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Old forum comments

(The Ludocity website previously had integrated forums, but they fell into spam-covered decline and were shut down in 2015. The comments in this section have been automatically converted from that forum.)

Request for comments on this game. Insanely over-ambitious? --benhenley (talk) 2009-05-08 18:30:15

It sounds great. All very Quatermass Experiment, and pre-filming the main footage is a nice way to have plenty of realistic urban hazmat drama without panicking the general public.

Is the footage meant to represent a live feed, or a recording from earlier in the day? Both may have slight problems - if it's a live feed, then players might try to work out where the vector is headed and send a clean-up team to intercept him (which obviously won't work; the clean-up team won't be able to wave hello either); if it's a recording, then they'll want to fast-forward through the boring bits (which means they'll hit the surprise ending too early). I suppose the ending could be on an extra stretch of cambot footage that doesn't turn up until later in the game. Or there's a twist at some point where the players learn that the vector removed his hazmat suit towards the end of the footage (maybe a clean-up team finds it discarded at one of the filmed locations), and a previously-background character is suddenly important.

Filming the cleanup is fun - a bit redundant when the home team are going to be marking it all off on a map, but fairly quick to score at the end, if they're only filming the actual sprayings. And you could always scale it down to people's own digital camera photos, if you didn't quite have the budget or insurance to hand out a load of video cameras.

I suppose you could also add a few scavenger items, if they suited the venue (and if they were guarded or hidden so that nobody cleaned them away) - pens and newspapers and coffee cups that the vector touches and discards in the video, and which the clean-up teams have to find and seal into plastic bags. --Kevan (talk) 2009-05-08 18:51:18

I would probably try to obfuscate whether the drone footage is live or 'as live' - could perhaps explain that there is a slight delay due to buildings in the way or the nanites jamming the signal etc. Also, if you initially said that the vector is dangerous and should not be approached under any circumstances, teams will try to avoid him/her... Then at the end, you could turn it around and say that the only remaining chance is a direct assault.

I would keep the vector in the suit so that s/he could be sprayed with this smoke stuff without too much harm.

Ideally you would have some kind of subtle indicator of infected areas (glitter/UV dye) - filming it is a workaround, really. Using player cameras might be clunkier to score - depends how long you have between runs. Ideally you could get all the cameras from Surveillance, film all the drone footage simultaneously with them, then give them out for the actual game.

Scavenger items is an excellent idea - could give them baggies with nanohazard symbols, and gloves.

One thing I wondered - is putting a mocked-up nanohazard symbol on the 'utility fog' cans a bit risky in terms of causing a panic? I --benhenley (talk) 2009-05-08 20:59:33

I was imagining the home team being in more of a movie-CCTV context, whizzing back and forth through the footage until somebody spots a guy in a lab coat and calls out to stop the film. That maybe feels like more of an interactive game for them than watching an hour's footage and making a phonecall whenever Mr Vector crops up. I imagine you'd have to be fairly blatant each time the vector appeared, if the video was constantly running, as the team would have no way to rewind the footage and check a half-glimpsed background figure, or verify exactly which bench he was sitting on. (Deciding whether a cleanup team should check out a vague description of half-glimpsed area is kind of interesting, but possibly frustrating if it means checking thirty cafe tables for some glitter that isn't even there.)

Searchable footage could also allow a few puzzles for the CCTV team to solve, which would give them more to do. If the vector disappears for a ten minute window while the cambot buzzes through some cafes, then he reappears in shot drinking from a Starbucks paper cup, the players could rewind and check the Starbucks segment in more detail, this time noticing a previously-missed lab-coat sleeve drumming its fingers on the counter.

A fake nanohazard symbol is probably okay in the hands of a bunch of casually-dressed players; making it a fake tech-company logo might be better, to be on the safe side. As with any weird-behaviour game, just make sure that the players are carrying some sort of handout that includes "hey, this is just a game, kind of like a scavenger hunt" and maybe even "any questions, phone this number", in case they get stopped by suspicious security people. --Kevan (talk) 2009-05-09 12:44:08

Hmmm, how would the rewinding/searching be implemented? Just put the feed on a DVD and let them work the remote? --benhenley (talk) 2009-05-10 11:47:19

Yeah, that seems easy enough. Either that or give the players a laptop and let them play around with raw files, or point them at a faked-up Nanocorp website with embedded YouTube videos. When you want to reveal the final footage of the vector stumbling into a cupboard, just hand them a second DVD, or point them at a secret URL.

(If you wanted to work the late bonus footage into the narrative, and felt like making a silly prop, then one of the scavenger-hunt pickups could be to retrieve a downed cambot - one which had its broadcast capability blocked by the nanobots when it locked on to the vector, and whose last ten minutes is just static and a distress call. If a clean-up team can find it and bring it back to base, the backroom boffins can start recovering its footage from the hard drive, handing it over to the players at an appropriate moment.) --Kevan (talk) 2009-05-10 13:03:19

OK, you've convinced me about letting them search the footage. The downed drone is a nice touch. I had already planned on getting one of those little R/C helicopters and showing to them as the uncloaked drone. For extra cool points, the "drone" could not be in place when the game starts, and the players could actually see it crash (have someone flying it from a balcony).

If you wanted each 'feed' be searched independently, maybe a site with embedded videos, plus a couple of laptops, could be the way to go (although could you cache it all on the drive of the laptops in case of connectivity!fail?) Using YouTube as well as Google Street View would be extra "witty woo" points.

BUT providing computers is presumably expensive and prone to them going wrong/having drinks spilt on them etc. Can H&S provide laptops? Or Mac Minis or something...

Maybe a couple of DVD players and some projectors/TFTs would be a better way to go. I liked the idea of using the DVD menu system to deliver a briefing, with pictures/brain scans of the vector, graphs of how many people will die if the players fail, etc. I have graphic artists I can use - do you know anyone who can do DVD authoring? --benhenley (talk) 2009-05-11 10:18:01

This sounds awesome. What about having Command Control be a mocked-up room (dark, blinkenlights, etc) with a data projector hooked up to a DVD player for the big-screen experience? More of a group experience, then, if everyone's watching the same footage and fighting over the remote.

I haven't done DVD authoring for a while, but I used to make short films.. how hard can it be? ;) --gwyn (talk) 2009-05-17 07:33:13