Using Location in Games     Ralph Barbagallo     ralph@flarb.com
Who am I?• Game programmer, designer, jack of all  trades.• Founded FLARB in 2001, one of the earliest  publishers and dev...
Getting Location• Most smartphones have GPS receivers• GPS-less devices (netbooks, iTouch) use  “Fake GPS”• Location from ...
GPS Accuracy• Limited government restrictions• 5-10m GPS, 50m WiFi, 500m triangulation• Hyperlocation won’t be a reality u...
GPS APIs• iOS  – Core Location• Android  – Location Manager• GPS uses lots of juice!
Location in a Browser• W3C Geolocation API• Javascript in modern browsers• Works the same way as native APIs
Storing Location• Geospatial databases• Basic functions:  – Storing geographic locations  – Sorting (distance checks)  – T...
Storing Location: MySQL• Spatial Extensions in 4.1 (subset of  OpenGIS)• Geometry stored as WellKnownText  (WKT) or binary...
Storing Location: PostGIS• PostgresSQL with GIS extension• Most mature relational solution (2001)• WKT or WKB• “Geographic...
Storing Location: MongoDB• Popular NoSQL database with game devs• Geospatial indexing using spherical  coordinates• Uses g...
Storing Location: SimpleGEO• SimpleGEO Storage is a cloud service• Cassandra with custom spatial extensions• Store locatio...
Using Location• Places Databases  – Find out EXACTLY where you are• Different places database provide different  info abou...
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...
Foursquare API• Unauthenticated  – Raw places API.  – Free to use, with paid tier.  – Crowdsourced• Authenticated  – OAuth...
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 m...
Designing for Location• A sample  –   Parallel Kingdom  –   Paranormal Activity  –   Turf Wars  –   The Merchant Kingdom  ...
Location Design Problems• Convenience• Density• Privacy
Popular uses in apps• As a social networking tool  – WhosHere  – Color  – Instagram• As a coupon/deals platform  – Stickyb...
Business Models for Location• Real-world rewards for virtual world play  – Pain in the ass for the advertiser  – A hassle ...
Data Collection?• Heaven’s Diner!
Summary• Location is an interesting and low-tech  buzzworthy feature• Location gaming is in its infancy• The “check-in” ma...
Thanks!• Ralph Barbagallo• ralph@flarb.com• twitter.com/flarb• ralphbarbagallo.com
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Using Location in Games

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A lot of this is out of date now (a whole 6 months later!)--but this is my presentation from LOGIN 2011 about using location based APIs in games.

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Using Location in Games

  1. 1. Using Location in Games Ralph Barbagallo ralph@flarb.com
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. Getting Location• Most smartphones have GPS receivers• GPS-less devices (netbooks, iTouch) use “Fake GPS”• Location from IP lookup• Color: “GPS Doesn’t Work”
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. GPS APIs• iOS – Core Location• Android – Location Manager• GPS uses lots of juice!
  6. 6. Location in a Browser• W3C Geolocation API• Javascript in modern browsers• Works the same way as native APIs
  7. 7. Storing Location• Geospatial databases• Basic functions: – Storing geographic locations – Sorting (distance checks) – Testing (intersections with shapes)
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. Storing Location: PostGIS• PostgresSQL with GIS extension• Most mature relational solution (2001)• WKT or WKB• “Geographic Coordinates” for accurate queries mapped on globe
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Using Location• Places Databases – Find out EXACTLY where you are• Different places database provide different info about venues and locations – Trending – Coupons
  13. 13. Places APIs• Foursquare• Factual• Facebook Places• Google Places• SimpleGeo• CityGrid• Etc. etc. etc.
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. Foursquare API• Unauthenticated – Raw places API. – Free to use, with paid tier. – Crowdsourced• Authenticated – OAuth2 – Access to check-in history, friends, mayorships, trends
  16. 16. Facebook Places API• Database is based on Factual• Authenticated only• Tagging friends• Deals platform
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. Designing for Location• A sample – Parallel Kingdom – Paranormal Activity – Turf Wars – The Merchant Kingdom – Dokobots• Too literal.
  19. 19. Location Design Problems• Convenience• Density• Privacy
  20. 20. Popular uses in apps• As a social networking tool – WhosHere – Color – Instagram• As a coupon/deals platform – Stickybits – Goldrun
  21. 21. 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
  22. 22. Data Collection?• Heaven’s Diner!
  23. 23. Summary• Location is an interesting and low-tech buzzworthy feature• Location gaming is in its infancy• The “check-in” may be going away, but location isn’t.
  24. 24. Thanks!• Ralph Barbagallo• ralph@flarb.com• twitter.com/flarb• ralphbarbagallo.com

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