The week we had been waiting for all year finally arrived… the Super Bowl of entertainment technology graduate programs: the ETC Festival.
Over the course of the week, we used cardboard, foam, miscellaneous props and our wits to turn our two project rooms into a Greek temple and stable. With how much positive feedback we had gotten throughout the semester, we knew we had to design for a big crowd of guests wanting to take a turn flying Pegasus. This turned our week into an experience design challenge as we sought to build out a complete experience that includes onboarding, gameplay and offboarding to ensure a safe and fun experience for all involved.
To do this, we developed a few major components for Festival night that we worked on throughout the week:
- Safety Sign: large poster board outlining the potential risks of the attraction, giving guests the opportunity to reflect before getting in line to decide if the experience was right for them
- Wait Time Sign: a (hand-powered) dynamic sign above the doorway to the line that lets guests know what their expected wait time is
- Onboarding Video: one part safety, one part gameplay overview, two parts fun! Gives the guests something to watch in the line and actually speeds up onboarding process in the room because they are familiar with the safety restraints and chair controls
- Chair Live Stream: guests can watch other Festival guests playing and start planning their strategies
- Colored Chair Markers: to reinforce which player is which color in the game
- Warrior Badges: souvenir given to players after their game so they can show off their score to others
- Leaderboard: another (hand-powered) dynamic system to keep track of the best scores of the night
Add in some technical updates to the builds to allow for faster onboarding and rest times and that was plenty for us to work on during the week.
Fast-forward to Friday.
Over the span of 6 hours, we had over 175 people play Pegasus. No sick fliers and only one person asked to end the experience early. Guests enjoyed the line queue and appreciated the effort we took to make it feel like a true theme park attraction. We got lots of positive feedback throughout the night, so Festival acted as a nice ego boost for us to end the semester. We did have one hiccup, though. Our reins were not working as we intended; they prodiced a number of false positive pulls essentially stopping the horse earlier than guests wanted. After about an hour, we scrapped the reins from the experience and it produced a lot more fun and a lot less frustration. It was painful to admit, but it worked out well in the end for the guests and that is great data for us to hand-off and takeaway from this experience.
It was an incredibly successful night for us and the near end to a great semester. We now have some final documentation, a presentation and some hand-off technicalities standing between us and a well-deserved winter break. Come back next week to see how all of that plays out!