A new augmented reality game created by a Swinburne academic in collaboration with Zomato allows players to explore the city’s laneways and restaurants as part of Melbourne International Games Week.
Wayfinder Live is a location-based augmented reality game that takes place in the laneways of Melbourne. After players choose a faction they must find and scan coded markers hidden all over the city using their smartphone in a battle to complete the map before their opponents.
As players progress through the game they can unlock offers at local cafés and restaurants throughout Melbourne through a collaboration with the restaurant search and discovery service Zomato.
“As you unlock more markers, you unlock what is essentially a hidden city within Melbourne,” says game developer and Swinburne Games and Interactivity course director Dr Troy Innocent.
When a marker is scanned with a player’s smartphone a digital overlay emerges, unlocking more of the map and enabling the player to continue their hunt for markers. They also earn in-game currency used to influence key locations and claim the city for their faction.
Combining real-world and digital elements, Wayfinder Live captures the live play made famous by global sensation Pokémon Go. Wayfinder Live also features a design that encourages players to explore real-life environments and to interact with other players.
Inspiring a new reality
“I first started exploring this idea during an art residency in Tokyo. It was my way of finding my way around the city, literally. It was my first time living in Japan, so I started making objects and placing them into the streets of Tokyo. It was a playful way to orientate myself,” says Dr Innocent.
This work allowed Dr Innocent to work with the City of Melbourne, and to stage games in Ogaki, Istanbul, Adelaide and Sydney, which led to Wayfinder Live being commissioned as part of Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW). Running from 29 October to 6 November, the week includes a range of events, conferences and activities by and for people who love games.
As part of MIGW, PAX Australia will be held at the Melbourne Convention Centre, where Dr Innocent will encourage conference-goers to explore the rest of Melbourne by playing Wayfinder Live.
“Because PAX Australia sits out on the edge of the city, one of the goals of Wayfinder Live is to draw people into the broader cityscape. When people leave PAX, instead of getting the tram home, they can go out and explore more of Melbourne.”
Wayfinder Live will be available to play as part of Melbourne International Games Week, running October 29 to November 6.