Location-based game

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A location-based game (or location-enabled game) is one in which the game play somehow evolves and progresses via a player's location. Thus, location-based games almost always support some kind of localization technology, for example by using satellite positioning like GPS. "Urban gaming" or "Street Games" are typically multi-player location-based games played out on city streets and built up urban environments.

Current research trends are looking to other embedded mobile technologies such as Bluetooth and UWB. Poor technology performance in urban areas has led some location-based games to incorporate disconnectivity as a gameplay asset.


[edit] Examples of location-based games

Some games only last for a certain amount of time, while others can be played any time. Some are location-dependent while others can be played anywhere. Narrative elements have become important elements to enabling locative media to progress gameplay.

BotFighters, developed by It's Alive! and released in 2000, was one of the first location-based games on mobile phones.

Geocaching is the most prominent example with a large community. It is nominally a single-player kind of treasure hunt which is usually played using hand-held GPS receivers with user-hidden boxes.

Swordfish uses the area in and around you to go fishing for virtual swordfish. GPS enabled mobile handsets allow for real time location information where the swordfish are in your neighborhood. This game has been available since 2004 on Bell Mobility Canada and is available on Boost Mobile and Nextel in the USA. Swordfish won the Excellence in Gaming category at the 2005 Canadian New Media Association Awards. Written in Java ME, the game is published by Calgary, Canada based Blister Entertainment (a wholly-owned company of KnowledgeWhere Inc.) [1][2][3][4]

Torpedo Bay uses the area in and around you to avoid being killed by various ocean warships (carriers etc.) To survive, you must move in your neighborhood to get more ammunition and health to stay alive. GPS enabled mobile handsets allow for real time location information. This game is available on Boost Mobile and Nextel in the USA since 2005 and also published by Blister Entertainment. [5]

Tourality is a real life multiplayer GPS game for mobile phones that support Java ME and GPS (integrated in the mobile phone or as an external Bluetooth GPS receiver). The challenge is to reach geographically defined spots by running, biking or driving before others in realtime. So called 'Spots', 'Points of Interest' and 'Game-Templates' can be created with Google Maps by users in supported areas on the website. This user-generated content is the basis for outdoor games. Tourality offers a singleplayer and two multiplayer (player vs. player and team vs. team) modes. Currently the game is available as a free beta version. [6]

Sidewalk Squirrel is a single player location based game that allows anyone to create a gameboard in any neighborhood. Gameboards consist of a map, acorns, bones, a start and finish flag and are created on http://www.SidewalkSquirrel.com or using the Sidewalk Squirrel game. To play, individuals become a squirrel within a gameboard using GPS, Windows Mobile and the Sidewalk Squirrel game. The object of the game is to run the gameboard course picking up acorns and bones for points while avoiding attacking dogs (life as a squirrel). Dogs are also satisfied when given collected bones. Sidewalk Squirrel is Sneaker Entertainment's debut game.

The Journey (part 1 + 2) are mobile, location based adventure games developed by Mopius, which run on standard Symbian OS-phones. They combine the virtual world of a detective with the real surroundings of the player, while he is playing the game. The game is based on cell IDs of the mobile network, which has the advantage that no additional hardware like GPS receivers is required and that playing the game is free (no data traffic or location acquisition costs). As the virtual world is built dynamically during each game, The Journey can be played anywhere on the world and does not need prior setup. The first game was released as an open source game through the GPL-license. Both games have already been downloaded more than 100.000 times since their release in 2004 (state: 2007). [7]

Pac-Manhattan uses the area in and around Washington Square Park to play a real live version of Pacman. In Pac-Manhattan players communicate their position via mobile phones. [8]

Uncle Roy All Around You and Can You See Me Now?, produced by Brighton based Blast Theory and the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham University, are examples for of mixed reality and locative media breaking the arts/science/computer games barrier. Their games implement GPS via PDAs.

Wherigo (Where I Go) is "an adventure game construction set for the real world" currently available for Garmin Colorado and GPS-enabled Pocket PCs.[9] It uses user-developed content (called a "cartridge") which is mostly location-dependent, but cartridges can be built to be played anywhere. The Wherigo web site is maintained by Groundspeak, the same company that maintains geocaching.com.

The target is a real life pursuit game of game publisher La mosca, played in Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Players can rent GPS phones to play this game.

LocoMatrix is a gaming platform based on mobile phones and GPS (either incorporated on the phone or as a linked Bluetooth module)[10]. There are a couple of example games available - Fruit Farmer and Treasure Hunt - both of which can be modified at the LocoMatrix website. Further games are being developed as is a programming interface which will allow external developers to create their own games. One of the aims of LocoMatrix is to try to encourage younger people to play outside[11].

GPS Mission is a gaming platform requiring GPS-enabled mobile phones as well as an online connection during play. GPS Mission involves collecting virtual goods in the real world. Games can be created using a web-based tool. [12][13].

Cipher Cities is a web-based authoring tool and social network for building, sharing and playing location-based games. Members can play games on mobile phones using their web browser [14] or SMS. There is also a simple web based builder that allows members to create games.

FastFoot-Challenge is a GPS game released by urban team. Like a real world version of the well known board game Scotland Yard, 3 or 4 "Runners" try to catch an "X" in a defined playing field and time, typically a circle of 1 km radius within 30 min. Like in the board game, any means of public transportation may be used. After a closed beta testing phase from August 2007 until May 2008, the 1.0 stable version was released in June 2008.[15]

Virtualpunk uses the whole world as playground. The setting is fantasy and the game include quests, NPCs and looting of monsters. It is the first worldwide MMORPG for GPS Phones. [16]

Schnapphans An entertaining and informative gps based game taking visitors around the city of Jena/Germany. Designed by Art + Wege and implemented by transformat using their flexible transGo positioning framework [17] this game was developed in just 3 Months from the point the story bord was finished.

[edit] Garmin

Some of the Garmin GPS receivers (including the Geko 201,[18][19] Geko 301,[20] GPS 60,[21] eTrex Vista C,[22]and GPSMAP 76CS[23]) include the geolocation games Geko Smak, Memory Race, Virtual Maze and Nibbons.

[edit] Organized Urban Gaming

In 2006, Penn State students founded the Urban Gaming Club. The goal of the club is to provide location based games and Alternate Reality Games. Some of the games played by Penn State's UGC are Humans v. Zombies, Manhunt, and Capture the Flag.

[edit] References

  1. ^ About Swordfish
  2. ^ About 2005 Canadian New Media Awards Excellence in Gaming
  3. ^ About Blister Entertainment
  4. ^ About KnowledgeWhere
  5. ^ About Torpedo Bay
  6. ^ Tourality - move your mobile!: About
  7. ^ The Journey: About
  8. ^ Pac-Manhattan: About
  9. ^ About Wherigo
  10. ^ LocoMatrix
  11. ^ Electronic games that take to the streets
  12. ^ List of Navteq LBS Challenge 2008 APAC finalists
  13. ^ GPS Mission explained
  14. ^ Cipher On Your Mobile Browser
  15. ^ FastFoot-Challenge Stable Release
  16. ^ Overview of the Mobile GPS Game - Virtualpunk
  17. ^ transGo positioning framework
  18. ^ Geko 201
  19. ^ Geko 201 manual
  20. ^ Geko 301
  21. ^ GPS 60 manual
  22. ^ eTrex Vista C Owner's Manual
  23. ^ GPSMAP 76CS Owners Manual

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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