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Beacons Cast Spell on Mobile Gaming

For its BattleKasters game app, Artifact Technologies has been installing Bluetooth beacons at fan-based conferences, where an average of 1,000 players have used the technology to cast spells and work their way toward a portal to save the planet.
By Claire Swedberg

The company began testing beacons, seeking models that could not only transmit a signal at great distances, but also support shorter transmission ranges. For instance, he explains, as opposed to some retail applications, games would often require that a player be very close to a beacon before receiving a transmission on his or her phone. The firm opted to use beacons from Sensoro—although, Teplitsky adds, the company is hardware-agnostic, so it might employ other beacons for other Mixby-based applications. The company began developing software that would use the beacon location data to create new gaming opportunities, then teamed with Adams to develop a game based on the plots of her books.

When PAX attendees arrived at the conference, they had the option of downloading the free BattleKasters app from the iTunes or Google Play website. Once installed on the player of an iOS or Android smartphone, the app then provided details about various physical locations where participants could play the game by selecting an action (such as casting a spell) available at each site.

For the PAX Prime show, Artifact installed a Sensoro beacon at different 15 locations within and around the Washington State Convention Center.
At each of these 15 locations (13 onsite and two offsite—one at the station for the monorail that transported con-goers to the show, and the other across the street from the convention center), Artifact installed a beacon that transmitted a unique identifier. That ID number could be captured by a beacon-enabled smartphone located up to 10 feet away, causing the app to display data about the game options available at that spot. The participant then followed prompts in the app to select his next move in the game, such as casting a spell. With that selection, the player could then accomplish other tasks that would protect him or set up traps for other players arriving at the same beacon-based location. The game's objective was to close a portal that allowed passage by creatures attempting to take over the world. To accomplish this goal, players had to visit enough beacons to keep casting spells and make their way toward the portal.

According to Brett Cutler, an Artifact game designer, participants have the choice of playing the game competitively by racing others toward the portal, or, more casually, simply experiencing the storyline of the book and game.

During the past year, Artifact Technologies has been piloting the game at various events, by installing the system and providing it to conference organizers at no cost. At each event, the company operates a booth where it can not only advertise the game but also explain how it is used to convention participants.

USER COMMENTS

Shubhi Mittal 2015-12-24 01:52:35 AM
Very well-done Artifact! Location-based gaming using mobile phones is catching up. A very well-known retailer, Macy's, used beacon-triggered mobile app gaming at their Black Friday Sale to boost sales and drive revenue. Several other businesses are also working on it to engage customers. Scavenger hunts has been the most common form of it till date. Here is an interesting infographic which captures why businesses are exploring iBeacon technology http://blog.beaconstac.com/2014/09/infographic-why-beacons-are-the-future-of-customer-engagement/

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