Death and the Compass: a geolocative AR mystery

Amid the unceasing aroma of the eucalypti


An augmented reality adaptation of Jorge Luis Borges’ story by the same title, Death and the Compass uses participants’ smartphones to immerse them in the investigation of a series of gruesome ritual murders. After downloading the mobile app, players are shown a location on a map to which they must go in order to begin playing. Once at the start point, an image onscreen indicates that they must hold up their phone to look through the camera at specific parts of their environment in order to trigger the next event. Traveling from building to building on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus to examine a series of crime scenes (in surreal 3D images superimposed over the phone camera’s view of the actual architecture) the player assumes the character of Detective Lonnrot. Conversations between Lonnrot and his colleagues (and enemies) are played out in immersive 3D audio, responsive to the player’s position and orientation.

Made for CMU’s Mediated Reality class in collaboration with Kevan Loney and Akiva Krauthamer in spring 2015.

Created using Unity3D with Vuforia. A combination of image targets and geolocation was used to trigger events.