Building a game for a museum
Many electrifying greetings to you all!
My name is Mila, and I’m a Producer at Scarlet City Studios. I’m relatively new to the team, joining at about late 2016. While my colleagues were busy preparing incredible content for you guys in The Aetherlight, I’ve been busy managing a project that we’ve been working on with our amazing new partners: The Museum of the Bible.
For those of you who don’t know, The Museum of the Bible (or, MOTB) is a brand new museum in Washington DC that is dedicated to preserving the story, impact, and history of the Bible. Once it’s open to the public, the museum will offer a state-of-the art space for all to enjoy the rich history and story of the scripture that so many enjoy today.
Our partnership with MOTB has involved developing a brand-new and original game using characters that you might be familiar with through playing The Aetherlight. The purpose of the game is to, like The Aetherlight, encourage interaction with the Bible’s rich history and story through a compelling narrative supported by jaw-dropping visuals and art. In the game, the Postman, travels to the museum to explore it and store Biblical information in his brand-new inventions called Keeper Bots.
The Keeper Bots only absorb specialised knowledge in very specific areas of the museum, and become more powerful as they absorb more information. However, nothing is ever straightforward for the Postman, and he is followed to the museum by Automatons and Fog Boilers. They have a single purpose: Spread the fog into every corner of the museum, and stop its knowledge from being shared. As the player, you’re tasked with the very important mission to restore the museum, and keep it safe from the Automatons. This involves removing the fog, and battling Automatons along the way. Once an area is safe, the player can help the Postman fulfill his original mission.
In the past few weeks, we’ve been busy finalising gameplay and fixing the last few bugs. For my part as a producer, this has meant coordinating our resources, ensuring everyone’s working on critical issues instead of less critical ones – or worse, chasing fluffy squirrels… well, possums (oh, if only we had squirrels here in New Zealand!). I even got the chance to travel to MOTB to do initial testing during this time. I hadn’t seen the museum before, until then I had only heard stories from colleagues who travelled there about a year ago as well as imagined what it might be like based on the blueprints that we received. Seeing the museum in real life – even not fully finished yet – was a breath-taking experience. The museum is absolutely stunning, and everything about it – from exhibits and construction materials to lighting – has been purposely designed to contextualise the wonderful exhibits in each area.
I’m really excited for MOTB visitors to enjoy all the awesome gameplay features that we spent months carefully designing and developing. My favourite feature is Collection. This is a brand new mechanic that we specifically developed for this game, and it requires players to carefully think about the content in the physical space that they’re currently in so as to unlock valuable bits of information – information that the Postman is very keen to acquire. Unlocking valuable Biblical information in each area of the museum leads to a pretty awesome consequence: Keeper Bot Upgrade. The Keeper Bots become more powerful, giving players much needed boosts in Battle – some of the Automatons that we’ve placed in the game really need all the power you can muster to be defeated!
On top of having a big part in developing a game that I’m sure MOTB visitors will absolutely love, this project gave me the opportunity to work with the team that brought The Aetherlight to the world. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a team that is so talented and dedicated to their vision before, and I can definitely see why anyone who’s played The Aetherlight has fallen in love with both the game and the team behind it.
We still have a little bit to go before we can start celebrating our hard work though! Brook and I will be going to the museum again in a few weeks time to conduct one final test of the game before it is shipped and off our hands. In this test, we’ll need to coordinate with a variety of teams from other companies because portions of our game rely on technology that they’re developing – an example is geolocation.
I wish I could share all the millions of photos that I took of the museum, but you’re going to have to wait until the rest of the world gets to take a look at it also.
I’m so excited for the this next chapter of The Aetherlight, and equally-excited for The Aetherlight to be used in a scale and context that we didn’t even imagine when we first started all those years ago!
Keep your eyes peeled for more updates, and for those of you who can, check out MOTB when it’s open! I assure you it’ll be well-worth your time.
Until next time!