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Sound matters: Michael Breidenbruecker on sonic mobile game Dimensions

Sound isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you’re playing a mobile game. But that could change if RJDJ co-founder, Michael Breidenbruecker, gets his way.

In an interview, Breidenbruecker described the company’s latest app, Dimensions and the potential of sonic augmented reality applications, a genre so bleeding edge that his company’s apps may be the first entries to it.

Breidenbruecker is a co-founder of last.fm, the web music service that tracks, or scrobbles, the music its users listen to across a variety of environments, devices, and software applications. He is also the founder of RJDJ, the mobile app company that created Inception – The App, which is based on the movie of the same name. Inception- The App takes gamers through a multi-level dream space, allowing them to move through and experience dream state to dream state, collecting ephemera and unlocking new dreams in the process.

Dimensions has a similar concept, moving between dimensions, but is based on sound – that of the environment the user is in. Breidenbruecker calls the back-end technology here King Kong Context Detection Technology, a title which he says was created “because it sounds more fun than the technical terms.” The app is a trippy sonic experience, creating an almost hallucinogenic trip through one’s own life activities.

Inspired by games like Shadow Cities and Epic Win, RJDJ wanted to create a game that connects to the things we do in our real life. Contextual cues form the kernel from which the game experience can create a sonic environment. In Dimensions, there’s also a GPS/Google Maps component, with players seeking out glowing “Quantum Cells,” a kind of currency that players use power a beam used to gather artifacts and repel enemies.

Ultimately, though, Breidenbruecker is interested in the bigger ideas, like Will Wright’s HiveMind ideas, which he read about right here on VentureBeat. The app developers at RJDJ wanted to create a game where players didn’t need to focus on the game at all times – to make a game that could be played in real life, rather than only on the touchscreen. He says, “When we started to talk about that, and we read what Will Wright is up to at the moment, we realized that the whole genre is starting to happen here, which was super interesting and new.”

He’s also aware that being the first to a new genre isn’t always a guarantee of success. Being a little too far ahead of the curve could alienate users who don’t quite grasp the concepts of a game like Dimensions. “This has never been done before,” said Breidenbruecker. “Usually it’s never the first one that makes it happen, but it’s too good of an idea not to do it!”

While the company continues to work on the technology behind an app like this, they aren’t willing to rest on their laurels. He spent a couple of minutes teasing the idea of a future project involving the contextual engine behind the Dimensions app. “Your phone is always with you – there’s lots of talk recently about carrier IQ – in the end, we can actually create so many more services out of the personal connection between phone and human,” says Breidenbruecker. Collecting data is a neutral activity – we all do it. However, he says, “it’s more about what you do with the data. Last.fm is, ultimately, spyware. Collect the data openly and honestly – neighbor radio, personal charts, etc. It’s about “context” data.”

Sounds like a man with a plan, doesn’t it? While we can’t speculate on what’s next for such a groundbreaking concept and talented team of individuals like RJDJ, we’re sincerely planning on keeping an eye on whatever comes out of the London-based studio in the coming months.


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