Enter the Crucible
I set up an eventbrite event based on everyone’s availability. Our original availability we set up on a Google calendar, I then just grabbed that schedule and made edits in Illustrator. That way anyone could sign up for the different sessions and we could coordinate between us. Set up playtests with more than just 1 Game Master.
MARCH 12 -1st Session
Labels on cords
Box clue needed
Hints on sd cards or visual?
Could overlap onboarding
Can’t close the door super easily
Cords need to be bundled and run under the floor mats
Monica+David completed(all cords that needs to be plugged in are sticked to the game master’s station)
Microphone at start (need different voices)
Professor confusing if same as onboarder…
Hint from SLA, confusing if from same person as professor voice
Needs to be super clear and maybe after a minute, so it’s distinct from the professor and really sets a tone, right now there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of clear motivation to escape
Need to pick something that can play over the speakers very lightly
First thing they found
The SD cards
They think the text on the walls are puzzles
a little confusing that you can say stuff from the beginning but it doesn’t come into play until later
THIS WAS DUE TO THE MICROPHONE BEING OUT ALREADY/SET UP; RECTIFIED IN SECOND PLAYTEST
They didn’t know to click the mouse to start the sketch, need to add a clue
They keep saying the text on the walls as input
Then realized “it’s a repetitive letter, not the phrases”
Then they found the label 1 in the suitcase, exciting moment
“I have a list of names”
Went back to the mic puzzle
Maybe this is a morse code thing
Had trouble with the SD cards
“Not sure if this works as a mechanic”
Not getting any audio out of the player, needs instructions
Having trouble getting the navigation to work** then finally got the audio to play
Looking for time
(Projector wasn’t working in this playtest)
Right now the microphone UV puzzle adds nothing because they are already trying the microphone puzzle
18 minutes remaining
So they haven’t even begun to look for a maze, and even if they did, I’m not sure what that gives them --> humanness into the microphone?
“Second track really hard to understand”
Magnetic force field — they’re not picking up on the text clue
They’re thinking the rails on the wall under the webcam are the maze because they’re magnetic…
Haven’t even approached the shelf yet, maybe need some visual clues
They think the tube under the shelf is a thing
Then they went to the RFID box, and they think that’s supposed to be the force field
They’ve been messing with the microphone for the past 15 minutes, getting really frustrated
Need to indicate something under the shelf like a hand
Since the UV symbols aren’t up
Totally skipped the microphone by guessing JACK
Didn’t have an issue getting the chain out
Not clear that rfid is in palm “nothing in fingers”
Sign on maze fell off
Still finding the robot histories
Emily mark jack emma
Wants to remove the glove
Pedro doesn’t know who “patchmaster” is, said I gave my name
Makes sense that the onboarder is SLA, so okay that that’s the same voice
Rfid didn’t work
They have no idea what to do with the “capacitive wire”
Since they skipped, they’re confused that something is still locked
Didn’t look too hard for clues right away, still finding cards (made sense later)
Handful of things in the clues that “I’m super lost on”
Mention of an office pen, then tried taking the pen on the desk apart
Something about walls
Unit Jack was the name of a character, so they could just straight up skip
Need to hide that in the box
Didn’t get the headphone clue to the maze — didn’t even
Morse code computer/translator missing
In terms of what was found and what was available, hit the wrong order of things
Morse code dead end
Need microphone in the box
A little inconsistent, tough in a noisy room
So microphone and morse code on same computer, or just put morse code translator on piece of paper
Wasn’t on at first***
The scroll wheel confusing “took me a while to figure out the controls, doesn’t make any sense”
SD finicky — how do you put it in? “Hold it in”
Keep dropping the tiny SD cards
One track was super garbled
“Could replace with a room jack that they can plug into, just playing on repeat”
Maze really tough
sign gets in the way
Hole is good
Morse —> UV —> ASCII —> microphone
“That’s a tough sequence, that’s at least one layer too many”
7883 wouldn’t have gotten that, you only say it once? When it’s double?
All caps an issue
Should change the microphone puzzle to just be “humanness” not the ascii text
MARCH 12 -2nd Session
Cords an issue closing door(Fixed)
Cameras not stable
Good to have clear motivations for the players, we should really focus on the 30 minutes part
(August) I’m going to give the SLA hints from inside
Taking the books off the shelf and going through them looking for clues
The gloves are hard to look through the books (annoying him)
If order is important, should label the SD cards
7 minutes in, found the hole in the maze
Hole, but don’t know what to do with it
Need to move magnet sign
Found the key with audio cues, without even needing the maze on the wall, just by feeling it
Got the lock off the first thing, plugged in microphone
Kinda cheating because the UV guy knows what to look for
“Not clear what the password is”
20 mins left
Still messing with morsecode even after finding the shelf-maze-glove thing
“I noticed a wire over here (referencing the red MM wires)” then went to follow the red wire to the MM and tried picking up the MM
“Mark translates to “DO NOT LEAVE” — that’s funny”
“Still really confused by this guitar”
Got the password “Humanness”
Worked on first try, great
RFID glove hole not easy enough to get hand through, way too small
Professor message on open
“No let's band together!”
If they can’t connect these wires, should get SLA HINT
Liked world building, liked having separate onboarding and tasks, but really uncomfortable to have my hand up for that long (easy fix-- move the handprints down to a comfortable level)
Red herrings, got fixated on guitar (should see if more people get stuck on it)
SD card doesn’t led to anywhere
Because could just match the names to the cards and type it into the morse code reader to get the shelf-glove-maze clue
ETME a really big red herring, a bummer that it didn’t lead anywhere
Brute forced it — didn’t need the map
But liked the idea
Got to use the robot as a cue for where the key starts
Need some sort of communication about magnet maze
Robot specs under their stations (to let everyone know who has what and in case people don’t listen or forget)
No clue for the handholding, confused with what to do with the wires. More hint about this needed! Might be UV
Two things to do with the computer. Should be in the same brower. Or other way to make it more clear
Can we put another monitor on the desk?
May not be necessary. Clue could be got from the sheet of name and other sheets. The cards have too many information to overpass the headphone person.
The sound should be useful. “Jack” is already got from the mic puzzle
(If all people can hear together, not just the headphone person, that’s more fun)
UV: the paper should be able to pulled out. It’s hard to see the last few letters
The mic and uv paper could be seperate.
Get rid of humanness as a clue.
No UV clue.
Use ETME as the password
“A human connection is the key to freedom/ how you escape” as an obtuse context clue inside the mic to reinforce the final
Hint that the box green wire is the connection.
Maybe a lock symbol?
Maybe use the robots holding hands poster as a clue?
The onboarding/world-building is good
Need a more intense clue from the resistance. BEFORE the Dr. Professor clue.
“We’ve hacked in, and are coming to you in sleep mode.We know you’re trapped here, we will help you escape! Look for the clues and we’ll help you---gotta go, the Professor is coming!”
The script can be more oppressive.
“You are the SEVENTH ROBOT we’ve had to replace this week, don’t screw it up!”
Just make it seem like a worse place to be stuck in
Delivery is really important.
Use the UV paint to hint in the maze-- UV person wants more to do.
Right now the audio clue doesn’t lead anywhere.
Instruction from the oppressor: DO NOT TOUCH OTHER ROBOTS.
Speak in terms of what you want the players to do.
“Robots do not touch”
“ Robots do not speak”
MARCH 13 -3rd Session
12pm: Topher, Idit, Jenny, Morgan
Turned the light off on their own, but it’s hindering them I think
Found the maze on the wall right off the bat, trying to figure stuff out (haven’t connected it to the magnet)
Picked up the key by feeling the “robot” picture, but think its a vertical puzzle
Microphone jigsaw -- “what the fuck does this mean?”
They think they just have to say the password into the screen, no mic
They think the flashlight
“I can only look at one file on this mp3, is that right? Can someone else listen for me?” “I’m a touchmaster, I don’t think I can listen”
They were stuck, so I put the morse code translator onto the monitor, not sure if there was something else that was supposed to do that.
Gave them a hint about the maze
Still confused, “I bet its this (referring to the RFID box)”
We need a walkie talkie or something for hints
SD card an issue, he spent a long time trying to find a song only to realize the card had fallen out
Gave them a hint about the lights since they weren’t turning them back on
They just got the microphone out by sliding it out of the box, not opening it
Gave another hint about the maze referring to the circle, but still haven’t found the circle under the shelf
Still think its the tube under the shelf, we should cover that up
Now they get it, but spending a lot of time on the maze because they can’t figure out the morse code / sound file stuff
Gave them a hint to look for more robot histories and sound files
Maze: “it’s fun, but my muscles hurt. It’s frustrating, but not in a bad way. I’m wondering if the maze on the wall actually matches, it could be a little simpler”
Didn’t realize the “humanness” puzzle was gone, so not sure how to give them hints about the ETME thing...
Since they didn’t put their hands on the pads in the intro, they thought that was a part of another puzzle
They get really confused when they skip over puzzles and then try and solve the hints later
Giving them a bump since they didn’t get the ETME thing, now they’re unlocking the RFID thing
“So this chain doesn’t come out?”
The RFID didn’t work again, too long?
The green MM wire shocked Idit, but prob just static
Don’t think they needed to be separated, took too much time
But Jenny loved her role
Idit didn’t understand her role
“But roles were really fun”
Like the robot uprising story
“But too much story for one room”
Friends or frenemies? Confusing to have that much of a moral thing in 30 mins (need more throughout
Feel like maze didn’t match up, it’s a square on the wall, not a circle
Having a magnet on the palm would be better
Sound files and robot histories
Still don’t understand
How many are there?
Stopped listening before “ETME”
Asked for others to help, since they were stuck
Sound files too long?
Assumed there was something with the text?
What’s the difference?
Why not scream Ella, etc.
Felt like there was a lot of information that wasn’t letting me get to the real information, too much clutter without a real guide to what clues go to what
Only real satisfying moment was getting the key out of the maze
They didn’t find the two hidden behind the desk, or the one in the junk above the shelf, we shouldn’t have them be hidden as well
Microphone UV jigsaw really confusing, esp with the symbol with the four flashlights (thought they needed to shout morse code into the microphone)
Morse code needs work, every group confused by it
Too many props that aren’t functional but you think thmey might be (the cords)
FEEDBACK FROM RECORDING
Onboarding part - users do not need to be separated
Role-playing is really fun
Some users don’t understand their roles
Love the Robot story
Too much story
Hold hands and then betray? Friends or enemy? Confusing
In 30 minutes that’s a lot
The circle and the square don’t match - fixed with UV pens
Didn’t figure out the sound files
Stopped listening to the file after getting ETME
Assumed sound files leads to ETME
Sound files are too long
Texts seems like poetry
(think that was just a joke Idit was making because she knows I (August) write computer poetry)
What’s the difference between each player’s story?
A lot information not lining up with the real clues
Couldn’t get some of the clues
CHANGES AFTER PLAYTEST 3
UV on wall maze and under maze shelf
Wire drawing on robot poster
Made the SD cards and the robot histories less difficult to find
Wrapped the microphone box a little better
Need to plug in the RFID arduino right before onboarding
Should onboard together? Still tell them about the reporting, adds an interesting group dynamic
MARCH 13 -4th Session
4pm: A group of visitors( some from Italy)
Used two laptops for the two cameras. One for sound reception
Removed one of the SD cards to simplify audio puzzle
Showed the headphone person how to use mp3 player(will make changes)
Discuss the strategy: tell the others what role they have
Found the RFID case first, saw that there should be four digital password. Then start looking around to find the password(for the whole time)
Then found the makey makey box, thought it should be open by the magnetic glove and try for a long time.
Makey makey should be hidden or moved to the top shelf
Some other people find things from trash can and guitar case(SD cards). But didn’t listening to any of them. Forgot to use the headphone at all.
Found the locked mic bag, knew there should be a key.
Two people start to read. “Nobody want to read things, but we should””The morse code is so confusing””It’s impossible!!”
Looked at the books and started reading( the game master should have told them)
Saw the password interface in the p5 sketch screen.
12 mins: Didn’t got the maze clue but heard the key and start with the maze. “Sounds like a key that we need”
Picked up the key by feeling the “robot” picture, but think its a vertical puzzle need more hints on that
Found the hole on shelf and the maze on the wall(but didn’t found the UV start and end signal)
Got the key then the mic after doing the maze for 4 mins
Asked for a hint at 19 mins. I told the headphone robot to do its job.
Finally started listening to one of the sound files. Thought it was the lyrics or the song’s name
Need to remove unnecessary files in the mp3 player
Asked for hint--> listen to other files
Got the ETME!!! But the speech detection cannot recognize accent:(
RFID didn’t work. Unlocked by replugging. Thought hands should be above the outside( the hand shape outside the round box is confusing, even if it says: insert)
30min was too short, spent most of the time at the beginning (don’t know where to start)
Gave hint “try to use your skills/tools” then realize
Hard to find where to start. But interesting once starting
After entering the room, want to see like “what’s going on here”, rather than looking around randomly
Thought there should be a clearer hint as to what to do next
Chip is smart, but difficult
“ETME” speech detection can not recognize accent
Don’t know how to fix this:(
Morse is difficult, confusing, and they unlocked maze without audio hint
Typing in morse code was too confusing and easy to make mistake
UV mic hint is useless, they know there’s a bag should be opened and they see the microphone jack so no need for microphone hint
Thought the puzzle design was inventive
Changes after playtest 4
Incorporating makey makey mechanism into timer program. Gamemaster manually plays unlock sound when players hold hands at the end.
Label MP3 player
Make changes to uv puzzle (to be discussed)
Better link between audio puzzles and glove and microphone puzzle
Glove puzzle need more hints
March 14th Session 5
Playtest 03/14 1630-1730
When the players try to open the RFID wood box with force, say to the microphone: “STOP!” and remind them that they should “only use their augmented power”. (because the box is kind of loose)
Projected Timer: The timer starts at 1:00:00, and cannot be seen on the computer while projected. => solution: start the timer anyway, press the key to manually and quickly turn down the time(a press is a second less) until it’s somewhere 0:40:XX, and then WAIT till it’s 0:40:00 to HIT ENTER TO STOP. (Rachel will fix this part)
Players are generally interested in the storyline and are curious about “why.” What we did is to EXPLAIN(after the game) about the difference between human and robots is “collaboration,” that’s why all the puzzles are connected by different “superpowers”; and if someone is reported or he/she betrays other to be sent outside, the human chain part will be more difficult, etc. To EXPLAIN the moral decision
Many are new to escape rooms, so it is important to say the script to those people more CLEARLY and SLOWLY on important terms(their roles and abilities)
Feedback(from players’ perspectives):
The storyline is a tricky concept, because if we are robots then we would want to mess up with things(the script tell us not to). What things are to touch, what things are not to touch could be clearer. (Also the abandoned wires in the trash can is a bit confusing)
The audio files on the mp3 player are not clear enough to the players. This part is considered the hardest and even annoying(Rachel is fixing this)
Overall idea is good and cool
Holding hands to escape is a fun and nice idea
Like the slogans on the wall. Tells the story well and clearly.
Clever to use the tapes to set up the room
Confused about the note: “don’t leave the room”
No reason/incentive for them to report others. Same for betraying others.
The wire(makey-makey end) on the wall is more easy for ITP students to recognize and to realize that it should be connected in some way. It might not be that obvious or direct for non-ITP audience.
REALLY IMPRESSIVE and THOROUGH GOOD JOB
Suggested changes after feedback:
Adding blank sheets of paper and a pencil on the table for the players to take note (changed)
Adjusting the camera to include the RFID view. The camera cannot include both RFID and the red wire of makey-makey at the same time, so we decided to just keep the RFID in view, while we can tell if the player is reaching out for the red wire and stretching out to hold hands. (changed)
Adding UV clues for the maze on the shelf. This could be two arrows: one pointing towards the UV key image under the shelf, the other pointing towards the map up on the wall
FULL runthrough instead of just saying the parts they didn’t get(?)
March 14th Session 6
Playtest 03/14 1900-2000
They found the text file with the name jack and figured out the rfid puzzle without going through the rest of the puzzles.
The sheet with the name Jack should not be in the room
They figured out the need to hold hands by looking at the robot image and the morse code hint
They accidentally closed the cover of the box containing the makey makey wire
Had to manually open the case by replugging
Didn’t want to betray the others because no one else was doing it. (They didn’t seem to know what is going on possibly due to bad game mastering ;/ Maybe phrase it in a way so they feel rewarded doing so.
They thought the guitar had something to do with the morse code cause of a similar pattern (dots and dashes)
Audio was not clear
Suggested changes after feedback:
Give more clues to the map on the wall and the uv symbols beneath the shelf
Improved audio clarity by adding an extra file for hint
Removed confusing parts of the guitar