One of the fun things that this game allows me to do is to collect how well people from around the world know where things are. I use your public IP address to identify your country and collect your play history securely on the game server. If you do not want your game to be tracked, see the "Chat Box Commands" section below to learn how to mask your activity. Tracking this information allows me to build a database and visualizations of how people from around the world perform. This is a fun dataset to browse, especially to answer questions such as "How do Germans compare to Americans at knowing European cities? American cities? Chinese cities?" or "How often do people mix up Paraguay and Uruguay?"
I have put together visualizations and data tables at https://geoscents.net/plots/index.html that are automatically updated daily. Feel free to explore that page and point out any interesting things you find.
The entries are mostly things that I found browsing wikipedia and Atlas Obscura and fall roughly into these categories:
- UNESCO World Heritage sites - Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Moai Statues at Easter Island, etc.
- Funny names - Fucking, Austria, Sandwich, Illinois, Batman, Turkey, Hell, Norway, that town in New Zealand with a ridiculously long name, etc.
- Ancient cities - Tyre, Phoenicia, Karakorum, Mongol Empire, Bagan, Pagan Kingdom, etc.
- Major historical incidents - Hannibal defeats Rome at the Battle of Cannae, Tsar Bomba test site, Sinking of the RMS Lusitania, Chernobyl incident, etc.
- Odd statues - Manneken Pis, Blucifer, Christ of the Abyss, etc.
- National parks - Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Banff, Zhangjiajie, etc.
- Notable Buildings - CN Tower, The Kremlin, The Whitehouse, etc.
- Scientific sites - Neanderthal Valley, the Michelson-Morley experiment, Ivan Pavlov's dog study
- Sporting Events - Various world cup and olymic games locations
- Geological points of interest - locations of coldest/hottest recorded temperatures, tallest mountains of each continent, Marianas Trench, etc.
- Other things that I'm not sure how to categorize - Where the US accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb on itself (Goldsboro, NC), Wakaliwood Film Studio, etc.
Please reach out by sending a message starting with the word /feedback if you want to suggest new trivia items! I love hearing your feedback, and am especially interested in growing the database beyond the cultural bias of the few people who have contributed already.
This page discusses some of the political anomalies present in the game. This discussion is the result of valuable player feedback!
Czechia v.s. Czech RepublicIn 2016, the United Nations officially recognized Czechia as the shortened version of the name for this country, and it has been published to UNTERM and UNGEGN databases. This game uses the cities database found at simplemaps, which also uses the name Czechia.
Red bordersThis game uses python's cartopy library to generate maps. It fetches data from the Natural Earth Data features database. The red borders, such as the lines around Western Sahara, Northern Cyprus, the Ilemi Triangle, Palestine, and Jammu and Kashmir, mark disputed territories and breakaway regions. A list of disputed territories can be found here.
The Bubble in KazakhstanThe strange circle in Kazakhstan is the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It is a space launch facility that was leased by the Kazakh government to Russia until 2050.
KosovoKosovo is shown as a regular country in this map. According to the Natural Earth Data features database, Kosovo is a real country even though about 49% of UN nations recognize it.
What is that weird blue flag with the white circles?This is the International Flag of Planet Earth. I use it as a placeholder for entries that don't have any flag obviously associated with them. I considered using the UN flag for this purpose, but there are a few problems. Some territories excluded from the UN, it doesn't make much sense to display it for events that pre-date the UN, and not every entry point is associated with a "nation." If you have any better ideas, please let me know!
Do you keep getting repeat cities between games? This is surprisingly likely because it is a case of the birthday paradox. The random number generator in the game is not broken. Depending on the map you are playing, the probability of a city being repeated between consecutive games is between 10% and 41%.
There are 11 unique cities in each game. They are chosen from a uniform random distribution of possible cities for that map*. If you play two games, the probability that a city from the first game will show up in the second game is one minus the probability that ALL of the cities in the second game are unique. The equation below shows how to calculate this value as a function of the number of cities on a given map. This equation only approximates the probability because it does not take into account the heuristics*. The probability of seeing a repeat city as you play more than 2 games increases significantly.
Prepeat_in_next_game = 1 - (Punique)11 = 1 - (1 - 11⁄n_cities)11
The table below shows rough probabilities of repeat cities as of the time of this writing.
|Map||Number of Cities||Probability of Game 2 Replaying City From Game 1|
* There are certain heuristics built in to city selection for most maps, such as only selecting cities from countries, states, or provinces that have not yet been played in that particular game. This heuristic is slightly different depending on the map, e.g. World map does not allow repeat cities from the entire US, while North America does not allow repeat cities from a US state.
How do I get a cool icon/flag after my name?Each time you score 6500+ on a particular map, you will be added to the hall of fame. When you achieve this score, you will be given a random private hash and public hash in the chat. Next time you visit the website, use that private hash as your regular name, and you will be presented with a popup where you can choose your favorite icon to add after your name. If you forget your private name, or want to change the display name it is associated with, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ask for help on the discord. If your public name is the same as the public name of another user who entered the hall of fame, you can distinguish your own record from the other person's record using the public hash. You cannot use the public hash to log in and get an icon.
City SelectionCities are selected from the simplemaps database. For the most part, each game of 11 rounds should only include one city per country. The exceptions are:
- For the Asia, N. America, and Oceania maps, China, India, U.S., Canada, and Mexico can be repeated as long as the administrative name (province, state, or territory) is different.
- The game make 20 attempts to find a random city whose country and/or administrative name has not already been used. If it has still failed, it will just give whatever city. This happens most often in Oceania and S. America maps.
ScoringYour score is based on your distance to the city and how quickly you clicked. The maximum score you can get per round is 600, so the max score for an 11 round game is 6600. Because the game uses Mercator projections with the latitude of true scale set to the equator (even on the continent maps), this means that your distance in km is more forgiving as you move away from the equator. The equations used to calculate score are here. They are roughly:
timeComponent = min(1, 1 - 0.07843 * (t - 1.6))
distComponent = min(600, e^(-sf * (sf*dist)^2 / 600000)*605)
score = timeComponent * distComponent
dist is the distance you are to the city, in km.
t is how many seconds elapsed before you clicked (i.e. 10 minus time remaining in round).
sf is a scaling factor, which is computed by the diagonal of the world map, in km, divided by the diagonal of the map you are playing on. For reference, the scaling factors for each of the maps are shown below. This means that Europe is the "hardest" map, because each pixel represents far fewer km than on other maps.
- World = 1
- Europe = 3.38
- Africa = 1.30
- Asia = 1.77
- Oceania = 1.30
- N. America = 2.26
- S. America = 1.35
These plots show how the two score components work for the World map (sf = 1).
Record KeepingThe game resets every day at midnight GMT. Sorry if you are playing a game during the reboot! You should see plenty of warnings in the minutes leading up to the game reset.
Sometimes the Weekly records are better than the Monthly records. This is because these are the cronjobs that run the game:
0 0 * * * bash /root/startdaily.sh
0 0 * * * rm /scratch/*day*
0 0 * * 1 rm /scratch/*week*
0 0 1 * * rm /scratch/*month*
0 0 1 1 * rm /scratch/*all-time*
Therefore, it is possible for the monthly records to get reset on the first of the month, but the weekly records will not get reset until the first day of the week.
- /feedback : Leave feedback about the game or really anything. I will see your message immediately.
- /private : Prevent game from logging your IP address. I use this IP address to help make the fun plots at https://geoscents.net/plots/index.html, but you may mask yourself if you really want.
- /public : Undo the /private command if you changed your mind. By default, /public is turned on
- /announce : Send message to everyone in all maps
- /hidden : Show players in private games (but does not reveal private room name)
- /count : Show total number of online players
- /whisper "[player name]" : Send message directly to player
- good bot : Praise the bot
- bad bot : Admonish the bot
This game uses the most populous and important cities from the database at https://simplemaps.com/data/world-cities.
The jingle at the start of the game was composed and recorded by Marc Ryan Feldman. If anyone can get me in touch with Barbs from Geography Now, I would love to get permission to incorporate that awesome jingle somehow.
Some people are repeat users and I think they would be interested to see how they progress over time. For this reason, I implemented pseudo account-history that is simply tied to your user name. If you opt-in for logging, a link to your history page will appear in the chat box as soon as you join the lobby. There is technically nothing stopping you from "logging in" as a different user, other than that there doesn't seem to be much point to it. If this kind of fraud happens a lot and people start complaining with /feedback, then I will make this more secure. For now, happy playing!