We are interested in reconstructing real world locations as detailed 3D models, but to achieve this goal, we require a large quantity of photographic data. We designed a game to employ the efforts and digital cameras of everyday people to not only collect this data, but to do so in a fun and effective way. The result is PhotoCity, a game played outdoors with a camera, in which players take photos to capture flags and take over virtual models of real buildings. The game falls into the genres of both games with a purpose (GWAPs) and alternate reality games (ARGs). Each type of game comes with its own inherent challenges, but as a hybrid of both, PhotoCity presented us with a unique combination of obstacles. This paper describes the design decisions made to address these obstacles, and seeks to answer the question: Can games be used to achieve massive data-acquisition tasks when played in the real world, away from standard game consoles? We conclude with a report on player experiences and showcase some 3D reconstructions built by players during gameplay.
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