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Barcode Scanning in Mobile Games: How do you take it beyond random battles?


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#1 willmer   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 01:52 PM

Do you remember those barcoding games from the 90's that let you scan soup barcodes to reveal monsters to fight?  The idea was so awesome but the technology didn't let you do much.

 

There are a few examples of mobile games that use this functionality and I'd like to discuss how this can be implemented into a mobile game that is fun and not just gimmicky.  Examples include Codemon (Android) and Barcode Beasties (android) where the monsters you fight (other than against other players in multiplayer) are found within the codes, but that's about as far as it goes.

 

I've been talking with some friends and we came up with a couple ideas.

1. Obviously let the barcodes contain monsters to fight.

2. Include chances to find items or powerup instead of monsters. 

3. Limit the number of barcode scans using an energy mechanic (ie takes 20 energy for one scan, player has 200 energy per day).

 

So far, the barcode mechanic seems to be only another way of wading into the tall grass (pokemon) to find random encounters. 

What other ways could barcoding be used to go further than this?

 

 



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#2 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7214

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 02:15 PM

I haven't played it, but Skylanders immediately comes to mind. Worth looking into, I would think.



#3 Tenebrae   Members   -  Reputation: 396

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 03:57 PM

Do you remember those barcoding games from the 90's that let you scan soup barcodes to reveal monsters to fight?  The idea was so awesome but the technology didn't let you do much.

 

There are a few examples of mobile games that use this functionality and I'd like to discuss how this can be implemented into a mobile game that is fun and not just gimmicky.  Examples include Codemon (Android) and Barcode Beasties (android) where the monsters you fight (other than against other players in multiplayer) are found within the codes, but that's about as far as it goes.

 

I've been talking with some friends and we came up with a couple ideas.

1. Obviously let the barcodes contain monsters to fight.

2. Include chances to find items or powerup instead of monsters. 

3. Limit the number of barcode scans using an energy mechanic (ie takes 20 energy for one scan, player has 200 energy per day).

 

So far, the barcode mechanic seems to be only another way of wading into the tall grass (pokemon) to find random encounters. 

What other ways could barcoding be used to go further than this?

 

Consumer Gods. Create your own god based on what you eat, or rather, what you would spend on. Each barcode would add some meat or skeleton or flesh to the character, so that if you scan the barcode off of an instant noodle cup, you would get the super power of spearing enemies with ramen. Or if you eat a lot of meat, you would create someone with higher physical poweress.

 

That would be the first step. When you create the player base with that, then start off a game where you can battle your friends with your creations. And each battle would mean that the winner would take a barcode ingredient from the losing player or players. Have a ranking system where you can find the super consumers, who would set the rules for the matches below them. Have a website dedicated to the hall of fame, where you would see how long a person kept first place for. Sign off deals with different companies, so that if the player scans their items in particular, they would get special buffs.

 

Okay, so I went off on a different tangent there, but you can recreate a whole new game with just barcodes. And somehow, that would be pretty awesome. (Goes back to work, kicking that rusty bucket of a game).


Let me create worlds, and I'll let you imagine they are realities.

#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18726

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:29 AM

Just spit-balling here, a couple of thoughts that may or may not lead to interesting game-play possibilities:

 

We now have QR codes as well, and they are starting to appear frequently enough to possibly be of use as an alternative or additional resource.

 

Modern smart-phone screens are now capable of displaying a bar-code or QR code in good enough quality to be read by a scanner.  This opens up the possibility of trading between players in person by having one display a bar-code on screen and the other scan it -- perhaps a little awkward compared to simply using network or Bluetooth connections, but it would have some novelty value.  Perhaps you could breed creatures to create new hybrid bar-codes.  There might be some difference between "wild" bar-codes and ones that have been bred.

 

You could also throw locational information into the mix -- perhaps bar-codes from a specific product would result in a certain monster (or item, whatever), but the region in which the item was scanned would alter stats or produce different sub-types of creature.  This could be especially interesting if trading mechanics of some sort are included, as a player who has never been to a certain location might be very interested to get a special breed of monster that can only be found there.

 

Perhaps other types of content -- writing, numbers, images, etc. -- could be scanned as well?  This is probably a whole other area!



#5 willmer   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 09:22 AM

Since I'm newer at programming in general, I think that making the barcodes more specific would be a daunting task such Tenebrae suggested.  My thought for now was to just stick with the standard numeric barcodes and use those as a pseudo random number generator. 

 

For example, when you scan a barcode ( 1234568), I would have a formula (%50 ?) that gets all numeric codes down to a smaller set of numbers (1-50).  1 would correspond to the skeleton family of monsters and that would be the set of monsters that could be found for those barcodes.  2 could be elementals, 3 dragons, etc.

 

I was thinking of limiting the number of scans per day (IAP for more scans) so they don't go and scan everything imaginable on the first day but allow them to fight any monsters they have defeated before in a random battle generator in case they want to grind.



#6 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4936

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 11:47 AM

It would be fun if players could print of barcodes which would challenge others to duel one of the player's monsters, then stick these barcodes up around town.  Free advertising for the game?  Scanning the barcode would direct people who didn't have the app to an informational page about the game.


Edited by sunandshadow, 09 August 2013 - 11:47 AM.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#7 willmer   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:11 PM

SunandShadow, that's an awesome idea although I'd have to figure out my multiplayer system first.

 

Maybe I could use the barcoding as a way to invite others before hand.  A player can send out their barcode to friends who will scan it and that player will receive a bonus for referring people.  More work than simply email but could be really cool.






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