Omnicom Media Group Games Competition
Omnicom Media Group is a multinational media services agency.
Omnicom wanted to create some kind of monthly game-based competition internally for its employees. The winner each month would be rewarded, and the winner with most points at the end of the year would be rewarded even more. The games had to be challenging in a way where employees would need to use their minds and critical thinking skills. I suggested 2 types of games: “escape the room” type of games, and “impossible quiz” type of games. This was approved.
The main challenge was now to create 26 challenging escape games with different themes and keep them fresh and interesting by not using the same recycled solutions but different creative new ones each time. Same thing goes for the quiz games. The secondary challenge was finding a perfect scoring and leaderboard system for these games.
Figure out and design how the gaming platform and its leaderboard would work. Create 26 challenging escape games (concept, design, and development) & 27 tricky creative 10-question quizzes (find questions and create new ones while making sure their answers can’t be found by searching online).
My Process & Solution:
1. The Scoring & Leaderboard
I first started thinking of how the scoring system should work. The escape games definitely had to be time based. The person who solves the game in the fastest time gets the most points, and the ones who finish after the first get less and less points.
A question that popped up was should the time be a central time (ex. competition starts at 5pm, so the timer starts at 5pm) or should it be an in-game time (ex. game is available at 5pm, but your timer starts whenever you open the game)? The second option was the fairer option, because what if an employee was busy and couldn’t start the game at 5pm? The second option ensured that everyone had an equal opportunity, so we went with that…
The second question that popped up was how to score the quiz games? A quiz game consisted of 10 multiple choice questions. We couldn’t score them based on correct and incorrect answers because that would result in a points score. We needed a time score in order to integrate it in the leaderboard along with the escape game scores. The solution was to use a timer while a person played a quiz game. When a player answered a wrong answer, we would time-penalize them and restart the quiz from the beginning. We did some testing and settled that the perfect time penalty for a wrong answer would be 5 seconds. After answering a wrong answer, the player would see a 5-second countdown before being able to restart the quiz. In order to win, a player would eventually have to answer all the questions correctly. Just like the escape games, the person to solve the quiz in the fastest time would get most points, and the runners up would get less points respectively.
On the gaming platform, we chose to show 2 leaderboards. The first would show the best times leaderboard of the last game, and the second would show a cumulative points leaderboard of all past games.
2. The Quiz Games
I needed to come up with 270 creative questions for the 27 10-question quiz games. Here’s my process of how I did that:
- I did some online research and played some quiz games for inspiration.
- I collected interesting questions and modified some them so that their solutions were not searchable online.
- I brainstormed and thought hard and created my own original questions as well.
- I created a quiz game template so that it was practical for me to fill in and compile a new quiz game each time.
3. The Escape Games
I needed to come up with 26 challenging escape games with different themes and non-repetitive solutions. Over the course of the project’s duration (around 1 year), I would always write down ideas I got whenever I got them. The ideas were sometimes themes/concepts, and sometimes possible solutions or objects or incomplete parts of a game that I’d hope to be able to use in one of my games. I started brainstorming different concepts and writing down a list of possible game themes (ex. office, spaceship, jungle, pyramid…). Whenever ideas would come for one of these themes, I’d write them down or directly pick that theme as the next game’s theme and start working on it.
Once I picked a theme for the game, I’d start sketching and brainstorming scenarios and solutions. I would sketch the different screens I needed in the game. If there were some parts I still haven’t thought of or figured out yet, I’d usually figure them out as I sketched. The solutions and missing parts would naturally come to me as I kept thinking and working harder on the scenarios after sketching what I already had in mind. I would also write down keywords and possible solutions, and I’d also list down the potential items to be used in the scenes.
Below are some sketch samples from my game creation process, as well as the final results they ended up becoming.
Escape The Jungle
Escape The Pirate Ship
Escape The Snow Storm
Escape The Wrestling Ring
Escape The Pyramid
Escape The Building
Escape The Spaceship
Escape The Prison
Escape The Bar
Escape The Studio
Escape The 3D Printing Lab
Success and Reception
The games and the platform got a lot of positive feedback from Omnicom’s employees. The games and competition resulted in more social interaction among the employees as they discussed the games’ solutions, compared scores, and competed in a friendly fun way. The cash bonuses and bragging rights that the winners earned also made them quite happy. The games and competition was implemented across 2 runs or seasons, each lasting for about one year. Since the initiative contributed to making the company’s work environment better, it helped in getting Omnicom Media Group recognized as one of the top 3 best places to work in the UAE during the time it ran (2014-2015 and 2018).
Evolution and Commercial Release
I had agreed with my client that I had the rights to release the games on my own after they were done with them, so I compiled all the escape games into 1 big single downloadable game with 24 challenges or levels and called it “Escape The Challenge”.