Hi, readers of Habrahabr. I want to tell you about location-based games for iPhone and Android.
The essence of location-based games is to link the virtual space of the game to the real territory in which the player’s position is set using GPS coordinates. As a rule, these are outdoor games, which is associated with the difficulties of receiving a GPS signal in rooms. And these games perfectly complement the augmented reality. GPS games began in 2000, when the US government lifted restrictions for civilian navigators. In the same year, the game Geocaching appeared. Its essence lies in finding the caches, left by someone, known in advance, or simply sights and landscape originals.
Since 2000, gaming and half-game services, mixed with GPS, have developed and continue to develop very actively. That only costs Foursquare (500,000 users in March 2010, by the end of August there were already more than three million). But Foursquare is a mix of games and social networks, and the note will be about pure gaming applications. ')
Let's start with the simplest. This is the Magic Maze for Android smartphones. In this game, you go to the exit from the center of the maze, and your position changes depending on your real position, which the game determines according to GPS coordinates. The main rule - on the road to the goal can not "pass through the wall."
Magic Mays seems simple only at first glance. Those who played, they say that the game is “cruel and exhausting,” because you have to walk a lot. But you can warm up after duty in front of the monitor.
In addition to the smartphone, the game requires a free space of at least 70X70 meters. The author jokes that because of this system requirement, the game is unlikely to be popular in close Tokyo. In the future, the developer plans to add new mazes, a level editor and a multiplayer option.
There are more dynamic location-based mazes, for example, PacLan . This game appeared in 2005 at the University of Lancaster. In PacLan can play several players, more precisely, five: one for Pacman and four for ghosts. The game was not built on GPS, but on radio frequency identification technology and electronic tags that players collected.
Another "rejuvenated" masterpiece of older games - GPS Alien Attack. This game was created by the French studio Xilabs .
The essence of the game is that “alien invaders' ships” and “eggs” laid by them are projected onto the Google map of your city. Players (you can play as a team) must save the Earth and "destroy" all the eggs, moving along their streets and trying not to catch the eye of the main alien monster. In general, approximately, as in films about Alien and Sigourney Weaver. In 2010, GPS Alien Attack won the prize in the LBS Navteq competition.
By the way, Xilabs has some more interesting games. For example, MYHT. This tetragrammaton stands for Meet Your Heartbeat Twin, “Meet Your Heartbeat Double *” (* excuse my French). For the game in addition to the smartphone you need a heart rate monitor. (Although you probably know, there are a lot of applications for iPhone that measure the heart rate using the built-in microphone). The pulses of the participants are transmitted to the server and the players get a chance to meet somewhere in the city of a person with a similar heart rate and, theoretically, in a similar emotional state.
Another unusual game from Xilabs is called Go. Almost the same as the old Japanese game, where the players on the board arrange white and black pebbles. Only in this new Go, the role of pebbles is played by people, and an entire block serves as a board for the game.
Another sports game is NavBall, a mixture of football and GPS orienteering. Dynamic NavBall is played by two teams of 11 people each. The game is designed for two halves of 45 minutes. The task of each team is to form an “arrow” along the line of a virtual ball and a virtual goal and score a goal. After the game, you can scroll through the entire match on Google map.
We now turn to the games in which you seize the lands on which you visited. One of the simplest is the android The Great Land Grab with several tens of thousands of players in Europe and America.
The author, Jake Gostylo, admits in an interview that he wanted to create the most simple game (literally “dirt simple”).
Jake made the game for the Android Developer Challenge and took part in the competition, not yet fully thought through the gameplay. Due to the fact that he constantly improved the game and downloaded new versions, it kept it among the fresh applications in the Android Market for some time and allowed the game to gain an audience.
In Great Land Grab all the land is divided into lots. You can buy a plot where you are, for play money. Virtual property brings virtual income, which is added to the same virtual "salary", which is charged to the player every day. For real money, you can buy a permit to build a virtual store or hire a "lawyer" to buy a place where you were not. Someone else's land can be repurchased and captured, the game’s website maintains detailed statistics of the wealthiest landowners.
Parallel Kingdom is the first MMORPG for iPhone and Android with reference to GPS coordinates. Swords, potions, skills, alliances, land grabs, dungeons and the sea, the fight against evil spirits and all that. The main idea is the same as in Great Land Grab: while moving in the real world, you increase your gaming possession. Expansion of the game area for movement occurs when you put the "flags". You can destroy someone else's flag (you have to first burn it with oil) or simply ask for the transfer rights from another flag player. Citizens of the kingdom hunt, collect resources, with a sufficient number of them they establish cities, enter into alliances and quarrel with their neighbors in the kingdom. Parallel kingdom turned out to be not at all parallel to many - now the game has more than 100,000 participants worldwide. Watch a lively video about the game.
One hundred thousand is not the limit, it happens more. For example, in the Japanese game Keitai Kunitori Gassen. The name of the game translates as Battle for the terrain. Players turn into samurai, which should unite feudal Japan, fragmented into 600 territories. To join the territory, you need to go on it. Along the way, you can earn domestic game currency by answering questions on the history and then buy a virtual harness for horses and samurai swords. Today, Keitai Kunitori Gassen has more than 400,000 participants.
And for dessert - Foodspotting . This is, generally speaking, not a game. A much more serious matter. You install Foodspotting on your iPhone and photograph the dishes ordered in the restaurant. Other FS users can choose a restaurant according to your recommendation and proximity to their location (yes, GPS), and you get bonus points when someone evaluates what you were first to spot.
And for balance in the body a pair of domestic competitions: - Belarusian competition with the fancy name velcom Android Belarus , which promises Belarusian rubles as a prize; - Russian i-Free AppContest (here you can win 100 thousand Russian rubles or a smartphone).