Next Project. Or two. Or three.

I’m stealthily on track for putting out one puzzle game per month for 2021. March is almost at an end, though, so what comes next?

I’ve got a plan, though I anticipate it being a pain in the neck to develop, especially given that March ends in two weeks, and I still have to complete a Microsoft Ignite course within that time frame to earn a free certification exam.

But even if I don’t finish it right at the end of March, I’m excited about this next project. My previous two projects weren’t exactly home runs. My Room Escape Maker game hits that sweet spot between accessible and challenging – the nexus at which it’s enjoyable for just about no one. I intentionally listed it privately so that no one had to suffer through playing it without a warning up front. (Though a big kudos to the 3 people who cleared it, whoever you are!) My Adventuron game, while a little more accessible, is aptly named Lazy Quest because I didn’t add images or special responses for invalid commands. But my next project should be a serious step up from a practical perspective.

I’ve had quite a few requests from coworkers about what kinds of puzzle challenges make the best team building exercises. My team even played through Mobile Adventure Company’s Justopolis game and had a great time doing it. But I still feel a little remiss when I’m answering the question that I never have anything of my own to offer.

That changes soon! I’m going to be tailor-making a team building escape room game for my coworkers. If it passes muster, I’ll let the world have it, too, free of charge.

I initially conceived the game as versions A, B, and C of a single Adventuron game. The team would split into three groups and the information from each version would be needed in each other version to solve the puzzles and get everyone to the finish line.

I’ve since amended my strategy a little. While I love Adventuron as a tool for this kind of thing, I don’t want to commit to making the art necessary to support it. Art is not my specialty and for a corporate event, anything I draw will definitely NOT pass muster.

To get around this problem, I’m going to use Room Escape Maker instead. Even if I can’t include custom images, maybe I can get creative and cue a sort of scavenger hunt based on text cues and visual puzzles. Instead of having to describe strange doodles, teams need to describe patterns of whatever objects I find in the item sets.

It is going to be a PITA to have to build three games that will functionally serve as one, and a game that will serve a very limited audience to boot. But it’s important for me to have at least three variations. I want teams to have to ask “which of the other teams needs this information?” and figure out who they need to communicate with when they see something that doesn’t fit in their game.

So wish me luck. To keep up with the “twelve things in twelve months” target, I may need to do something else quickly first to buy a little more time to build out three games in one for this particular venture.

My game isn’t going to be a substitute for the online escape rooms run by actual escape room owners, with customized visuals, sound, and a game master, but it’ll still make me happy knowing I can offer colleagues something neat they can try.

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