Two guests must work together to solve a myriad of physical puzzles as they travel through this dreamlike world full of magical doors.
WHAT IS OPEN SESAME?
Open Sesame is a Kinect 2 game designed in 1-week as part of the Building Virtual Worlds class at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). Two guests are invited to play. The mechanics are simple: press all the buttons to open the door. Some buttons move, some need to be charged, some require cooperation, and some reset themselves. Guests must figure out each button's behavior and work together to unlock all the doors in the fastest time possible. Open Sesame was chosen by a board of faculty and industry professionals to be presented in the 2018 ETC Festival where it was played by over 150 people and viewed by many more.
Team: Mollie Braley, Chia-Chi "Aurora" Chang (Artist), Zhaoyi "Ashley" Liang (Programmer), Wenyu Mao (Programmer), Weidi Tang (Artist)
Game Designer: I helped design each of the levels which included the placement, behavior, and movement of each button. I also helped decide the order of each level to create an optimal interest curve and increasing difficulty scale.
Producer: I organized both internal team meetings and external meetings with faculty to discuss design decisions and next steps while monitoring the progress of each pipeline to ensure that we created the best game we could in only one-week's time. During Festival, I also organized the purchasing of all materials and created a schedule that helped us finish our theming and game changes with plenty of time to spare before opening Open Sesame to the public.
Sound Designer: I composed both pieces of background music using original composition and LogicProX loops. I additionally mixed all sound effects, including personally recorded sounds and dialogue.
Open Sesame was selected by a panel of faculty, alumni, and industry guests to be one of 16 games/experiences presented at the 2018 ETC Fall Festival, a tradition started by ETC Co-founder Randy Pausch many years ago. This Festival showcases the "worlds" that first-year students create over the course of their first semester in the program. If selected, each team is then tasked with creating an entire interactive experience, including the world itself and the theming of the space provided.
We made several changes to the gameplay before presenting it at Festival, given specific feedback from playtesters
We learned that some of the buttons' behaviors, i.e., needing to "charge" before activation, were not clear so we added a progress bar so that players could see how much longer they needed to hold a button before it activated. This eliminated player frustration and also clarified the action needed to proceed.
We also noticed that some player teams had difficulty making it through certain levels but wanted to see and try the remaining levels. Given that we would be manning this game in person for Festival anyway, we decided to make a hotkey that would advance players forward one level. This was especially useful when hosting very young players playing with parents/guardians as the Kinect 2 had trouble tracking the vastly different heights.
We added an additional hotkey that would allow us to quickly recalibrate the player positions if the Kinect 2 had difficulty tracking or calibrating. This saved us a lot of time and player frustration and allowed us to have as many people play the game as possible.
Finally, we added a high score system that would give players the ability to name their team and show them their final time in relation to the other teams that had competed that night. We found that players responded positively to this competitive mechanism and would often come back later to try to beat their previous score and move up the rankings.
Please note: These changes are not currently reflected in the gameplay footage above.