6.4.1 Methods Used
[Same as above, maybe we should merge “Methods used” because they don’t vary that much from the different prototypes.]
6.4.2 Comments by Test-Subjects
• Really cool concept
• Missing content
• Would be better with real-time battles
• Missing multiplayer mode
6.4.3 Result of the Evaluation Form 1. How did you like this experience?
• “Nice, but kind of cold (outside)”
• “Good, the game need some polishing but otherwise it had a nice feel to it.”
2. How much did you like the experience on a scale from 1 to 10? (1=Not good at all - 10=AWESOME)
3. What parts, if any, were extra good?
• “GPS-based, cool!”
• “Good placement of some elements and integration with the game”
4. What was good?
• “The hunt for monsters gave a real adrenaline rush”
5. What could have been better?
• “Faster battles”
• “Better placement of items and monsters. More intuitive UI”
6. How much (On a scale from 1 to 10) would you like to do something similar to this again?
7. Would you recommend this to a friend (On a scale from 1 to 10)?
8. What do you think this experience was worth in SEK?
• 10-25 SEK
• 7.95 SEK/day
6.4.4 Our Comments / Conclusions
People like the concept very much, though most of our test subjects point out that it would be better if we had more and better content. Sometimes the GPS was a bit off which made the test subjects a bit comfused. Overall the comments were positive and some of the subjects wanted to play the game even more.
7 Related Work
Location-based games using mobile phones have existed since around the year 2000, with BotFighters2 generally being considered as the first. Many of the earlier games used rather primitive techniques to locate the users, usually based on finding the ”cell” that the user is currently roaming around in the mobile network. One of the first games to use GPS to accurately locate users was Geocaching3. In this game, the player is supposed to seek out and find a small container that has been hidden by another user. Players are only given the GPS coordinate of the container, but no other game mechanics are used to play the game (in particular, no actual mobile phone client is needed for playing it).
It is not until recently that GPS functionality has become common in or-dinary mobile phones, and this has made it possible to create more interesting applications that use precise positioning to involve the user.
Naturally, since this project was made in collaboration with Green hat Peo-ple, some of our prototypes are in some ways similar to earlier games made by them. The Tourist guide prototype is similar to GHP’s Stadsvandring med mobilen4. Both of these games let the users walk in a virtual tour around a predefined site and receive information through the mobile phone about the lo-cations they visit. The biggest difference is that GHP’s game is done entirely without using positioning hardware to handle the game mechanics, instead re-lying on having staff walk along the player and inform the system when certain places are reached. The Tourist Guide, in contrast, uses GPS to pinpoint the players and works completely autonomously. Stadsvandring med mobilen also uses only SMS to handle the communication to the users and doesn’t use any advanced client software on the phones. The Tourist Guide on the other hand communicates over the Internet using IMS, and runs on a client developed in Java ME.
Agent SQ is similar to Kreativa uppdraget5, another game by GHP. Both games are fast-paced and require the player to perform different missions in order to gain points. As with the Tourist Guide, Agent SQ is more technically advanced and doesn’t rely on having administrators directing the course of the game. Kreativa uppdraget, on the other hand, offers many more types of missions than Agent SQ, which only offers two kinds of missions (getting to a place and guessing a word).
Other games in the same spirit (not made by Green hat People) are Toural-ity6 and GPS Mission7. Tourality also involves the player racing to get to certain places, but also has multi-player support, so that you can compete with other players in getting first to a place. It does not have the same concept of collecting letters in order to complete a word, however, as in Agent SQ. GPS
2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BotFighters (there is no official web page)
Mission allows anyone to create missions using a tool, and then to publish them for others to download and play. This was an idea we also had in mind for our games, and it is available through the web-interface, but for Agent SQ there is no implementation for adding content from the mobile client.
Since role-playing games are a very popular game genre, several location-based RPGs have been developed or are in development. Two of these are Parallel Kingdom8and Virtualpunk9. These both offer many of the same features found in Vos (indeed, they are common features in any RPG), such as a map showing the location of the player and other game objects, battles with enemies, items that can be used and non-player characters that can be interacted with.
One of the main differences between Vos and these two games is the way battles are handled. In Vos, battles take place in a different setting than when walking around the map, and the battles are turn-based. The battles in Parallel Kingdom and Virtualpunk take place directly in the map, and seem to use a more real-time based approach.
Whereas Vos and Virtualpunk are single-player games, Parallel Kingdom offers full multi-player functionality where several players can play together at the same time. This was one of the features we would have wanted to include in Vos, given more time to develop it. Parallel Kingdom does not seem to have any quest functionality, however, which has been a main focus for Vos.
8 Future work
One of the features we wanted to implement into Vos but did not have time to do is multiplayer support. This would mean that several players could play the same game at the same time, possibly together or against each other. Players could see other nearby players and interact with them, for example trading items with them. Players could also venture on quests and fight battles together.
• More content
Most of the development time of Vos was spent making frameworks for the different game features, such as battles, quests and the map. This left little time for adding actual content that take use of these features, so adding this would be of high priority in order to make the game more interesting. Types of content to add is for example more quests, enemy types, items, weapons, spells, places and NPCs.
• Continuous map
Currently, we have only made a single map of a region here at Polacks-backen where Vos can be played. The map doesn’t scroll when you move outside this region; it is completely static. Making the map continuous so that you can move anywhere and having the map automatically update to show the current region the player is in would make the game much more mobile and fun to play.
• Real-time battles
One possible improvement is making the battles be real-time instead of turn-based, as they are now. This would make the battles more action-paced and realistic. The battles could also take place in the map setting instead of in its own screen, to make the game more seamless. This would also open for more possibilites of using the location of the user in the battles. For example, the user could run away from a battle by simply running away from the enemy in real life.
• Enemy intelligence
The enemies in the game are currently not very intelligent at all. When battling they don’t use any strategies to try to defeat you, which makes the battles quite monotonous and unvaried. Also, when walking around the map, the enemies move in a random manner. Making the enemies walk more intelligently, perhaps attacking or shying away from the player, or even forming groups with other creatures, would further involve the player and make the location-based aspect of the game more interesting.