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Looking for Charizard: applying the orienteering problem to location-based games

Author:Thomas Tregel, Philipp Müller, Stefan Göbel, Ralf Steinmetz
Date:July 2019
Kind:Article - use for journal articles only
Journal:The Visual Computer
Keywords:Location-based games, Optimization, Mobile devices, Orienteering problem
Research Area(s):Serious Games
Abstract:Along with the high popularity of location-based games in the mid-summer of 2016 caused by the release of Pokémon GO, tool-assisted gameplay rose in demand in order to increase the individual player’s performance within the game. The location-based accumulation of Pokémon presents the continuing challenge for players to expand their collection. As game locations are fixed and have a fixed time interval in which they provide players with a chance to catch a Pokémon, optimized routes that maximize the chance or frequency of encounters were in high demand. However, personalized routes are hard to create due to the amount of available game locations, their distance between each other, and the associated time constraints for real-world travel. This paper presents a system which allows the sensitive creation of personalized routes for players. These routes can be fully customized regarding the player’s out-of-game and in-game goal, allowing them to e.g. specify their movement type or in-game preferences. We evaluate the system using a dataset of Berlin containing over 30,000 distinct locations with different associated characteristics and show the performance of different solution approaches for the generalized orienteering problem. It is designed as a player assistance system allowing the usage on mobile devices to assure its applicability in the context of location-based games even beyond Pokémon GO. We show the feasibility of our approach regarding real-time calculation allowing players to quickly modify or adapt their route when deviating from the planned route.

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