How to design the tests of an Escape Room?

by TM Maria Be a king in your own kingdom

The reality of this type of leisure is that each person is different. For anything else, a restaurant or clothing store, for example, consumers would simply select the products that would suit them and leave. But for escape rooms, people do not know in advance what they can select and cannot leave when they want.

If you ignore this and only design a sequence of riddles based on riddles and figures, or puzzles that are irrelevant to the subject, it is very likely that players move and examine insecure every inch and every corner because everything else they have tried did not work and they have run out of options.

However, what you can do is focus not on the puzzle, but on the tasks involved. Simple things like collecting related objects, participating in simple teamwork to manipulate objects and demanding that information pass from one room to another lead to easy triumphs and a sense of accomplishment for everyone involved.

Of course, you will not want it to be too simple either. If the players feel that a task has been deliberately designed to give them something to do, without any sense, the effect will be reversed and they will not be willing to perform all the tasks.

Design according to the theme

It happens that most game designs interpret the creation of a game design as a template for inserting puzzles that challenge the mind, logic, spatial reasoning and what is sometimes frustrating to solve. A narrative is made and the rhythm and progress are thought about, but often the results are imprecise.

Normally, the flow of the game or the sequence of events in which things occur is very linear. If not, players have so many things to do, they do not know where to start. The crux of an Escape Room is not so much the difficulty of the riddles as its coherence within the story. A task can be of low difficulty, but if it is related to the narrative it is credible and allows the movement, promotes the progression and the achievement when seeing it finished.

Imbalance between players

It seems that certain players in a group tend to solve all the riddles while others do little but stand and watch. It is possible that inactive players really want to participate in the fun, but simply do not know what they are supposed to do or do not have the right skill sets to solve the challenges before them.

Before assuming that groups usually have some enthusiastic players, compensated by several that are not really in the game, we should consider how the puzzles are designed, and make sure we have created a whole series of tasks that encourage teamwork.

When a group is in a linear room and is stuck in an enigma, enigma or logic puzzle in particular, it is basically an insurmountable wall until someone with the right aptitude (if lucky) can solve it. Everyone has to wait.

The puzzles that can be solved by individuals neglect those who want to participate in the solution, but find it more difficult to understand. This type of game design rewards the ambitious and hard-working but not the rest of the group.

The lack of positive comments can become a frustrating experience for some members of the group and create an unwillingness to try later riddles simply because it is not so much fun that you are repeatedly reminded that you are not quick enough to solve them.

Individual design VS Group design

An escape room experience (or any similar experience) has to do with managing the user's experience towards its intended outcome. Just like if you try a riddle book or a new game for mobile devices, if you end up frustrated or fail repeatedly, you will be less inclined to continue or try to play more.

Now, in an escape room, players cannot stop and leave even if they want to, so they are stuck in the conflict between knowing they paid for the time to be there and not knowing what to do or try.

The design of games should include both tests of different kinds, to encourage each person profile to find their style, as well as group tests, involving several participants at the same time. For example, that one must move panels according to the information that another player reads elsewhere in the room.

The cooperation between the players to complete the overall puzzle means that they can celebrate together, leading to a better initiative as a whole due to the positive feedback and the reward for working together.

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About TM Maria Senior   Be a king in your own kingdom

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Joined APSense since, May 29th, 2017, From Atlanta, United States.

Created on Jun 15th 2019 13:10. Viewed 712 times.


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