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Nottingham Castle

My Role

Lead Game Designer, Level Designer, UX Designer

The Platform

Physical Installation + Motion Captured Controllers 

My Tools

Unity3D + Playmaker, Miro, Google Slides + Docs + Sheets, Jira, Slack, Physical Prototyping

  • Created a trio of Robin Hood themed game types, each projected on the restored foundations of the Nottingham Castle grounds

  • Worked with Nottingham Castle to design levels and UX/UI imbued with historical accuracy and great gameplay

  • Ensured our designs were accountable to both the learning objectives and the physical restrictions of the exhibit space

  • Iterated and adapted the core game loops based on the evolving changes made to the motion captured bow and staff controllers

Aim, draw and loose! Aha! Well done. Robin Hood will be pleased with you by his side!

Whilst working at PRELOADED I was lead game designer on an interactive exhibit exploring the legends of Robin Hood. Nottingham Castle had renovated four archways within their grounds and planned to use them to host physical simulations of weapons that would have been used in 14th Century Sherwood Forest and were connected to Robin’s famous mythology. 

PRELOADED was tasked with the creation of these playful and educational re-enactments. Our partners (MDM, Artists & Engineers, Target3D) collaboratively crafted custom longbow and quarterstaff controllers that were tracked using motion capture technology. Visitors to the exhibit could arrive at each arch, pick up a controller, and challenge themselves to various games projected at the end of the archway.

The four arches (hosting three possible games) also have a unified look and feel, appearing as a single ‘world’ for players as they move through the different games. From a single-player quarterstaff showdown with Little John to a multiplayer archery competition outside the castle walls, each game balances short but ‘sticky’ game loops whilst remaining true to historical legend.

The variety of gameplay across each game gives visitors more than a glimpse into medieval life. Every activity, whether range-finding in the forest with ‘clouts’ as targets or the quick-fire ‘popinjay’ game of moving targets, is drawn from historical insight. Boys as young as seven were required by law to practice archery every week! Even the quarterstaff, weapon of the peasants, has its secrets; as useful herding geese and picking acorns as it is against a broadsword.

My role was to bring together the elements of factual information delivery, accessible and ironstrong UX design, and engaging, moreish gameplay.

Working closely with art and programming teams, we quickly ‘found the fun’ with the longbow experiences by testing with prototype controllers and greybox levels. The follow up challenges were: to deliver concise, relevant historical facts and instructions without interrupting the player experience; and to design dropoff moments to ensure visitors kept moving onto other areas without creating a bottleneck. Bringing in all members of the team to consider the UX and UI design helped us win out the day!