PICNIC ’10 – team 1

Our Concept:

In our game DEsign, DEtect, DEcode, Picnic participants, working in teams, race to find pieces of a key in order to complete a puzzle that once solved, provides the password to a combination lock on a mysterious box. Inspired in part by the Photohunt* genre of games, our project utilizes 7Scenes in a game that offers Picnic-goers the opportunity to look at their surroundings through fresh eyes, as they attempt to identify elements that have been altered or added to the photo or to the actual physical spaces.

Our “redesign” of physical and digital spaces encourages participants to closely examine their environment. By identifying the major differences between the photos in the 7Scenes interface and the actual locations, the participants are clued into where they can find the hidden answers to help solve the cryptoquote puzzle (see below).

Photohunt: Spot the differences or “redesigns” between actual physical space and photograph

photohunt example

Cryptoquote puzzle

cryptoquote

For more information on what the pieces of key add up to, please follow this link to a private Vimeo video, which we would like to keep under wraps prior to the event. The password was emailed to Ronald Klein Tank. To request a password, please email George Bixby or Julynn Benedetti.

Concept Video Walkthrough:

On Vimeo:


[vimeo=http://vimeo.com/15013997]

On YouTube:

Rule Overview:

In 7Scenes players are are shown a map with tagged locations inside or near the venue. Once they approach one of the tagged locations, they will be able to access a photo on their phone. They will then need to find the real-world location pictured on their phone, as well as the vantage point from where the photo was taken. Once they do, they will need to spot the differences between the photo and the real-world location because a piece of the key to the cryptoquote will be hidden in that vicinity. By completing the puzzle at each location successfully, the participant will be provided with the combination code which opens the mystery box.

This game is designed for any participant who has access to both the venue and surrounding area, and can be played in a dedicated time slot over the course of about 30 minutes. We have also imagined the possibility of adapting it to be played more casually over the course of a day, if the festival organizers felt that a more suitable fit for a festival format.

***The scenes (photographs and locations) that we have uploaded to 7Scenes are mock-ups only. Should we be selected to present our game, we would need to create final content prior to the festival.***

A Note on the Constraints of 7Scenes:

In our original concept, we had an extra step in the game, where users uploaded photos of key piece locations. The number of slots for photographs at each location indicated to players how many pieces of the key there are to be found as well as when the task in that location was complete. However, in order to enable this function, one had to use a “task” in 7Scenes, which only allows one to see small thumbnails of photographs.

Since one has to closely examine a photo to spot the differences, we wanted the user to be able to see a full-size image. This function is only available when you use a “photo” task.

In the end, we decided that it was better to be able to see a full-size image of the photograph, although the ideal scenario would combine both the function of uploading photographs and seeing a larger image.


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Photoshoot at Westergasfabriek

To get an good impression of the festival area we went out and did an photoshoot!

Westergasfabriek

Constraints in 7Scenes and how they affected our project

In our original concept, we had an extra step in the game, where users uploaded photos of key piece locations. The number of slots for photographs at each location indicated to players how many pieces of the key there are to be found as well as when the task in that location was complete. However, in order to enable this function, one had to use a “task” in 7Scenes, which only allows one to see small thumbnails of photographs.

Since one has to closely examine a photo to spot the differences, we wanted the user to be able to see a full-size image. This function is only available when you use a “photo” task.

In the end, we decided that it was better to be able to see a full-size image of the photograph, although the ideal scenario would combine both the function of uploading photographs and seeing a larger image.


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Concept video walkthrough

Watch below for a video walkthrough of our game concept:

On Vimeo:

[vimeo=http://vimeo.com/15013997]

On YouTube:

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The Cryptoquote Card

This is just a dummy mock-up of the cryptoquote card. We have a quote and password that have a special significance to Picnic 2010, but did not want to spoil the surprise with the answer.

Branding the concept: DEsign DEtect DEcode

Our game has three main game elements or phases:

  1. Examining real spaces to discover the differences from the altered photos.
  2. Deciphering the code from found clues to fill in a quote.
  3. Unscrambling a word taken from letters in the quote in order to reveal the combination for a lockbox.

We used these elements in order to come up with ideas for how to brand our game:

We liked the name DEsign DEtect DEcode because it referred to many of the elements above. It also made reference to the theme of the conference “Redesigning the World,” and our game where we “redesign” spaces digitally.

Logo design for game. The square pattern is meant to reflect both a combination lock, as well as a puzzle.

Finalizing the concept

In order to make the game more exciting and competitive, we added the element of having an alphanumeric combination lock on a lockbox in a high traffic area within the conference grounds.

The lockbox’s purpose would be two-fold:

First, it would serve as the end point to the game where players have to race to enter in the correct combination using the clues gathered at different scenes and a completed cryptogram. The cryptogram would have specific letters circled, which would then have to be unscrambled in order to yield the combination.

Secondly, the lockbox would serve as a point of interest that would generate mystery and intrigue around our 7scenes game and pique conference attendees’ excitement.

Cryptograms

Our first idea was to have players use the names of the actual objects that had been altered, added or deleted in order to form a greater picture or phrase. However, there are multiple ways of describing a change (if a vase of flowers is added, is the word vase, flowers, red, or black?), so it did not seem feasible to use the actual objects as signifiers for a greater word phrase.

We thought it best to have the difference or change instead signify a location where a clue was hidden. The clue would be part of a key used to decode a cryptogram.

Research into puzzles and cryptograms

Photohunt

Photohunt is a game in which one compares two pictures and identifies the differences between the two:

We envision our mechanic working similarly, only we have users comparing an actual space instead of an unaltered photograph to an altered Photoshopped photograph.

The next step was trying to figure out what should happen after players find these differences.

Testing 7scenes in Washington Square Park

We decided that it was important to test the 7scenes app to familiarize ourselves with the platform. We had to be in the actual vicinity of the scenes in order to test them, so we headed to Washington Square Park where there was a heavy concentration of scenes.

We observed that the GPS location was not always accurate as we were in a heavily urban area with tall buildings. We also noticed that there was a variety of media embedded into locations. One can also upload media to specific locations.

We headed to a local Jamba Juice to brainstorm ideas about how we could effectively use physical space and locations in an interesting way.

We thought that it might be interesting to use the mechanic found in Photohunt as the basis for our game. We liked the idea of having users examine and search an actual space. It also gave us the opportunity to refer to the theme of “Redesigning the World.” By adding and deleting elements to various spaces via Photoshop, we could effectively redesign digital spaces as well as redesign the way a person thinks about a physical space.

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