After chatting with Tito about the general of the design of the room. I created a prototype of the room as below. I will photoshop the key elements for the escape phase before next week so that it could be point-and-click game when three students reach to the escape phase.
Based on the in-class feedback of my puzzles, I created two final prototype which you can play it here.
The first one is the introductory phase where one of the student researcher is introduced to do his task.
Gamemaster Script – Math Puzzle
The gamemaster script could go as below:
Welcome, you are student 1. You just got the job as a student researcher for the chemical facility in NYU. You will be working for the Professor. There are two other student researchers who are working with you. But you have to be careful since the end goal of the job is to win the opportunity of getting a residency with full scholarship. The student researcher before you left in a hurry, we don’t know the reason yet. Now your task is to finish the to do list.
Connection to next puzzle
After the user has finished the list, they will receive the link to the next puzzle with a storyline as below:
Congrats on finishing your task! The Professor considered you very equipped for the job. You received an email with a zip file attachment from the Professor saying:
“Hey, I am sending you this since I treasure the memories between us.”
You feel quite confused since you only met the Professor once during the interview. When you are about to reply the Professor to kindly notify him that he sent to the wrong person, you received another email.
“Student 1, please DO NOT open the file attachment. DELETE the email you received from me NOW!!!!!!! Otherwise I am gonna FIRE you!”
Being confused, offended, and curious, you decided to open the file attachment.
Gamemaster Script – Pattern Recognition Puzzle
You are locked in the virtual room, a secret room where the Professor keeps his personal stuff, with two other students. While you have discovered the evil side of the Professor, the Professor got notified of your investigation through CCTV. He knows that in order to keep his secret safe, he would have to silence you guys. He will destroy the whole evidence you guys found by burning this place down, with you guys in it. He will for sure make it an accident so that he can get away with it and carry his experiments to another university. You have to escape the room in 10 minutes before the whole place is torn down to pieces.
Inside the room, you see a recipe book, a journal with poems, and a computer, and a padlock with a 16-digit passcode. On the back of the padlock, you see “recipe+poem+computer”.
Now you are facing the computer. How would you get the code?
Connection to the end
If the students cracked the code successfully, they will have a portal to upload the evidence to the police station. On a newspaper in a few days, they will find their names or/and faces on the newspaper praising for their actions to reveal the scheme of the Professor. On the newspaper, there will be information of the Professor being put in jail.
Here are some screenshots of the UI/UX design.
I interviewed three of my friends to playtest the puzzles and had them showing me their process of solving the puzzle through video chat.
Interview insights for math puzzle:
- Make the image for the math puzzle larger
- Have clearer instruction in math puzzle: Show the color of the chemical on the website rather than in an alert pop up message; change the “formula input” into “component” to avoid confusion; unlink the hyperlink to each chemical component to avoid cheating in the game
Interview insights for escape puzzle:
- Make the button, and input box larger
- Make the instruction clear, you will get a 4-digit code rather than you have to think of a 4-digit password for this task.
- Make a clearer correlation between the sentence and the line in the input box
Observations for math puzzle:
- Felt surprise when there is a popup about “what a careless mistake”
- discovered later to go around the red text to fill in the information
- Confused about what to type (she typed the chemical name rather than the formula)
- confused by the popup from the hovering onto the red text
- Thought the input box is a multiple choice question
- Didn’t know gray one stands for carbons from the beginning
- Not clear the “what a careless mistake” is said by the Professor
Observations for escape puzzle:
- tried words that are not on there
- tried all caps and all smaller cases
- not sure if she should include space in the password
- tried to calculate the words based on the input underlines
- when trying the password, they are not sure if they need to add period or not.
So I made several adjustments according to the feedback.
I really enjoy watching people solving the puzzles. I didn’t realize how valuable that is to see people interested in playing the puzzles I made. One of them mentioned about how fulfilling it is to crack the code. And that just made my puzzle-making process worth it!
Special thanks to Tina, Changge, & Eleanor.