You Are Near #3

What?

Two competing teams aim to localise and surround a digitally simulated object that randomly moves through the city’s streets. The digitally simulated object (one for each team) is visualised as a big red or blue dot on the player’s mobile phones.

How?

The prerequisites for playing the game is that you are outside and carry a mobile phone with 3G and camera. Three apps are used for this game: A compass (you can use/install any compass app), the browser, and WhatsApp. Use Safari browser for iPhone and Firefox for Android. Before preparing the phone, the game administrator creates a group WhatsApp in which all players are included. Make sure you can easily switch between the browser and WhatsApp. Now two teams are created; a red and a blue team. Each team has 10 minutes to discuss their communication strategy. Now each player’s mobile phone has to be set as follows:

  • Location Services turned on for the browser. Settings > privacy > location services >  on for browser.
  • Screen auto-lock off. Settings >  general >  auto-lock > never
  • Go to the website performativemapping.net > Select You Are Near #3 > Select Login in upper right corner. If not registered, select register first. You can use an alias and fake email.

When all players have set up their phones the game administrator creates a new game with a timer for when the game will start (this will be between 10-15 minutes). After doing this (not earlier!) each player goes to the browser and selects “play the game”. The screen remains grey until the game starts. Now players switch to the compass app and start walking in different directions. After a couple of minutes of walking the players switch back to the browser. As players continue to walk in the same direction they wait patiently for the game to start. It can take a while, but if you think it takes much longer then it should you can refresh the page.

At some point, small red and blue dots appear on each player’s mobile phone (representing the players) and a big red dot and a big blue dot are to be seen (the digitally simulated objects). Each team aims to surround the virtual object of their color. When players manage to fully surround their own object (blocking the object from all sides) the team wins. In that case a message appears on all mobile phones stating which team has won.

In the grey field players have to find out which dot belongs to them and they have to figure out where their object is located. As the players move they leave traces of their movements on the grey background. Team members can communicate via WhatsApp but both competing teams have to use the same chat. If someone is able to disclose the location of the opponent, the person is disqualified. Players furthermore have to be on the lookout for members of the competing team as a player can shoot another player with his/her camera and share it in the WhatsApp. After a player is shot (s)he cannot participate anymore in the game and therefore cannot take a picture back of the opponent. The game administrator keeps track of who is disqualified and communicates this via the WhatsApp. The streets where the players have walked are not accessible anymore to the virtual object. This way the city’s game-board becomes smaller as the game progresses.

The game was played in spring 2015 with students from the minor Mobile Communication (University of Utrecht) in the city of Utrecht and again in autumn 2015 with the researchers of Charting the Digital (University of Utrecht, University of Manchester, University of Warwick and RCA).

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 12.39.34