Project

Online map games

Goal: Investigate affordances of using web GIS mapping and processing as a foundation for multi-user online role-playing and board games.

Methods: ArcGIS online

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Project log

Ola Ahlqvist
added a research item
Location‐based games is a subgenre of a group of games called pervasive games due to the way they expand the spatial, temporal, and social boundaries of traditional games. A defining character of location‐based games is the degree to which the locations of game entities, such as players, avatars, tokens, or other objects, determine the game dynamics. In addition, these games are characterized by the varying degree to which they employ various mobile, location‐aware, information, and communication technologies to create a blurring of the boundaries between the game world and the real world.
Ola Ahlqvist
added 2 research items
As researchers start to conceptualize human-environmental interactions through coupled human and natural systems research, the non-linear, dynamic, heterogeneous, feedback loops that are characteristic of those systems challenges a long-standing Newtonian paradigm of systems reducible to component parts, deterministic behavior, and the existence of equilibrium. As an alternative, complex systems researchers often use agent-based models (ABM) or multi-agent systems (MAS) to model and simulate complexity in human-environmental interactions. This paper briefly reports on the development of a novel cyberinfrastructure portal solution called GeoGames. This computing environment integrates and leverages web-GIS and multiplayer online game technology to enable simulations of real-world scenarios of coupled human and natural systems applicable to anything from cities, urban regions to other human settlements. While there are some similarities between GeoGames and games like SimCity, and Civilization, a fundamental idea underlying the GeoGames approach is the focus on creating an on-line world that mirrors (c.f. Gelernter, 1991) authentic real-world geography, realized by a full range of GIS supported mapping and processing services (Ahlqvist, Loffing, Ramanathan, & Kocher, P). In the context of our prototype platform we present the emerging area of Spatial Game Analytics (Drachen & Schubert, 2013) that provides an uncharted area for data-intensive geospatial scenario analysis. Our example scenario is a game that models the relationships of land management on hydrology and water quality. Our presentation is illustrated with examples from our own prototype platform that has generated a significant amount of user data on game play decisions and behavior. Exploratory GeoGame analytics are used to mine the spatial behavior of hundreds of players in order to identify how variations in the rules (land use policies) and varying locations (spatial configurations) affect the simulation outcomes.
This book brings together contributions from researchers, GIS professionals and game designers to provide a first overview of this highly interdisciplinary field. Its scope ranges from fundamentals about games and play, geographic information technologies, game design and culture, to current examples and forward looking analysis. Of interest to anyone interested in creating and using Geogames, this volume serves as a channel for sharing early experiences, discussing technological challenges and solutions, and outlines a future research agenda. Games and play are part of human life, and in many game activities, place, space and geography plays a central role in determining the rules and interactions that are characteristic of each game. Recent developments and widespread access to mobile information, communication, and geospatial technologies have spurred a flurry of developments, including many variations of gaming activities that are situated in, or otherwise connected to the real world.
Ola Ahlqvist
added 2 research items
Games and play are part of human life, and place, space, and geography take central roles in determining the rules and interactions of games. Consider how integral maps are to the board game RISK, how video game players navigate through a realistic ‘world’ in pursuit of a goal, the millions of Pokemon Go players navigating the real world to find new Pokemon. Even the very abstract maps of Monopoly and Chess are inherently geographical, utilizing basic spatial rules for game play.
In 2008, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released the report “Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge”. NSF argued in this report that the heavy investment and focus on Cyberinfrastructures must be complemented by a parallel investment in Cyberlearning, “…learning that is mediated by networked computing and communications technologies.” (Borgman et al. 2008). The rationale was that information and communication technologies had reached a critical tipping point where high-end computing, cyberinfrastructures and mobile technologies were readily available for billions of users, but it was still unclear what affordances they could bring to learning in structured classroom settings and more informal learning environments.
Ola Ahlqvist
added an update
Happy to share that our (myself and Christoph Schlieder eds.) new book "Geogames and Geoplay" (Springer) is now out, just in time for the holidays! It's an edited volume with contributions from many teams in Europe and North America. We hope that it will be a resource for everyone interested in geography games and play.
 
Ola Ahlqvist
added a research item
Virtual, online maps and globes allow for volunteered geographic information to capitalize on users as sensors and generate unprecedented access to information resources and services. These new "Web 2.0" applications will probably dominate development and use of virtual globes and maps in the near future. We present an experimental platform that integrates an existing virtual globe interface with added functionality as follows; an interactive layer on top of the existing map that support real time creation and manipulation of spatial interaction objects. These objects, together with the existing information delivered through the virtual globe, form a game board that can be used for educational purposes.
Ola Ahlqvist
added 3 research items
This article reports on the initial development of a generic framework for integrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with Massive Multi‐player Online Gaming (MMOG) technology to support the integrated modeling of human‐environment resource management and decision‐making. We review Web 2.0 concepts, online maps, and games as key technologies to realize a participatory construction of spatial simulation and decision making practices. Through a design‐based research approach we develop a prototype framework, “GeoGame”, that allows users to play board‐game‐style simulations on top of an online map. Through several iterations we demonstrate the implementation of a range of design artifacts including: real‐time, multi‐user editing of online maps, web services, game lobby, user‐modifiable rules and scenarios building, chat, discussion, and market transactions. Based on observational, analytical, experimental and functional evaluations of design artifacts as well as a literature review, we argue that a MMO GeoGame‐framework offers a viable approach to address the complex dynamics of human‐environmental systems that require a simultaneous reconciliation of both top‐down and bottom‐up decision making where stakeholders are an integral part of a modeling environment. Further research will offer additional insight into the development of social‐environmental models using stakeholder input and the use of such models to explore properties of complex dynamic systems.
Maps and games have a long history of co-evolution, and after many years of parallel and sometimes independent development, we see today a convergence of mapping and gaming technologies. This report presents five broad themes in current-day computer gaming and cartography, highlighting some of the connections between these two dynamic fields and arguing for the potential of combining modern cartographic theory, tools, and practice with gaming approaches.
We present our work with GeoGames that are played on top of online geographic maps, using the real world as the game world. The developed technology represents an innovative potential for geographic inquiry-based, learning through play, which through the internet can reach a massive audience. The described "Green Revolution" game is meant to teach students about the challenges of farming in developing countries. The major part of the paper describes a web GIS architecture in which the game is implemented. Participants play the game and engage in an open discussion around the game. Some results from user testing, and its potential for further use in cyber-learning research are presented.
Ola Ahlqvist
added a project goal
Investigate affordances of using web GIS mapping and processing as a foundation for multi-user online role-playing and board games.