NYFA Games promises students hands-on learning from industry masters. To that end, NYFA Instructor and Niantic Labs creative director, John Zuur-Platten, brought his students to get hands on with the innerworking of a AAA studio and provide design feedback on a new module of their alternate reality game Ingress.
If you’re not familiar, Ingress is the pioneering augmented reality game in which you move through the real world with your mobile phone battling and claiming territory for your faction within the game.
The game uses the Google Maps API and challenges factions to capture real world “portals” that are typically places of cultural significance such as public art, landmarks, and monuments. An ongoing mystery story plays out via videos and blog posts posted by Niantic.
Ideas that work in Ingress can sometimes see their way into Niantic Labs more mainstream AR game, Pokemon Go. We caught up with NYFA Games’ MFA student, Fabio Ribak, to get his take on the experience:
“Ingress engages players from around the world in a rich interactive story. Game events attract thousands of players to meet up and collaborate in the real world. There is really nothing else like it. It was amazing to see the process of how the conceive new kinds of game play on the cutting edge of storytelling.”
When asked what he learned that could be applied to his projects:
“I have never done a playtest that long (2 hours) before, and I enjoyed how much detail there was on every quest. I will try to achieve a balance on these aspects that capture the attention of the players throughout the entire playtest.”