Pervasive games are a new and exciting field where the user experience benefits from the blending of real and virtual elements. Players are no longer confined to computer screens. Rather, interactions with devices embedded within the real world and physical movements become an integral part of the gaming experience. Several prototypes of pervasive games have been proposed by both industry and academia. However, in such games the issues arising from the integration of players and real world, the management of the context surrounding the players, and the need for communication and distributed coordination are often addressed in an ad-hoc fashion. Therefore, the underlying software fabric is often not reusable, ultimately slowing down the diffusion of pervasive games. In this paper we describe the design and implementation of a pervasive game on top of TinyLIME, a middleware system supporting data sharing among mobile and embedded devices. By illustrating the design of a pervasive game we developed, we argue concretely that the programming abstractions supported by TinyLIME greatly simplify the data and context management characteristics of pervasive games, and provide an effective and reusable building block for their development. TinyLIME was originally designed to support applications where mobile users collect data from sensors scattered in the physical environment. We build upon this capability to put forth a second contribution, namely, the use of wireless sensor devices (or motes) as a computing platform for pervasive games. Besides reporting physical data for the sake of the game, we use motes to store information relevant to the game plot, e.g., virtual objects. Motes are typically very small in size, and therefore can be hidden in the environment, enhancing the sense of immersion in a virtual world. To the best of our knowledge, this original use of wireless sensor devices is novel in the scientific and gaming literature. Furthermore, it is naturally supported by TinyLIME, yielding a unified programming abstraction that spans the heterogeneous gaming platform we propose. 1
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