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  • Results From Game Design Challenge: Location, Location, Location

    [11.15.11]
    - GameCareerGuide.com staff

  • Alexander Hermans, Computer Science Student at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany, (a)Mazing

    (a)Mazing - Who makes the better maze!?

    (a)Mazing is a mobile location based game played by two players. The goal in (a)Mazing is to catch the other player by means of a maze, which is build upon the streets of a city. The game is played in an urban area using mobile devices.

    The Game

    After both players have agreed on a suitable location, the game will specify an exact playing area of a certain size. Both players then go to their random starting location, within the playing area, which are approximately 500m apart. When they have reached their position the game starts and both players start building their own maze, based on the real life streets. A player claims the street for his or her maze when walking over it. Once a street is claimed by a player, the other player may no longer walk over or cross this street. Doing so would result in a cheating alert. The current location and maze of both players can be checked on the mobile device. Both players now try to build a maze around the other player such that the other player cannot escape from the maze. If a player manages to do this he or she has won the game. If the game recognizes that no possible winning mazes are possible, it results in a draw. To further increase the fun of the gameplay a set of items is randomly spawned across the map. Some item examples would be:

    • Maze breakers: Select a part of any maze and delete the claim.
    • Remote Maze: Create a piece of maze on any of the available streets.
    • Jammer: Hide your own location for the other player for a certain time.
    • Free Pass: A player can cross the other players maze once.

    Fairness and Fitness

    A problem of these kind of games is that players who can run faster or longer will have a big advantage. This can make it frustrating to play. To solve this, each player has a maze-pool. This pool is initially full and depletes when a player claims new streets. The pool recharges with one meter of maze every second. This limits the players to a walking speed for building mazes. While a player can still choose to run, he or she cannot build mazes when the pool is empty and thus running is penalized.

    The motivation

    At first glance it might sound like a very simple game, however there is more strategy needed than one might think. A player can choose to build a very simple, large maze around the other player, but since it takes time to create such a maze the other player could block such a maze by claiming an important street. A smaller and complex maze might thus seem better, but such a maze could easily be avoided. This means that the strategy needs to be adopted based on the other player, the current playing location and maybe even item locations could influence where a player wants to go.


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