Life and lessons bootstrapping a murder mystery game

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What is Arcadia?

The Arcadia Report is an immersive murder mystery unique to you, transforming your city into an escape room. Travel to real world locations, unlock clues, and uncover the secrets of Arcadia as you delve into corrupted records of a failed startup with murderous consequences.

Find out more here.


Life and lessons bootstrapping a murder mystery game

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Rough draft of launch strategy v1.0

What is Arcadia?

The Arcadia Report is an immersive murder mystery unique to you, transforming your city into an escape room. Travel to real world locations, unlock clues, and uncover the secrets of Arcadia as you delve into corrupted records of a failed startup with murderous consequences.

Find out more here.

Where We Left Off

Last time, the first case was 95% complete and freshly updated with new content, glitch art, and hacker lambs inspired by Greek mythology. You can read all about it in the last recap:


Life and lessons bootstrapping a murder mystery game

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Welcome to Arcadia and the land of hacker… lambs?

What is Arcadia?

The Arcadia Report is an immersive murder mystery unique to you, transforming your city into an escape room. Travel to real world locations, unlock clues, and uncover the secrets of Arcadia as you delve into corrupted records of a failed startup with murderous consequences.

Find out more here.

Where We Left Off

Week 5 was all about gathering the pieces, from plotting out the demo to putting together new clue visuals, pixel portraits, and polishing off the final screens. You can read all about it in last week’s recap:

Now it was time to put the pieces together.


Lessons and Resources from Designing Dark UI

Dark Mode, the seemingly ever popular ability to turn an interface black and glory in perpetual darkness and (potentially) increased battery life and productivity, is fast becoming a new normal. It officially debuted on iOS 13 but dark interfaces (if not necessarily the ability to toggle them on or off) have been around for a while. However, it wasn’t until I tried designing for the dark that I realised there are a lot more differences than simply turning off the lights. …


Life and lessons bootstrapping a murder mystery game

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An unfortunate victim

What is Arcadia?

The Arcadia Report is an immersive murder mystery unique to you, transforming your city into an escape room. Travel to real world locations, unlock clues, and uncover the secrets of Arcadia as you delve into corrupted records of a failed startup with murderous consequences.

Find out more here.

Where We Left Off

Week 4 was mostly theory: responding to player feedback, tightening up the design, developing iconography, and experimenting with different imagery styles. Next it was time to put that theory into practice.


Life and lessons bootstrapping a murder mystery game

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Arcadia pre-overhaul, post-overhaul, and post-testing streamlined.

What is Arcadia?

The Arcadia Report is an immersive murder mystery unique to you, transforming your city into an escape room. Travel to real world locations, unlock clues, and uncover the secrets of Arcadia as you delve into corrupted records of a failed startup with murderous consequences.

Find out more here.

Where We Left Off

In week 3, I was deep in rounding out the new tutorial case that sees you rebooting (or attempting to reboot) the mysterious Arcadia database full of dark secrets that might point to why the founder turned up dead. You can read more about that in the previous dev log. This meant hopping between testing with old and new players while rounding out the case and honing the visual design. …


Creating a Content-Only Prototype to Redesign an Experience

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One of the biggest challenges I found while testing early version of The Arcadia Report was how to test the designs I was making because they are so content driven. Most screen design tools and static visual prototyping tools can make for a clunky approximation of actually reading and interacting with content. I can walk people through it but then that makes it tricky to get a feel for if the instructions are really working and how people naturally approach the story and gameplay.

So I sat down to brainstorm not the final design but how to prototype.


Life and lessons bootstrapping a murder mystery game

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Where We Left Off

Last week saw the overhaul of The Arcadia Report: taking it from a collection of mysterious features and a loose alpha prototype to a streamlined redesign. The whole process is broken down in last week’s dev log, now it’s on to phase 2: a fresh introduction.


Creating a visual grammar for a tech-noir thriller

The Arcadia Report is centred around a corrupt database but is so much more than that. Arcadia isn’t just a database, it is a pivotal character in the mystery. The interface needed to feel like a living piece of software, a character you come to know, not a mere container for a game. I wanted it to evoke an idealised 80s-90s, hacker style reminiscent of early Silicon Valley but with a timeless update. …


Life and lessons bootstrapping a murder mystery game

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Where We Left Off

Last week I dove back into The Arcadia Report with a fresh perspective after some time off and published the first dev log, reflecting on a project at a turning point. The conclusion? This location-hopping mystery game had many of the right parts but maybe not put together in the right order. So continuing on with the plan to design in the open, kicked off in the last post, here’s how I went about reimagining and streamlining a murder mystery experience (without committing any actual murders).

About

Kezie Todd

Maker of stories, monsters, and designs with personality. http://kez.ie/

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