Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 45–58 | Cite as

Design for emergence: experiments with a mixed reality urban playground game

  • Yanna Vogiazou
  • Bas RaijmakersEmail author
  • Erik Geelhoed
  • Josephine Reid
  • Marc Eisenstadt
Original Article


In this paper we present our work in the design of ubiquitous social experiences, aiming to foster group participation and spontaneous playful behaviours in a city environment. We outline our approach of design for emergence: to provide just enough of a game context and challenge for people to be creative, to extend and enrich the experience of play through their interaction in the real world. CitiTag is our mixed reality testbed, a wireless location-based multiplayer game based on the concept of playground ‘tag’. We describe the design and implementation of CitiTag and discuss results from two user studies.


Social computing Wireless location based games Mixed reality Emergence Group behaviour 



CitiTag has been developed jointly by The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMI) and the Mobile Bristol team at HP Labs Bristol. The authors would like to thank the following people for their significant input to the implementation of CitiTag and their assistance with the user trials: Kevin Quick and Jon Linney (KMi), who programmed the multiplayer networking capabilities, Richard Hull (HP Labs), Ben Clayton, Tom Melamed (University of Bristol), Paul Marsh who provided the Mobile Bristol GPS location-based support for the game, Peter Scott (KMi) for overall supervision and support for the project, Lewis McCann (KMi), Stuart Martin and John Honniball (University of Bristol) who provided technical support during the trial and all our participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanna Vogiazou
    • 1
    • 4
  • Bas Raijmakers
    • 2
    Email author
  • Erik Geelhoed
    • 3
  • Josephine Reid
    • 3
  • Marc Eisenstadt
    • 1
  1. 1.Knowledge Media InstituteThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  2. 2.Interaction Design DepartmentRoyal College of ArtLondonUK
  3. 3.Hewlett-Packard LaboratoriesBristolUK
  4. 4.Design Department, Goldsmiths CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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