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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Making Maps

    - Danny Cowan

  • Finn Haverkamp, Waypoint

    Waypoint is a game and narrative toolset for smart phones and tablets. Interfacing with a phone's respective map application (Google or Apple Maps), Waypoint allows users to create and experience adventures in the real-world. Waypoint features two components: the narrative toolset and story mode.

    The narrative toolset facilitates the creation of location-based stories, primarily by linking a series of GPS waypoints. Designers can create most any experience they can imagine; for example: an espionage thriller, a scavenger hunt for competing players, or a historic walking tour of a city. In story mode, Waypoint players will be able to role-play or experience these stories. Designers pin a sequence of waypoints on the map and set a radius for activation, an entire park or a specific painting in a gallery. Then, they create an event for each waypoint that is triggered when players enter them: audio recordings, instructions to take a photo, or a narrative scene with dialogue, action, and choices for players that will determine their route down a branching path of waypoints.

    This last example, the scene tool, allows for robust story creation. Scenes allow interactive fiction to play out in a physical setting. Designers may write interactions and conversations with both non-player-characters and other players in the adventure, offering players different responses and choices. Further, designers may create different results for each choice, having players write their own stories.

    Time is another useful tool available to designers. Designers may set time limits to reach the next waypoint, consequences resulting from success or failure. For safety reasons, the countdown pauses when players stop moving, necessary for stopping at a traffic light or crosswalk. Time of day parameters may also be used to affect the story or as a requirement for playing at all.

    The narrative toolset offers an assortment of themes around which designers may create their stories. Among others, designers can select themes for spy, sci-fi, modern, and fantasy settings. Themes determine available character portraits and aesthetic trimmings. However, designers may also upload their own artwork and photographs.

    When designers have finished creating their adventures, they publish them privately or publicly to Story Mode. Players access stories from a map of nearby opportunities or from a browser where they can select featured stories, sort by user-rating, and read user-reviews. Players may also invite nearby friends on a cooperative adventure or to a competition.

    Waypoint combines the narrative creativity of interactive fiction and MUDs with the immersion of ARGs and the physical world. By integrating with Maps, Waypoint adventures may take place anywhere, and the diverse toolset allows designers to create whatever they might imagine.

    Source: Tiger drawing by Gwenn Seemel


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