Lancaster University

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Mobile Game Scoops Industry Prize for Innovation

06/23/2009 13:54:55

Dr Paul Coulton (center) with PhD students Mark Lochrie and Kate Lund
Dr Paul Coulton (center) with PhD students Mark Lochrie and Kate Lund

Mobile game developers at Lancaster University have won a coveted industry prize for innovation.

Their location-based game ‘Big Game Huntr’ saw off competition from more than 150 entries from all over the world to take the Adobe FlashLite Developer Challenge Innovation Prize 2009.

Big Game Huntr taps into rising trends in mobile gaming including social networking and user-generated content. It enables to people to design their own location based game to their local environment and around an activity of their own choosing. Players are awarded points for taking photographs of objects or activities in their chosen location zone which is illustrated as an interactive map on their phone screen. For example a required activity may be to perform a conga and the location could be around Lancaster Castle. Players are awarded points related to both the difficulty of the task and location. The photographs are tagged with the coordinates of their current positioned obtained from the phones in-built GPS and uploaded to an overall game server which produces a end of game map which can be added to their Facebook profile. .

The winning team is Dr Paul Coulton, and PhD students Mark Lochrie and Kate Lund. The prize of $10,000 is being split between the two students who intend to use the money to continue their studies.

Dr Paul Coulton, based at InfoLab21 the University’s centre of excellence for ICT, said: “We are particularly delighted to receive the award for innovation as we believe Big Game Huntr represents a new generation of mobile gaming which is designed specifically for the medium.

“Mobile games can take advantage of the fact that their players are mobile, free to move around and play in real time and real locations. Big Game Huntr harnesses both this style of play and users creativity as the games are designed by the players themselves and takes mobile gaming in an exciting new direction.”

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Lancaster University is part of the Forum Nokia Innovation Network which focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel, uniquely mobile user experiences from games to social networking.

The UK's Nokia Innovation Network hub is based at Lancaster University, which is consistently rated amongst the top ten universities in the country, and within InfoLab21 the UKs centre for excellence in ICT. The group at Lancaster specialises in Mobile Experiences and Paul Coulton leads international activities of the Innovation Network in this area. The group at Lancaster has an international reputation in mobile experience research and have won a number of Awards for innovation.