Google Maps Platform
New features for contextualized gameplay and new games built with Google Maps
To date, ten mobile games built with Google Maps Platform are live with 9 million daily active users worldwide playing them during the month of November alone. Today we’re announcing new features to help create more immersive and engaging gameplay experiences and giving you a rundown of the most recent games built with Google Maps Platform.
Three new features to enhance location context
Players want to play location-based games in a variety of locations from landmarks to popular places, or social gathering spaces. So, we’ve added a ranking signal that allows you to improve the rank of playable locations associated with venues that people find artistically interesting, like museums, gardens, and art galleries.
Another addition, Playable Territories, allows you to divide the real-world into a virtual ‘game board’. This feature divides the world into regions, with boundaries that align with natural features, like rivers, and roads. Then, it’s up to you how to use them. Players can compete for control over them, or you can populate territories with different kinds of monsters, based on the terrain.
We’ve also added features that allow you to direct players to locations that are generally busier (or less busy) than others, based on desired gameplay. For example, if you prefer a busy location, playable locations might be transit stops or shopping malls, while a less busy location might be a park or a quiet neighborhood street.
Zoom controls for greater visual context
The new Mixed Zoom feature renders a high level of detail for areas close to a player, while areas further away display progressively lower levels of detail. Rendering vector tiles at distance-dependent zoom levels, with a horizon in the far distance, helps you generate maps that span thousands of meters or more, while using considerably less processing—translating to a better in-game experience for players. You can also create game worlds that not only occupy a bird’s eye view, but that zoom out to much larger areas.
We're excited to see the new types of gameplay you’ll create with these new features. For inspiration or just to get out and play, here’s a look at the most recent releases built with Google Maps Platform.
Dragon Quest Walk
In Dragon Quest Walk, the latest role-playing game for mobile from Square Enix in Japan, the player physically walks to locations in real life and uses their phone to play the game. Once the player creates their own character in Dragon Quest Walk, they complete quests and fight monsters, similar to the traditional Dragon Quest series. Players can define the quests based on their daily routine in the real world—like commuting to work or running errands. Dragon Quest Walk was downloaded over ten million times during the first two months of release. Dragon Quest has been an incredibly popular franchise in Japan since it was first published in 1986 by Square Enix. As of 2019, the Dragon Quest series had sold over 78 million copies, combined, worldwide.
Men In Black Global Invasion
Ludare Games Group, in partnership with Columbia Pictures, launched Men in Black: Global Invasion in August, 2019. Players are recruited by the MIB to become the special Agents, stepping into the iconic black suits and sunglasses with a mission to protect the planet from intergalactic threats. They navigate a real-world map to find rogue aliens and battle them in AR combat using MIB weaponry, including classics like the Noisy Cricket. With their growing collection of aliens, Agents then fight in team battles against wave after wave of extraterrestrial enemies.
Wingspan and Gorillas
Wingspan is the first of two location-based AR games available from San Francisco-based app developer Krikey. It’s a real-world game inspired by Stonemaier Games’ award-winning, best-selling board game. Players play ornithologists, or bird scientists, tasked with collecting and protecting beautiful hand-animated birds through mobile-based AR. Players can also share their AR videos on social channels. Wingspan is sponsored by The National Audubon Society, a 114-year-old nonprofit focused on protecting birds and the environment. Krikey also launched the location-based Gorillas in partnership with The Ellen Degeneres Wildlife Fund in October—not everyone can travel to Rwanda, but with the app everyone can go on an AR gorilla trek.