Human Element to Use Real-World Resource Gathering

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Human Element to Use Real-World Resource Gathering

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Out of medical supplies in-game? Use Google Maps to replenish your stock.

Former Infinity Ward creative strategist and Robotoki founder Robert Bowling is promoting his upcoming game Human Element, a zombie apocalypse game that will be both cross-platform and cross-genre. While details about the game are pretty scarce, Bowling recently opened up about cross-platform features he'd like to implement. Specifically, he wants to see the actions of mobile users in the real world impact how resources are gathered in the game world by linking Google Maps and Foursquare to your character.

"Say you're at home, you're playing Human Element, you're out in the world, you get injured," Bowling said in an interview with Games Industry International. "You don't want to risk going out to forage in the game world, or maybe you did and can't find anything, but you know that there's a pharmacy four miles down the road in the real world. So you go out and you're out and about in the real world. You open up Human Element on your iPad."

Using Google maps and FourSquare API, players will be able to hunt for real-world resources and "scavenge" them into the game world, even sending them back to your character on a PC or console version. Presumably this real-world scavenging would go beyond medical supplies; grocery stores should allow players to gather food while gun shops would provide weapons and ammunition. "We're taking your real world and merging it with your game world," Bowling continued. "We can do that anywhere there's GPS map data."

Human Element's PC and console versions will present an open-world survival experience with RPG elements, but Bowling says that mobile versions will focus instead on resource management. While players could purchase the game on multiple platforms to gain resource sharing benefits, Bowling believes a more practical solution would be to team-up with friends who prefer a different version. "Say my girlfriend doesn't want to play the console experience but she wants to play on iPad ... If we have an alliance she can play the resource management game, that scavenging mechanic, and she can be benefitting my game by sharing supplies with my survivors."

Human Element is set for a 2015 release, so we're still a long way away from seeing whether the actual game can match the ideal that Bowling imagines. There may also be privacy concerns to address if those you play with are capable of tracking down personal information through your linked Google and Foursquare accounts. Those concerns aside, the idea of combining multiple play-styles and real-world interactions into the same gaming experience is a promising one.

Source: Games Industry International via Joystiq

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Friggen zombies, making me go places.

I can't wait to see this.

I like this cross-genre trend...EVE Online and Dust 514, Human Element...more of this, please.

As a Canadian I am fucked when it comes to munnitions. I wonder if one could become a drug dealer in this game..

Seems like it's giving people with fancy mobile devices an unfair advantage. I would say if the game is multiplayer then the feature should be removed, it should only be in single player.

What about stores that also sell guns though? I got a Kmarts literally minutes away from me that has food AND guns! Could I pick up both? Pretty sure they also had some pharmaceuticals as well...

I'm all for the merging of games and real-life, but this seems a bit off to me: "Wow, I'm not doing very well in this game... I must go out and BUY MORE THINGS."

So if you live in an American city, you basically get to cheat.

Oh cool, when I'm running low on ammo I can just nip down to my local gun store.....oh wait, I'm English, I don't have a local gunstore. I'd be fine for food though, there are about three supermarkets near me.

Well I'm in Toronto, so guns seem to be a resource I'll never find. Actually, since most grocery stores in my area have now relegated to either convenience stores or really small stores, the only reliable resource is pharmacies and booze...sounds like a good combination actually.

Eternal_Lament:
Well I'm in Toronto, so guns seem to be a resource I'll never find. Actually, since most grocery stores in my area have now relegated to either convenience stores or really small stores, the only reliable resource is pharmacies and booze...sounds like a good combination actually.

I live within a 2 block radius of a liquor store, a sex shop, and 2 pharmacies. I'm set. Fuck guns, let's go zombie, lets see you take me on when I've got of booze, pills, and over inflated farm animals.

This sounds awful. Come on how much of a idiot do you think you will feel, traveling to the next town, just to get medical supply's for a in game character. A huge idiot, especially when you walk into a small pharmacy and just stand there to get items. Just imagine the person behind the counter face, if they ask can we help you? And all you have to reply is with, nope im just here picking up items for my virtual character. Yeah.... you'd look like a idiot.

So basically if you decide to open a business out of your home you turn god mode on. Granted this is an interesting idea so good for him for trying something but like many others here I see the problems for balance right away. Where I live there's a gun shop within walking distance from the public library and I doubt a pharmacy is far away from anything here. If I tried this game odds are I wouldn't have any problems whatsoever. Still let's see how this goes. Maybe add some limits on how much you can gather from the real world or some time limits on how frequently you can use this.

"while gun shops would provide weapons and ammunition."

Yeah, sure! Except here in Europe guns are illegal.
Google Maps got any locations of underworld gun sellers?

Hmmm...

Looks like living in Minnesota has it's advantages with all the avid hunters here.

Thankfully, we see the Canadians as being like cousins to us so...HEY GUYS! robert01! Eternal Lament! (Rather unfortunate screenname there for this thread...) OVER HERE!

Well, if we're getting 'realistic', it is going to take more than a trip to a pharmacy to fix most zombie-related injuries.

Great idea. If you live in the U.S.

Not so much anywhere else.

80Maxwell08:
So basically if you decide to open a business out of your home you turn god mode on. Granted this is an interesting idea so good for him for trying something but like many others here I see the problems for balance right away. Where I live there's a gun shop within walking distance from the public library and I doubt a pharmacy is far away from anything here. If I tried this game odds are I wouldn't have any problems whatsoever. Still let's see how this goes. Maybe add some limits on how much you can gather from the real world or some time limits on how frequently you can use this.

Oh no, don't you understand?
It's not going to be any business - its going to be the businesses that buy advertising in the game.

Need supplies? Go to your local Walmart!
Need food to regain health - well for that you can stop by McDonalds!

EDIT: upon re-reading, I see the real world business advertizing is for the iPad iteration, which is still going to be one big commercial, but it won' be in the main game

Whoa instead of in game advertising, games are just sending you right to the stores now! Genius!

It's three years out. All these interesting ideas will either not work how they said they did or will get axed in the name of accessibility or market appeal.

A.Balthazor:
Well, if we're getting 'realistic', it is going to take more than a trip to a pharmacy to fix most zombie-related injuries.

Yeah, you need a trip to the gun store for most of them.

I don't think they would let you camp one spot for supplies anyway, that location would probably be "depleted" for a set amount of time, and you'd have to venture elsewhere for more.

ultimateownage:
So if you live in an American city, you basically get to cheat.

>using a feature in the game
>your in an american city so its cheating

Wut?

Some people do have a better chance if they are around resources, thats how it has always been, life isnt fair.

So its using ARG elements? HAven't people already done that before...

Also, makeing people, some of them nerds who have never used a firearm, go to a gun store and pull out there IPad... yeah that'll go well.

What if I just want to play this game and don't want to spend hours playing Googlemaps?
Sounds like a nice idea, but as you can see from this thread, we have already found numerous pitfalls.

And I'll say it again...playing Googlemaps is just not fun.
Isn't that what a game is supposed to be? Fun?

I like how the dev phrases it...
"Say my girlfriend doesn't want to play the console experience...but she's a complete retard and likes spending her time playing with google maps...I tell her to get out her map and send me some shit."

Riiiight. Who has a girlfriend who spends all her time playing with maps?

Can anyone imagine this scene?

You; "Hey darling, I need some supplies for my zombie game"
GF; "FUCKING AWESOME! I GET TO USE FOURSQUARE AGAIN! THANKS HONEY!"

It depends on how exactly they implement this real world gathering, but right now it sounds kinda pointless.. Idk, it'll probably sound better as more details are released

FelixG:

ultimateownage:
So if you live in an American city, you basically get to cheat.

>using a feature in the game
>your in an american city so its cheating

Wut?

Some people do have a better chance if they are around resources, thats how it has always been, life isnt fair.

You honestly need to read what you wrote again, because the first part is nonsense and the second part is ridiculous in the context of a game. And you're not on 4Chan, by the way; you don't need to use angle brackets and say 'wut'.

This mechanic would make the game trivially easy if you live somewhere like that, being able to get weapons and health items and whatnot easily without needing to do anything in the game. It's a nice concept, but it's not something which is going to work in a game.

Xan Krieger:
Seems like it's giving people with fancy mobile devices an unfair advantage. I would say if the game is multiplayer then the feature should be removed, it should only be in single player.

Not even that, I say. It should be an option, not a necessity. People in england would then be screwed for guns and most other weapons, to be honest. What about people who live nowhere near a pharmacy or grocery store? It's a nice idea, but if it relies upon it, it'll shut a lot of people off, and not just people who can't afford the "fancy mobile devices".

...Ambitious but I can see many ways in which this feature could balls up the experience for a larger audience. We'll see.

Well, since I don't live in America I'm pretty much fucked if I run out of ammo.
At least there's a pharmacy one block away, and I live on top of a supermarket. Should be a few comfortable months before the zombies get me. xD

This will not happen.
Mark my words. Bowling is an idea guy.

"Damn, out of ammo, guess I'll just pop down to my local gun store and- oh that's right I live in a place where gun shops aren't as common as petrol stations"

- Nearly everyone that isn't in the U.S.A.

I think it's a brilliant idea, but it seems like it's going to be way unbalanced. It'd work fantastically if the resources were something more universally accessible... I can see it being really good for a kind of Tamagotchi/Nintendogs/other virtual pet thing. "Your pet is sick! Better pop down to the pharmacy and get it some medicine!" "Your pet is hungry! Go get it some food!" "Your pet needs some exercise, take it to the park!"

It sounds fun though... Though I wouldn't go out specifically to gather in-game-ressources, it could be fun to walk by the hunting store and "scavenge" it for guns and ammo. It could even be fun that gun stores are less common here in Germany; after all, in case of an actual zombie apocalypse (can't believe I just said that) we'd have to do with what we got anyway.

I just hope the actual game is any good, the gimmick on its own can't carry the whole experience.

zidine100:
This sounds awful. Come on how much of a idiot do you think you will feel, traveling to the next town, just to get medical supply's for a in game character. A huge idiot, especially when you walk into a small pharmacy and just stand there to get items. Just imagine the person behind the counter face, if they ask can we help you? And all you have to reply is with, nope im just here picking up items for my virtual character. Yeah.... you'd look like a idiot.

That's exactly what I was thinking while reading the article. Especially for the socially awkward kind that the gamer community is rife with. I don't understand how someone thought this could be a good idea. I mean, it sounds cool, but I doubt its practical use. But maybe we're overestimating it. Maybe it's just that when you have to go somewhere you can make use of the situation to help out your game character so you can leave your pc once in a while.

I see a lot of nerds sitting in supermarkets now. play the game, get injured, insta-medical supply.

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