We all played the game of 'it' or 'tag' as children. As adults, we don't. We started to wonder if there was a way to use technology to create a game where you run, chase, and hide which could be played anywhere among friends.

What it does

In short: an-app based running game where player locations are periodically revealed as the chasers hunt down the runners. Whenever a runner is caught, they join the chasers until there are no runners left or the time runs out. The game creator pre-defines the game boundary which all players can see on their phone, with various in-game power ups such to hide and reveal locations.

How we built it

The prototype is built in react native with a python/mongodb backend on AWS.

Challenges we ran into

Getting the maps component to function in the desired way on iOS and Android, understanding which features would and wouldn't work with a given degree of GPS accuracy, and going from zero react native knowledge to being able to build working features!

'Why do I need an app to play tag?' This is probably the one we run into most, and the one which people understand as soon as they play the game! The app governs everything from game time to map boundary to, most importantly, user locations. At a fixed interval, the location of all players is revealed for a short period. This means the game can be played over a wide area, and people can hide for a while but not forever! The game takes on a totally new dynamic of moving from cover to cover (like hide and seek) while knowing the chasers will be onto you when your location is revealed by the app.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Several successful real-world tests with a lot of positive feedback, and getting a lot of people running around when they wouldn't usually! It's also been great to see different emergent tactics people use to survive in the game.

What we learned

It's easy to spend a lot of time on technically difficult features which don't make much difference to the real-world enjoyment. Not everyone is great at reading maps! There is no substitute for regular real-world testing.

What's next for Seeker

New features:

  • potentially automated 'catching' to replace the current self report
  • more 'power-ups' in-game

We're also working on:

  • a graphical overhaul
  • some bug fixes
  • larger-scale real-world testing building to app store / Google play release
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