Most of the time, offline video games support one or, at most, a handful of players at a time. But sometimes, developers find ways to bend the rules and create local games that extend far beyond the confines of the living room.
Take Renga, the 100-player local co-op game from independent developers John Sear and Adam Russell. The game literally takes place in a full-sized movie theater, and allows players to work together and solve collaborative puzzles using nothing but laser pointers.
The game certainly plays with the rules of traditional multiplayer design, and at this year's Independent Games Summit during GDC Europe, the game's developers pulled back the curtain on how Renga came to be in a detailed postmortem on unorthodox game design.
Sear explained that the inspiration for Renga actually came from other media like music and film. As he put it, audiences can enjoy these media in multiple ways: they can enjoy their albums and movies at home, or they can go to a concert or theater for an altogether different experience.
"And the question we wanted to answer was: What does that look like for games?" he said. "If you try to take a single player game and turn it into a crowd interactive experience, what would that actually be?"
In the end, Renga's basic design was simple and to-the-point, but given its immense scale, Sear and Russell believe it feels less like a traditional game and more like a full-blown public event.
Immediately following the Renga postmortem, indie developer Zach Zebrowski took the stage at GDC Europe to discuss his own event-focused game: Rocket Bullet Storm. The game was built specifically with large festivals in mind, and let players to control a simple arcade shoot 'em up on an enormous LED screen. Like Renga, the game found its voice by giving players a chance to share their experience with hundreds of others in a large public setting.
For more insight into the development of either Renga or Rocket Bullet Storm, be sure to check out the full "Unorthodox Games" postmortem in the above GDC Vault video.
About the GDC Vault
In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Online already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription Beta via a GDC Vault inquiry form.
Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can send an email to Gillian Crowley. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.
Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.