"The game is called domination. I designed it myself. But my problem is, I've never yet found a worthy adversary."
"No doubt I shall disappoint you too."
"We'll see. This game has one objective: power. We will be fighting for countries. You will be red, I will be blue. Are you ready?"
"Thank you gentlemen. Eternal battle for the domination of the world begins."
-- Never Say Never Again (c) 1983
So, I remembered this recently, and thought I'd throw this out there. I had developed a game concept very similar to Ingress in 2002 in open discussion on the Geodashing email list where we were discussing all sort of geogames we could play with GPS units (before smartphones with GPS were popular or common).
I thought I'd go trawling into my dark and distant past (12 years ago it was now) and haul this GPS capture-the-flag concept I had back in late 2001. You'll note that there are a few similarities between this concept and +Ingress
, and this in part explains why Ingress has been such an addictive activity for me - it is something I first wanted to do back in 2002. I can't thank enough Niantic and the folks like +John Hanke +Brandon Badger +Joe Philley +Anne Beuttenmüller +Brian Rose and the rest of the large team that have orchestrated Ingress and made it such a fun game.
I've been struck re-reading this now just how many similarities there are with Ingress, and with the benefit of hindsight, Google and Niantic have perhaps come up with the near perfect implementation (with many huge improvements) of what we discussed back in 2002. The two somewhat natural extensions are the choice of fixed, interesting points-of-interest (portals) instead of moveable flags, and the entirely logical approach of creating triangular networks between portals to represent the population covered (instead of a fixed radius circle around the flag).
The original discussion in the TeamKiwi list, that I can't find now and the Yahoo! list has been deleted, I'm fairly certain discussed MeshWar as the v0.1 version (Domination v0.2 was the refined version posted to the listed and linked/copied below). Of note, the MeshWar NZ concept was based around the statistics polygons for population in New Zealand known as Mesh Blocks. Capture the flag for that mesh block and you control the population for that mesh block.
That discussion went on to spawn MinuteWar (http://minutewar.gpsgames.org/
) that is a capture-the-flag variant played within a single latitude/longitude grid that is mapped to every lat/long cell on the planet.
There has been so much improvement in many forms of technology to allow global massively-multiplayer such as Ingress to really take off. So psyched for the next stage with the impending iOS release and a massive influx of new players.
Anyway, I just thought it would be an interesting bit of my personal history to share from 12 years ago, and why I invest so much time in Ingress :)
Cheers Gav aka rediguana #Ingress #geocaching #geodashing #GPSGames #GPS #gaming #MinuteWar [Geodashing] Spinoff -- GPS Domination/Capture the Flag
(30 JAN 2002)https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Geodashing/conversations/topics/2058Really bad clip of the Domination scene from Never Say Never AgainSean Connery as 'James Bond 007' Plays "Domination" / EMS Vocoder-System 3000Mesh Blockshttp://www.stats.govt.nz/methods/classifications-and-standards/classification-related-stats-standards/meshblock/definition.aspx
Subject: RE: [Geodashing] Spinoff -- GPS Domination/Capture the Flag
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 21:39:38 +1300
Just starting to catch up on some mail I've been meaning to reply to for a while ;)
This is something I have thought about for a while and would be classified as a direct spinoff of geodashing and geocaching. I initially mentioned it to my colleagues on the TeamKiwi mailing list, after we had discussed some frustration at attacking dashpoints. We like geocaching, we like geodashing, but none of them are perfect, nor will any devised game likely be perfect to everyone. But it didn't stop me thinking. After all, the more variants available to mix up as an excuse for travel the better. I know I am more likely to hit caches/dashpoints if there are others fun coordinates nearby.
With geocaching I have the issue that I have literally hit all bar 2 of the geocaches in the South Island, hence now need to head to the North to score more. Geodashing has been great fun and has prompted some fun adventures, but the great distances required to travel to these random locations that often end up being in farm paddocks, I find harder and harder to justify. I
find am I becoming more selective on the dashpoints, primarily I guess because of the distance and time required to travel. So, I was trying to come up with an activity that had some of the following properties: -
* shorter travel times/based around population distribution
* reuseable entities, ie not one-use like a typical geocache
* not entirely random in location, so they can end up in interesting areas, and publicly accessible land
* scaleable to worldwide
Anyway, onto what I sent to the TeamKiwi list, with some updates and more rambling.
=== GPS Domination v0.2
"The game is called domination. I designed it
myself. But my problem is, I've never yet found
a worthy adversary."
"No doubt I shall disappoint you too."
"We'll see. This game has one objective: power.
We will be fighting for countries. You will be
red, I will be blue. Are you ready?"
"Thank you gentlemen. Eternal battle for the
domination of the world begins."
-- Never Say Never Again (c) 1983
I think it is only appropriate that somehow tie James Bond into this hi-tech wizardry ;)
I have really enjoyed geocaching and geodashing this year, and have had many interesting travels. I have been thinking for a while now of a way to merge some of the most enjoyable components of each game into something competitive yet fun. And so the seed was sown in my head for a Capture-The-Flag (CTF) style game that could be played using GPS receviers
Geocaching is cool because of the hunt. At the macro level it is navigating to the coordinate on the GPSR. You often go places you otherwise wouldn't go, and the cache placer is able to in some form, motivate an individual or group to go to a certain place. On the micro level, the hunt for the cache container is often it own style of fun, with some fiendishly hard caches to find. There is a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained from finding the cache.
Geodashing is a different beast but also very interesting as it often involves more research and planning to attempt the point, as often you will be the only visitor to it. Finally achieving the point can be a great reward.
Unfortunately, both of these games have some downsides. Once you've found a geocache there is little point returning to it. It is basically a one-use product.
Geodashing suffers from different failings. Often, the dashpoints are on private property, or near inaccessable terrain (in NZ anyway). Other times they are remarkably easy and do not pose a challenge. This occurs entirely because of the random nature of dashpoints.
Hence, I have been trying to develop a way of getting the fun components of both geodashing and geocaching, and at the same time removing some of the downsides, primarily the one-use nature of geocaches, and the random nature of geodashing.
I've gone about as far with my idea as I can myself, hence I want to present it here for peoples opinions, suggestions and constructive criticism.
=== GPS Domination/Capture the Flag
GPS Domination is a game based on the gaining and control of territory. There are two teams that vie for control of the territory, the red team and the blue team.
The contested territory can be spread over a geographical region, a country, or the world.
Territory is marked with a flag. A flag represents control of the surrounding territory within a circle with a 5km radius (10km diameter). No two flags should be closer than 10km. If a flag is placed closer than 9.9km (to allow a margin for error) then it automatically becomes the other teams territory. The 5km radius just sounded nice - it is arbitrary and can easily be adjusted.
Initially, there will be no flags. Players could create flags, request a unique identifier and place them in the environment.
A question lies over how an endgame state would occur. One option is that once a certain colour controls x% of the territory, the game is over. Another is to have a fixed time period such as monthly games, where the game starts at the beginning of the month, and is in its final state after the close of the month. Once an endgame condition is reached, then all flags are deemed to be neutral, and players at the start of the next game should collect the neutral flags and place them elsewhere.
One idea for a flag is a piece of wood around 400-500mm long, painted blue one end and red on the other. When it is placed in the ground, the team that controls the flag has their colour to the top. When the flag is captured and placed elsewhere, the flag is inverted and the other teams colour is on the top. The flag could have a unique identifier written on
it. Another option may be a disc with blue and red flags on either side that could be pegged to the ground.
Once a team has placed a flag, it can only be collected by the opposing team. This means that a team can not move flags around after they have been placed. The only time they could would be after endgame has been reached and the flags declared neutral.
Issues of multiple people attempting the same flag at the same time should not be an issue, as they should be coordinating together in their team as to the flags they will attempt.
There should be a finite limit to the number of flags in a given game and region. This is partly controlled by the spacing requirement mentioned above of not allowing a flag to be within 10km of another flag.
If a single flag is plundered, it is not as disastrous as losing a geocache, as only a small part of the larger picture is lost - there is potentially a great level of redundancy in the system.
Management of coordinate data and scoring information could be managed on a region by region, or country by country basis, and then combined to provide a worldwide battle status of red vs blue. This would distribute the amount of work required. Perhaps the use of a specific mailing list solely for flag actions ie an email with a subject containing all the information, such as "flag01 created", "red captured flag01 at 2002-02-01 1300h", "red placed flag01 S43 32.690 E172 31.458 at 2002-02-01 1415h" and "flag01 destroyed". This would allow people to write software to listen to the lists and track the games. Hell, part of the fun may even come about from some of the nifty tricks teams come up with to compete, when it is all
about information ;) This may also provide the opportunity to open up all of the game data for those to use however they see fit. I imagine 4 mailing lists would cover a region/country. One is solely for flag commands as suggested above - it is only for subject-only emails containing flag creation, capture, placement and destruction information. Two private lists would exist for each team to coordinate their actions. One would exist for general notices/chat/poking fun at the other team. Keeping the flag information in a small dedicated mailing list probably makes it the easiest to get the information to/from a mobile device ;)
=== Discussion Points
+ It is low impact on the environment
+ It all takes place on public property
+ It is more evenly distributed (10km rule)
+ Promotes teamwork and strategy
+ You know that you can get to the flag location (public property)
+ Flags are less likely to be plundered than geocaches, and the effects of
plundering are less
+ Over a game, multiple attempts can be made on the same flag -
multiple-use, and every location is potentially different
- Requires critical mass to start and maintain a game - this is a biggy.
- There must be a critical number of people in an area to maintain and play this game.
+/- A game may take weeks or months to complete
Anyway, those are the basic ideas and points for discussion I've come up with so far. Does this sound like and interesting game? Would you play it?
I'll be interested to hear anyones ideas.
PS And I've already thought of the catchline and tune...
"All your base are belong to us." ;)