The Building Is… – Design Blog #2

30 May 2012 | 0 comments

Today’s design blog is about game literacy, and its effect on physical games. Our goal is that everyone who plays our game enjoys it – that means it has to be rich and rewarding enough for the hardcore gamers, and comprehensible and accessible to newbies. Because the game takes place in physical space, and is intended to run without too much human intervention, we don’t have the EASY / MEDIUM / HARD option. Instead, we have to integrate difficulty settings into the physical elements of the game…

When we playtested the Smells course, we built a long, linear route for people to progress along. You can see it in this video:

There were choices built in, but we discovered that once players have started blowing a ball along a course, they are so focused on their task they didn’t look out for them.

Enter our next collaborator – playful architects Superfusionlab! We worked together to design three linked courses, each appealing to a different style of player, and with a different balance of risk and reward. The conversation took in skiing, skateboarding, hiking and golf (crazy and old-school) – there is a vast amount of environmental game design going on out there already.

We’re making the course out of high-density foam, and use a CNC mill. Thanks to Cordek for their speedy help! Foam is great, because we can get a really precise build and continue to alter the course after it’s created.

Now, we have a game that presents a clear set of visually-led choices to the player, who will watch others play as they queue for the game. Here’s a sneak preview of what it will look like…

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