Modus Operandi | False Detectives

November-December 2017

Primary Researcher & Writer/Experience Designer

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False Detectives was a team created in the class Research Topics in Game Design. For four weeks in November-December 2017, we developed a project to explore the possibility of a player literally talking to a non-player character (NPC) in a virtual reality video game, instead of selecting pre-written dialogue options from a graphical user interface (GUI). Our final product was a murder mystery we called Modus Operandi, in which the player talks to an NPC detective over a radio, using pictures and files in the game to figure out where a serial killer would strike next.

Over the course of this project, I:

  • Developed the original project concept, including method and timeline, and pitched it to the class, upon which it was chosen as one of three research projects to explore
  • Set weekly deadlines and monitored team progress using Trello and Slack
  • Designed the user experience by writing the story and the NPC script, which was used to guide the player to certain keywords
  • Conducted playtesting, including pre- and post-interviews with the players and recording their experience in-game
  • Presented weekly progress reports and a final summary of research to industry professionals

Modus Operandi was developed in Unity using C# for the HTC Vive. The project and its source code can be downloaded from GitHub. The final report on our research can be read here.

A view of a digitally modeled room for Modus Operandi

Inside the 3D-modeled world of Modus Operandi.

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