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Coping with Uncertainty in a Location-Based Game
July-September 2003 (vol. 2 no. 3)
pp. 34-41
Steve Benford, Mixed Reality Laboratory
Rob Anastasi, Mixed Reality Laboratory
Martin Flintham, Mixed Reality Laboratory
Adam Drozd, Mixed Reality Laboratory
Andy Crabtree, Mixed Reality Laboratory
Chris Greenhalgh, Mixed Reality Laboratory
Nick Tandavanitj, Blast Theory
Matt Adams, Blast Theory
Ju Row-Farr, Blast Theory

Location-based games, a new form of entertainment, take place on the city streets. Players equipped with handheld or wearable interfaces move through the city. Sensors capture information about the players' current context, which the game uses to deliver an experience that changes according to their locations, actions, and, potentially, feelings. In collaborative games, you could transmit this information to other players, on the streets or online. The net result is a game that incorporates a player's everyday experience of the city.

Moreover, location-based games offer exciting commercial prospects. They build directly on current wireless (but usually disconnected and location independent) games for mobile phones. Analysts predict the market will reach billions of dollars in the new few years, and that it represents a potentially significant income stream for third-generation mobile telephony.

This article describes our experiences, focusing on uncertainty, in publicly deploying an experimental, mobile mixed-reality game called Can You See Me Now?. This involved collaboration between the Mixed Reality Laboratory at Nottingham, a partner in the UK's Equator project, and Blast Theory, an artists' group. We've staged CYSMN as an experimental public performance at two new-media festivals-Shooting Live Artists in Sheffield in 2001 and the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival in Rotterdam, 2003. We'll discuss how position and connectivity were subject to uncertainty and how we sought to deal with this, how game players experienced uncertainty, and how game designers might manage uncertainty.

Citation:
Steve Benford, Rob Anastasi, Martin Flintham, Adam Drozd, Andy Crabtree, Chris Greenhalgh, Nick Tandavanitj, Matt Adams, Ju Row-Farr, "Coping with Uncertainty in a Location-Based Game," IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 34-41, July-Sept. 2003, doi:10.1109/MPRV.2003.1228525
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