Package wars: an urban physical internet game

For this assignment we have to create an open urban game for 10+ people that should also involve bypassers. For this assignment I’ll be working with my colleagues @David and @Manuel.

Es soll ein Urban Game entworfen und prototypisch umgesetzt werden. Das Urban Game soll in einem Innenhof eines Wohn- oder Arbeitsgebäudes stattfinden. (z.B. Gemeindebau, Wohnsiedlung, Firmengelände, Universität, Schule, …).
Wir werden die Spiele am 21.6. 12h im Innenhof des Hauptgebäudes (wo das Nelson’s war) testen. Dieser Hof kann aber stellvertretend für einen anderen Stadtraum sein, eure Spiele sollten aber trotzdem auf die dortigen örtlichen Begebenheiten ausgelegt sein.
– Das Ziel des Spiels soll kollaborativ sein, nicht kompetitiv.
– Jede SpielerIn muss das Gefühl haben am Erfolg / Misserfolg beteiligt gewesen zu sein.
– Das Spiel soll von mind. 10 SpielerInnen gleichzeitig gespielt werden können
– Es soll aber auch in der Zukunft eine Skalierung auf 100-1000 SpielerInnen denkr sein
– Das Spiel soll Kommunikation zwischen Fremden fördern
– Das Spiel soll keine Schnitzeljagd sein, auch keine gut getarnte Variante einer Schnitzeljagd.
– Es dürfen beliebige Hilfsmittel verwendet werden, soferne diese nicht eine Zugangshürde darstellen (wie das zb. beim Auto der Fall wäre)
We had different ideas but first we wanted to explore the terrain a bit better. We explored the inner courtyard of the TU and “mapped” it so that we can do more logistics offline.
A quick sketch also gave us some unsights so that we could prototype easier on paper:
On Thursday we had a very productive creativity session, where we discussed different games and concepts. We shared various experiences about urban games that we already played.

On Sunday we had a short skype session where we finetuned some of the initial ideas (which David described really well in his blog). One of the wildest ideas that came to mind was the so called “Glove Problem” or sometimes also called “Condom Problem”. While implementing an optimization problem like this in a an urban game could be merely dismissed as a distateful joke, it actually inspired us to look into other optimization problems or general theories within the fields of computer science.

Thus the idea of building a game revolving around the physical internet was born. The basic idea is that physical packages can be transmitted through people just like TCP packets are transmitted on the internet – jumping from a node to node. We expanded further on the idea and we thought that it could serve as a pretty great base for an urban game, where we’ll have different stations (nodes) and people would have to deliver packages to other stations.
In order to prototype this we bought a lot of colour paper and created origami cubes. The cubes are to serve as small packages which should be exchanged between players and bystanders. We also bought some empty boxes, which would further server as a nice “package” disposal for the stations.
The basic idea is to place 4 stations in the yard, each with different colour, and convince people passing by to pass a package to the respective coloured station or simply to drop it off at the next station. The game would be a success when all the packages are delivered to their respective stations. Much like the TCP protocol packets could also be lost or corrupted. Furthermore, chalk colour paintings on the concrete should instruct people where to deliver the packages.
The great thing about this concept is that it’s really easily expandable. The game can be easily scaled by simply increasing the number of stations and/or the number of colours or shapes of the boxes. The packages could also be repurposed to deliver other stuff, such as postcards, messages, actual packages or even encrypted information 🙂

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