I think that OpenStreetMap could be a really good resource for Free Software developers who would like to create Augmented Reality games, in the vein of “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” [defunct] or Pokémon Go.
However I can think of at least three hurdles to that, two small and one much bigger.
First, it might be convenient to have a tag which marks a particular map point as being “in” an augmented reality game without necessarily being exactly where the game portal is and copying any coordinates, portal names, etc from the game. That is to say, all you would add to the map point is some kind of Wikidata identifier representing “Pokémon Go”/“Wizards Unite”/etc, hinting that “if you opened the game near this point you might find something here”.
For my game, I would not be very particular about knowing what kind of portal the point is in other games. I would personally look at this tag as simply a way to create game guides, using some kind of independent “clean-room” algorithm to predict what kind of portal “might” appear there. My game would have its own algorithm for choosing portal types anyway, so I wouldn’t have to care about these other algorithms. But it would still be nice to be able to look up a coarse map of what points are portals in other games, or perhaps attach some kind of small significance to the point being in any other game period.
There are two issues that arise with this tag:
A) does it actually belong on openstreetmap? should it be on some other optional overlay of some kind? where would such an overlay be stored?
B) would mappers get in trouble essentially for talking about and making guides about portals in corporate games because the guide somehow violates copyright?
(You now see why I want to make a new Free Software game.)
In theory one could sidestep B by only using the “in a game” tag for Free Software games and only creating a whole new set of portals. (Though I feel like the tag would become pointless when games like mine would simply calculate things by running OSM data through deterministic algorithms anybody could reproduce — if there are two fish statues and you want to know if one or both is a portal in zensekai, you would just run zensekai’s algorithm.)
However, A will still be a problem if there are any other things we want to annotate points with which are uniquely relevant to AR games yet also relevant to all of them, like perhaps access hours for when the point should be a portal and when it shouldn’t. (Really, the standard “access” tags are probably good enough for that, but I was thinking back to what columns I tended to put in my own lists of local portals)
There is a certain point where it feels like this information might not quite belong on OpenStreetMap because it isn’t really “on the ground”, however there still might be a lot of people who would like to use it.
Second, I think that to drive interest in Free Software map games there needs to be some kind of portal submission form to encourage people to create new portals but to submit them to Liberated games instead of corporate ones where they can’t be reused for any old game that comes along.
This is not something that would necessarily be hard to code, as it would simply show a map and submit an edit to OpenStreetMap editing or adding some kind of point.
The only real issue with this would be the other two issues in this post, and any other issues with getting an open AR database off the ground in the first place.
Third, images. This is the really big problem.
Players of existing AR games are totally accustomed to any point being able to have images on it, and even being able to upload new images. But OpenStreetMap doesn’t really have an official repository of images. Wikimedia commons exists for particular objects and “notable” things (?), and KartaView exists. But if one were creating a “portal submission form” like above, it’s unclear where it should automatically direct someone to submit an image. Should somebody select from a handful of possible categories based on the object’s name and OSM attributes and find out there’s a Wikimedia commons category it can be submitted in? Should they be directed to KartaView because it seems like the de facto best option? Is image uploading on KartaView even functional?
It really seems like if KartaView is functional one should simply be able to connect a KartaView account to OpenStreetMap and if the image has processed and shown up, select the image from some kind of KartaView “camera roll” and send an edit to attach it to OpenStreetMap. But I have never actually used KartaView so I don’t know what features it has.
These are simply a few thoughts I’ve had personally on what might be missing.
What do you think needs to be done to make it viable to create a portal submission form for Free Software AR games, which is “no nonsense” and doesn’t confuse newcomers? And what do you think is the most practical way to bridge any gaps that currently exist to make that thing happen?