DISSERTATION: The Escape Suitcase is started!

autoethnography, critical making, dissertation

Well, it’s been a while!

Yes, I finished reading the Puzzlecraft book, and it was helpful for conceptualizing the kinds of puzzles that I want to put into this game.

I also decided on the number of puzzles: three multi-step puzzles. At first, I was looking at five or more, but I realized that I am hoping for each puzzle to take 5-10 minutes to solve and for a total playtime of 30 minutes, so that meant thinking about how much I could realistically expect players to do. Each individual step won’t take so long, but figuring out the clues and what they have to do will hopefully take enough time to be satisfying without being frustrating.

I don’t want to spoil anything about the puzzles, so I won’t write about them here, but there are three distinct ones and I’m decently happy with the “hybrid” aspects, which was something I struggled with before. The question I found myself asking was “why does this need any digital components” or, alternatively “why does this need physical components?”, but designing some aspects of the puzzles settled that for me.

One current challenge includes finding the right suitcase (but Enric has offered to show me a few that he has been collecting! Yay!), although I may make one myself out of wood because of the high degree of customizeability that would give me.

Another challenge, though I think I’ve nearly solved it (maybe!) is the narrative framing of the game. What’s the point and what are these puzzles about thematically? I want them to make sense. I think this is a game about “Opening Up” with a friend/to a friend/getting a friend to open up. Maybe. More on this as it develops.

So, I’m almost ready to start building prototypes. I’ve ordered some materials, including some locks, and a tiny touch screen, the new Raspberry Pi 4, some other stuff… It would unfortunately spoil some of the puzzles if I told you more about the materials, I think.

More as it comes!