RELAY is a game that puts PC users in their home (ORIGINS) in a team with a players walking about in the physical world (RELAYS), and gives them unique opportunities to cooperate with one another in order to hack other pairs of players.
Play it here.
Through narrative immersion, RELAY aims to give players the chance to meet others through playful interaction, significantly increasing their chances of developing a more robust relationship with one another. It aims to address the relatively cold social environments in the northwesthern part of the world by allowing players to engage in an alternate reality game that depends on meaningful interaction with other players.
More introverted players are free to play from home, acting as ORIGINS, and developing relationships with their partners on a one-on-one basis. Players who are more outgoing can take on the role of RELAY, and engage with players in the physical world, potentially running into larger groups of people, and extending their social circle.
ORIGINS must guide their RELAYS to and away from other players. Their access to a map allows them to develop a high sense of orientation, and they must effectively communicate with their partners so as to direct them.
RELAYS must engage other RELAYS in the physical world by spotting them, running away from them, or playing more aggresively and trying to close in on them for a counter-hack. They use crowds for cover, adopt clever strategies for staying hidden, and develop trust and physical-world alliences with other players through their interaction.
Once an ORIGIN and a RELAY have been paired up, the ORIGIN is able to see the player they're paired with on the map as a highlighted teal marker. All other players are white markers. The ORIGIN and RELAY can speak to one another through the chat, and must refine their communication in order to secure their chances of victory in hacking encounters. The purpose is to engage in hacking encounters with other teams (composed of an ORIGIN and a RELAY, as well), succeed in hacking them, and avoid getting hacked, yourself.
When less than 100m away from another RELAY, a hack can be initiated by the ORIGIN. The target_RELAY and their ORIGIN must decide whether to escape by running away (500m+ from the hacker_RELAY), or to find the hacker_RELAY and execute a counter-hack by closing in on the attacker (less than 25m).
If the targets don't escape or counter-hack within 5 minutes, they fail the encounter, and the hackers succeed. If the targets do succeed, then the hackers fail.
RELAY is simply a prototype, and although functional, could use additional features to allow for more interesting experiences to emerge. For this reason, I would be interested in the implementation of the following features:
- Players’ profiles track gameplay aspects (successful / unsuccessful hacks, level, XP points).
- Hackers have skills that allow them to employ different strategies for hacking targets ("blackout" makes their partner disappear off map for a short amount of time, "scramble" creates fake player locations around their partner for some time, and "scan" allows hackers to bypass "blackout" and "scramble", to a degree, and get additional player information on potential targets).
- Simple mini-game for hacks and abilities, so as to draw more attention from the ORIGIN, and raise the difficulty of multitasking.