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Case Study

We were approached by Terem Technologies on behalf of L.E.K Consulting (Sydney) to develop a location-based alternate reality game, all within an incredibly tight time frame – 2 weeks!

The Wild West Adventure app was to be used during a corporate getaway to entertain staff, and as a demonstration of what can be achieved with rapid prototyping.

The app is a Wild West-themed treasure hunt, with a hand-drawn map containing a series of GPS waypoints. Players log in and begin the countdown for a 90-minute game clock. By running from waypoint to waypoint, players trigger riddles, company trivia questions, or dastardly traps which cause them to gain or lose points.

The Challenge

The major challenge was our inability to test whether our GPS waypoints were correctly aligned. We had two weeks to build and distribute the app onto the phones of every L.E.K employee on the retreat. There was also no WiFi available, so updating the app or remotely wasn’t an option.

The major challenges we identified were:

  • Translate the concept from paper to smartphone in 2 weeks. This included initial design meetings, development, and deploying builds to employee devices.
  • The game needed to be unlocked at a specific time  during the retreat so that all players had an equal opportunity to win. The client had requested that we implement live-operations to trigger the start of the experience from a server.
  • To create and test the game for a specific location over 150 km away, without being able to physically access the area.

The Solution

We ran workshops with Terem to come up with suggestions on more efficient ways to achieve objectives, and leveraged existing tools to overcome the restricted timeline.

Some of the highlights from development:

  • For the core functionality, we added a custom Wild West skin to a prebuilt map plugin. We restricted the boundaries of the map to a target area around our own office, and then used a GPS simulator to calibrate the real map with known GPS coordinates.
  • As a further time-saving measure we proposed that we should use a passcode to unlock the game rather than implementing live-ops. This allowed for the same functionality as live-ops, while significantly reducing complexity.

The Results

It was an intense and rewarding experience to create such a tight, polished, and unique product within such a short window. Some key takeaways:

  • The client used the Wild West experience at the company getaway to great success. The game was considered the highlight of the event.
  • The GPS coordinates of all 20 waypoints lined up perfectly. This was critical because most of the questions relied on clues in the real world.
  • We delivered a robust prototype to the client EARLY so that 2 of the L.E.K team members could test the experience themselves around their Sydney office.
  • We had to test the app by running around outside for a change!

If you have a project and need a team to make it happen, get in touch.

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    About Nico
    I am a strong believer in the educational and psychological benefits of games. If I'm not writing about games, I'm probably making them.
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