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Monday, April 19, 2010

Location based Tube Game - Chromaroma

If you're one of the people who enjoys playing Foursquare, you could be interested in a new location based game about travelling on the London Underground, launching late this year.
Chromaroma was presented at City Hall this morning at seminar on The Possibilities of Real Time Data.

"Chromaroma is a type of location-based top-trumps. You collect places, identities, modes of transport and passengers as you travel around the city; discover and investigate mysteries attached to different locations and build alliances with fellow passengers that share your journeys."

Chromaroma Visualisations from Mudlark on Vimeo.

It'll be interesting to see what type of "alliances" will be built and might show commuters being a lot more friendly in a gaming environment than in the flesh! Although we might find the opposite to be the case. Moody commuters might find this an opportunity to virtually fight people in a race to be King of Cockfosters, for example.

There was some discussion over privacy aspects in the presentation at City Hall. The game currently scrapes journey history data from pay-as-you-go Oyster users who've already subscribed to the game.

"We have just switched on a blanket privacy policy that gives users the ability to choose which players they want to view their travel data and which they don’t, following the Facebook model. This is obviously essential in a game based around sharing location. Although pinpointing players exact locations is impossible, 1) because it is only based on station entry and exit and 2) because of a 48hour lag between actual journey and journey history being published by Oyster. But looking at journey histories over time it is possible to track patterns of travel and likely times in certain places and surprisingly you can quite easily work out a users approximate place of work and home manor.

Have we created a stalking app and unleashed a litigious monster?
" he producers Mudlark ask on their blog.

Do the privacy aspects worry you, or do you think you could tactically use them to your advantage? To build up effective gameplay is it essential that people can see the travel strategies of competing players - otherwise it's like hiding chess pieces!

As the game is still in development, the guys behind Chromaroma would be interested in whether you'd actually play this. Would it make you more aware of the time you spend walking or using public transport? Would it benefit how you used the Tube, or do you just see it as a game?


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