Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Social network charrettes

Brian Berry notes in his ArcNews commentary entitled "Quo Vadimus?" (where are we going), that the millennial generation is among a growing segment of US Internet users who play games on social network, and that the geospatial community has yet to realize the potential of social games for addressing real world issues. He points at an interesting parallel with the 'charrettes' that designers/planners frequently use find participatory solutions to scenarios with conflicting goals and trade-offs. I elaborated on that very theme earlier this year under the title GIS + Games = GeoDesign. It's great to see more people recognize the power of new dynamics afforded by the use of emerging technologies and constant connectivity. Thanks to colleague Yuri Medvedkov for alerting me to the article.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where Are the Great Location Based Games?

In his column David Daw at PC World Magazine rightfully asks the question "Where Are the Great Location Based Games?". Pointing to the most exciting examples of today such as Shadow Cities he concludes that game producers seem reluctant to leave their traditional game mechanic where place is mostly a backdrop for the action. To make location based games worthwhile, he argues, these games need to make location and place a central or at least important part of the game dynamics. i couldn't agree more. While I don't see our idea of GeoGames/OMG! (and that's short for Online Map Games) to be squarely defined as a location based game, it is certainly allowing (real) places have an important influence on the game. While we can proudly brag that we have our new fully WebGIS-based test architecture in place now (sorry, we'll have to wait a bit to release this to a wider audience) we are also increasingly aware of the difficulties in dealing with a game world fully anchored in reality. Yes, the world is not fair, some places have certain advantages that are hard to get around. Maybe playing these real world games will only generate Mirror Worlds. Wouldn't that be intriguing, and scary?