I spent the afternoon with colleagues from Screen Media Lab and User Lab brainstorming ideas for a social media game which we’ve called @brumtag. The first game will be a demonstrator project for the Lucid Project: an exploration of the potential of wireless devices to deliver context-aware information.
Lucid have developed a Java applet that can be installed on any Java enabled phone (edit: they have also written an iPhone app). This applet turns the phone into a QR code scanner. Lucid was all set to deliver a demonstration of how the QR codes can be “scanned” by camera phones to deliver context based information but a key partner pulled out. I’d been bouncing the idea of a social media based treasure hunt around with BCU colleague Paul Bradshaw and local blogger Jon Bounds and then promptly forgotten about it. This seemed like a good opportunity to resurrect the idea.
We were up against some constraints: the project has to be delivered in March, and the software has already been written so we had to build the game around that framework. Luckily it all seems to link together although the final product is more of a “scavenger hunt come tresure hunt come game of tig” then the original “Tweasure Hunt” concept.
Here’s what we came up with as a basic idea:
- We’re going to hang a lot of the project off the back of twitter, because Birmingham’s Twitter community are open to new ideas and like a laugh, because it gives the project a simple platform for in game communication, and because it provides an opportunity to hook that commnication into lots of useful services if we wanted to.
- The objective of the game is to accumulate points by scanning QR codes at various way points. Codes will be scattered across the city centre, and will vary in points value. Codes can be scanned in any order.
- We will launch the game with a clue via the @brumtag account on twitter. We will then push out more clues throughout the game.
- Here’s the interesting part: some of the clues will be on the move. Several codes will be carried by volunteers, who will be moving around the city: players will have to get ahead of them and catch them to gain the code. Their clues will lead players into an online trail that will vary from clue to clue, e.g.
- the volunteer might be posting postions using GPS
- the volunteer might be live blogging, describing locations along the route
- the volunteer might be taking photos of their route and uploading them to flickr
- and many other fiendish ideas
The winners will be the players that get the most points during game time.
I realise that there are some issues with the game, not least of all that it relies on people being pretty comfortable with technology: it’s not very inclusive. The idea of this game isn’t to answer every question about context based data but to inspire and show some of the ways that the software could be used and developed. I’m not involved with the further development of the project – I’ve done my bit now – so if you want to find out more it’s best to contact the team at Lucid. We will of course forward any feedback collected below to the Lucid team.
Provisional date for the game is Saturday 21st March, 12pm – 5pm. I for one am looking forward to playing @brumtag.