Mirror Mirror was the final project for a semester-long course in Experimental Game Design: Special Topics in Alternate Interfaces at Carnegie Mellon University taught by Paolo Perdicini.
This course had students explore non-traditional games and interfaces beyond the status-quo such as controlling a game using facial expressions, or creating electrical circuits by touching other players.
For this project, I worked independently for 3 weeks and had no prior knowledge of the Processing programming language.
Typically, multiplayer games tend to use technology for either online remote gameplay, or shared single-screen gameplay. I wanted to explore ways that technology could facilitate communication, interaction, and playfulness both in the game, and outside of the game.
I was incredibly inspired by Spaceteam, a game where players link phones together and scream out commands visible on their screen but only others can execute. It was both fun and ridiculous to see players take digital commands from their phone and yell them at other players next to them.
- With the ubiquity of desktops, laptops, and tablets, a multi-screen game would be a fun and interesting way to link these devices together
- Each player having their own mouse and screen gives each player independence, while the collaborative levels and the addition of two other adjacent players forces a co-dependency on each player
- Local multiplayer enables players to communicate naturally outside of the game by talking and pointing, while still interacting within the game.
- Placing players next to each other created a feedback loop that helped people focus on solving the puzzles rather than struggling to communicate using purely digital methods.
The objective of Mirror Mirror is simple. Each level consists of one or more lasers, mirrors, walls, and circles. The goal is to rotate and move the mirrors provided to bounce the laser into the circles. The twist is that the laser extends across multiple screens, with each player able to control the mirrors on their own screen. The levels provide different hints to each player and force them to pool their resources and work together to solve the puzzle.
This game was a fun and functional game that people loved to play during the game design exhibition. The most amazing thing to see in action was collaboration between complete strangers. While this project is seated in the video game realm, many of the concepts and design decisions could be applied to collaborative digital workspaces.