Behind the Scenes, Part 4: World-Building

Ever wondered how we design our games? This is the fourth post in a blog series about how we approach the challenge, and is the first place we make major announcements.

As game designers, we are in a constant struggle to create an experience that is interactive, cohesive, robust, believable, and fun for all ages. But we really feel that Escape Industries has achieved this with the Earth Experience.

Lesson 1: First Impressions Are Everything

From the start, we knew we would never be able to perfectly model the edge conditions of a fictitious universe, so we stuck to what we did best and made a rich and challenging Earth, letting the bulk of the universe drift as a poorly understood and mostly inaccessible backdrop for our users to play amidst. Most people never even attempted to leave its confines, and when they do, they don’t get far.

Lesson 2: A Few Mistakes are Okay

Now, I’ll be the first to admit we’ve made some mistakes. Ethan and I have had some artistic differences, which have led to occasional compatibility issues between certain key elements of the Experience. And sure, we’ve pushed the envelope on occasion with our share of inside jokes, and a few people have even guessed the truth. But if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have said that we had a handle on the situation.

Lesson 3: Know When to Quit

Recently, though, the servers have been producing an increasing number of major anomalies, as well as a worrying buildup of events that are entirely inexplicable, even to us. (And we wrote the program!) The bugs in this one are just piling up, and it’s getting less and less plausible to explain them away to our investors as “features.”

So… what can we say? It’s time to pivot. We consider the Earth Experience to have been a huge success, but everything has its time. (Or so you’ve always thought! Did you know that death was originally just our quick patch for a corrosion problem we were dealing with? It added so much to the experience, though, that we decided to keep it.) Anyway, there will always be new projects to work on.


We regret to inform you that the simulation known as the Earth Experience will be terminated effective April 1, 2017, 23:59:59 EEST. We suggest that you say goodbye to your loved ones before the appointed time, because when you wake up, you might find yourselves in life support pods on opposite sides of the platform. (Also,  just a heads up: even if you do meet them again, lovers and spouses probably won’t be as attractive as they were in the sim.)

Modeling a controlled explosion of EarthEx

Enjoy your last April Fool’s Day in the Earth Experience. And thanks for playing!

— The Escape New Haven Team