At first we thought it was the weather.

Patternist is a location-based, augmented reality exploration game that allows you to reveal new aspects of your own city. You will detect uncharted elements among the familiar ones, and reveal alien landscapes that can veil and eventually envelope the conventional. Unusual maps, trades and encoded perspectives lay in wait for you as you engage with urban environments through the lens of a newly identified exoplanet. You may even stumble upon the source of a mysterious phenomenon in the process.

Patternist is a world beckoning you to play.

Download the desktop demo here, and look for the app on iOS today and on Android this week.









There are seven fundamental elements in the Patternist world

which only spawn in their corresponding urban attributes.

Detect, Collect and Combine Elements

In AR mode, your smartphone acts like a barometer, a geiger counter and a metal detector all in one, alerting you to Patternist elements inherent in your local area. Whether you’re playing in your neighborhood or your browser, you can collect these symbolic elements ambiently hovering in the environment.

Combined Elements Create Alloys

Alloys are developed by combining pairs of elements collected in a player’s inventory. Each element has generative inputs that influence the form of the alloys they make. For instance, the alloy Lavalite is generated from the elements Macadigen — related to informal parking areas, creates vertical spatial conditions — and Coradium — related to unplanned urban greenery weaves solidity and hollows. When these conditions combine, Lavalite becomes a strange mix of deep trenches and soaring peaks, billowing peaks and empty voids.

For details on the alloys, players can consult the Alloy Codex interface shown above to preview which landform characteristics are revealed by each alloy and to find the parent elements of each alloy.

There are 21 alloys that can be created by combining different quantities of elements, contained within an alchemy card deck.


Alloys form the tectonic qualities of the Patternist planet, its formations hovering above our own. Choosing from the 21 alloys, players can apply them to reveal a detailed alien landscape that will increase in complexity as they go. Patternist gameplay culminates in the revelation of these Patternist-3 planet landscapes.

With this combinatory system of landform generation, the possible alloys offer players a spatial riddle of geologic systems, allowing players to experiment with new topologies, while ambiently rehearsing alternatives to the real world we know.

The game becomes a method to blend realities, weaving them together in ways that allow players to navigate both worlds simultaneously.


Multiplayer Trading

In the multiplayer environment, you can trade elements with other players, but only when they are nearby. Trading is necessary for players to collect elements which may not exist in their everyday environment, creating sustained dialogues and chance encounters.

The trade menus operate based on the proximity of other players, populating your marketplace with different offers that are nearby. You can choose elements and quantities, as well as schedule trades for later.

The trading system is based on algorithmic matching and balancing protocols that allow players to set preferences and let their equipment do the work of sorting their options, so long as the players are within the required distance of one another.

The system is managed by a network trade algorithm. In short, this means the game will take into account what all players are offering, and try to facilitate a multi-directional trade between a network of players — from one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many.


As players detect and trade elements, the game records trades’ location and transaction data on federated instances and assigns each a unique identifier.

This effectively transforms the revealed Patternist landscape and gameplay into a distributed ledger with a real-world spatial record of transactions.


Each 100x100m tile juxtaposes alloys that are available in the city underneath to produce unfamiliar topologies on the hovering surface, translating the familiar spaces of your city into a warped world.




What observations will Patternist inherit from Moscow City, where the tallest commercial towers in Europe sit in a sea of parking and security gates? Or 100 meters away, in a uniform residential neighbourhood, of iconic soviet Kruschevki, slated for imminent demolition? Or just at the post-industrial adaptive factory district of Bolotniyy Ostrov, at the bridge beside Strelka Institute?

Walking from neighborhood to neighborhood, gamers will be able to see scales of complexity in map pieces that can be played upon, each one a unique transcription of an augmentation on that area. The game becomes a method to blend realities, weaving them together in ways that allow players to navigate both worlds simultaneously


In the early years of the 21st century, innumerable attempts were being made to document in detail the newly discovered exoplanets in our corner of the universe. Chief among them was the dense and potentially fertile Trappist system. Through the efforts of a few private corporations, a wide net of nano-satellites were launched towards the system aboard laser-directed light sails. What they would discover upon arrival was anyone’s guess.

By the time 80% of the humankind’s earthbound populations had migrated to urban areas, the satellites would arrive in the system and begin to transmit their findings. At this point, a vast array of terrestrial and extraterrestrial sensor imaging equipment had been deployed to capture and codify the massive amounts of data that were coming into view.

As the transmissions began, their existence and their protocols were leaked. The paranoia surrounding the existing earth observation missions extended to the Trappist Observations Mission. That's when The Events began.

At first we thought it was the weather…


Проект СХЕМА рожден из размышлений о цифровых слоях города и исследований неформальных экономик. Он переосмысляет пространственный опыт города через призму смешанной реальности. Проект включает в себя демо-версию гео-локационной игры в виртуальной и дополненной реальности, урбанистическое исследование, описание игрового процесса и внутриигровые артефакты. Игра выстраивается вокруг исследования экзопланеты «Паттерннист-3», пространства которой наслаиваются на поверхность Земли. Три команды взаимодействуют, собирая и обмениваясь фрагментами карты для воздействия на игровую вселенную.

Core Team

Lina Bondarenko, Martin Byrne, Holly Childs, Kei Kreutler, and Jelena Viskovic

Supported By

The Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design
Post-Graduate Program, The New Normal, 2017


Mark Fridvalszki and Anna-Luise Lorenz

Sound Designers

Sezzo Snot and Daniel Jenatsch