Get me out
PC (one each)
"Get me out" is a Co-op puzzle game, where you work together to escape a rogue AI who has taken over a spaceship. As you begin the AI understands you're being rescued, thus starting the ship's self-destruct procedure.
There are three primary puzzles in the game. Because of its linear layout, you must solve the puzzles in a specific order.
The Fuel room(3), Engine room(2), and Main hub(4) all have puzzles. The Engineer spawns in the crew quarters(1) and must solve the puzzles to get into the escape pod(5).
To escape, you have to:
Turn on the engine room lights (2).
In the Fuel Room (3), fuel the escape pod.
In the Main Hub(4), synchronize the escape pod.
Make it to the Escape Pod(5).
All the while, the instant you leave the Crew Quarters at the beginning, the AI initiates a self-destruct procedure.
Symbols and buttons
In this puzzle, to activate the lights of the ship you need to communicate what symbols you see as the crewmate to the engineer. The solution is shown in the protocol.
The balance between clarity and difficulty.
In most puzzles, balancing the difficulty is the toughest challenge. This put me to the test in terms of how much information I should give to the players. The biggest error I made was failing to see that this room represents the first significant hurdle. In retrospect, I could have used a simpler puzzle to teach the protocols to the players before letting them into this room.
I started this with more colors and buttons, but I immediately reduced the number to two and switched it to symbols for accessibility reasons.
Valves and Formulas
To fuel the escape pod, you'll have to communicate the right formula used in the ship to the Engineer. They will decipher the number of molecules and give the information to the Crewmate.
The example vs the solution
The biggest challenge I had with this puzzle was leading the players to the answer without solving it for the players. I tried explaining it in a step-by-step list. That caused too much confusion and pressure on the Engineer. The next step was showing an example. While this worked much better it was still unclear.
A deciding factor was the lack of space to show information. I had a protocol to work with. If I set the example in the back, players missed it. If I set it in the front, players thought that was the solution. This is where I realized at the end of the project that if I had introduced the players to a simplified puzzle, they'd be ready to be eased into this version.
I should've introduced valves earlier.
The end revision had me putting the solution on the page and making it easier than I would've wanted.
During playtests, I had an issue letting the player know what to do and where to go. The first room should act as a tutorial. But I had the self-destruct procedure start as you spawned into the game. The players felt pressure from the get-go, bolted out and tried to find a way without having time to familiarize themselves with the controls and communication.
Controlling the pace and simplifying things!
First I tried having the player spawn behind a closed door. I quickly noticed players just opened the door and that it did nothing. The next step was to lock the door. I locked it behind a pin code that the engineer had in their room. This was a step closer, as the players had to communicate to proceed. But this was way too stressful to start the game from. So I made the self-destruct procedure start after the pin code was accepted. This gave both players time to try the controls, talk it out and find the pin code together.
The Main Hub! It's hexagonal. So what I noticed was the players being a bit lost when entering it. You enter the main hub several times during your gameplay. It was also an issue having the engineer not really have a vantage point to tell the Crewmate what door they were talking about.
Numbers numbers numbers...
I added simple numerations to the manuals and the walls by the doors. I also added a map of the ship inside the engineer's room. This gave reference points and it gave me so much more control over where players would look from the point of view of the gameplay designer. And it helped during playtests to ask if they noticed what room they were in.
Effects made by me