Where are we?
As the Explore level expands and multiple routes become available, the user getting lost becomes a real possibility, much as is the case in real life. The labels on the Peaks, Rivers, Buildings etc.. help with orientation but nonetheless it can be challenging to work out exact location. Thus it was suggested to us that it would be a good idea to provide a location read out similar to that of a GPS.
Our model is built in a traditional cartesian (x, y, z) coordinate system and these coordinates don’t really have a meaning geographically. However we do know the position of the model in terms of Latitude and Longitude and thus it is fairly simple to create a simple transformation to convert the cartesian coordinates of the player to Latitude, Longitude and Elevation.
We have displayed this to the right of the Compass as shown below, although this information could be presented in any format. One idea would be to have a GPS like display for added realism.
Location and Elevation Display in Top Right Corner of window
The challenge of navigating around the model has prompted thoughts of additional features. Firstly we could add navigational hints that pop up at path intersections. This would help navigate the model and also help prepare the user to do the walk in real life. The second idea would be a navigational challenge mode where the hints, labels and location display could be disabled leaving the user with just the compass and their paper map to navigate. The application could even set navigational challenges to walk to a specific point awarding a score based on distance travelled and time taken.
The fact that we have a digital terrain model based on Games Engine technology really raises some interesting possibilities. Weather variations could also be thrown into the mix, but more on that in a future post.