SAFECRACKER! IMMERSIVE GAME
Spring 2019 and Winter 2019-2020 - 10 Weeks
Interactive Products with professors James Hallam & Dr. Hyunjoo Oh
WINNER of the CHI 2020 Student Game Competition - Innovative Interfaces! Read our extended abstract here.
CHALLENGE: Create a game that engages players' bodies and can't be played with an existing controller... then make the controller for that game, without using any off-the-shelf sensors.
MY ROLE: Concept refinement, interaction development, game art, some video filming and editing, and general design guidance.
Tools and techniques used include bodystorming, sketching, pixel art in Affinity Designer, vector graphics in Sketch, service blueprints, user testing, 3D modeling in Fusion 360, prototyping with a CNC router, filming, video editing in iMovie, and writing for publication.
Why a safecracking game?
The great opportunity with making an immersive game is that you can let your players experience things that they couldn't normally do without serious consequences. Heists and suave con-men hold a romanticized place in our pop culture, but aren't an accessible experience for the average person.
How it works
The first iteration of our game incorporated our key goals - it was effectively a functional safe, locking unless the combination was found. However, it lacked visual polish and the appearance of a strong, sturdy safe. We learned during informal user testing that it also lacked the actual sturdiness necessary for prolonged play.
When we decided to enter the CHI Student Games Competition, we knew our safe would have to step up. Not only did the aesthetics need refinement, we needed something sturdy enough to stand up to a conference's worth of playtesting, that could also travel on a plane to Hawaii. We started by CNC'ing the safe out of 3/4" plywood, assuring a precise fit and professional polish. The door hinges lift off to make accessing the interior easier. We also chose dowel nuts and bolts to fasten the safe so that it could be disassembled and packed flat on the plane.
A comparison of the two safe versions. Besides aesthetic improvements, the second safe is also much more durable. We changed the headphones from corded to bluetooth so players could move more organically instead of being chained to the audio source. We also added a screen inside the safe so that beating different levels could have different payoffs.