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  1. fffred
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    fffred New Member

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    Setting an escape game

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by fffred, Jul 5, 2016.

    Hello

    I am not sure this forum is the right place for escape-game-related questions, but let me try. An escape game is a "real-life" setting where a small group of people are told the beginning of a story, and put in a room to investigate, solve puzzles, discover plot items, etc. Their goal is to solve all the room's mysteries and escape before the countdown (usually one hour).

    Note that I have never written any story, plot, scenario, etc. As scientists, we will participate in a science festival, presenting many accessible experiments to visitors; we've had the idea to create an escape game involving scientific puzzles too. However, an escape game with poor atmosphere or plot is just a dull sequence of puzzles.

    We started imagining a plot where the players would be told nothing but that they wake up unrecollecting (is this a word?) in a locked room. Elements of the scene would give a sense of being watched (one-way mirror, camera, ...). Puzzles involving basic science would need to be solved in order to find the way out. Upon exit, they discover they were human guinea pigs in some fictional company's experiment. For instance, a voice or a screen may address them by numbers instead of names, asking them to proceed to some other room.

    We have imagined a few more scene elements: graffiti from previous test subjects, some lab coat, etc. We are now stuck with narration, and this is the reason of this post:

    Which means could help bringing the story little by little? Voices? Pieces of paper?
    What hints could make them wonder, but not find out the story too fast? Ideally, there would be a "ah-ha" moment upon exit, when they understand elements of the setting that they couldn't understand before.
    Do you have tips on the type of language that would make sense here? How would experimenters address their subjects?

    Thanks
     
  2. Lemie
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    Lemie Member

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    A paper written on the subject with surveys and such, might be of help: http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/erfacwhite.pdf

    If you haven't already, there might be information that could help on some of the sites of the companies who does it today: http://www.escapegameslive.com/

    Otherwise, I don't think I can help much at the moment.
     
  3. Lemie
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    Lemie Member

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  4. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    It sounds as if you're trying to make something similar to a murder mystery dinner story for a group of live people to participate in.
    What level & type of knowledge would the participants have?
     
  5. Sniam
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    Sniam Member

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    It really reminds me of the "Portal" game, in which you are the guinea pig trying to escape from Aperture Laboratories, while Glados, a morbidly stoic IA, is stating horrible things to you. You might want to look at a quick playthrough of the thing, there are indeed graffiti from previous lab rats, as I remember. Great ambience though quite specific to the setting.

    You could leave some notes that progressivly show how mad and desperate the people became, directly linking their conditions to what will happen to those now present in the cell. Also, you can leave clues on some of them : one letter or figure on page 1, then page 4 but no 2 or 3, some unreadable bits, etc. It is up to you what you do with the clues ! A secret door maybe ?
    The kind of oppressing things that make people go mad are : strange noises that only one or two of them hear, water dripping continuously, children drawings (creepy), swiped bloodstains on the wall or on the floor, broken glass (careful though), creaking phonographs, old radios with blank noise, etc. Also, for graffiti, repetitive words like "ALWAYS WATCHED" or "NO ESCAPE" or "I'M BEHIND YOU" or even "LET ME OUT" are super creepy and very effective.
    When it comes to building atmosphere, two majors things you should not forget are : lights (extremely bright, like in a lab, or dimmed because graffiti on it) and smells. Though it is complicated to create, a proper scent makes all the difference when you feel trapped. It almost goes to the inconscious level but it is very significant imo.

    I hope it will be a success :) !
     
  6. fffred
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    fffred New Member

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    We will probably will accept all ages. Well, say between 7 and 80, for safety reasons. As this will occur during a science festival, we will have tons of participants, of all ages, I expect.

    Portal actually turned out to be our principal source of inspiration. Thank you very much for your suggestions. We'll try to use them, although we'll restrict the use of blood or suicidal notes for our younger participants.
    I actually really like the idea of some sort of scent.
     

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