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What is CitiTag?

CitiTag is a wireless location-based multiplayer game, designed to enhance spontaneous social interaction and novel experiences in city environments by integrating virtual presence with physical. In the first version of CitiTag you roam the city with a GPS- and WiFi-enabled iPaq PocketPC in search for players of the opposite team that you can ‘tag’. You can also get tagged yourself if one of them gets close to you. Then you need to find a friend to free you. Urban space becomes a playground and everyone is a suspect.

There are two teams in this game, the Reds and the Greens. Each is trying to be the dominant colour, by tagging members of the opposite team. When a player has been tagged, they are trapped in the colour of the opposite team until one of their team mates sets them free. When a player comes close to a team member that has been tagged, they get the opportunity to 'untag', to free them.

When were the initial trials?

• Multiplayer game experiment in Bristol Centre (June 2004) - Read about the Bristol trial.
• First trial at the Open University (March 2004) - Read about the OU trial.

Who's involved?

Yanna Vogiazou, OU (Game concept, visual design, user studies)
Bas Raijmakers, RCA (Game concept, user studies, documentary production)
Josephine Reid, HP (Project management, user studies)
Erik Geelhoed, HP (Research methods consultancy)
Ben Clayton, University of Bristol (Mobile Bristol system implementation, technical support)
Marc Eisenstadt, OU (Research Mentor (Synchronous Social Software))
Kevin Quick, OU (Multiplayer server implementation)
Jon Linney, OU (Flash client programming)
Peter Scott, OU (Project management, consultancy)
Lewis McCann, OU (Infrastructure support)

Thanks to:
Phil Stenton, Richard Hull, Stuart Martin, Paul Marsh, Tom Melamed, John Honnibal, Rachel Eardley.

For further information email Yanna:

Why develop Cititag?

The CitiTag game is being developed to explore social experiences and emergent behaviours in public spaces through playful interaction, based on the awareness of other players’ presence. The project is motivated by the hypothesis that very simple game rules based on presence states (e.g. I am Green and ‘tagged’) can result in an enjoyable social experience, stimulated by real world interaction among players. The aim of our studies is to identify the design implications for future technology mediated social experiences and how such experiments can inform the experience design process.

The project involves the collaboration between HP Labs and the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMi). KMi’s Centre for New Media is developing the client software and multi-user server. The user trials will provide data for Yanna Vogiazou’s (OU) and Bas Raijmaker’s (RCA) PhD work.

Want to read more?

Three documents on CitiTag in PDF format:

Paper presented at the Ubicomp 2004 Workshop 'UbiComp in the Urban Frontier':Urban space as a large-scale group playground, Nottingham, UK
In Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Appliance Design 2AD, HP labs, Bristol, UK.
Tech report describing the software architecture and components.

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