★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Location based gaming

10-19-2009, 01:38 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: wrexham, UK
Posts: 6
Location based gaming

Hi guys, im pretty new to these forums, i have read them for a while but never really posted before.

I am currently doing my masters degree, looking into location based gaming and i am in need of some feedback from the gaming community. In case your not sure about what i mean when i say location based game, a good example is parallel kingdoms for the iphone or any game that overlays the game world on top of the real world. Another example is mafia respect and retaliation which has missions that are available depending on your location.

I suppose what i first need to find out is, do any of you play any location based games? I know the selection out there at the moment isn't massive but if you do which one/ones?

If you do what is it about the game that you like/dislike? Is it because its location based that you play the game or is that the part you dont like?

Even if you don't play any location based games you can still help me by telling me if you would play a game that required you to move around in the real world in order to progress in the game? Is this something that you could see yourself doing? When i refer to moving around it could be that you are at the bus stop or train station in the morning waiting to go to work/college or your at a friends house and you can log on to the game to check your surroundings in the game world which are based on your real world location.

Is this genre something that people could see growing if done well? Getting people to move around, explore their towns/cities more as well as possibly building new social links with others in their location through games such as these?

Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.

10-19-2009, 04:11 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,799
I have tried both Mariolife and Parallel Kingdom. I didn't like either but I love the concept.

10-19-2009, 06:28 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: California
Posts: 1,259
Send a message via AIM to Outkast1
I think I would like a fool if I was walking around in public, while absorbed in a location based game. It would be just my luck to accomplish some achievement in-game, and miss out on the live, cute girl looking my way or something. Or even a more serious repercussion.. getting hit by said bus or train while absorbed in the game
10-19-2009, 06:47 PM
honestly, the idea sounds cool but no one would really do it. It requires too much time and energy. The casual gamers would never do it, and that a huge portion of the market.
10-19-2009, 07:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,446
I thought it was neat when I first played Parallel Kingdom, but now I think it's kind of just a gimmick.

10-23-2009, 11:33 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 16

I'm one of the developers for Parallel Kingdom so I can probably help you with some info for your Masters (cool area of study btw).

I'll try to be careful about how I phrase my reply because I don't want to try to speak for all of our players and I'm not exactly unbiased when it comes to talking about Parallel Kingdom. However, from my experience, the location-based aspects of PK are a new and very intriguing concept.

The fact that PK is location-based has got us some positive press and attention so that is always a good thing for a game. As far as our players go, some of them really like moving around in real life and using the location-based aspects of the game to their fullest potential. I've heard things like one player getting in a car and driving down the highway so that everyone in their hunting party can move along with them. Also, people that have a train or bus commute really seem to enjoy the location-based aspects as well since they don't really have to do extra work and they get a fairly large area to play in. That said, this is *probably* a somewhat small percentage. I would guess about 10-20% of our players.

The rest play the game mostly because it is a free, mobile, MMO, and RPG. These are more traditional gamers, MMO players, and just everyday individuals that somehow found the game and have gotten massively addicted (we have a lot of the latter). We recognize this and have introduced game mechanics that allow players other avenues to get around in the game besides only moving in real life. For example, since March 2009, we have allowed players to build chains of flags using resources they've gathered. These flags essentially claim territory for that player and allow them to travel along their flag chain. Also, we've introduced creatures that appear somewhat randomly and you can attack them and "track" their shadow to move to a new random territory to explore.

We are currently working on a completely new version of the game that should be out mid-late November called the Age of Emergence. This new version will have a couple more ways that make it easier for players to get around with having to move in real life.

If you have any more questions or would like any more info please don't hesitate to ask. I'll subscribe to this thread. Good luck on your studies

Looking for a fun, location-based, free MMORPG? Play Parallel Kingdom. Do it now. It's free. There's no reason not to.

Actually take my advice with some salt, I'm a very biased PK developer
10-26-2009, 12:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: wrexham, UK
Posts: 6
Thanks for all your replies guys.

I think because it is quite a reasonably new concept people have a certain view of location based gaming, what it is, how it works etc... I think it will take a few more well thought out implementations to appear before we really see what is possible with the idea.

@ Gilby3000, thank you most of all for your reply. The info you gave me in your post is quite helpful. If you don't mind me asking you a few more questions over the course of my studies that would be a great help. Also i have put in quite a few hours on parallel kingdom myself so i understand your explanations of your game play mechanics quite well!

Just out of interest do you mind telling me what your background is? Have you been a developer for a while? Do you have designers and developers working on your apps or do you all just share the work load? I am presuming from your post when you referred to the new project that you are working on that there is more than just you in your development team?

These things interest me mainly because i can see my study for my masters flowing towards the possible creation of an app/game for the iphone. I have had a few ideas knocking around since i did my degree, a few of which were based on location gaming. Of course at the time the iphone and other gps enabled phones weren't around so my ideas were partly based on the premise that technology allowing for the positioning of players would come along at some point!

My background has been varied over the years, mainly in the design side of things, and i have had some experience of C and general programming so i am aware that i will have to get some help along the way. Luckily i have access to other students and lecturers at my uni who are more experienced at that side of things but i am learning more everyday. Thanks again for your reply and im sure if you dont mind i will have some more questions for you at some point in the future.
10-26-2009, 01:16 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 16

I wouldn't mind additional questions one bit. I'll try to help out as much as I can. I'm actually curious if you have narrowed down your focus to a specific aspect of location-based gaming and if so, what your specific topic is? I may be able to point you towards some good resources. Although, like you said, it is a very new area so quality resources are scarce.

As far as my background goes, I fill more of a designer's role when it comes to game features and mechanics. I also take on other tasks like marketing and whatever else needs to be done. In a startup, you really can't be picky; you have to do it all. Actually the one thing I don't do much of is deal with coding. We have several very capable in-house people that take care of that and I converse with them daily.

The publisher/developer of Parallel Kingdom is PerBlue, Inc. We have several full time programmers and currently some artists working on the game as well, so we have a very capable and functioning team at the moment. I suppose that some app developers could get by with less people but PK is a fairly complex application. The location-based part of it is interesting and that was a bit a technological feat. The MMO aspect takes up a lot of time since we have so many active players that occasionally require technical support and other attention. We also have another app out called Proactive Sleep, a free web game called Tempest Chess, and a group communication tool called Operator Sue. And we're fleshing out some ideas for future projects as well. So PerBlue is definitely not a one person operation

Hopefully that helps. I'm interested to know more about your research and happy to answer any more questions you have

Looking for a fun, location-based, free MMORPG? Play Parallel Kingdom. Do it now. It's free. There's no reason not to.

Actually take my advice with some salt, I'm a very biased PK developer
10-30-2009, 07:02 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: wrexham, UK
Posts: 6
Thank you Gilby for your continuing answers and interest.

Originally when i did my degree from 2001 to 04 i did a project where the outcome was a mobile phone game based on cowboys and the wild west that required the player to move around in the real world in order to find other players playing the game and to have quick draw duels with in order to gain money and notoriety. Back then of course the technology wasnt really there for something like that, well with my limited understanding of gps and phone networks back then it was. Doing that project really got me interested in mobile devices and the possibilities that they offer, being mobile and connected to an already implemented network without the need for add-ons. Now with the current generation of phones and the such it is so much easier because of being gps enabled and constantly connected to the net.

After digging up that old project and reading through it, doing some new research i have been thinking of the possibilities for a location based game with a space theme. I have always had a love for exploration, in the real world and virtual ones. I played world of warcraft for quite a few years and used to love the ability to move around quite a large open world and explore exotic locations. In the same vein i have always loved games such as elite and eve online, i know there is quite a gap between those titles, generally games with large open worlds. So i thought that a location based game with a space theme could translate quite well. I haven't really begun to put much down on paper yet in terms of how the game will look or play but basically the idea is for space to be superimposed over the real world and people move around to play the game. I have a few ideas as to what the player will do in the game but im still working those out. Ill keep you posted on that.

10-30-2009, 07:26 AM
I absolutely PRAISE Parallel kingdom. Its fun cause you can not play and still come back!

Originally Posted by zoo View Post
Something along the lines of "You have bought 10 hats! A new hat is available for purchase in the store". But no hat.

Edit: I realize I am overly concerned about this hat.