Frequency 1550 – cross-media gaming into medieval times

Frequency 1550 is a multi-user city game using mobile phones and GPS-technology. The game provides a real-time, location-based experience, transporting players into medieval Amsterdam of 1550 via today’s most advanced personal medium: a UMTS mobile phone. It is the one of the most exciting projects I ever worked on!F ind more info in an article in the Computable magazine (Dutch).


There is a project presentation in streaming video on . There are also slides of presentations . I gave at the Dutch Java User Group (NLJUG) and at the Society for Old and New Media (KillerClub) .

The project even hit the national news ! Click on anchor-man Gijs to watch the Flash video.

The game evolves around players being personages in an adventure where they help the “schout” (medieval police) who will contact them by video when entering zones or reaching (GPS) locations. Players will try to solve assignments given by the “schout” on the street or through one of their
team members on the home base, HQ, (behind a Flash-based interface). Assignments are solved by making media (photo’s, videos) at the spot
and submitting these. The HQ may consult internet for additional media and textual answers. Thus together, teams provide multi-media
content, resulting in a media-collage at the end. Additional game elements include, GPS-based boobytrapping, confrontations and cloaking.

My task in this project was development of the server-side gaming engine, media management and location tracking. Yes, the server was done in Java using the KeyWorx platform. Client software was done using the Java 2 Mobile Edition (J2ME) for the phones and Macromedia Flash for the HQ.

I am grateful to have been part of the team at Waag Society who has initiated and developed this mobile learning game together with IVKO, part of the Montessori comprehensive school in Amsterdam. The project was supported by KPN who supplied mobile phones and access to their UMTS network. A pilot has just been conducted in 2005 from 7 to 9 February.