8 Great Google Earth Gamification Mods
Since the release of the Google Earth plug-in in 2008, developers have created lots of games and mods based on the map service. Many of those are really funny, mainly because you can choose the battle arena, Football stadium or racetrack to be your own backyard, school or street. Also there is a lot of learning potential in these mods. I hope teachers will embrace this opportunity to use game-based learning in subs like geography, social science and math.
It’s about time, someone assembles the best Google Earth gamification mods in one place!
Have you ever dreamed of a GTA-alike game that took place in your town? Geoquake 3D driving simulator is the closest you get. You can choose your startposition and drive around the buildings in 3D. Driving the car feels surprisingly natural – you can even make wheel spin and drift. If you want a great gaming experience, drive slowly…not for safety reasons, but for the game to load the map! It’s not funny to drive around cardboard boxes. Btw, I can recommend a trip to the Opera house in Sidney. Its worth the spin!
You can also try out the Geoquake 2D driving simulator. Its a lot like GTA2.
Google Earth Flight Simulator (a Google Earth integration)
Using Joystick, mouse or keypad, you can control a SR22 propeller airplane or a F-16 Fighter to fly above your city or where ever you like. A fun variation is to play this with another individual, trying to reach the same destination first. This is actually quite difficult, because you have to pay attention to the compass, speed, city and road names and recognize the land you fly above.
This is actually the only mod, that is integrated in Google Earth and developed by Google themselves.
GEWAR (Google Earth War)
This mod is a browser-based massive multiplayer online game that can be compared to a of Axis and Allies or Risk but definitely beats both on them in complexity. At this moment, the game has more than 80.000 registered users for you to play against /with in the final goal to conquer the world. You will need to pay attention to multiple resources like oil, fish, cotton, diamonds, uranium, jewels, world market finances, casinos, politics, alliances and organising your troops. The game swaps back and forth between the browser and Google Earth. If you like strategy and warfare at a real world setting, this might be the game for you.
You can now take control of a supertanker. This mod is browser-based, but compared to other browser-based Google Earth
mods, this has a much larger window. You can select between 4 viewing angles and control the ship pretty easy. I have a feeling that the simulation is a bit faster than real-time. It doesn’t bother me, but maybe shipspotters and retired sailors would get offended. The game also contains some bugs though, eg. it’s inability to differ between water and land!
Build with Chrome – Build your house in Google Earth…with LEGO
Google knows how to engage the right companies to motivate crowdsourcing and innovate their existing services. With “Build with Chrome” you can construct your own house (or someone elses) using LEGO bricks. Google sets up a few rules, the rest is up to you. This mod is actually very fun and the LEGO builder engine is intuitive and easy to use. I haven’t had so much fun, since I last time played with my LEGO bricks …with my son of course ;-)
Where on Earth is an online geography game. Each week, a picture of a place on earth is posted and participants leaves their guesses in the comment section. If you guess the location of the picture, you will earn points, and maybe make it to the leaderboard.
GE Football lets you simulate a Football match on your local stadium using Google Earth. Left column contains a bunch of playing options, such as “Run – inside” or “Pass – short” ect. The scoreboard will keep track of the game progress and you will be prompted for every move you make. This game mod is really interesting, but at this current state, I find it rather random whether I do something good or bad.
Follow the progress on Google Earth mods on this great site: http://www.gearthhacks.com/