Escape Game – FAQs

Here are some of the more common questions I receive over email.  Feel free to contact me via email / twitter if you need more help:

Is it really an Escape Game?

Well – I think the answer is: probably, yes however…

You’re not locking anyone in a room (but technically an Escape Room doesn’t do that either) – although they do create the illusion. You’re also not charging players £20 for the privilege – unless you’re a better businessman than I am 😉

Most Escape Games are incredible and they totally justify the price tag – as I say in the article we’re not really competing with traditional Escape Rooms.

I’ve been making real-world games since 2011 and I always struggle to explain what they are. What’s made my life easier is saying that I make things that are like Escape Rooms (to be fair – some of the things I make ‘are’ Escape Rooms).  Escape Rooms have created a greater understanding of what these types of experiences are like.

Escape Games go by many names: exit rooms, locked room puzzles, escape rooms, adventure rooms. In theory the games you would make following the tutorial are perhaps closer to what some refer to as Puzzle Hunts – but who wants to play that?

A Puzzle Hunt or Treasure Trail is much less sexier than Escape Room. Players are much more excited when you say Escape Game. The puzzles and experiences you create in this tutorial are very similar to those found in Escape Rooms and a long way from ‘Treasure Trails’.

I’m going to stick with Escape Games or Escape Room-inspired experienced for now.

Can we make more authentic Escape Games for our museum?

Absolutely, it’s probably best to partner with an expert or buy an off the shelf experience.

I think it’s completely reasonable to title your game ‘Escape The Museum’ and have the goal of the game to do exactly that. You just need to make the game end by your exit.  No one can complain that they didn’t get to escape the museum then 🙂

Can we use any icons we like in the code-breaking pages?

Currently no.  I plan to add this functionality when I have time (and if there is more demand for it). Currently, you must choose from the existing included icons. I can probably extend this list of options slightly if there is something that you are missing.

So if there a list of what is available?

Sure, it’s any of these:

colour_black colour_blue colour_coral colour_darkgreen
colour_deepskyblue colour_green colour_orange colour_purple
colour_red colour_yellow compass_east compass_north
compass_northeast compass_northwest compass_south compass_southeast
compass_southwest compass_west flag_australia flag_belgium
flag_brazil flag_canada flag_china flag_colombia
flag_cyprus flag_czechrepublic flag_france flag_germany
flag_greatbritain flag_greece flag_india flag_israel
flag_italy flag_jamaica flag_mexico flag_netherlands
flag_poland flag_portugal flag_russian flag_spain
flag_sweden flag_ukraine flag_usa letter_A
letter_B letter_C letter_D letter_E
letter_F letter_G letter_H letter_I
letter_J letter_K letter_L letter_M
letter_N letter_O letter_P letter_Q
letter_R letter_S letter_T letter_U
letter_V letter_W letter_X letter_Y
letter_Z number_1 number_2 number_3
number_4 number_5 number_6 number_7
number_8 number_9 number_0 shape_circle
shape_hexagon shape_octagon shape_pentagon shape_square
shape_triangle suit_clubs suit_diamonds suit_hearts
suit_spades

Is there anyway not to show the entire list of options on the codebreaking screen?

Sure, there is an advanced mode.  By default every option is displayed but you can specify a list of the ones you’d like to show.  The option is called <PuzzleOptionsOverride>.  So you’d use it in your XML like so:

<PuzzleOptionsOverride>A|B|C|E|F|G|H|L|O|Z<PuzzleOptionsOverride>

or here’s an entire example:

<ContentItem>
    <Locked>3</Locked>
    <Type>Puzzle</Type>
    <PuzzleContentType>letter</PuzzleContentType>
    <PuzzleOptionsOverride>A|B|C|E|F|G|H|L|O|Z</PuzzleOptionsOverride>
    <PuzzleAnswer>H|E|L|L|O</PuzzleAnswer>
    <Name>Letter Puzzle</Name>
    <Description>What word?</Description>
    <UnlockContent>4</UnlockContent>
</ContentItem>>

How best to annoy existing Escape Room owners?

Ask them what ‘gen’ their room is – just don’t tell them I sent you 😉

What does that even mean?

Well the ‘gen’ has been suggested as a way of distinguishing the type of experience of an Escape Room. Earlier rooms used no technology and had lots of combination locks, later rooms used more story / narrative, and then came more technology in place of traditional locks. So arduino and raspberry PIs are now common place behind the scenes to make things work. Some newer rooms even incorporate AR & VR – although I’m not sure if that’s a good thing yet!

Ultimately, the gen of the room doesn’t really tell you if the experience is any good – so it’s somewhat pointless. You can have a fantastic game with zero technology but then it feels like if you label it a ‘gen 1’ then it’s somehow inferior to others.