Basic information

Title: The City as an Urban Playground
Acronym: ARE
Company: Gbanga |
Trial/Replicator: Trial
Type: SME

Where: Bristol
When (time-plan): June to December 2019 (6 months)

Project summary

Switzerland-based SME game studio Gbanga creates map-based and GPS-driven, multiplayer AR games that transforms the city into an urban, digital playground. Players of all ages can play together and connect and experience hyper-local entertainment. With the help of the FLAME infrastructure and its funding, the project focuses on such a hyper-local mixed-reality game.

The objectives of the FLAME experiment period were as follows:

  • Increased robustness: With the power of the FLAME infrastructure, the resilience of our mixed-reality games will be significantly increased.
  • Future-proof architecture: The possibility to work with the FLAME infrastructure and to collaborate with the consortium will allow to modularise the system and focus development on future-oriented infrastructure.
  • Improved Quality of Experience QoE: An improved player acceptance with the approach of hyperlocal, horizontal scaling
  • New game content: Thanks to the Open Call 2, a completely new mixed-reality game can be created which not only means more content for our future product but also allows to integrate AR software which allows additional AR games to be released quicker, better and with an efficient and scaling infrastructure.
  • Faster time to market: Thanks to the smart and targeted support of the open call the product can be released in 2020.

The FLAME infrastructure offers a unique feature that helps to scale interactive experiences like games in a fundamental way: to ability to trigger certain functions via defined behaviours. These rules can be defined in a so-called TOSCA file which allows to orchestrate the FLAME infrastructure dynamically. In the case of Gbanga’s AR product and the created mixed-reality game we are able to define that as soon as a certain player base is reached, the load is distributed to additional local servers on servers closest to the player. So not only offers FLAME the ability to define such behaviours, it also allows to do this in an automated and a hyperlocal way that saves development time and frees up time for game creation instead.

The experiment also tackles transformational aspects in the public like on how the cityscape specifically and also how life in cities in general is experienced and can be more playful.

Thanks to the FLAME experiment and after successfully testing a game on Bristol Millenium Square we believe that crucial findings have been found that lead to the notion that the future of Mixed-Reality gaming is hyperlocal.

  • The FLAME platform provides a truly new concept of how hyperlocal games can be scaled and provide a seamless and enjoyable game experience. Specifically, the FLAME platform offers a hyperlocal, horizontal scaling possibility. The experience of hyperlocal multiplayer games can be significantly improved via a local infrastructure.
  • Thanks to a local game state storage, the games are cheat-proof since the game does not rely on a centralized server mirroring of the global game state. Because of this, a cheating player could not get the global state from such a centralized database, but would have to visit locally.
  • The FLAME infrastructure offers  a unique feature that helps to  scale games in a fundamental way:  the ability to reconfigure the infrastructure on the fly based on triggers for  defined behaviours like player count in a local area. We are able to define the required infrastructure  as soon as a certain player base is reached, the load is distributed to additional local instances on servers closest to the player. So not only offers FLAME the ability to define such dynamic triggers,  it also empowers the operations team to do this in an automated and hyper-local way.

Offering features of the FLAME infrastructure at a large scale would allow server infrastructure competitive to currently commercially available offerings. This would have an impact on the game industry in general and multiplayer Mixed-Reality games specifically.

Check the ARE blog post here.