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Published by: andresmh on Sep 18, 2008
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Pervasive Gaming Framework withEducational and Business Applications
Digital Innovations – 12 May 2006Tim Crosby & Andres Monroy-Hernandez
Codecaching is a framework to allow people to create and participate in pervasive gamesthat connect the virtual with the real world. Codecaching itself involves the hiding andfinding of semacode-style tags that can be read by a cell phone camera. Participants inthe game would be involved in the content creation (hiding of the tags and developingclues for others to find those tags) and playing the game (finding the tags). The possibleapplications for m-learning include using mobile applications for education (m-learning),corporate events, and entertainment.
The largest segment of Codecaching participants will be players who spend their timewith the game solving puzzles and discovering tags. The flow of playing the game fromthis perspective may start with a player discovering or seeing a tag. Relatively prominenttags will also work as a way to get people interested in the game, as each tag will contantinformation on where to go to download the Codecaching software. If a player doesdiscover a tag, she takes a picture of it with her cell phone camera and uploads the imageto a server, gaining some points for the discovery. If the tag has a puzzle associated withit, the player may solve that puzzle for additional points.Another way to start the tag discovery process is to look through the list of puzzles,which are generally categorized by location. Once the player selects a puzzle from thedirectory, he solves the puzzle and follows the given hints to reach the exact location.Taking a picture of the tag uploads the success to the game server which keeps score.After completing a puzzle, the player has the opportunity to rate the puzzle. The player'sfeedback can include multiple aspects like an overall rating, specific comments about thedifficulty of the puzzle, as well as comments that are sent to the puzzle creator and storedin a separate database for puzzle creators.A block-diagram representation of this flow is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Flowchart of players finding tags.
The purple boxes represent what actions the player  performs (or can choose to perform, in the case of dotted arrows), and the yellow boxes indicate whatfunctions interface with the Codecaching company (and specifically, the server that stores game data).
Hiding (creating)
The other integral part of the mass-market Codecaching game is player creation of  puzzles. The first step for creation is a player buying a pack of tags from a retail store or online. Next, the player goes to the location of her choice and provides text clues to thelocation or takes a picture of location. After take a picture, the player can decide to applya transformation to the picture in order to create a puzzle. The optional puzzletransformations are provided by the Codecaching company on a server.Once the player has decided on the clues, picture, or puzzle, he take a picture of the tagand uploads the information to the puzzle server. The player also decides on a point valuefor the puzzle, double-checks that the tag's location is correctly marked in the server, and provides any additional clues for finding the specific tag or linking this tag to others in achain. The puzzle is then ready to be played by others. A block-diagram of the entirecreation process can be seen in Figure 2.Content-creators can also revise some aspects of their puzzles at a later date, if theydesire. Content creators may find it more convenient to create the text clues on acomputer rather than relying on their cell phone interface. In addition, content creatorsmay wish to change some clues or point values based on the feedback they get from puzzle solvers.
Choice of generallocation or puzzleFind exact locationDecode puzzlepicture or text cluesTake picture of Semacodesticker with cameraphone‘Discover’ aSemacode sticker Upload success toscore-keeping server Score list / rankingsDirectory of puzzlesRate the location, puzzle,and point valueContent creator scoresand feedback database

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