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Escaping Together

In real-life escape rooms, players try to escape a locked room by solving a series of puzzles. Currently, escape rooms involve collocated collaboration; however, there is potential for them to be distributed. We explored the design of a distributed escape room that connected two distance-separated rooms through audio/video links and shared artifacts. We evaluated it with pairs of participants to explore the design factors that affected player experiences. Results show that an audio connection created feelings of social presence. Video links augmented this connection to help players share knowledge and artifacts, however, showing less over the video feed created curiosity. Players expected a parallel setup between artifacts and puzzles in the rooms, despite the rooms being designed to vary in similarity and how closely players needed to collaborate. These results suggest directions for the design of audio connections to represent remote players, video feeds for sharing artifacts and promoting curiosity, and the use of both similar and dissimilar artifacts as a part of puzzles.

For more info:

Shakeri, H., Singhal, S., Pan, R., Neustaedter, C., & Tang, A. (2017, October). Escaping together: the design and evaluation of a distributed real-life escape room. In Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play(pp. 115-128). ACM.

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