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SFZero Game Uses Layar to Document Real-World Missions Accomplished

Adriane Goetz February 28, 2011










SFZero
San Francisco Zero: real-world gaming.

One of the great things about Augmented Reality games is that they encourage users to get out in the real world, move around and sometimes even interact with others face-to-face (gasp!).



The mission-based game SFZero (San Francisco Zero) takes real-world gaming even further, transforming its users’ city, country and really the entire world into a playing field where creativity, guile, collaboration and imagination are rewarded with points, level-ups, badges and notoriety. While the game’s actual AR usage is fairly limited, we still think it’s a cool example of how to merge the video game world with the real world.



SFZero started in San Francisco in 2006 by friends Sean Mahan, Ian Kizu-Blair and Sam Lavigne, who had recently moved to SF from Chicago. Their goal was to get players to venture out into the city independently, make new discoveries and test personal boundaries; the result was an open-source, collaborative production game that has spread to countries across the world.










One player presents her “Fortune Not Cookies” in the form of hollowed-out eggshells.

In SFZero, players earn points by completing real-world tasks (referred to as praxis upon completion) that generally involve exploring the city, interacting with strangers, or creating some form of “public art.”



For example, “The Things We Bury For Our Friends” task requires a player to bury some sort of “treasure,” then send another player (the two must not know each other) hints, photos, etc. to find it. Another task, called “Fortune Not Cookie” requires that players put fortunes into non-traditional fortune telling objects.



Players must submit proof of completing the task, such as photos or video, to the SFZero website. The geotagged proof is added to the SFZero layer, where others can see the name, date and time the task was completed as well as the player who completed it. The layer can also launch the SFZero website for more details, comments, etc. on the completed task.



So far, more than 6,000 players have completed more than 13,000 tasks around the world. The game is almost entirely run by its players, who create tasks and moderate completions. The game is more fun the more players there are in any given city, so join SFZero and become the best tasker in town!

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