“What if you could run through the city and capture all buildings? What if you could take over the buildings of your opponent to expand your territory?” A group of students from the Hochschule der Künste in Zürich, Switzerland, took twelve days to develop an exciting hyper-local location-aware game entitled Urban Defender. Inspired by gangs in cities, they managed to combine elements from the physical world as well as the virtual world to create a game which allows users to ‘claim’ various districts of a city. The ball itself is equipped with Arduino Nano, Accelerometer, a vibration motor, LEDs, XBee and wires, and is able to virtually claim a piece of land when it is throwed against a wall. Furthermore, it tells the players whether they’re in friendly or enemy area.
“This game is based upon elements that are fundamental to people in urban situations: districts and their habitants. Targeting children and young adults, the goal and main rule of the game is: try to conquer as many quarters as possible, reinforce these quarters and defend them against other players. By throwing the ball against a wall, the containing quarter gets owned by the player — this is the main action of the game.”
Urban Defender’s most appealing aspect is the extension of a normal leather ball with technology, which suprisingly results in a totally new type of game. Turning the ball into a location-aware object brings real world gaming at a new level, the makers argue. They encourage others to build their own version by making the code accessible. Take a look at the entire project build if you would like to learn more about the technical equipment of the ball.