Posted by: Waern | March 10, 2009

Trace your players

Technology-supported pervasive games tr-151-mtend to be developed for mobile phones. Recently, we found a surprising candidate for mobile phone technology, a GPS/GSM vehicle tracking system.

This is a really neat device for game-mastered pervasive games! Apparently, the device is intended to trace your car if it gets stolen – it has a magnetic case that allows it to be stuck under the body of the car. SO, instead of focusing on fancy interfaces and lots of buttons it is water-resistant, durable, and has a long lasting battery. It does only one thing: it traces its own location and sends this information to the owner by SMS or over the network. It is also possible to call the device to listen in on what happens around it. This kind of passive tracing is often what is most needed in game-mastered games. The game masters want to monitor the players, so that they can place content or actors in their vicinity or make different player groups run into each other. And it is often possible to understand a lot about what the players are currently doing just by tracing their movements (the possibility to listen in to them is an obvious plus).

Yeah, phones like the Iphone also offer tracing, but they are not meant to trace continuously for hours in bad weather conditions. Staffan Jonsson in my group at the Interactive Institute has developed a map-based trace application for this device, and we are going to try it out at larp events during the spring. I’ll be back with a tough test report!


  1. […] approach I would recommend though, is to use something like the GSM/GPS trackers that I’ve blogged about before for tracing players. We really like them; they are always on, […]

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