University of Oulu

Alavesa, P., Pakanen, M., Ojala, T., Asare, K. O., Ojala, K., Lehto, M., & Kukka, H. (2018). Ludic Markers for Player-Player Observation in Location-Based Mobile Games. Simulation & Gaming, 49(6), 700–717.

Ludic markers for player-player observation in location-based mobile games

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Author: Alavesa, Paula1; Pakanen, Minna1; Ojala, Timo1;
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, P.O Box 4500, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2Boogie Software Ltd., Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2018
Publish Date: 2020-02-24


Background: It can be difficult to capture the subtleties of social behavior during gameplay by using existing commercial location-based mobile games as a research probe since they are not designed to reveal subtleties in player behavior.

Aim: We sought to explore whether players spontaneously search for unknown fellow players and to identify ludic markers in player-player observation when playing a digital location-based mobile game that allows location spoofing in addition to automated locationing.

Method: We used a constructive research approach and created a game specifically designed to allow location spoofing through self-reporting of player locations. We conducted three field trials with eight participants in total. They took part in separate field trials in groups of three, three, and two players. The participants were previously unknown to each other and commenced play at different locations inside the game area.

Results and Conclusions: Qualitative analysis of the gathered video and interview material shows that the players spontaneously searched for unknown fellow players, which confirms earlier research on the topic. Further, behavioral and direct visual markers in the physical environment were reported to be the most significant cues in determining who is a player and who is not.

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Series: Simulation & gaming
ISSN: 1046-8781
ISSN-E: 1552-826X
ISSN-L: 1046-8781
Volume: 49
Issue: 6
Pages: 700 - 717
DOI: 10.1177/1046878118796056
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This work has been supported by the Open Innovation Platforms spearhead project (A70202) and the Open City Model as Open Innovation Platform project (A71143) funded by the ERDF and the City of Oulu under the Six City Strategy program, and the COMBAT project (293389) funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland.
Copyright information: © 2018 Sage Publishing. The Definitive Version of Record can be found online at: