Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hyper location based game design issues

A game made for a specific physical location has the advantage of using site specific objects, architecture and other features for enriching the story and creating puzzles. If that game must be playable at any time a player chooses, what happens when the environment changes? This is a hyper location based games fatal flaw. No big deal if the game ran on one night and was over, but an ongoing game existing for more people to play would have to have some safety nets in place for the inevitable. 

This is a problem I had with my location based interactive adventure game Bushwickdimensions. Bushwick is one of the fastest changing neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Buildings are going up and being torn down everywhere. I had puzzles based on murals and months later those murals were painted over with a single color and in two cases other murals. One mural was painted over three times in the past year!

What are some solutions to this problem?

1) I could implement a location sensor so that when the player enters a specific area this story advances automatically. What I would lose is some of the fun of interacting with the environment in a very direct way.

2) I could make the puzzles based on only more permanent structures that would have a less lesser likelihood of being destroyed or changed.

3) I can work the changing landscape into the story. The story needs to be maleable enough to change along with a rapidly shifting cityscape.
      4) The game is able to continue without correctly solving a       puzzle. This way, if the player is stuck because the        surroundings changed, they can still finish the game fairly.
And Bushwick Dimensions Version 1.8 is out now so download it and enjoy! 

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