Envoy : A Tangible Text Adventure



Where
Parsons MFA Design + Technology
New York, NY

Why
Design Prompt - Narrative

When
November 2013
Materials & Software
Arduino
Interface Hardware
Laser Cut Plexi
Modified Rubik’s Cube
Paper Puzzles
Text Edit

 


In Envoy, the player assumes the role of a space captain en route to an alien world. On board is a legendary diplomat, who upon arriving will bring an end to the planet’s civil war. But all is not as it seems. The player must use their wits and puzzle-solving abilities to ensure the envoy arrives safely.

Envoy consists of four physical elements. The first is the main CPU housed within an aluminum enclosure. This piece holds the entire game on an internal microcontroller programmed to behave as a USB keyboard. When connected to a computer, it automatically begins to type the story. Automated Shift and Tab keys are used to change images and toggle between command windows. Second, a five-button controller acts as the player’s main interface for selecting story paths within the game. Third, a dossier of printed materials provides context for the story. Finally, a Rubik’s cube with conductive panels and a docking station serve as the game’s final puzzle. The docking station is an array of switches that is capable of detecting whether the player has correctly solved the puzzle.