Escape the Boscopalypse

Escape the Boscopalyse is a short game made for Hack Week 2019, which had a theme of Apocalypse vs A New Age. It is a satirical game based on real events during my time at The Bosco – our basement flooding during a big rainstorm, and our landlord locking and restricting access to the roof. The player character is myself, 3D scanned and imported into the game. The other members of the team also show up as scanned 3D models, and so does the aforementioned landlord. It was the judge-approved winning project of that year’s Hack Week.

Every January The Bosco held a Hack Week, both as a form of team building and as a way to test out new ideas. After unveiling the theme, any employee could pitch an idea to the rest of the company and afterwards everyone was free to join whichever team they wanted.

Before we even had the prompt, I knew I wanted to do further research on 3D scanning. Though I had played around with photogrammetry, Kinect scanning, and using a Structure Sensor before, I hadn’t delved as deep as I had wanted. I prepared a deck full of gifs and pitched the vague idea of making a video game revolving around scanning people at The Bosco. I explained the technologies I was considering and had a few possible ideas for mechanics such as a ragdoll experience with a Leap Motion, a fighting game, and a third person shooter, but I made it clear I wanted to come up with the idea for the content as a team.

A gif from the pitch deck showcasing a Leap Motion
A gif from the pitch deck showcasing ragdoll physics

Three other people were enticed by my pitch and we set out to make a game together. I organized a brainstorming meeting and very quickly Will’s idea of making a game where our landlord was the villain was solidified and we came up with a few level ideas based on real events. We agreed that the first level should be about the incident a few months prior where a heavy rain had flooded the basement, where we kept our booths and expensive equipment. It felt very apocalyptic at the time as we had to drain it, test the equipment, move it all, etc. so it was perfect for the theme. We also agreed the win state should involve reaching the roof, which had been closed due to other tenants in the building leaving their cigarette butts up there.

Meanwhile, I had already started doing some research into different apps and methods for 3D scanning, and I determined the Structure Sensor was the best option given the team budget, so I ordered one and began to make the game.

Dave with a weird haircut from software we did not use.
Dave with a dog head from software we did not use.

Once the Structure Sensor arrived I showed the rest of the team how it works, and we spent an afternoon together scanning each other and sending the models to ItSeez3D to get the final outputs. Once the scans were complete I used Mixamo to quickly add animations to them, and then I imported everything into the Unity project I was working on. David helped me find other assets to use for the game and Adam worked on the music.

We had wanted to make more than one level, but I was intent on making sure we had a complete game before going out of scope. A few late nights later we had a finished simple maze runner, with a start screen and win and lose states: animations of the team smoking on the roof if the player won, and an animation of our landlord instructing the player to vacate the building if they lost.

We presented our game to the company, and I’m proud to say it was very well received. We won the competition and as the team leader I was given a tiny brass shoe statue to commemorate that. But to be honest this project was incredibly satisfying not because we won, but because we worked really well as a team, learned new technologies together, and made something that had everybody at the company laughing and asking us how we managed to do it.

Roles: Software development, Game design, Creative lead, Team lead, Ideation facilitation, Research, Asset Management

Made in collaboration with Will Kunkel, David Deberry, and Adam Shaljian.