Themed Thursday – War

One of our nation’s greatest cryptographers have been captured while on a mission. Thankfully, enemy forces aren’t aware of his importance. The compound is heavily fortified, so a frontal assault is out of the question. Military intelligence has revealed a one hour window for you and your team of crack commandos to rescue the cryptographer. Good luck.

I wasn’t sure what might be interesting to do with a war theme, so I wanted to incorporate an idea I was thinking about – how do you make a game seem bigger than it is? It’s something I’ve thought all the way back when I had the maze idea for Themed Thursday. One idea I considered was to make it seem like a room was part of a bigger facility. One way you could do that is through an interactive video component. The implementation in this case would be that players would have to reach a control room with several monitors. They would release the prisoner and try to direct him on where to go, based off of compound blueprints, guard movements, and other information available. You could film an actor (even in costume!) following your directions, trying to avoid guards and the like. It brings back memories of the computer games from the early 90’s that had live action actors filmed

It would seem like your control room was part of a bigger facility. Obviously the hallways and setting would have to be filmed elsewhere, but I think it could be neat. You would also have to film shots of the prisoner being captured. I was thinking about what the right ‘punishment’ would be for a caught prisoner, but I think being treated to the prisoner being escorted back to jail would be punishing enough in terms of time.

In terms of the actual game, I would want it be very linear. In line with this whole stealth theme, I think it would be cool to have solve a puzzle or two before having to sneak into the control room. I’ve made an IR proximity sensor with an arduino before, so I imagine designing a ‘stealth’ game is within the realm of possibility.

There’s no real narrative to the idea. I liked the idea of the prisoner being a cryptographer because it’s very topical. It also allows for potential a code making/breaking puzzle (eg. he’s shot during his escape, and conveys to you the message/mission he was on with his dying breath), but that might be much too puzzle-y for an otherwise easy and fun room.



  1. Very interesting idea. I agree that seeing a video of someone moving around, seemingly following your instructions, retains the ‘real life’ feel even though you’re essentially now playing a video game. If the character could interact with you in other ways, for example guiding them to a phone, triggering a call to the control room from the GM (or a recording), it would be even more immersive.

    Lots of potential. Needs more thought.


    1. Yeah, there are lots of interesting things you could do! Since they would be recorded video, all the verbal communication will be one way, but there could still be things that could be neat. Maybe the prisoner has access to areas of the facility you don’t, and you have to send him to get codes or for a door or something like that. Really, all the ‘split-team’ game tricks could be used


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