Using Location in Games Ralph Barbagallo firstname.lastname@example.org
Who am I?• Game programmer, designer, jack of all trades.• Founded FLARB in 2001, one of the earliest publishers and developers of mobile games in the US.• Been working on a location-based game ad startup since 2010
Getting Location• Most smartphones have GPS receivers• GPS-less devices (netbooks, iTouch) use “Fake GPS”• Location from IP lookup• Color: “GPS Doesn’t Work”
GPS Accuracy• Limited government restrictions• 5-10m GPS, 50m WiFi, 500m triangulation• Hyperlocation won’t be a reality until NFC or other tech comes about
Storing Location: MySQL• Spatial Extensions in 4.1 (subset of OpenGIS)• Geometry stored as WellKnownText (WKT) or binary (WKB): “POINT (30 10)”• All computations are in Euclidean (flat) space
Storing Location: PostGIS• PostgresSQL with GIS extension• Most mature relational solution (2001)• WKT or WKB• “Geographic Coordinates” for accurate queries mapped on globe
Storing Location: MongoDB• Popular NoSQL database with game devs• Geospatial indexing using spherical coordinates• Uses geohash to store points• Only points, no lines, polygons, etc.
Storing Location: SimpleGEO• SimpleGEO Storage is a cloud service• Cassandra with custom spatial extensions• Store location as lat/long, geohash, or IP• Cloud service—use HTTP calls. Heavy overhead.
Using Location• Places Databases – Find out EXACTLY where you are• Different places database provide different info about venues and locations – Trending – Coupons
Places APIs• Foursquare• Factual• Facebook Places• Google Places• SimpleGeo• CityGrid• Etc. etc. etc.
Street Addresses• Get latitude and longitude of street address• Geocoding• Google Maps API:http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=xxx&sensor=false
Foursquare API• Unauthenticated – Raw places API. – Free to use, with paid tier. – Crowdsourced• Authenticated – OAuth2 – Access to check-in history, friends, mayorships, trends
Facebook Places API• Database is based on Factual• Authenticated only• Tagging friends• Deals platform
Foursquare vs Facebook• Foursquare’s unauthenticated mode make it useful as a general places database• Facebook has WAY more users• Neither one can detect cheats• Tagging friends is a powerful feature
Designing for Location• A sample – Parallel Kingdom – Paranormal Activity – Turf Wars – The Merchant Kingdom – Dokobots• Too literal.
Popular uses in apps• As a social networking tool – WhosHere – Color – Instagram• As a coupon/deals platform – Stickybits – Goldrun
Business Models for Location• Real-world rewards for virtual world play – Pain in the ass for the advertiser – A hassle to redeem• Local deals are hard to source – Most LBS companies are sales organizations