What do Prototypes Prototype? — Alex Tsai

We created a prototype of our proposed game: campus-wide capture the flag. Our game is a combination of themes from capture the flag and a scavenger hunt.

Here are a few questions we hope our game prototype will answer:

  1. Are the game boundaries reasonable?
    This is an important question to answer because the playing field (the campus) is an essential part of gameplay. First, it is a differentiating factor between our game and traditional capture the flag, which is typically played on a field with tighter boundaries. Second, the campus itself becomes a part of the game when we introduce clues and tasks for the scavenger hunt component. Ensuring that the game boundaries are reasonably drawn will be essential to the success of our game, as this will determine how tired the players will get. We created a prototype that requires players to run around within given boundaries to answer this question. My prediction is that the boundaries will be just right — we already iterated on this aspect of the game by testing our initial boundary by walking from one end of the boundary, and determined that it was too big.
  2. Is it possible to find the flag within the game boundaries?
    This is an important question to answer because capturing the flag is an essential part of the game. If the flag cannot be found, the game cannot be won. We tested this question by placing a flag within the boundaries and asking each other to find it. We decided that it would be most fair and feasible if the flag has to be placed outdoors, in a visible location, on the ground. I believe this will be a successful way to ensure that the flag can be found and captured by the other team.
  3. How will players communicate within their own teams and with opposing teams?
    This is an important question to answer because communicating with other players on the team is critical to the success of the team, as the team must work together to both complete the scavenger hunt, tag opposing players, and capture the flag. In a game with many moving parts, good communication is essential. We will playtest this question by using the Facebook group as a forum for players and teams to post pictures of themselves completing challenges, as well as a way for moderators to post announcements during the game if needed. Within teams, we plan to create a group chat using iMessage for streamlined communication. I believe this will be an effective way to facilitate communication among players and teams — iMessage and Facebook Groups are both tools used frequently among our target audience and will be easily adopted.


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