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

    - staff

  • Jonathan Lawn, Communications Software Engineer, Carve-up

    "Carve-up" is a geolocation strategy game for mobile phones designed primarily to provide motivation and entertainment to runners.

    The game is played on a map between two or more local competitors in an agreed game area over an agreed time period. Each player starts in their own initial "claimed" zone. A typical game for two reasonably fit runners might be an hour long, and have a square game area of 2km (1.25 miles) on each side, with an initial claimed zone of for each player along opposite sides and 200m deep.

    The aim is for each player to extend their claimed zone by traveling in loops out of their claimed zone into unclaimed areas of the game area and then back into their claimed zone. When they reenter their claimed zone, the area within the loop created by their path and their existing claimed zone also becomes part of their claimed zone.

    A player may not enter the claimed zone of another player. If they do, they must return to their claimed zone before they can set off again to claim more area. If the paths of two competitors cross, it becomes a race to get back to their own claimed zone, which will not only claim the winner their loop, but also invalidate the loop of the other player.

    During the game, each player can see a map of the game area and the currently claimed zones. The size of each claimed zone (in square metres/yards) is also given. The player can see their own position, and their path since leaving their claimed zone. They can also see position and path of other players if they are outside their claimed zone. At the time limit, the winner is the player with the largest claimed zone.

    Text chat is available in-game, before during and after the game. The players may never meet, but in case they want to, the game suggests a pub or bar equidistant between them at the end of the game.

    The game can also be played on a bicycle, riding a motorbike or driving a car, where strategy is still key, but route-finding and local knowledge become more important than fitness. For all modes other than running, a player's phone will not update the location and trail of other players whilst it is moving. This is to avoid providing distractions which might cause an accidents.

    One key to making the game fun, fair and available on demand is the matchmaking system. Whenever someone wants to play, they login and enter the details of the game they want: the mode of transport they want to compete with, their fitness (if relevant), how long a game they want, how soon they want to start and the maximum number of players. A central server will then match them with one or more other players, and offer a game. This will propose the game area, taking into account the travel time for each player.


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