A Birmingham media production agency has launched a game to make Londoners’ daily commute more fun.
Mudlark’s Chromaroma, which has been launched in beta version, uses real-world infrastructure like the Oyster network and Barclays Cycle Hire keys to turn the journey to work in the capital into a game.
Chromaroma was created with investment from Channel 4 and Screen WM, although the figure was not disclosed as it was deemed commercially sensitive.
Players can use the tube, train, trams, buses or a Barclays bike to play missions, “capture” stations, gain achievements and collect items.
The online experience centres around a 3D interactive visualisation of a player’s journeys on the Tube Map.
Commuters can see themselves moving around the city on the map, and their journey history can be shared and adapted.
Players can join a team to “capture” stations in a bid to “own” London, and will soon be able to set up smaller groups called clubs to set their own challenges.
Gameplay is geared towards the physical, encouraging better physical health as well as highlighting better times or smarter ways to travel.
Mudlark chief executive Toby Barnes said: “The commute can often be an unpleasant experience.
“It’s synonymous with monotony. The transport network which we use to commute is taken for granted, yet the fact it exists and takes us places is quite brilliant.
“Chromaroma brings a sense of magic to travel, engaging the commuter’s imagination, filling inner-city travel with a sense of play that goes beyond just checking into the journeys you take and the people you take them with.”
Chromaroma has now entered its beta phase of development and is open for members of the public to sign up and start playing.
Mr Barnes added that he would love to bring Chromaroma to Birmingham.
“We’re already discussing the possibility of working with Centro, the West Midlands’ integrated transport authority, to create an integrated smart card which will allow players to play Chromaroma across the bus network initially and then across all forms of public transport in the region.”
Mudlark has worked closely with the Oyster network to harness data about players’ commuting patterns, which has led to the creation of interactive 3D animations, visualisations, and maps.
The Chromaroma project follows Mudlark’s work with open data for NESTA’s Make it Local campaign – a web tool which will provide an online “heat map” of requests raised by residents in Birmingham that will enable local councils to interact with the live data and answer questions through discussion forums.
Mr Barnes said: “By working with large organisations with access to an abundance of data, we now have the opportunity to explore the practical use of linked data to make imaginative, interesting and interactive projects that can benefit us all; from making our local councils more accessible to educating travellers on better times or ways to travel.”