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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Hamlet

    - staff

  •  Tamar Goldberg, Hamlet's ‘Guest' and Social network
    This submission has two parts: the game itself and a social network around the game. Each could be presented and developed independently, but I think together they can be very entertaining.

    The game story is somewhat similar to the story of the game The 7th Guest and is based highly on the ghost story aspect of the play. The player arrives at the abandoned castle and needs to reveal its story by walking through the rooms and outer areas of the castle.

    Each room is a different level hiding inside it one or more puzzles. Puzzles will be triggered by clicking the right area in the room (or by a sequence of clicks). Once a puzzle is solved, a video sequence relating to the puzzle and the room will be shown. The videos will be scenes from the original play and the puzzles will relate to those scenes.

    In addition, audio clues for the scene and the puzzle will be used in each room. For example, when a player enters the basement, s/he will hear a voice saying, "To be or not to be: that is the question." Other lines from this monologue will be heard every once in a while. Inside the basements there will be hidden pieces of Yorick's skull that the player will need to put together. Once the skull is assembled, the skull scene will be shown.

    Another puzzle idea is to match lines to a modern English translation, or a puzzle in the lake that will reveal Ophelia's suicide.

    The game will be a Flash-based online game, using a simple point-and-click mechanism to activate the puzzles, which might also have drag-and-drop capabilities. Each week (or any other time period) a new level or castle area will be released. Players will be able to register, play the new puzzles, repeat previous puzzles and discuss clues and solutions on the site's forum.

    Social Network
    The game will be linked into one or more of the popular social networks. (Because the one I know and use is Facebook, this is the one I will use in the description.) The game itself will be either a Facebook application or will enable registration using the player's Facebook account. Updates, feeds, and player scores in the game (calculated according to the amount of puzzles solved) will be sent to each player's profile and a group for the game will be added. An "Addicted to Hamlet" mini application will be available that will show random Hamlet quotes and will have a Hamlet trivia game where the players can compete.

    In addition, all the play characters will have their own Facebook profiles, with a picture album, general description, and favorite quotes from the play. Players will be able to add the characters as friends and interact with them (this can be used to get clues for the game).

    Since the game is Flash-based, a small team of one or two programmers and designers, plus an animator, can be used to develop and support the game. The video sequences will use live actors in front of a green screen; the background will be added later by the animator, according to the appropriate area in the game.

    Another position that needs to be taken into account is the person who maintains all the social network aspects -- updating character profiles, posting game updates, general support. To cut the cost, this position can be filled by a design intern or by one of the existing team members, on rotation.


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