Lens

Project Lens is an urban game for two players. Using simple technology, ones fate is put in the hands of the other. They have to work closesly together to difuse the bomb.

One of them is blindfolded, and has a camera on his head. The other sees the live feed of the camera on a screen in the “Command Post”. The player behind the screen has to guide the other player through a series of assignments. He does this by giving verbal directions over the headsets both players are wearing. The players have limited time to achieve the goals, otherwise they might not survive…

 

Played at

We were invited to organise this game in 2010 at the LAU International Theatre Festival in Beirut, Libanon. You can see a compilation video of the trip here. It also includes some gameplay.

We also played this game at:

2010, june 26
2010, september 13
2010, november 27
2011, march 26
2011, june 18
2013, september 13

Fruitfest
Leidsche Rijn festival
Open day Utrecht School of Arts
Open day Utrecht School of Arts
Festival De Beschaving
Rezone Festival

Utrecht, Netherlands
Utrecht, Netherlands
Utrecht, Netherlands
Utrecht, Netherlands
Utrecht, Netherlands
Den Bosch, Netherlands

The story

We invented a company called Cerberus Defence. This is a military research company that specializes in the appliance of digital technologies in a military environment.
They developed Project Lens as a way to prevent or reduce posttraumatic stress disorder under soldiers caused by seeing horrific things on the battlefield. With this method, the soldier in the field will never see the traumatic things around him. The soldier in the command post does see them, but only on a screen. People nowadays are used to seeing the most gory things on a screen, without having any trouble sleeping at night.
Project Lens is offered on festivals and such to promote the company, and to get back a lot of test results.

Designing the game

The assignment for this project was to make an urban game. That is a game that can be played outside, in the public space. We experimented a lot with different concepts. One of them was just blindfolding someone and then guiding them through the streets. This proved to be exciting as it was, but we wanted to add an extra element to it. So we decided to separate the guided and the guide as much as possible, with the addition of laptops, headsets and a camera. To make it a more complete performance we added the military setting. For me, this project really proved that a very simple idea can be enough to build a succesful game. I also learned that testing a lot often provides great material.

My role

There were no clearly defined roles in this project. We all worked on the concept and game design. I ended up making the corpse and most of the graphic work, including the logos. After the project I edited the video.
About half a year after the project, I rebuild the technical part from scratch in Max/MSP together with a former classmate that wasn’t on the project before. I also designed new computer graphics. Together with one of my teammates we made the “bomb” that sends feedback back to the command post, using a disassembled keyboard.