weQuest: Mobile Alternate Reality Gaming for Health


The goal of this project is develop a platform for mobile games that motivate healthy behavior away from the computer, i.e., walk, run, or bike. Games motivate through story/fantasy, challenge, and opportunities for social interaction. A mobile alternate reality game can only be played by moving through your environment.

The project addresses this goal through a combination of a game engine for iPhone which can play a multitude of end-user authored games. Game types supported are: single-player games, branching games, races, tours, multiplayer cooperative, and multiplayer adversarial games. A server will facilitate multiplayer interaction and download of new games.

An authoring tool provides end-users with the means to easily to create new games. However, games are necessarily bound to specific locations. To address this, we are developing analogical transformation algorithms that can partially automate the process of transforming a game from one location to another. This will allow people from geographically disparate areas to author and share games.

The authoring tool:

The author can create a location-based storyline from scratch, or the author can download an existing storyline and translate it from one specific locale to any other locale. The translation process, built into the authoring tool, attempts to find the best matches between landmarks between the two locales and also attempts to preserve features of the original storyline such as walking distance, shape of the routes, etc.