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

    [11.15.11]
    - GameCareerGuide.com staff

  • William Klein, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, Photomaster

    Photomaster is a game that ties two untapped, thus far, technologies (Geolocation and Augmented Reality) into a cohesive and addicting game structure. The overall premise is that the player is actually a professional photographer engaged in a worldwide competition to take the most creative pictures of the invisible monsters populating the world. This would play similar to the game Pokemon Snap, where the photographs are ranked by how clear the picture is, how unique the locale and monster activity are, and how many monsters you photograph in the same picture. Both creativity of pictures taken and completion of your “Photo Journal” tie into your worldwide rank as a “Photomaster”. While there are some people that would likely play this game that might not have the opportunity to travel to some of the locales in which the monsters would appear, that wouldn't necessarily impact their overall rank. This is something that can be balanced by “migrating” monsters or simply increasing the points reward for creative and clear photographs.

    This game would be developed as an application for iPhone and Android phones, as they have cameras that are capable of Augmented Reality and are GPS enabled out of the box. This ensures that every potential player has the necessary technology to play the game, as well as having a huge customer base right out of the gate.

    The gameplay would consist of starting the application up and letting the phone communicate your location to the game server. After setting your current location the game would determine the type of surroundings you are currently in based on a quick scan of Google earth, or a similar service. This scan would determine the types of monsters that could potentially appear in your location, as certain monsters only inhabit cities, others towns, and other wilderness areas. Not only does this mean the game can be played anywhere the player finds themselves, it encourages play year round, as certain monsters might only appear in the winter, others fall, and so on. The player would then start scanning the area using their “Mastercam” which has the ability to make the invisible monsters visible, and monsters will appear to be in the real world environment, ready to be photographed.

    The real appeal of this game, like the Pokemon games of my childhood, is a somewhat obsessive compulsion to photograph all of the monsters you can, and compare your “Photo Journal” to your friends or other online players. It is more a combination of the original Pokemon games and the short-lived, but remarkably fun, Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo 64 console. Not only are you inspired to photograph all of the monsters that are available, but you are encouraged through a point system to photograph the monsters in interesting poses or engaged in uncommon activities.

    This is the perfect game to sell as a phone application, as it can be played anywhere and for as long as the player has time to play. As a side effect it encourages players to visit areas they normally wouldn't, such as parks and forest preserves, to find some of the more elusive monsters that only appear in areas humans normally aren't. So while Photomaster is a fun, and addictive, game to play, it also encourages an exploration of nature and the outdoors, emphasizing the good health of the player without overtly being an “exercise” application.

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