Archive for the 'mobile' Category

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Mobile Multiplayer Trans-Reality Gaming – part 4

The 3rd and final type of game that I was reminded of is Cops & Robbers – The Board Game.

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The object of the game is to be the first squad car to catch Slippery Sid.

The notorious criminal Slippery Sid has escaped from Jail and is hiding somewhere in the City. Hunted by Police, he is on the move from one hideout to another. You have a Police Squad car and you must try and trap Slippery Sid on one of his hideouts before he escapes to another.

The playing area represents the street plan of the City: these are 25 colored sites where Slippery Sid may be hiding.

The arrows on the road indicate one-way streets and the telephone handsets mark the places where you can get a radio message from Police Headquarters. Some of the radio messages will give you clues about Slippery Sid’s hideout.

There is an element of strategy to Cops & Robbers. Despite having more cops on the board they know less and can only gain more information at specific designated places on the board.

Mobile Mulitplayer Trans-Reality Gaming – part 3

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The next type of game I thought about when it came to MMTRG was The Prisoner. The Prisoner was a cult British 60s TV series with allegorical undertones and a very thoughtful and considered plot – which is vital.

It follows a former British secret agent who, after abruptly resigning from his position, is held captive in a small village by the sea by an unidentified power which wishes to establish the reason for his resignation.

During the entire 17 episodes, he is never identified by name and the exact nature of his job is never explicitly indicated, though numerous episodes provide clues. After resigning his position, he is kidnapped and held prisoner in a small, isolated, eccentric seaside resort town known only as the Village.

With the concept and setting laid down, such as it is, the natural premise for a mobile game would be to have a contestant ‘delivered’ into a particular scenario and have the audience, with the help of the Internet, either attempt to track him down or, more interestingly, helping him to escape.

Interestingly, in researching The Prisoner, I found out that ITV is planning to re-shoot The Prisoner for a more modern audeince – what kind of interactive or digital twist they’re planning to give to it, if any, is TBC…

Mobile Multiplayer Trans-Reality Games – part 1

MMTRG (Mobile Multiplayer Trans-Reality Games) is an evolution of MORPG (Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) fusing the real world with the virtual, digital world via your mobile and GPS. One of these is CitySlikkers and was one of the 10 Android apps I highlighted last week.

City Slikkers - Pervasive Game on the City
CitySlikkers is one of a handful of mobile games that have been devised which integrate the real world with a virtual gaming world via the mobile.

What’s brilliant about CitySlikkers is that…

“…the playing community will always be a minority they hereby form some kind of elitist, secret society which is based on knowledge, but not financial or political power.”

This elitism is the basis on which William Gibson’s ‘Spook Country’ professes to “secrets [being] the very root of cool.”

The game combines elements of strategy, role-playing, sports, social and tactical games, but in contrast to popular MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), the outcome of the actions as well as the new connections made between people, will affect normal life as the everyday city is no longer the same due to the players‘ experience.

City Slikkers - Pervasive Game on the City

CitySlikkers looks brilliant, but I’ve been thinking about games alot recently – more on that in future posts – but the lure of mobile and the additional dimension it opens up, is fascinating.

With Apple’s iPhone 2 offering 3G and GPS and Nokia’s N95 and upwards offering the same, being constantly connected and able to be pinpointed on a virtual map via GPS is becoming the norm and with it comes enormous opportunities in changing the game of Gaming.

MMTRG is a blog which documents a list of developers and the games they’ve dreamt up and news surrounding them – It’s worth a read…

Other avenues worth following include location based games, Alternate reality gaming and a couple of games that Blast Theory, based down in Brighton have already evolved:

Uncle Roy All Around You
more info here.
Can You See Me Now
CivilAction – an urban code chase game.

What’s key to the last few examples is that at the heart of the games is storytelling. If the story isn’t convincing enough then people aren’t going to play. If it’s believable though then you’ve got a runaway hit on your hands…As always, making the technology invisible to the player is paramount to success.

10 mobile apps of the future

Google has announced the 50 applications that have won the first round of the Android Developer Challenge.

ReadWriteWeb have listed their favourite 12 here. Chris Andreson commented on one application, Enkin, which wasn’t mentioned by ReadWriteWeb, who have been contacted by Google personally.

Here are 10 that I’ve found most interesting (in no particular order):

Beetaun project
Beetaun is a social network based around geographical content created by people and for people (from your neighborhood, from your city, from your country, from all over the world). By Sergey Gritsyuk and Dmitri Shipilov.

City Slikkers - Pervasive Game on the City
City Slikkers is a Pervasive Game (alternatively Location Based Game) which takes place in the real-existing city. It is designed to connect a large number of players through-out the world and change the way the surroundings are seen. The central idea behind the concept is to give people the opportunity to symbolically interfere with the everyday urban environment and come into contact with previously unknown people.

GolfPlay - Personal GPS Caddie
GolfPlay’s objective is to give support to all the real time necessities of a golf player during a game, using GPS location and an online querying site where it is possible to access to their game statistics, tournament creation and a social network to exchange impressions with other users about the sport that links them: golf.

Enkin Blog: After the Challenge
Enkin introduces a new handheld navigation concept. It displays location-based content in a unique way that bridges the gap between reality and classic map-like representations. It combines GPS, orientation sensors, 3D graphics, live video, several web services and a novel user interface into an intuitive and light navigation system for mobile devices.
Demo video here.

With Eco2Go you can Reduce your carbon footprint. Eco2go finds and suggests public transit alternatives for your trips – right on your phone.
Inspire others with your stories, join the eco2go network to build a global community around sustainable living – you’re not alone!
Offset your footprint. Eco2go calculates the carbon output of your trips and lets you offset it with carbon credits as you go.

PedNav - RouteMe² Technologies
PedNav™ is an application that helps you plan your activities efficiently when moving around and interacting with an urban environment. Based on the information you provide, and on the schedules of venues and transportation, PedNav creates a personalized “itinerary”: a time-orderly list of events for the day, specifying when to go where, and how to get there.

Pocket Journey: Know Anywhere
Pocket Journey is a mobile application that connects your location to the voices of a global community of artists, historians, architects, musician, comedians, and others so you can quickly know everything about anywhere.

Wikitude takes advantage of geographical information contained in Wikipedia articles. There are about 350.000 Wikipedia Places Of Interest (PIs) to download, split up in many categories and more than 10.000 POI files.

Automatic barcode recognition using onboard phone camera using ZXing library
Shows CD, DVD, or book cover along with detailed reviews from
Searches over a dozen stores, both online and brick+mortar
– Highlights brick+mortar stores that are nearby, with option to call the store or get directions
– Links to online storefronts to buy online from the phone
Tracklisting for CDs, along with option to play sample tracks right on phone
For books, searches local libraries to see if they have a copy
Video Demo here.

A biometric authentication system for Android. This application features iris recognition and can act as a password safe and provide single sign-on for other Android apps. Jose Luis Huertas Fernandez.

Google Android vs. Apple iPhone
These are all Android applications and I think there’s a couple of reasons why.

The iPhone SDK is currently stifling development:
– The iPhone SDK doesn’t (currently) allow applications to run in the background.
– The iPhone SDK doesn’t (currently) let applications talk to each other.
– The iPhone (currently) has no GPS.

The above examples highlight two things:
– How important GPS and location context will be.
– How important it is to have applications running in the background.

I’ll have a follow up post on why the iPhone doesn’t allow applications to run in the background and the complexity of the situation.

Mobile applications vs. Branded utilities
These examples show just how quickly mobile application development is moving. It will be interesting to see how brands get involved in marketing and partnering with some of these developments in order to ‘own’ these new spaces currently being developed.

I don’t think there’s a way for digital agencies to compete in bringing similar products to market for their clients within the budget and at the speed a smaller development team can unless something radically changes in the way in which they finance such projects.

If anyone knows of any other mobile applications worth mentioning, please leave a comment.

Google Android has promised to ship before the end of the year with T-Mobile and Sprint already lined up to offer carrier packages.

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