On June 22nd to 23rd we attended the WhereCamp 2012 at Beuth University in Berlin (http://wherecamp.de/).
The WhereCamp is a geo unconference for everyone who likes to talk about locations. It is a unique platform which connects people from science and industry dealing with spatial information and technology. We presented the TOTEM project tools and organized game sessions, so people could play Tidy City and aMazing.
Our students who did the aMazing game have now been featured over at GameCareerGuide. They tell about their game design considerations and the actual implementation using ZebroGaMQ. Check out the interview!
This year we used the chance to present TidyCity on the Girlsday again. The Girlsday is a popular event in Germany that allows school girls to have a look at professions that are typically persued by men as it is often the case e.g. in the computer science sector. The event shall bolster girls with interest in these topics to further investigate them and might ultimately help with the career choice of the girls.
Today we offered two workshops for playing TidyCity on our campus. In total 17 girls between 13 and 17 participated and played in groups of two or three girls. Below you see some impressions of the day.
Group photo of the first workshop on mobile games.
With so many girls playing the same mission at once you have to be quick to solve more riddles than the others.
These girls experienced that GPS signals are not always perfect...
Teamwork always helps to solve riddles quickly!
On such a beautiful campus playing TidyCity is even more fun!
One big problem for mobile games is often the communication with the server. Although mobile coverage gets better, there are often issues with the data connection which makes traditional calls to the server unreliable.
This might not be too relevant for slow-paced single-player games like Tidy City, but just imagine an action-packed game for multiple players where players constantly need to exchange information and the overall game state needs to be kept in sync.
aMazing! is such a game. It is a location-based game inspired by old classics like Snake and Tron and two players compete against each other while racing around the city streets trying to claim crowns and trap the opponent. Information needs to be constantly exchanged between the players and the game state needs to be kept in sync between the different devices. It has been created by students Alexander Hermanns and Tianjiao Wang during a lab course at Fraunhofer FIT and the game design was rated as one of the best entries of the "Game Design Challenge: Location, Location, Location" at GameCareerGuide.com.
In order to support such games, we have developed ZebroGamQ, a middleware built on RabbitMQ, which helps game developers to stop worrying about communication issues.
ZebroGamQ is now publicly available on GitHub, and you can also check out the aMazing!-sourcecode there to get an impression on how to use the middleware.
Last weekend we presented Tidy City during the 3. jet-TAGE in Erlangen. This is an annual event for kids and youths organized by the local theatre. On Saturday we offered a workshop on how to create a mission and on Sunday the mission could be played.
Florian (age 12) used the opportunity to come up with several riddles placed in the Old Town of Erlangen. His mission is now publicly available for everyone and is called "Unterwegs in der Altstadt". On the picture you can also see his sister Rebecca (age 8) who took on the task to solveher brother's mission.
Many thanks to all participants who were not afraid of the freezing cold that hit Germany and made walking around outside a tough challenge by itself!
From 4th to 5th November 2011 we presented TidyCity and the TidyCity authoring tool chain at the Next Level Conference 2011. This year's topic was "Art and Culture of digital Games". 500 participants used the chance for creative exchange, visited talks or learned new things in workshops. We performed two workshops, one on each day of the conference. In the workshops the participants were able to discover the fascinating graffiti art in the surrounding area of the conference location ( the AbenteuerHallenKALK in Cologne) with a previously created TidyCity mission. Afterwards they were shown how to create their own TidyCity mission and were astonished how easy it is to contribute your own content.
Left photo: Introduction to TidyCity; Right photo: Playing TidyCity at Next Level Conference