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  • Student Postmortem: University of Bremen's citizenMOB

    - Ilham Abiyasa Suhardi
  •  Introduction

    LOCATION-BASED gaming? What’s that? Weird people running around the city wearing eccentric outfit? Looking strange with big devices on their hands and head?

    You’re almost right – some games are like that. Not ours.  First of all, citizenMOB runs on a regular mobile phone, and if you manage to hide a matchbox sized Bluetooth GPS receiver somewhere between your clothes, you dress like normal people.  Second, it’s true that you still have to run and explore the city in order to find virtual items (that’s the fun of location-based game), but if you put a laid-back expression on your face, no one will notice that you’re playing the game. And third, every player has a virtual creature to play with, right in his pocket.

    How did we, a bunch of digital media students, come up to the idea of mobile games? Back in April 2005, we had a first kick-off meeting at the Northern seaside of Cuxhaven. In between playing at the windy beach, we had heavy brainstorming sessions for the project idea. Unlike most other master projects, we had the chance to choose our project topic freely, as long as it was related to virtual communities & mobile devices.After long discussions and presentations from each project member we finally decided to make a game. Sixteen master students from seven countries, under the name exNeMo group (experience Novel Mobile virtual communities), decided to make an online mobile game for our two semester project.Back at the university, we realized there was already a location-based mobile game made by Hochschule Bremen (Gangs of Bremen). So the first four weeks were filled with discussions and brainstorming to find a better and different idea. Finally in the middle of May, we came up not only with a new game idea but also the details including the technical part. We decided to give the player the ability to have a virtual pet. So besides running around the city collecting items, players will be able to take care of their pets, trade them, or even battle with other player’s pet. Just imagine a combination of Pokémon, Tamagotchi, and location based gaming.

    We called our game citizenMOB – the mobile citizen.


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