An A R G ProjectPuppetmasters: Thryn Henderson & Lauren Sanchez
What Is An ARG?● ARG stands for Alternate Reality Game, games that take place in an online/offline alternate world, attempting complete immersion● “Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) tell stories through narrative elements that are distributed across various platforms. These game variables are carefully concealed from players until appropriate moments determined by the game designer(s). *…+ Instead of requiring the player to enter a fictional game world, ARG designers attempt to enmesh the game within the fabric of the player’s real world by harnessing as many media technologies and interfaces as possible.” – http://www.argology.org/_what-is-an-arg/They can be used as complex viral marketing techniques, or simply for the sake of entertainment – our project falls into the latter category.
Aims & ObjectivesAims:To create a strong multi-media starting point for an ARG launchPromote an alternative style of gameplay with a more real-world focusObjectives:Create an engaging ARG trailhead [or ‘rabbit hole’].Plot out the story line and background needed for game continuation, including concept art.Create convincing web and print resources for the companies & characters involved in the game plot.
Research: Previous ARGsThe Beast“ Considered to be the first fully fledged ARG. The Beast was an experimental marketing tool for the film A.I Artificial Intelligence. It was a murder mystery set in the future featuring human like robots.”I Love Bees“An AI from the Halo 2 universe is stranded in our world and needs help.”Cloverfield“ Set in a dystopian future where the government surveys everyone.”Perplex City“The Master of Perplex City Academy asks for help in finding the lost Receda Cube from the citizens of Earth.”Year Zero“A rebel group from the future attempts to prevent the American government from becoming an Orwellian state.”Potato Fools Day“By collecting enough potatoes players were able to power up a supercomputer to achieve the early release of a game.”
Research: ResourcesThis Is Not A Game: A Guide To Alternate Reality Gaming - Dave SzulborskiRules of Play – Katie Salen/Eric ZimmermanEngineering Play – Mizuko ItoBeyond Reality: a guide to alternate reality gaming - John W. GosneyThis Is Not a Game: Immersive Aesthetics and Collective Play – Jane McGonigalOnline Resources & ARG Forums:Alternate Reality Game Business Models - IGDAhttp://www.unfiction.com/http://www.reddit.com/r/ARGhttp://www.argology.orgPlanning Guides:http://www.christydena.com/online-essays/arg-design-charts/
Faultlines: The story so farThe trailhead: players are contacted by Agent X, a low-level manager of an international organisation called FRACT:ION. He explains that FRACT:ION works to minimize the damage and disruption caused by the supernatural phenomena dubbed “Faultlines”, and hes concerned because a number of his staff are MIA. The first clue is left in this correspondence, as well as links to websites in which key information from the game will be displayed.Over the course of the game the nature of the Faultline phenomena will be revealed to the player, and they will be introduced to a number of other organisations and characters, as well as becoming familiar with the internal workings and moral ambiguity behind FRACT:ION. (Pictured right: Concept art for Agent Z, who is introduced in more detail later in the game.)
Planned Schedule researchpost-testing tweaks Thryn testing Lauren dvd authoring printed package web build animation web designs storyboardspuzzle development narrative 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Faultlines: Artistic Inspiration ● Over the summer we gathered a lot of visual resources and plotted out the basic storyline, which has since continued to evolve. ● Much of our research was based on architecture, as faultlines tend to manifest through old buildings and places where there is a high concentration of human history.● Samples of some of the initial inspiration/moodboard images we collected on our pinterest account: Faultlines ARG Pinterest
Faultlines: Artistic Inspiration ● (cont.) the trailhead will mimic the style of The informative 2D animation sent to players in 1950s educational cartoons. Here are some examples of the style we will be aiming to create: ● Fallout ● Ratchet & Clank ● Portal 2Pictured right: some very early concept art for one of the creatures.
Resources RequiredSo far we have either used or intend to use:Hardware:- DSLR Camera, Video Camera, Graphics Tablets- Greenscreen Facilities, photographic studioSoftware:- Adobe Flash, After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop, Paint Tool SAI, CorelPainter XI, MS OfficeOther Requirements:- One actor confirmed so far, one more needed- One confirmed audio technician- Volunteers from ARG forums for beta testing and questionnaires
Problems Encountered● Keeping the Storyline immersive but not too complex – Players need to be entertained and captivated by the story, but must be able to keep track of it!● Narrowing the parameters – ARG games are enormous, where do we begin and what do we make?● Creating a flexible solution path – ARGs can bend to the will of the player, the starting material cannot be too dedicated to a specific, detailed solution● Defining a cutoff point ● Since creating a whole ARG is beyond the scope of this project we will need to define a clear divide between the media we produce and the hypothetical rest of the game.● Developing cohesion ● As our project is a series of mini-deliverables rather than a large single end product it will need to tie in neatly in terms of storyline, mood, and art direction .
Risks and ConstraintsFinding public domain resources, & similar copyright issuesHealth and safety – fieldwork risk assessment form required for film shooting & permission must be obtainedAvailability of actorsTime constraints will limit how complex the game can beFunding
Thanks!If you think of any more questions or have any input we would love to listen. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org faultlinesarg.tumblr.com or ljs57 / cvh3