Monday, 1 December 2014

Sprint Update 01.12.2014

One more Off Grid development sprint completed, and it’s time for our Sprint Update blog post!

New data mechanics

Keeping with our recent task of adding more focus on data-based game mechanics, we made our guards create GPS location data, which you can use to figure out where they are moving in the level. This also meant that we could change the guards themselves to not show in the data view, so now you really are tracking them based on data alone.

It’s of course a bit more challenging, so to balance things we increased the range of the data view. Players can see more of the guards and track them more easily. To avoid location data from filling the levels to the point where the pure amount of data would make it difficult to use, we made the location data points expire fairly quickly, and to make sure that looks nice, we changed the data points to fade away over time instead of just disappearing.

The rest of the quest mechanics in the level we have now are also all using data and files instead of physical objects, so downloading files from laptop, for example, correctly paces them in the file inventory on your phone instead of creating item in your item inventory. Makes more sense this way.

User interface

We also decided that downloading files should give more feedback to the player rather than the files just appearing in the inventory, so we set up a popup messaging system for the user interface to give player notifications about these kind of events.

While working on the popup system, we also purged some reminders of our older UI system from the project, and updated the UI middleware we’re using to the latest version. Doesn’t make much of a difference yet, but gives us some nice extra features we’ll surely find some nice uses for in the game…


To give people a nice place to discuss Off Grid, and of course any related topics, we have now set up a subreddit of our own. Head to and join the discussion, ask questions, and post any interesting stuff about data privacy!


There have been a couple of interesting events over this sprint. We went along to The Open Rights Group’s annual conference, ORGcon, and heard an impressive array of panels and speakers. You can read a pretty good summary of Cory Doctorow’s keynote here:

Cybersalon’s ‘Game On’

We were invited along to take part in Cybersalon’s event 'Game On’ - we took the Off Grid prototype along and talked about development and the inspiration behind the game. There were interesting talks from William Latham, a pioneer in genetic algorithms and computer art; Richard Bartle, inventor of the first MUD, spoke about the genesis of MMORPG’s and where it all went wrong; and Chris Baraniuk’s presentation on “Gaming for good, or playing with the Devil?” even included a slide from the NSA’s leaked PRISM documentation!

More about the event and future 'Game Ons’ here:

We’d seriously advise checking it out - the next one is in January.

And that is that!  Right, off to the Pub for London Indies!

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