Total Surveillance

I’m always on the lookout for games using CCTV cameras (btw, if you’ve heard of any, please leave a comment or drop me a line), so i read with interest Thomas Winkler‘s concept of Total Surveillance, a game that uses two “privacy-threatening” technologies -CCTV and RFID- to merge the real and virtual space.

The game area is completely covered by CCTV cameras. The images from the cameras are the only thing that both players in the real world and players in front of the computer see from this game area.

Real-World Players (players R) wear a head-mounted display to watch the pictures from the CCTV cameras. Besides, the players do not see the scene from their own perspective, but only from the perspective of the CCTV cameras.

Players on the computer (players C) would also only see the CCTV pictures. They control a virtual 3D person which is rendered into the live CCTV camera stream in real-time. This should create the illusion that the virtual characters are also interacting in the real CCTV monitored space.


Both types of players see only the streaming video from the CCTV cameras augmented with the virtual characters. This enables them to interact in the game.

A variety of interesting game concepts can be developed on that idea.

One player R and one player C form a team that can communicate during a game via their headset and microphone to find an item located somewhere within the viewing angle of the video cameras before any of the other teams grab it.

The item is tagged with an RFID-chip, so the software can easily recognize it and integrate it into the game. Only player R is able to grab the item but C can help him to find it or collect some tools.

Thomas Winkler got an honorary mention at Ars Electronica [the next idea] for Total Surveillance. Two years ago, he was awarded a Golden Nica in the u 19 – freestyle computing category at Ars Electronica for his nifty GPS::Tron.

Btw, congrats to Frédéric Eyl, Gunnar Green und Richard The who got an honorary mention for Parasite.

More fun with surveillance
: Zone, SVEN – Surveillance Video Entertainment Network, aka “AI to the People.”