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Video: Taking games beyond the living room
In this GDC Europe video, the independent developers behind games like Renga and Rocket Bullet Storm explain how to create offline games that extend far beyond the confines of the living room.
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.