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 inhabitable Patternist system. What they would discover upon arrival was anyone’s guess.
When the first transmissions were received, the existence of the Patternist Observation Mission was leaked to the public, along with the transmissions' cryptographic protocol.
That's when the events began.
Patternist is a location-based, augmented reality exploration game.
The mobile app is currently in beta.
The desktop app is a development environment featuring multiplayer trading, chatting, and building, with topography centered around the Sofiyskaya Embankment, Moscow, Russia.
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In Patternist, gameplay is built around urban typologies and dynamics that privilege experiences of the city residents, which often fall outside the dominant approaches to spatial analysis and development.
Each type of in-game element spawns in a different urban layer — from underpasses to security points, the elements you can collect depend on where you are in the city. As players reveal augmented reality landforms by using these elements, the alien landforms become symbolic, visual representations of the urban spaces where players originally collected elements.
Through urban augmented reality, Patternist proposes a shifting alter-landscape, transposing and transmutating everyday city passageways, prime for an alternative entry point into research on urban systems and flows.
The in-game trading system is based on algorithmic matching and balancing protocols that remember players' preferences to search for likely trades, so long as the players are within proximity of one another, either geographically or in the game environment.
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.
With the in-game elements acting as demurrage currency, the game virtually rehearses a localized resource barter system, with a focus on the urban.
As players trade game 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, which could have considerable applications for urban research and public works.
In the mobile app, your phone acts like a barometer, a geiger counter, and a metal detector all in one, alerting you to Patternist elements ambiently in your local area.
Whether you’re playing in your neighborhood or on your desktop, you can collect these symbolic elements hovering in the environment and combine them to produce new alloys, but it may require patience to encounter all 7 of the elements in the Patternist world.
Once you have obtained complementary elements, you can combine them, 1 to 1, into an alloy — representative of a possible landform to be found on Patternist. As complex materials host a wide variety of properties, you will need to cross-reference attributes of the elements to determine the alloy's landform characteristics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Patternist gameplay culminates in the revelation of Patternist-3 planet landscapes, hovering above our own.
Unusual maps, trades, and encoded perspectives lay in wait as you engage with urban environments through the lens of this newly revealed exoplanet.
You may even stumble upon the source of a mysterious phenomenon in the process.
Lina Bondarenko, Martin Byrne, Holly Childs, Kei Kreutler, and Jelena Viskovic
The Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design
Post-Graduate Program, The New Normal, 2017
Rhizome IdeasCity Microgrant, 2017
Mark Fridvalszki and Anna-Luise Lorenz
Sezzo Snot and Daniel Jenatsch
Patternist is currently seeking additional partners to co-sponsor further development of the app.
Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org with any interest.