Meltdown is a collaborative game where the players find themselves in four different rooms of a nuclear power plant. The goal is to control the nuclear plant for x minutes without causing a meltdown.
The main purpose of our project is to evoke a conversation between national and international students, with the ambition to convey how diversity can be helpful when doing tasks and projects without explicitly saying so.
The game is developed in Unity using C#. Each room features a controlpanel, made from plywood, with a unique combination of buttons, switches, and other components.
There are four players, each having responsibility of a “room” (booth) in a nuclear power plant.
Collaboration is key in order to complete the tasks in time and not cause a meltdown.
Each booth have one monitor and one control panel with different buttons.
The four rooms have different components on the control panel which have assigned tasks.
This year's theme was based on diversity and local knowledge. When brainstorming we took the theme quite literally, mainly focusing on the cultural aspect of diversity.
Three ideas were presented to the stakeholders, and through their feedback and our voting, we decided on the most plausible one. A tangible game where four players collaborate to solve tasks.
After ideation it became apparent that including cultural differences was too broad, so we switched the focal point to bringing people together and getting them talking.
To research the different tasks and environments for the game, we played similar games such as Among Us, Keep talking and nobody explodes, and Space team.
In the formative research each game played had a specific theme, which gave the games a backstory. So a theme was decided, a nuclear power plant on the brink of meltdown.
Each booth represents a room in the power plant with all booths having a monitor and a unique control panel, with buttons, switches, and knobs.
A first version of a control panel was made to test which kinds of buttons would be appropriate for the game and box for the task “connect the wires”. To find a good placement and aesthetics for the control panels, we began by selecting components and placing them flat on a table with marked out sections using masking tape.
A story was created to give the game more of a backstory while also easing the users more into the game before stressing them out with a timer.
The underlying technology uses a computer, running a unity project, and four Arduino nanos with each Arduino responsible for one room's control panel. If a button, switch, or knob changes state in a room, for instance if a button has been pressed, the Ardunio sends that information, represented as a character in a string, to the computer. The computer reads the strings that are sent from the Ardunions and translates it into actions within the game in Unity.
The game uses multiple screens connected to a single computer so testing all the components several times was important for debugging.
The control panels in each room were made from 4 mm thick plywood with the holes for the buttons, switches and knobs being laser cut for a precise fitting. The structure of the booth was built using 12 mm plywood and wood screws, to provide rigidness.
At the end of the design process we had some potential users test and play our game to get feedback.