Gbanga Adds Location Awareness to Your Games

Allen Tipper
May. 12 2011, 04:56PM EDT

At the The Next Web Hackathon in Amsterdam, developers played with a lot of new APIs. One that caught our attention is the Gbanga Puppetmaster API. Gbanga is a location-aware gaming platform, intended for use with games where walking around within the real world matter. It's released one game, Gbanga Famiglia, a mobile phone-based app using a theme of mafia families taking over areas and finding loot. Much more exciting, however, is its API, which allows for quests within Famiglia, and other, separate location-based games.

Gbanga explains its approach:

We hated the fact that games are contraint by the ideas and preferences of the game designers. It's why we want Gbanga the first game that is truely open and flexible. It's designed for MODs, for user contributions.

We have created two tools: the Gbanga Puppetmaster API which gives all the power to the extending developer (you can even reward points!) and the Quest Development Kit (QDK), a collection of useful commands that help you creating location-based quests in Lua and Java.

TheNextWeb covered Gbanga's API launch:

Gbanga is based around ‘gamifying’ your surroundings. As you walk around in real life, you’ll be presented with nearby challenges such as finding and collecting special items or competing with others for virtual ‘territory’. As you play, you can earn points to move up the leaderboard, with occasional ‘real’ sponsored prizes on offer too.

The API is RESTful, and has a Javascript library available here. Accessing their API directly is unnecessary for users of their Quest Development Kit, however, which is a Java-based library to interface with Gbanga, including an interpreter for Lua scripts, which is the API's preferred method of interaction. Overall, the QDK is surprisingly robust, allowing for full access to Gbanga Famiglia, as well as full access to write your own game using the location-based concepts and scripting in Lua.

This is far beyond a simple interface to one company's game. Properly done, a developer could make entirely new Android-based location-aware games extremely easily and quickly using the full API and QDK. Gbanga cleverly communicates its platform approach in the hand-drawn graphic above, or you can dig into its wiki for more details.

Allen Tipper Allen Tipper is a Computer Science generalist with a wide range of interests. After graduating in 2008, he's been programming for and specializing in mobile devices, as well as social media websites. As a programmer, APIs are rather important to him, as he finds using them in his software amazingly fun.

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[...] The methods allow you to create places, connect notes to places, and create message triggers, allowing your application to send messages to users who fit the given parameters. This could be really amazing for mobile advertising, such as giving a user within the area offers from local businesses. It could also be used to make alternate reality games along the lines of Gbanga, which we covered previously. [...]