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  • FACULDADE DE ENGENHARIA DA UNIVERSIDADE DO PORTO

    Location-Based Digital Games Platform

    for Touristic Activities

    Rodolfo Paulo Teixeira Tavares da Silva

    Mestrado Integrado em Engenharia Informtica e Computao

    Supervisor: Antnio Fernando Vasconcelos Cunha Castro Coelho (Doutor)

    February 2013

  • Rodolfo Silva, 2013

  • Location-Based Digital Games Platform for Touristic Activities

    Rodolfo Paulo Teixeira Tavares da Silva

    Mestrado Integrado em Engenharia Informtica e Computao

    Approved in oral examination by the committee:

    Chair: Eugnio Oliveira (Doctor)

    External Examiner: Leonel Morgado (Doctor)

    Supervisor: Antnio Coelho (Doctor)

    ____________________________________________________

    February 13, 2013

  • i

    Abstract

    When visiting a new area its interesting to investigate and acquire some knowledge about

    the place. Yet, it would be more appealing for the tourists to have a previous customized and

    interactive experience to explore that place.

    This dissertation was made in partnership with 3Decide, which operates in the area of

    procedural modeling and augmented reality. The company is developing a new framework,

    named aLivePanoramics, which integrates 360o images and augmented reality.

    The goal of the dissertation was to create a platform and find a game design that could run

    under the aLivePanoramics architecture. The framework allows the creation of tours which are

    composed by widgets, meaning that the game mechanics should had this in consideration. The

    solution should be as general as possible so that the platform is able to create multiple games

    distinct from each other. These created games should give the tourists the desire to go to the

    promoted places.

    The produced platform allows the creation of adventure games where it is required to solve

    enigmas in order to evolve in the game. There are two types of user: the client that uses the

    platform to create games; and the final user that is who plays the games. The platform allows

    creating games where the client can add scenarios and objects. These objects can be used in the

    scenario or combined with other objects to unlock passages to get to the final goal defined by

    the client as well.

    Overall the goals were achieved successfully since it is possible to create distinct games

    with different stories. In the end a small prototype was made as a proof of concept. This

    prototype was presented to some people and allowed doing some examination and improvement

    to the user interface. With the removal of some buttons and windows, the interface became

    more accessible and less interaction is needed by the user to get feedback. This enables the user

    to focus on the story instead of struggling with the user interface to understand the game. The

    prototype is a small story with four scenarios and the goal being the arrival on the fourth

    scenario. The passages from scenario to scenario are locked and show some dialogs, in order to

    give clues to the user. The user has to find some objects, such as a key and a shovel to unlock

    the passages and progress in the game. When the user arrives at the end is presented a final text

    congratulating the achievement of the goal.

  • iii

    Resumo

    Quando se visita uma nova rea interessante investigar e adquirir algum conhecimento

    sobre o local. No entanto, seria mais atrativo para os turistas terem uma experincia prvia

    customizada e interativa para explorar esse local.

    Esta dissertao foi feita em parceria com a 3Decide, que opera na rea da modelao

    procedimental e realidade aumentada. A empresa est a desenvolver uma nova Framework,

    intitulada aLivePanoramics, que integra imagens de 360o e realidade aumentada.

    O objetivo da dissertao era criar uma plataforma e encontrar um design de jogo que

    explorasse a arquitetura do aLivePanoramics. A Framework permite a criao de tours que so

    compostos por widgets, o que significa que a mecnica de jogo deve ter estes aspetos em

    considerao. Adicionalmente, a soluo deveria ser o mais geral possvel de modo a que a

    plataforma permita a criao de vrios jogos distintos. Estes jogos devem ser aliciantes o

    suficiente para causar nos turistas o desejo de ir visitar os locais a ser promovidos.

    A plataforma desenvolvida permite a criao de jogos de aventura onde necessrio

    resolver enigmas de modo a se poder evoluir no jogo. Existem dois tipos de utilizador: o cliente

    que usa a plataforma para criar jogos; e o utilizador final que quem joga. A plataforma

    possibilita criar jogos onde o cliente pode adicionar cenrios e objetos. Estes objetos podem ser

    usados no cenrio ou combinados com outros objetos, para desbloquear passagens e chegar ao

    objetivo final, que tambm definido pelo cliente.

    No geral, os objetivos foram atingidos com sucesso, uma vez que, possvel criar jogos

    diferentes com histrias distintas. No final foi feito um pequeno prottipo como prova de

    conceito. O prottipo foi apresentado a algumas pessoas, o que permitiu fazer alguns testes e

    melhorar a interface grfica. Com a remoo de alguns botes e janelas, a interface ficou mais

    acessvel, causando com que o utilizador tenha de fazer menos interaes de modo a obter

    feedback, possibilitando assim, com que este no perca o rumo histria devido experincia

    de jogo ser demasiado difcil de entender. O prottipo consiste numa pequena histria com

    quatro cenrios em que o objetivo chegar ao quarto cenrio. As passagens de cenrio para

    cenrio esto bloqueadas e mostram dilogos, de modo a dar pistas para o utilizador saber a

    razo desse bloqueamento. O utilizador tem de encontrar objetos como uma chave e uma p

    para desbloque-las e avanar no jogo. Quando o utilizador chega ao fim, apresentado um

    texto final a felicitar a chegada ao fim.

  • iv

  • v

    Acknowledgements

    The development of this dissertation wouldnt be possible without the help of several

    people.

    I would like to give my appreciation to my supervisor Antnio Coelho, for his guidance,

    support and ideas throughout the project.

    I would like to thanks the support from the workers of 3Decide, in particular to Carlos

    Rebelo and Andr Cardoso for their help and experience during the development of the project.

    I want to give acknowledgement to the designer Gonalo Machado, for the interface

    mockups and excellent work.

    Without my family efforts it wouldnt be possible to be here today. I want to give a special

    thanks to my mother and my father for their constant support and motivation.

    I would also like to thank my friends for their support.

    Rodolfo Silva

  • vii

    Contents

    Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 1

    1.1 Motivation and Context ................................................................... 1

    1.2 Problem Description ........................................................................ 2

    1.3 Goals ............................................................................................... 2

    1.4 Methodology ................................................................................... 3

    1.5 Document Structure......................................................................... 3

    Bibliographic Revision ...................................................................................................... 5

    2.1 Mobile Games ................................................................................. 5

    2.2 Location-Based Services ................................................................. 7

    2.2.1 History of Location-Based Services ................................................ 7

    2.2.2 Locating Methods ............................................................................ 7

    2.3 Location-Based Games ................................................................... 9

    2.3.1 Location-based Games Characteristics ........................................... 9

    2.3.2 Location-Based Games Issues ....................................................... 11

    2.3.3 Examples of Location-Based Games ............................................ 13

    2.4 Electronic Games and Tourism ..................................................... 16

    2.5 Existing Game Platforms .............................................................. 17

    2.5.1 Adventure Game Studio ................................................................ 17

    2.5.2 Visionaire Adventure Studio ......................................................... 19

    2.6 Framework aLivePanoramics ........................................................ 20

    2.6.1 Front-Office ................................................................................... 21

    2.6.2 Back-Office ................................................................................... 25

    2.6.3 Communication between front-office and back-office.................. 26

    2.7 Conclusions ................................................................................... 26

    Digital Games Platform for Touristic Activities ........................................................... 29

    3.1 Methodology ................................................................................. 29

    3.2 Game Design Concept ......