Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm in the planning phases of a mobile-based game that depends heavily on tracking your location (think FourSquare). The main problem I have is storing and tracing location.

If a user has a phone with a data plan, I can simply ask them to turn it on at the target location to allow me to save that information (that they visited location X). But what about if they don't have a data plan?

FourSquare allows you to use some sort of SMS system to "check in" to locations, but implementing that is beyond me. What I probably need is some way to just figure out and temporarily store the user's location, and when they next connect online, they can upload all the "visited locations" information.

I know this is vague; I'm looking for general solutions. If you want specifics, I will be using MonoGame and supporting iPhone and Android phones.

share|improve this question
Unless you're talking about using a wifi-only device (like an iTouch), I think that "Smart Phone" and "no data plan" are mutually exclusive. Get stats on how many Android phones and iPhones there are, and you've got your answer (or darn close). – Tim Holt Jan 15 '13 at 6:22
@TimHolt I've had a smart phone since 2009 without a data plan. Every major store in North America carries a few of these in their main flyers. It's not that weird. – ashes999 Jan 15 '13 at 12:22

I don't believe there's a feasible way to implement location features in a mobile game without a data plan. Foursquare's SMS system only allows you to nominally check in. They don't award points unless they can verify you were there by a phone with a data plan with their app installed.

SMS systems are not hard to implement: use Twilio. Using their API, you can respond to and SMS via a HTTP requests. When you sign up, you get a reasonable amount of free credit to get started on development. Services like this are how a lot of companies are implementing their SMS features. It's super simple.

If it doesn't matter that much to you that a user could tell you they've been all sorts of places (you could probably do some server-side checking, eg. probably impossible to visit the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal in the same day), then the SMS bit is easy. Somehow triangulating on their position via SMS or phone calls sounds impossible unless you are best buddies with executives at a telecom or something.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.