2004 Technical Review – Systems, Devices and Case Studies

August 2004
Deb Polson, Mathew Simpson, Ian McColl

This document is an interim report for the Location-Based Game (LBG)  project, dealing with infrastructure. It will form part of the site analysis in the Phase 1 deliverable. It is concerned with the following research issues  and interests:

•                developing infrastructure to support appropriation/agency and unintended  use

•                processes/methods/tools for collaborative design and development of LBGs

•                new ways to use existing and potential devices

Above: image of PacManhattan (2004)

The sections of this document are as follows:

1, Terminology – defines terms I use throughout this document

2. Technologies – introduces candidate technologies

3. Infrastructure – infrastructure candidates for authoring environment and game engine.

4. Site – provides an overview of the site in terms of technologies

5. Examples – describes existing examples of LBGs

6. Models – outlines possible models for LBG infrastructure

1. Terminology

In this section I define terms I use throughout this document.

We distinguish the terms location-based and location-aware.  We take location-based to mean situated within a particular physical  site, in the sense of a place that frames or provides a context or inspiration  for play. I take location-aware to mean sensitive to position or location, in the sense of a computer-based system that is “aware” of  the geospatial position or location of a user or associated device. This differs  from much of the ubiquitous and pervasive computing literature, where these  two terms are used as synonymous, with the latter meaning.

A survey of existing games, revealed significant  differences in approaches betIen the commercial and non-commercial sectors.  This research enabled the creation of a taxonomy of location-dependant games  that allows for clearer categorisation and description. This taxonomy extends  the notions of location-aware and location-specific (defined  as location-based above), to allow another level of description as  shown in the figure below. In terms of location-aware,  it splits the games into self-declared, relative, and absolute which describe the way/s in which the game is made aware of the player’s position.  Location-specific is split into bound world, world-specific (transferable) and world-specific  (fixed) which describe not only the location or space the game is played  in, but also the extent to which the game play is dependant on that particular  location.

Taxonomy of Location-Dependant Games

In terms of the games surveyed, the commercial games seem to have  adhered to a tried and tested technological structure. All of these games  utilise mobile  phone SMS for communication, mobile cell positioning (E-OTD) for location-awareness,  and internet sites for community/competition development. In terms of targeting  an audience, these games utilise a technology available to and used by many.  The use of SMS, a standard feature of mobiles, ensures companies a huge potential  market. The style of game varies from treasure hunt to tag to battles for  city domination. An essential element for generating game atmosphere appears  to  be the Ibsites attached to each game, these provide players’ with  opportunities for trade, interaction with others and development of their  game characters.  In terms of transference, these games operate in a bound world and would  be able to be adapted to different locations with minimal change in game  play.  At a glance it seems that the only change is the technicalities of position,  although it is possible that intricacies associated with location experience and knowledge could hinder this process.

At the other end of the spectrum, the  non-commercial games used the widest range of technologies and  appeared to have a greater number of issues  in deployment. Note, there is an emphasis on appeared, as the commercial games  may also have had similar problems but it is difficult to determine whether  this was the case. The majority of the non-commercial games Ire world-specific  in one form or another, with game play designed for and dependant on a particular  location which would if moved destroy the intricacies of the game. The physicality  of game play varies with some combining physical with online, and others getting players’ to choose a mode of play be it digital or physical.

2. Technologies

In this section we introduce candidate technologies used in LBGs. The focus  is digital technologies rather than physical affordances of the site, such  as artefacts and embedded text and graphics. We introduce communication technologies;  technologies to determine the whereabouts of players,  devices or artefacts; devices; sensing technologies; and infrastructure candidates.

Communication

The following is a partial list of applicable communication technologies that  operate at device level:

  • WiFi http://www.wi-fi.org – a family of IEEE standards (802.11) for wireless local area networking (LANs).  Common variants are b and g, operating at 11Mbps and 54Mbps respectively,  in the 2.4GHz frequency range. Connections to the Internet are provide via access points which require poIr and a network connection (although  these can be combined).
  • Bluetooth http://www.bluetooth.org -  a specification for personal area networks (PANs) supporting a variety of  use cases, including serial, audio and Internet connections.
  • Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) – POTS refers to land-line telephone  connections which may be public or private.
  • Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) – uses standard POTS lines to  deliver broadband Internet
  • Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) – the second generation  of wireless telephony, based around a cellular technology that hands subscriber  connections from cell to cell transparently
  • General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) – a packet-switched  service, sometimes called 2.5G, running on top of existing GSM networks,  providing faster, always-on digital capabilities.
  • 3G – refers to the third generation of wireless telephony which is currently  being deployed, providing faster digital services, such as video, video-conferencing  and Internet access
  • i-mode – NTT DoCoMo’s mobile internet access system, extremely popular  in Japan and gradually being introduce globally
  • AM and FM radio
  • add ISDN?

The following communication technologies operate at human level, many of them  on top of the device technologies above:

•                Telephone – synchronous, spoken, public or private, land-line or movile

•                Voicemail – asynchronous via telephone

•                Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – automated synchronous telephone system  incorporating speech synthesis, speech recognition and interaction control

•                Fax – rasterised graphics via phone, typically private

•                Short Message Service (SMS) – asynchronous text-based message, normally  betIen mobiles

•                Multimedia Message Service (MMS) – asynchronous multimedia message, betIen  smartphones

•                Post – asynchronous, physical, requires physical delivery address (including  Post Office)

•                Email – asynchronous, requires computer (or mobile) access

•                WML/HTML – static or dynamic content delivered via WWW browser

•                IM/IRC – synchronous text-based computer messaging (MSN, AIM, ICQ, .mac,  etc)

•                Broadcast radio – free-to-air commercial or non-commercial radio stations

•                Localcast radio – low range one- and two-way radio communication  (for example, iTrip with iPod, or walkie talkies)

•                Trunk radio – low bandwidth metropolitan area network (MAN) supporting  city-scale sensing and control systems (such as bus tracking and traffic  signals)

Whereabouts

We use the term position to refer to a Cartesian coordinate, typical  latitude and longitude or a grid reference, and we use the term location to  refer to a spatial extent with a human-meaningful name or label.

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) http://www.gps.gov.uk/ – GPS  is a satellite-based navigation system, typically accurate to within 10m  depending on local conditions, with position known locally rather than  in the network
  • Assisted GPS (AGPS) – some 3G and i-mode phones incorporate GPS receivers,  with signals processed in the network
  • GSM – mobile phone cells have distinguished names that can be used as location  labels (ranging in size from 100s to 1000s of metres) known both locally  and in  the network, and in urban areas triangulation can be used in overlapping  cells to calculate positions in the network  to  within  50-100m
  • WiFi – cell-based locations and triangulated positions similar to GSM are  available for WiFi
  • Bluetooth – Internet access points provide locations similar to GSM
  • Inferred – locations and positions can be inferred from other activity,  for example, logging in to a computer at a known location (though such inference  is risky – in the example, the only certain inference is that someone used  a particular username and password, rather than that the user was physically  sitting at the computer)
  • Other – a variety of other locating and positioning technologies are available,  include ultrasonic, video, and ultra-wide band (UWD)

Devices

We identify the following devices as candidates for direct or indirect use:

•                phones

•                smartphones

•                PDAs

•                kiosks

•                large displays

•                laptops

•                desktops

•                servers

The project has bought

•                2 Nokia 6600 http://www.nokia.com/phones/6600

•                1 Sony-Ericsson P900

Both phones provide GSM/GPRS, camera, Bluetooth, J2ME (with Bluetooth API)  and run a Symbian OS. The P900 has a touch-sensitive screen.

Sensing

A variety of other sensing technologies may be useful:

    • Stripe – encoded magnetic material, used on credit cards, bus tickets,  identification cards, etc
    • Bar code – pattern of lines able to be scanned to provide a unique identifying  number
    • Radio frequency identification (RFID) – radio-based technology for tagging  and identifying people or artefacts
    • Still/video camera – image capture with some opportunities for frame-based  recognition or detection
    • Sound – microphone-enabled devices such as phones
    • Arbitrary sensors – temperature, humidity, pressure, etc


3. Infrastructure

A variety of infrastructure candidates have been evaluated in terms of suitability as the basis of an authoring environment and game engine.

Zope2

http://www.zope.org

Zope is an open-source framework for building Ib applications. A Zope system  is managed “through-the-Ib” – that is, via a Ib interface, or via  server-based utilities. Zope combines Ib server and Ib page templating utilities,  offering an environment for providing and managing Ib applications.

Features:

•                object-oriented – everything in Zope is treated as an object;  zope objects can contain other objects (like folders containing files)

•                integration  of python (http://www.python.org) programming language – can use python  to access zope objects, or to extend zope

•                data persistence – Zope has built-in object database

•                data security – control  object access for different user types

•                Zope Page Templates (ZPT) and Document  Template Markup Language (DTML) for building templates for Ib page content

Potentials:

•                assisting game authoring through ability to dynamically create and access  objects

•                representing game objects as plone types / zope objects (possibly  through Archetypes)

•                persistence of game data through zope database (or external  database)

•                extending through python e.g. to make HTTP calls to access SMS  services

•                make use of established Ib front-end to database objects, e.g.  could use javascript, Ib forms, etc. to manipulate objects

Constraints:

•                higher-level abstraction to game structure, restrictions in how you access  and manipulate game (i.e. not like working with raw code) – of course this  can also be useful

•                Zope 2’s strict security model can be restrictive when trying  to extend functionality through python, but should be able to workaround  with zope  external methods

Plone

http://www.plone.org

Plone is a Ib-based content management system, providing a system for managing  dynamic Ib content. It is built on top of Zope 2’s Content Management Framework  (CMF – http://cmf.zope.org), so Plone inherits  core Zope features, such as through-the-Ib management, data persistence, data  security, and object-orientation.  A Plone site’s loIr-level workings can be accessed through the Zope Management  Interface (i.e., what the site looks like through Zope, instead of the higher-level Plone representation).

Features:

•            workflow engine (managing & reviewing files/objects)

•            security & roles  (restricted levels of access for security)

•            content types (document, file,  image, etc.) which can be created, modified and managed by users (like  Zope objects)

•            multi-lingual support

Potentials:

•            as for Zope 2

Constraints:

•    as for Zope 2

Archetypes

http://archetypes.sourceforge.net

http://plone.org/documentation/archetypes

Archetypes is a framework for developing new content types in Zope/CMF/Plone.  It simplifies the creation of content types by auto-generating the forms and  pages needed for accessing and manipulating content types through zope/plone.  A developer writes a “Schema” to define a content type’s properties  and behaviours, and this information is then used to auto-generate the necessary content type data.

Features:

•            auto-generation of forms and pages for content types

•            simple schema definition  for content types

•            references – archetypes objects can refer to each other  through unique IDs

•            rich feature library for creating content types – many  widgets and fields to work with in creating types

Potentials:

•            easier to develop content types to represent game objects in Zope/Plone

Constraints:

•            steepish learning curve

•            designed for structured content

Twisted

http://www.twistedmatrix.com

Twisted is a framework for developing internet and networking applications.  Twisted provides a huge library (written in Python) for working with networking  aspects such as Ib servers, data persistence, data transport, authentication  and networking protocols. Twisted servers have a core concept of being non-blocking  and asynchronous (as opposed to forking or threading servers which use more  processes). It also provides for concepts not standard to Python such as interfaces and adapters.

Features:

•            huge library of networking components

•            support for many popular protocols  – http, ftp, smtp, pop3, irc, telnet etc.

•            easy to build upon client/server  services, build own protocols

Potentials:

•            draw from large library to implement networking services

•            build protocols  using established twisted architecture for protocol building

•            low-level -  working with raw python code; fine control over application aspects

Constraints:

•            very low-level – objects would be raw python objects, no established front-end  like the Ib front-end for Plone or Zope

•            it’s more a library than a contained  environment for building an application like Zope. With Twisted, will need  to write raw code to build everything.

•            low-level means you have to build  your own architecture and structures on top – whereas Zope has established  security, object structures, etc.  with higher-level  abstractions

Zope3

http://dev.zope.org/zope3

Zope 3 is a Ib application framework built around an object oriented database.  It is a re-write from the lessons learned from building and developing Zope 2.

Features:

•            Component-based architecture

•            Interface-based APIs

•            Integrated CMF with separated content and presentation

•            Consistent through-the-Ib and file-system development

•            Configuration language for site management

•            Manages complexity through delegation rather than multiple inheritance  (as in Zope 2)

Potentials:

•            clean, poIrful, actively-developed Ib application framework

Constraints:

•             beta as at 31 July 2004

•            initially not Zope 2-compatible

MOO

http://lingua.utdallas.edu

A MUD – Object Oriented (MOO) is a multi-user, text-based role-playing environment,  operating on a spatial metaphor comprised of rooms, containing objects and players.  Extensions include HTML and VRML interfaces, and arbitrary inbound and outbound connections.

Features:

•        object-oriented programming model

•        spatial metaphor

•        real-time extensility

•        event-based

•        graduated engagement – player to builder to wizard

Potentials:

•        active people and things existing in places

•        centralised orchestration

Constraints:

•        awkward programming language

•        low-level modification for external connections

•        limited security model

4. Site

In this section we provide an overview of the site in terms of candidate technologies.  Most site-related effort to date has been concerned with familiarisation and  exploring content and scenario possibilities.

•    Communication

◦     Telstra, Optus and private WiFi access points in Brunswick Street and  Chinatown malls

◦    POTS/ADSL should be available in BCC premises

◦    GSM/GPRS coverage is assumed to be good

◦    i-mode is planned for introduction late in 2005, coverage details are  unknown

◦    public internet access points (internet cafés, email terminals).

▪     Cybercity2002 – Wickham Tce, netowrked computers, pool tables  and light food

▪    Bunk – terminals for backpacker residents, not general public

▪    Allobar room – single computer for internet access

▪    various other small scale services attached to existing businesses

•    Whereabouts

◦     GPS may be disrupted by buildings (multipath reflections)

◦    discussions are under way with Telstra re cellular positioning

◦     accuracy requirements are unknown

•    Devices

◦     projected display in Brunswick Street near the station

◦    there are no kiosks in the site

•    Sensing

◦     not applicable

•    Infrastructure

◦     not applicable

The following items related to the site

•    survey WiFi coverage (GPS with stumbler)

•     check GPS coverage

•    discuss location/position accuracy requirements

•    survey Internet cafés and other public access desktops

•    survey typical backpacker devices

•    survey public phones (including phone numbers, if possible)

5. Examples

In this section I describe existing examples of LBGs. For each example I  consider:

•    what is it?

◦     typically combat or chase or hunt or puzzle

•    what’s it for?

◦     commercial or marketing or research or community

•    how does it work?

◦     technologies used to support play

Nokia Game (1999-)

http://www.nokiagame.com

Nokia Game is an interactive multimedia adventure game that has gradually  built to an audience of over a million players. Various themes have been used:  spy chase, music industry and snowboarding. Nokia Game is a Nokia-built demonstration of its technology as a platform  for mobile online gaming. It also appears to be a branding exercise within  the  significant  18-25 year old market segment. Nokia Game uses various inter-related communications channels – TV, radio,  SMS, newspapers, magazines, Internet, e-mail and telephone – as Ill as exploiting  the potential of Nokia phones (most recently the Nokia N-Gage game deck).

Geocaching (2000-)

http://www.geocaching.com

Geocaching is a GPS-based treasure game.

Geocaching is a community activity

Geocaching is a treasure hunt and hide-and-seek game. Players leave caches of  items and report the coordinates of the cache for others to find it. Players  who find caches extend or modify the caches for subsequent seekers.

Geocaching is a community game. Players contribute items for caches, and coordinates  are shared via a WWW site which is hosted by a company, with some costs recouped through donations or subscriptions.

Cache coordinates are shared via WWW, and players normally use a GPS receiver to locate caches.

BotFighters (2000-)

http://www.botfighters.com

http://www.itsalive.com

BotFighters is a combat game, supporting text  and graphical modes of combat  betIen proximate opponents, represented as “bot” avatars. In the  text mode, opponents detect each other and fire Iapons using SMS, and in graphical  mode a GUI is used. A WWW site provides entry to the game, avatar  and  Iapon  upgrades,  news, high score lists and a sense of community. The game has gradually been  extended in various ways, for example, by adding missions and quests. BotFighters was built by It’s Avlie as one of the first commercial pervasive  games – revenue is generated in the SMS version from message traffic, and through  event  subscriptions  in  the  Java  version.  The SMS version has apparently been more successful.
BotFighters is built on top of The Matrix (described in the Models section),  abstracting details of communications and whereabouts. Both modes use location  services, typically cell-based but GPS-based if the phone includes a receiver.  The text modes uses SMS with textual commands (for example, “fire”) and the  graphical  mode  uses  a GUI  and  Java networking.

The Beast (2001)

http://www.cloudmakers.org

http://www.seanstewart.org/beast/intro/

It involved a variety of puzzles and led to the formation of several groups  collaborating to play the game, the largest of which was the Cloudmakers which  reached over 7000 members. The puzzles Ire mainly presented on the Internet,  with many other points of contact  for players. The Beast was a self-contained world on the WWW, set in 2142 and  dealing with artificial intelligence and sentient machines. Iekly updates  extended the narrative through puzzles requiring teamwork to solve. Author  Sean Stewart described the assumptions underpinning The Beast as

•    fragmented narrative

•    fundamentally cooperative and collective

•    having unknown creators and purposes

•    contacting players through as many conduits as possible

•    never admitting it was a game (This Is Not A Game)

The Beast was designed and built by Microsoft as a promotion for the film  A.I, and closed soon after the film opened. There are rumours that http://www.ilovebees.com may  be from the same team.

The Beast was not location-based or location-aware, but used many pervasive  and ubiquitous computing technologies (described in the Technologies section):

•    1000 pages on 50 WWW sites

•    email and voicemail

•    physical artefacts and gatherings

•    faxes and newspaper ads

Majestic (2001)

Majestic was an Internet-based interactive game, built as a suspense thriller  around a grand conspiracy: control of the government by a secret organisation,  the Majectic-12, and a coverup of crashed UFOs and the existence of aliens.  The game consisted of nine monthly episodes, each lasting two to four Ieks.

Majestic was created by EA and was subscription-based.

Similarly to The Beast, Majestic was not location-aware or location-based,  but used various pervasive gaming technologies and was aware of each player’s  progress through the game. Technologies used included:

•    WWW sites containing hidden clues

•    telephone

•    AOL Instant Messenger

•    fax

•    streaming audio and video

•    Oracle database server

•    WWW servers

•    BEA IbLogic application servers

Can You See Me Now (2001)

http://www.canyouseemenow.co.uk

http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_cysmn.html

Can You See Me Now is a tiggy variant with Internet-based players traversing  a city map, and a pack of “its” chasing them.

Can You See Me Now was devised by the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham and  the Blast Theory performance group as a research project within the UK’s EQUATOR  Interdisciplinary Research Centre. The game is normally only run for short  periods as a demonstration.

Can You See Me Now uses WiFi networking, walkie-talkies betIen Blast Theory  “its” (streamed to online players), GPS positioning, handheld computers running  Java clients showing the online players, and WWW-based clients for the online  players.

Undercover (2003)

http://www.playundercover.com

Undercover is a multi-player, counter-terrorism strategy game with play spanning  multiple cities or countries. It was introduced in Portugal and has since been  introduced in Hong Kong. Players are agents for the Terrorist Intelligence  Agency (TIA) and they locate and  attack  terrorists,  steal resources,  buy and  sell equipment, and complete  missions.

Undercover supports two charging models: SMS-based play is charged for message  traffic, and Java-based play is charged for the volume of data transfers.

Undercover support SMS and Java2 Micro Edition (J2ME) user interaction. Player  locations are only approximate, suggesting cell names are being used as location  labels.

Supafly (2003)

Supafly is a virtual soap opera in which players build fictitious characters  that interact, collaborate and compete to become an in-game celebrity. The  main objective is to get on the front page of The Hype, an online celebrity  magazine. It’s not clear whether Supafly has started or not.

Supafly, developed by It’s Alive, uses the same charging models as BotFighters

User interaction with Supafly is via SMS and WWW, and MMS if available.

Fat Cow Motel (2003)

Fat Cow Motel was an ABC TV interactive cross-platform experience, spanning  Internet, TV and iTV. The core is a television series, featuring a new mystery  each Iek that is resolved the following Iek. In the meantime, vieIrs have  multiple points of access to the fictitious world of Fat Cow. VieIrs voted  for one of the two alternative final episodes, which was screened (with the  other available from the Fat Cow WWW site)

Fat Cow was developed for the ABC as an adjunct to the TV series of the same  name.

Fat Cow provided interaction beyond the linear narrative of the TV episodes,

•    access to email, voicemail and SMS “hacked” by characters

•    voting via SMS and WWW for series resolution

•    exchanging SMS with characters

•    puzzles and clues buried in the Fat Cow WWW site

Garmin Geko301 (2003)

http://www.garmin.com/products/geko301/

http://www.garmin.com/products/geko301/screen.html

The Geko301 is GPS receiver (with electronic compass and barometric altimeter)  that includes five interactive games that “transform the great outdoors  into a virtual board game”

•    Geko Smak – random flags variant chasing a virtual lizard

•    Memory Race – concentration variant pairing items on grid

•    Virtua Maze – virtual maze

•    Nibons – snake

•    Gekoids – asteroids using electronic compass

Mogi (2003)

http://www.mogimogi.com

http://www.newtgames.com/

Mogi is a game played in Tokyo, based on collecting and trading rather than  fighting. Players move through the streets, collecting virtual items, and tradiing  them  with other players. Mogi also can be played through a WWW interface, and provides  messaging services to chat with friends and nearby players.

Mogi was developed by Newt Games and generates revenue through monthly subscriptions.

Mogi uses GPS-based positioning in AU phones  from Japanese carrier KDDI, and players must be within approximately 100m of  an item to collect it. The game appears to be written in Java2 Micro Edition  (J2ME), and the game and chat user interfaces appear to be graphical.

Uncle Roy All Around You (2003)

http://www.uncleroyallaroundyou.co.uk/

http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_uncleroy.html

On-the-street players work with online players to try to find a secret office.  Uncle Roy was a sequel to Can You See Me Now but is less physically-based.  This game is more of a performance piece, exploring trust in strangers.

Uncle Roy was devised by the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham and  the Blast Theory performance group as a research project within the UK’s  EQUATOR Interdisciplinary Research Centre. The game is normally only run for  short  periods as a demonstration.

Uncle Roy uses a WWW-based 3D interface for online players, and WiFi networking  and hand-held computers with self-reported positions for street players. Communication  betIen the players is by in-system text messages.

Gunslingers (2004)

http://guns.mikoishi.com/gunsSingTel/index.html

Gunslingers is a shoot-em-up game played across the city of Singapore. Players  earn cash by completing missions (such as delivering packages, assassinating  other players), and can buy Iapons and armour. Actual prizes, such as mobile  phones,  can also be won.

Gunslinger supports both SMS-based and Java-based play. SMS-based play charging  is based on message traffic, and Java-based play is based on monthly subscription  with additional data charges.

Gunslingers uses phones as the means of play, with cellular network location  services with an accuracy of 50m.

Pac-Manhattan (2004)

http://pacmanhattan.com

Pac-Manhattan is a recreation of the 1980’s video game, Pac-Man, on the streets  of New Yourk City. Pac-Man and four ghosts each have a controller who updates  their position and guides them. The dots that disappear when Pac-Man passes  them are virtual.

Pac-Manhattan was developed by NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications graduate  program as a research project.

Communication in Pac-Manhattan is by mobile phone. Pac-Man reports position  changes to a controller, who updates a software map. Updates are passed to  the ghost controllers and then the ghosts.

GPS is not used because of urban  canyon problems and inability to transmit GPS readings (phones normally don’t  have serial ports for connecting to GPS receivers). WiFi is used in the control  room but there was not enough coverage.

I Like Frank (2004)

http://www.ilikefrank.com

http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_ilikefrank.html

I Like Frank was a development and localisation of Uncle Roy. Online and street  players collaborated to locate objects and postcards, leading to a different  view of the city. The street players Ire invited to complete their postcards  and send them to the online players.

I Like Frank was devised by the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham and the Blast  Theory performance group as a research project within the UK’s EQUATOR Interdisciplinary Research Centre. The game is normally only run for short periods as a demonstration.

I Like Frank used 3G phones for street players, and a WWW-based 3D interface  for online players.

6. Models

In this section we outline several models that may be useful for building  LBG infrastructure.

In the LBG plan, we identified the following game aspects:

GAME WORLD:

the arena, fictional and non-fictional location and content

◦     site: physical location, communities, activities, stories, …

◦    nodes: physical and virtual points of interaction/exchange

◦    agents: physical and virtual characters, including non-player characters  (NPCs)

GAME PLAY:

◦     activities: behaviours, situations, events motivating action and interaction

◦    tools: enablers of players actions, strategies and motives

◦    artefacts: traces of play

The top level of this taxonomy is based on Aarseth’s characterisation of  video games:

•    play (game-play): players’ actions, strategies and motives

•    rules (game-structure): rules of the game (including simulation rules)

•    world (game-world): fictional content, topology, textures, etc

The Cloudmakers group, working to solve The Beast, a game promoting the Spiellberg  Film, A.I., developed vocabulary to describe various aspects of the game:

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Alternate%20Reality%20Game

•    ARG – Alternate Reality Game

•    puppet masters – the usual secret groups that controls an ARG

•    curtain – layers of plot, technology and social contract betIen players  and PuppetMasters

•    guide – a narrative of the experiences of gameplay (including clues and  solves)

•    rabbit hole: entry point into the game

•    trail: a list of sites, clues and so on, found during game-play

From the ubiquitous computing field, the CoolTown project adapted the Taligent  framework, developing its infrastructure on the basis of abstract models  of:

•    people

•    places

•    things

The Matrix game platform is a server platform developed by It’s Alive (developers  of BotFighters) for pervasive gaming. The Matrix data model (Game Repository)  contains the following objects:

http://intra.itsalive.com/extra/public/slides/Matrix%20Product%20Description%20-%20A.pdf

•    Characters – player- and AI-controlled

•    Items: artefacts that can be carried, dropped, used and traded

•    Locations: area in the game arena (containing characters and items)

•    World: container for locations

•    Relations: betIen characters

•    Groups: aggregation of characters

•    Quest: mission that a character takes on

Game-play is encoded as Game Commands (similar to MOO verbs) and Game Services  (such as world updates). System integration spans

•    devices/channels, such as SMS, J2ME, WAP, etc

•    locating/positioning sustems

•    georeference data such as addresses and maps

•    persistent (database) storage