About this project
Run An Empire is a game where players compete to capture and maintain control of as much of their local territory as possible. To capture somewhere you have to run (or jog, or walk) around it.
The game uses your neighbourhood as an arena for play.
It is a *deep breath*... persistent, massively-multiplayer, alternate-reality semi-turn-based strategy running game.
EDIT (7/4/14): We've been funded! Thank you, you marvellous people you.
EDIT (7/4/14): We plan to build Run An Empire for iOS and Android devices – making it available in their respective stores.
It might be that Android beta will take a bit longer to get out, because of the software/ hardware varieties. We’ll definitely be building for 4.1 (Jellybean) upwards - earlier versions are less certain at this stage.
To play, you just turn on the app. The game uses your phone’s GPS to record the path you take.
To capture a territory you simply run, or walk, around it.
Everybody plays using the same map, which means nearby players can capture land from you – all they have to do is run round your most vulnerable turf.
To avoid this you can reinforce your territories by running around them multiple times. The more times you run around an area, the more secure you can make it against invasion.
Being successful requires a balance of maintaining the security of your own space and skirmishing within the territory of other players. But be careful – if you attempt to capture someone’s land then be prepared to face them as a rival.
We’re making Run An Empire because it’s the kind of game we’d like to play ourselves. We want something that requires the same tactical planning as the digital and tabletop games we already enjoy, but rooted in the real world where presence and physical actions make a difference. The game is designed for anyone else who might also enjoy a new way of playing strategy.
Run An Empire will be playable internationally and accessible to people across a range of fitness levels. It certainly won’t be exclusive to gifted athletes. The play system will encourage running for folk who are able, but you can also take part by walking or jogging. Ultimately we’ll fine-tune the mechanic until it’s balanced towards dedicated and opportunistic players – not necessarily those with natural ability.
The competitive features of the game will really come into their own in towns and cities, but you won't need to live in a busy place to play – we’ll make sure you can see how you’re doing versus friends and share your progress online. What’s more, control over territory will erode over time, so it will remain a challenge to keep hold of a formidable kingdom even if nobody else is playing for miles around. We think this feature will also keep the game accessible to late-joiners.
A Customisable Coats of Arms
The size of empires will constantly fluctuate so we want to show someone's historic success as well as their current status. We'll have a system where every square kilometre of land owned produces a fixed amount of points, or credits per day (For example, 10 credits per 1km²).
To communicate to the world your prestigious career (and represent yourself in the field) you will be able to spend these credits on personalising and upgrading every element of your own coat of arms.
Additionally, some components of the coat of arms will be unlocked by achieving certain goals - e.g. capturing a large quantity of land, or holding an area for a certain length of time.
We're offering unique 'supporters' (the creatures holding up the shield) as a reward for backers - see the rewards column for details.
Run An Empire is not what we'd call a gamified health app. It’s more like a strategy game blended with a sport - requiring both cunning and action. The primary objective is to beat other people at building and controlling the most successful empire.
However, we know that Run An Empire has the potential to encourage regular exercise and we're excited that the game can also be used this way - we'll make sure to provide health metrics alongside the game's strategic data and we'll include integration for existing health and running platforms' APIs.
Existing Alternate Reality Games (ARG's) and the Running Game Community
There are relatively nascent communities for both strategy AR and running games - notable examples include Shadow Cities, Ingress, Zombies Run! and Nike Grid. We love all these games. What's more, they have given us the confidence that other people also want to play quickly and strategically on their feet.
We think that Run An Empire can make a valuable contribution to both of these communities with a unique, uncluttered and accessible play mechanic.
Will Run An Empire include in-app purchases?
If included they would only orientate around avataristic personalisation/ customisation elements. Once launched, the game will *never* offer players a paid-for advantage over opponents – the only way to build a successful empire will be through commitment and planning.
BETA INVITE: (£6 ~ $10) receive beta access to the game - including the opportunity to take part in play tests and give feedback on development. Your name will be immortalised on our site and in the game's credits.
SUPPORTERS' SUPPORTERS: (£12-20 ~ $20-$33) beta invite, plus a pair of otherwise unavailable Kickstarter supporters (the animals holding up the shield) for your empire's coat of arms - choose from *DRAGONS*, *UNICORNS* or one of each.
POSTER: (£35 ~ $58 + shipping): get a swish limited edition A2 Run An Empire poster (featuring besneakered historical leaders) to go with your beta invite and choice of supporters.
T-SHIRT & POSTER: (£50 ~ $83 + shipping) Get a lovely good quality T-shirt screen-printed with the Run An Empire logo, along with your poster. We'll print on demand so can offer various sizes, a couple of colour options & ladies-fit. Also includes choice of supporters & beta access.
TROPHY NAMING PRIVILEGES: (£150 ~ $249) beta invite, poster choice of dragons or unicorns, *and* we'll set up a Skype chat - you can help us come up with a name for an unlockable trophy. (EDIT: we'll throw in a t-shirt too).
EASTER EGG PRIVILEGES: (£300 ~ $499) beta invite, poster, T-shirt, choice of dragons or unicorns, *and* we'll set up a Skype chat - you can help us come up with some hidden content for the game.
POSH LUNCH IN LONDON: (£1000 ~ $1664) Meet the team at the studio, then Ben and Sam will take you somewhere nice for some fancy grub. Plus Easter egg and trophy privileges, T-shirt & poster etc. (Backers will need to get to London themselves)
SPLASH SCREEN EXECUTIVE CREDITS: (£3000 ~ $4991) we’ll place your name (and optionally your personal Twitter handle) on the game’s loading screen – thanking you for your support and crediting you as an Executive Producer.
BE THE BOSS OF PAN STUDIO FOR THE DAY: (£5000 ~ $8318) From 09:00 am til 18:00 pm GMT the studio will be yours. Work with us remotely or take a desk. This might be an opportunity for us to work on a creative idea for you, or... you could have us perform Broadway numbers. It’s up to you. Also includes an Executive Producer splash credit.
We're PAN - founded by Ben Barker and Sam Hill; a studio of designers, play-makers and developers based in Shoreditch, London. We design games, new kinds of experiences, and other playful systems across digital and physical environments.
We have created game-like, location-based mechanics before – last summer we were awarded the commission to build Hello Lamp Post for the Playable City Award (which has since been nominated for this year’s Design of the Year at London Design Museum). Hello Lamp Post is a city-wide experience that allowed people in Bristol, UK, to share stories and observations with each other via intermediary street furniture (benches, bus stops, letterboxes and parking meters etc).
We built a rudimentary proof of concept to find out how the mechanic feels to play, we've done some tabletop and street-level testing and we have been investigating scalability to be sure that the game can work on a global level.
Now we need to invest time into building the full game, with a robust underlying infrastructure, a frictionless, intuitive user-interface and most importantly a finessed and well-tested play-experience.
In the spirit of many other Indie game projects, we want to bring willing backers on board as soon as possible as beta testers, to help play-test, offer feedback and improve the game as it develops.
Thanks for reading! If this sounds like the kind of game you'd like to play then please peruse our rewards to see if any of them suit you.
Risks and challenges
We are developing a game platform that places all of its players in the same map, or instance. As player numbers increase, such a system could potentially scale into a fairly intensive demand on server resources.
We need to ensure that the app is built with future efficiency in mind, so we can remain sustainable and also minimise disruption, as and when it becomes necessary to adjust for increased traffic.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
There are two ways we can minimise cheating/ denial of service by people using bikes, cars etc:
- the first is by monitoring player speed. Any players that appear to be travelling at unrealistic speeds will be flagged for consideration.
-The second is by using the phone's accelerometer as a pedometer - so player movement with an unrealistic gait can also be flagged and investigated.
Run An Empire will work internationally - not just in the UK.
We have a few keen cyclists in the studio - the idea of "Ride An Empire" is really interesting. If Run An Empire is positively received then we will definitely consider a bike-orientated spin off.
So many people have asked along these lines that we think it warrants investigating as a feature.
We will test some variations on an "alliance" feature with the beta groups and see if it makes the game more (or less) fun to play. We'll be able to see from there if it'd work as a game feature.
Heh... It's supposed to be a play on "curo", Latin for run (as in manage) and "curro", Latin for run (as in sprinting). Though if any Latin-fluent folk can offer a more accurate translation...
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