running thousands of feet of cable to each room. Here’s what we came up with:
WARNING: The next bit includes some heavy tech talk.
Teradek is a company that specializes in video encoding and transmission, both wired and wirelessly. The Bolt Pro 3000, which is Teradek's newest model of Bolt Pro, allows for wireless video & embedded audio data to be sent and received from up to 3,000 feet away.
Our Avatar (the actor portraying the in-game character), is rigged with a GoPro Hero 4 on his chest. This allows the player Skyping in to see the avatar’s hands and eerie in-game environment, so that they can control his every move.
Strapped to the avatar’s head is a helmet fitted with a Teradek Bolt Pro 3000 Transmitter sending wireless video signal back to the control room.
As the avatar is being instructed where to go, his helmet stays in contact with at least one of the Bolt Pro 3000 Receivers we have strategically placed throughout the basement. Once out of range on one, we immediately switch over to the next closest receiving unit, and the players (and everyone watching at home) are none the wiser.
This is only one element of how grand of a production Robokong was, and how many moving parts were at play. There were also lighting cues, video playback, a dynamic original that pulsed with the intensity of the game, a voice-over actor reacting to players' instructions, on-screen visual displays that reacted to the environment, sound effect cues, & live Skype integration to name a few.
RoboKong took place over the course of a 4 hour live show, was featured on the Twitch front page, and generated over 600,000 views across the globe during the show.
We’re proud to have been a part of such a unique and special event in the history of video games!