The world’s first bio-activated maze game. Crystal Maze meets Portal in the real world. From the creators of 2.8 Hours Later.
The world’s first bio-activated maze game. Crystal Maze meets Portal in the real world. From the creators of 2.8 Hours Later. Read more
About this project
Hyde is a maze game inspired by the tale of Jekyll and Hyde. We’re building it in London. Set in the near future, the experience will be like playing a cross between the Crystal Maze and Portal but in the real world. We’ve developed some really cool tech that will bring Hyde to life, we’re now looking for your support to build it into a real world game environment.
This is the story
You're taking part in experimental trials of a new drug developed by the Jekyll Corporation. It's designed to modify the capabilities of the human body, giving you the power to control your environment simply by controlling your physical state (your pulse rate, breathing, posture etc).
Armed with some wearable tech your assignment is to navigate your way though a maze of connected rooms, using your new powers to complete a series of increasingly challenging tasks along the way.
But this is a smart maze: it knows where you are, and how you’re doing. You begin to realise that someone – or something – is working against you. You'll need to stay calm to retain control of your surroundings. Because there's only one way out of this maze, and that's through discovering the true story of Jekyll & Hyde.
We plan on building Hyde in London and New York City, if we hit our stretch goal. It will open to the public in 2016 as a ticketed experience that lasts 45-60 mins experience.
What We Are Asking For
We’ve got a tech set up, a warehouse in which to build the prototype and an awesome team to make Hyde happen. This includes Jekyll & Hyde expert Dr Anthony Mandal. Anthony is Reader in Print and Digital Cultures at Cardiff University and is fascinated by the complicated relationship between science and the supernatural, exploring the ways in which gothic writers have responded to persistent cultural anxiety regarding science and technology.
We need to raise £50,000 from the Kickstarter community to fund the building of the maze, the scaling up of our technology and its installation in the game space. But we also need your input into the design of the game play.
Hyde is a totally unique, highly original concept - we can link your body to stuff in the game world like enabling you to unlock doors by holding your breath, or switching lights by lowering your heart rate - and it has massive potential. We need your help in realising Hyde: sharing possible game challenges, providing a reality check to our ideas and helping test the experience as we develop. Most importantly we need your bio-data. The Lab Rat perk is where we invite backers to come down and get wired into Hyde, testing game scenarios and providing feedback, both biological and creative.
We'll also be posting updates, inspiration and game info to the project page as we develop Hyde: http://hydeiscoming.co.uk
On the ground or online, we hope you can contribute to Hyde. It's inside all of us.
- If we raise £50,000 we build the maze.
- For each extra £3,000 we raise, we'll add another room.
- When we reach £75,000 we'll commit to opening a maze in the USA, in New York City.
- At £125,000 we'll stop building rooms and look at different types of bio-sensing and actuation (walls that move with your breathing anyone?)
What We Know
Ok, we’re about to start of a journey of discovery and we hope you can come along with us. Here’s where we are starting from...
Hyde is an interior environment, a maze made up of rooms, corridors and halls that are linked by doors. Players can experience the maze either individually (scary) or in a small group. As players progress through Hyde they encounter doors that are locked. In order to progress deeper into Hyde the players must unlock these doors. This is achieved by overcoming challenges. Some of these are familiar from computer games and escape the room experiences: solving puzzles, finding hidden keys and so on. Other challenges are deeply unfamiliar; the players must control their body state to open the doors: may be hold their breath, blow forcefully or lower their heart rates. The objective is to find the centre of the maze and get out within a given time.
The maze is a test environment for an experimental, performance enhancement drug being developed by the Jekyll Corporation. Players are the guinea pigs. Before they begin the experience the players are fitted with wearable tech and are given the drug (note: not a real drug). The players then enter the maze where their capabilities are assessed, with their bio-data sent to the system as it tests their enhanced performance. With each challenge successfully overcome, the system increases the difficulty of the maze. This is a dynamic environment that knows where the individual players are and how they are performing.
But things appear to go wrong; as the players use their new super-powers to unlock doors and make their way through the maze, unintended side-effects become apparent. Rooms offer no apparent means of unlocking doors but alternative exit points are discovered: a ventilation duct, or a hidden service hatch. These give access to a completely different world, of laboratories and plant rooms; the behind the scenes, operational facilities of the Corporation research labs. Here the story of Jekyll & Hyde begins to appear, where you go in search of Hyde, only to be pursued by him.
Currently, we are using commercially available bio-sensors. These connect via Bluetooth to a mobile telephone. The phone runs our app that sends individual player data to the Hyde server. The server processes this information, then activates actuators (locks, lights, motors) in the maze. Hyde tracks players, individually and in groups, so will make challenges harder or easier, depending where players have been and how well they are doing.
Down at the lab we’ve built a series of prototype bio-activated devices using commercially available systems and a fair bit of soldering. The prototypes are pretty neat. They include a door that opens when you blow out, a box that you can unlock by holding your breath and a zoetrope that spins at the same speed as your heart. It’s been great fun hacking together these prototypes. We’ve learned a lot in this early development stage. Now we really need to string these systems together and start configuring them for a full scale Hyde experience.
What We Don’t Know
In Hyde we are connecting people's bodies to the world around them in a highly novel way. We’ve played with this ourselves, and it’s awesome, but only with a handful of linked challenges within a single room. We have not constructed a continuous sequence out of a number of rooms. How this will work and how it will form a satisfying game experience is something we can only answer by building a full scale prototype and testing it with lots of players. This is where the Kickstarter community can really help out. Our Lab Rat perk gives you the opportunity to come down and test the work in progress, both in Cardiff and/or London, and to play and feedback the finished maze in London.
This is a Jekyll and Hyde game. It’s a classic story that was a controversial bestseller in its day. How can we represent some of the ideas and themes of the story in the game? How can we honour its transgressive power? Working with our academic partner Anthony Mandal, world expert on Jekyll and Hyde, we’ll be leading a discussion with our backers on how the story could be rendered in a game environment. This is more than props and bits of exposition - this isn’t a period piece and it’s certainly not steampunk - but the challenge of rendering a linear sequence of plot reveals into a game where players could experience the action of the story as events that happen to them as participants.
It’s not just about the money. We’ve been making games for over six years. In that time we have made over forty five games, from mobile apps to mass participation spectaculars. Central to our most successful work has been an element of co-design and community. We’ve run regular playtest labs, a festival of street games, igfest, and our best selling zombie chase game started as a collective vision of Bristol’s creative community. This is why we have brought Hyde to Kickstarter. We need you financial support but we also need your collaboration.
We’re a small company making the biggest real world games played anywhere and this our most ambitious project so far. The company is led by joint creative directors Simon Evans & Simon Johnson, supported by a team of nine specialising in construction, location management, casting, production management and technology development.
In the 6 years we’ve been operating we’ve developed over 40 different games. Our games are playful experiences staged with real people in real places. When you play one of our games you might be chased through a bustling city centre by tracking dogs, you might have to escape a zombie infested shopping mall, or make it to the last boat out of town before the cops get you. We create unique experiences that are powerful, compelling and tremendous fun. Real world games put you in the centre of the action, as the hero or villain of your own story. Slingshot’s biggest game so far has been the city wide zombie chase game 2.8 Hours Later. Our zombies have hunted over 80,000 people across the UK’s streets, in games that cover a 2.5 - 3 mile route and up to 12 locations. We are *the* experts in real world gaming.
Slingshot games involve play with other people in physical spaces, just like the games you played as kids, but underlying them is the latest technology. Check out our website to see the types of games we’ve delivered using radically new approaches. Games such as the manhunt GPS tracking games Moosehunt and Hat Game, or the social robot Tweeture have gained us a global reputation for our inventive use technology in playful experiences.
For Hyde Slingshot are joined by Dr Anthony Mandal, Reader in Print and Digital Cultures at Cardiff University and expert on Jekyll & Hyde. Anthony has published numerous books and articles on 19th century literature, the gothic and the business of publishing. More particularly, Anthony has always been fascinated by the complicated relationship between science and the supernatural, exploring the ways in which gothic writers have responded to persistent cultural anxiety regarding science and technology. His work has focused on both the 19th century and the present day, exploring the common responses that emerge when a society is confronted with a rapidly accelerating technology (the industrial and digital ages respectively). As well as working with Slingshot on Hyde, Anthony is one of the General Editors overseeing a landmark new edition of the complete works of Robert Louis Stevenson, that is being published by Edinburgh University Press over the next decade. You can find out more about Anthony and his work at http://about.me/Anthony.Mandal
Hyde is supported by REACT. The programme is a partnership between UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England), Watershed and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, it is a unique collaboration supporting innovative products and transformational services by bringing together companies and academics across South West and Wales.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges we face fall into two categories: firstly, ones that emerge out of running a live event game; secondly, risks and challenges that arise from the highly novel use of technology in the project, specifically the use of players bio-data.
The first category is very familiar to us, so we’ll deal with it first. We are proposing to put up to hundreds of players through a maze inside a warehouse. Doing this safely and ensuring that relevant regulations such fire evacuation are met will require some work. However, this is an area in which we have considerable experience.
Slingshot have had almost 100,000 players take part in our games over the last six years, with most of them having played 2.8 Hours Later. This game involves up to 600 players running around city centres and accessing a range of venues, from dilapidated warehouses to multi-storey car parks. During this time we have developed robust procedures to manage safe play and we have a partnership with Bath and North East Somerset Council http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/ who are our nominated Primary Authority. This scheme means the authority has endorsed our statutory compliance for our existing products. The team there have worked with Glastonbury Festival and have a great deal of experience inspecting the weird and the wonderful. We’ll be working closely with them to ensure Hyde is safe as well as fun.
By contrast use of bio-data involves risks that are unfamiliar to us. We’ll be stimulating our players and collecting lots of intimate bio-data from our them. We need to ensure that requiring players to manipulate their breathing and heart rate doesn’t have an adverse effect on their health and/or exacerbate an underlying condition.
This is very early days in the widespread use and exploitation of bio-sensing technology. As a society, we are only just becoming aware of the implications the data generated by products such as the Google watch will have. Privacy is a major concern. For these reasons we will be consulting with experts in law and medical ethics to develop our approach to these issues.
Finally, the challenge of developing logic to handle the large volume of data that the project will generate is not inconsiderable. Implementing logic that delivers the gameplay and story objectives described above will be a huge challenge. We’ve got a fair bit of experience to inform a conceptual response to these challenges but rendering them in code will require us to hire a crack team of engineers and developers. Basically, we are going to throw money at the problem and we’ve budgeted to hire the best.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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