Live from SxSW:Geolocation in games and Online

I am at SxSW for a week and the introduction of this session was so incredible I thought I would live blog it and share my notes:

SxSW using geolocation in games and online (03/08/2008)
11:48 So here I am at SwSW at the second session I’ve hit for the day. and So far this is a blast
11:49 This session doesn’t apply to my job directly but it is incredibly high on the geek coolness factor
11:50 I started describing old school geocaching from 2000 talking about how you used GPS to go and find “treasures” out in the woods
11:52 But there is now all sorts of cool stuff going on. Like zork based games where you get to a location and your phone/device/whatever gets messages saying “In front of you is an old man searching though a basket” when you get to the right location
11:54 They have also been covering things like vertical games where in a big city you have ppl up in a tall building guiding your team mate through a maze down on the city street.
11:56 Now there are also competions going on with things like Nike Plus which has run tracking, mileage and geolocation built into the shoe and ppl are competing with others for how far they go etc
11:57 So why can’t you do things with points as you are going. A little transmitter at different locations indicates that you get a power up or get extra points for the run.
11:57 This technology is really fascinating.
11:58 The idea of bringing movement into games has taken off with the wii and Dance Dance revolution

11:58 This brings things into a new level as it turns the real world into a game
11:59 New term I am “Geo Curious”

12:00 They are talking about how the iphone doesn’t have true gps right now
12:01 I am really glad that I flashed the leaked GPS enabled ROM to my Verizon Titan right now. I just wish I could pick up more satelites. I’m waiting for them to ask who has GPS on their phone 🙂
12:02 The fuzzyness of GPSa is causing difficulty in creating Zork based games
12:03 GPSa is where your phone determines location based upon the cell towers that you are talking too.
12:03 So right now rooms when you are making a phone playable game has to be 100mx100m

12:04 However with TRUE GPS you can have a game that is within 2ft
12:05 “Conquest” was a game that divided a city into 8 zones and as soon asa team was within a zone and then the could shoot the “semicodes”? (Zombies?)

12:05 However they players who knew more could cheat if they knew where the edges would be.
12:07 These games can be done by ppl txting a certain codes that are available only at certain places. I think they said “crossroads” did that.
12:07 The maze game I talked about before that was done from building looking down at a maze was actually called “pac-man(hattan)”

12:08 ppl were dressed in pacman suits and they were guided by their partners with their cell phones.
12:09 Lower tech games just had you call and say things like “I am the king of spain” but the one panelist dialed the wrong number and really freaked someone out.
12:10 So the terms are “Relative Location” “Definate Location” and “Fuzzy Location”
12:13 “Crossroads” used GPS and you were looking at the map on your phone. and using that on a virtual map to guide you around an artificial environment as you are working around the real world.
12:14 I totally love the idea of this walking over the goal that you have and suddenly your phone buzzes in your pocket and gives you your next goal
12:15 However as with many things the technology is not QUITE there yet.
12:15 We are sooooooo close to very exciting things.
12:16 ppl with the Titan/Mogal/XV6800 can get to within 2 ft and that is wondererful

12:16 But atm I am off the ivory coast since I can’t get any sats.
12:17 There are also other issues beyond technology
12:17 There is a social aspect that has to be considered.
12:18 In even just geocaching, while burying an ammo box in the woods is OK, using it as a geocache in timesquare is not smart. Neither is a metal pipe.

12:19 This also CAN be dangerous. in a game in a city ppl walking out into traffic with their heads down is a REAL possiblity.

12:19 Playing games in the street can be a real danger.
12:20 Some one from the Discovery channel is in the audience asking a question (OK someone lolkatz that)

12:20 She is discussing Shark tracking and other similar technology to improve this type of game “Shark Hunters” was the show they did on this…
12:22 BTW for those that don’t know is a great site.
12:25 Another question is about using this in the news media. Obviously tagging photos is one idea but if all published media had was tagged with a location the possiblty is incredible
12:26 Google and other search tools would bring news really directly to you things that really directly affect your world.
12:26 In the blogging world there is of course
12:27 There is also a website that I can’t think of right now that is designed to show the whole world in photo format with geo location as well. The never metioned it today but I’ve been to the site. It is @jeremywright’s twitter feed.
12:29 There is a question about whether a city planner or ski results person came to one of the panelist how would they respond. Could you work together to create an official map.
12:30 RFID is actually an tech that would work better for this sort of thing. It could be used to create a more persistant game board in a city. The idea is brilliant. Seatle shoudl do that to bring ppl in.
12:31 This would be a similar idea to the “Skateboarding in the city” movement

12:31 platform for creating your own games
12:32 (spelling?)
12:33 And that wraps up this session. That was really neat.
12:41 This Live Blog has now ended.

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