Object Get requires minimal props and set-up, only two staff people, and almost no intervention once the game has begun. But it does require some set up beforehand, which will be explained on this page. Some knowledge of Processing will be helpful.
Object Get is best played in an area with streets roughly in a grid, approximately three intersections by three intersections large. See the example maps from Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to get an idea of how large a space you should be aiming for. If you’re not sure how many players you’ll have, it can be helpful too pick out two play areas, a small one for 4 – 12 players and a larger one for 12 – 24 players. See the Los Angeles map for an example of this – the solid line is the small play area and you would add area in the dotted line for a larger play area. Try to avoid spaces with areas cut off from others or where there are large barriers interfering with player movement, like a busy street or highway cutting through your play area. Ideally players should be able to circulate freely through the entire area, without bottlenecks. Areas with a diversity of kinds of spaces (i.e. office buildings, pavilions, parks, parking lots, etc), plenty of alleyways, and that aren’t too crowded are ideal.
Once you have selected an area, use Open Street Map’s export function too get the xml data of all of the streets in and around your play area. Use the intersection finder program included with the Object Get code (see below) to extract the intersections and load them onto a google map to make sure there are no extra points that need to be removed or intersections not included. You will also need to find the GPS points for the boundaries of your play area – I would recommend using google earth for this. You will need all this information when you alter the game’s android application – see the props section for details.
Object Get requires an Android phone, a case or container for the phone to serve as the Object, badges, and a map/rule sheets for each player. Any model of Android phone can be used for Object Get as long as it can send and receive text messages and it has GPS. The phone will need to be loaded with an app that will run the game but first the app must be altered to fit your location.
First, download Processing from this page and follow the instructions on this page to get it working with Android. Download the Object Get application’s code from Github, open it up in Process, and make the needed changes. The intersection coordinates go in the array landmarks, first latitude then longitude. They can go in any order. Put the names of each intersection in the array landmarkNames, in the same order as the intersections coordinates i.e. the first set of coordinates should also be the first name in landmark names, etc. If you have multiple players, as discussed above, the put the coordinates in larger one in largeArea and the smaller one in smallArea. If you have only one play area, set largeArea equal to smallArea. Pick a location where you want people to gather at the end of the game and write it’s name in the string endLocation. You can also make the longer or shorter game by adjusting gameLength or have the phone send out more or less updates by adjusting updateFrequency. The code on github is set to be played in New York and you can use that to get an idea of how it should be formatted. Once you’re finished, click “Run on Device” to upload it to your phone. This will create an “ObjectGet” application on your phone – simply tap on that at the start of your game.
You will also need to create a twitter account to send updates to the player. Simply create a twitter account as usual and use the android phone you will be using as it’s mobile number. Update the rule sheet with the name of your twitter account. You may also use @ObjectGet if you wish – just send me an e-mail and ask.
Badges are made with colored card stock and safety pins. Print out the designs included below, each one on paper the color of the document. Cut out each badge, punch holes in the circles at the top of the badge, and put a safety pin through the holes. Each sheet contains 10 badges. Player hand outs should show the map of the play area, with the boundaries, and a reminder too of what to text in order to receive the Object’s updates. It is also a good idea to put the game runner’s phone number on the hand outs in case of trouble.
The Object can be anything as long as it is capable of holding the phone and can withstand rough treatment. Players will be running with the Object and it may be dropped, thrown, or rained on during play and it’s important that the phone inside does not fall out. I would recommend making your Object have some kind of door too protect the screen of the phone from the elements. I would also recommend making your object clearly not a normal item, be labeled as the Object somewhere, and have an explanation of the game, your name and phone number, and the event that you’re part of printed somewhere on it. The more flamboyant and unusual your object is, the better. Using an everday item as your Object runs the risk of making your players look like thieves and the police getting involved. You can see pictures of the Object used in New York here and the one used in Los Angeles here.
Obtain the Briefcase requires two staff people at the start of the game and none once play begins. The first person will distribute badges and maps, make sure that the teams are as evenly distributed as possible, explain the rules, release the players once the rules have been explained, and contact the second staff person to let them know when to begin the game and which play area to use.
The other staff person holds the briefcase at the start of the game. The briefcase should ideally start somewhere in the middle of the play area, at a location with many possible escape routes. The second volunteer should be in the field before the players arrive, so the players do not see the briefcase or the staff person. They should bring with them a badge if they wish to also play. Once they get the call from the first staff person, they should press the black button the starting screen to active the game. If there are multiple play areas, they will be in charge of selected in the correct button. They should wait until a player comes by too take the briefcase from them and once the player is out of site with the briefcase, they can put on a badge and join the game as a regular player.
If you have any questions about running Object Get, feel free to send me an e-mail! I would love to hear about how it went.