Urban Defender: location aware game

What do gangs, territories, cities, and glowing blue balls have in common? No, not that one drunken night you can’t seem to remember, rather a new location aware game called Urban Defender.

The concept behind the game is simple. A player hold a ball that knows its current location and can notify you if needed via LEDs and a speaker of changes in its environment. He or she then runs around the city until the ball tells them of an unclaimed or enemy territory. Bounce the ball against a building and that territory is now claimed.

The ball itself is a prototype combination of an Arduino, Accelerometer, vibration motor, LEDs, XBee, batteries, and wire all packed inside of an industrial rubber gym ball. Unfortunately after testing the Urban Defender team found the GPS and a few other components would need to be kept outside of the ball and on the player.

Finally, a project that warrants the use of an Arduino. Anyone up for a game?

30 thoughts on “Urban Defender: location aware game

  1. Interesting use of technology, but seems to me like it would be quite boring.

    Perhaps if it was a multiplayer game, with teams and updating via mobile networks with real time feedback when a previous “zone” you owned has been lost to another team, it might be more fun then as turf wars could break out and the social aspect makes it more than just “throw a ball against a wall in various locations”.

  2. I think “a few other components” might be a bit of an understatement. From the images on the site, it looks like the majority of the hardware is in the backpack, the ball itself just blinks and detects impact.

  3. The idea of a locational aware game is cool. I would rather see a laser tag, capture the flag, multi-player game.

    Maybe GPS to track the location of opponents or flags, and then laser tag to defend your flag. If you are tagged with a laser you have to return to your home base for a certain time, or find a predetermined healing station some where. It would be fun if it was played city wide against a bunch of strangers.

  4. I think you could make this work by interfacing it with a real-time updated handheld (iPhone app?) displaying your current territory and that of an opposing “Team”. Then you could make a race to capture a given area of say a 4×4 block area on foot. Basically its a goofy Capture-The-Flag game.

  5. “What do gangs, territories, cities, and glowing blue balls have in common?” I was actually hoping for a real life version of Crackdown there… But this isn’t so bad. I’d like some way to track an opponents’ ball if it nears my territory though, so that my team could somehow stop the other team from conquering it. Did I say team?

  6. I like the team thing and live updates. I think if you see another team bouncing their balls against your building you could nail them in the head with your ball to deactivate them for an hour, a day, whatever. Modern Dodgeball..

  7. Awesome idea. I picture an urban version of the game Company of Heroes. Real bridges, highways, etc, would provide interesting strategic points and barriers. Hmm, now how would combat between players, or “units”, be conducted?

  8. I think this is a really cool idea. You would essentially be playing a multiplayer game with invisible players, trying to capture as much of the city as you can. It’s also interesting because you could set up games, or just play on your own (similar to lan vs. online play in games).

  9. lol this will solve gang wars or at least make them less deadly lol gangbangers will now use glowing blue balls instead of guns.

  10. this reminds me of a different game that i think i saw originally on the makezine blog. a group of people (say, at a party) were handed the game bricks (electronics in an enclosure) whose little 7-segment LED display on the front would increment as people came in proximity to it. the more people in proximity, the faster it would increment… it became a “popularity” game of sorts — showing how often you were among groups of people.

    I CANT FIND THIS PROJECT to save my life. someone please tell me they remember it…

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