Chase the Ace is a location based card game. Where players move around within a defined game area chasing player cards that are moving around inside this game area. Whenever a player gets into a certain proximity to a playing card. He can capture the card by pressing a button in the game application. Each player has to capture all four suits to get to the level. Where they’ll be able to chase the ace. When a player captures the ace. He has got some time before other players can take the card from him if they get close enough. The winner of the game is the player who holds the ace at a defined time.
The Game Play
We worked with key stakeholders to agree upon game rules. As these need to be utilise using tech and based on a technical feasibility we agreed on the following.
- Every X minutes, the location of the Ace of Spades will be broadcasted via the app, microsite/rss + twitter + FB page. To give players a clue of where it is.
- If you pick up/take the Ace from another player, it disappears from the map for everyone else for X seconds to give you a chance to getaway
- If you leave the area or lose GPS the Ace starts moving on its own but also disappears for 3 minutes.
- In order to compete for the prizes you need to download the app for your phone.
- When you get closer than 50 m you activate a “Capture Card” button in the app and you can take the virtual card for your iPhone. (You cannot take card when your iPhone is uncover or the GPS light is red. Hint: you have the best coverage outside.)
- All the others who have the app can take the virtual Ace from you if they get closer than 50 m. Only one player can have the Ace at the same time.
- The ring around yourself shows your GPS accuracy, not necessarily 50 m.
- The Ace can only be between the border on the game map. You drop off the Ace at the border. The Ace can then be taken by anyone.
- If your iPhone turns off, lose coverage or have too weak GPS signal (red light) the Ace carries on its own where you last had coverage. You have three minutes to regain coverage before you automatically lose the Ace. But the whole time the Ace can be taken by anyone.
- If someone takes the Ace away from you, you can take the Ace back from the person only after a minute.
- The position shown by the iPhone’s GPS is counted as your position in the game.
How did we do it
Pen and Paper.
It started with the very basic idea pitched by the key stake holders. and then it took multiple iterations for us to get to this state. where we agreed what is the MVP and what all are essentially required for a end to end game play.
Even though the core game play was on mobile , there was need for a completely capable backend control panel for the “guys in the the chair”
The admin panel implemented had following capabilities
- Create an manage of different games on different locations.
- Visualisation of current game play
- Moderation based on fraud flagging and abuse reports.
- Prize Distribution after verifying Claims.
As the client had strict timelines to meet with a big launch event on Paris. We worked with key stake holders to implement the game logic and backend and the iOS application, All of this was completed in less than a month.
As there was price money involved and different personas had to interact with the system a strong security layer was implemented making use of Role Based Access Control. Clear differentiation was provided for public and private API’s
The game had to be launched in Paris , application need to have support for both English and French. we made use of the built in internationalisation support by providing language configurations .
For a game of this nature, the target audience and request scaling pattern is very different. As there are lot of realtime interactions and , we made use of Im memory database and Redis for handling requests at scale and providing realtime updates to 1000s of devices for a single game. The system was architected in a horizontally scalable fashion so even an exponential growth could be addressed. We made use of AWS autoscaling for handing different scaling use cases.
Rooted android devices introduced new challenges as players could fake their locations and gain an unfair advantage on the gameplay. We introduced intelligent algorithms to detect abnormal activity and patterns to identify fraud and based on a fraud score the system would kick user out or flagged to moderator actions.
The end result
After making 1000s of players run around Paris for a two weeks we finally had our winner. More than 1000 people participated on the final day and even there was intervention from police for crowd management (oops !!) . The winner along with 4 friends was given a trip to Vegas and 10K to to do what happens in vegas ;).
Co-Founder , Ceegees Software Solutions Pvt Ltd.
Problem Solver, Engineer