Behind the Scenes: Making a Virtual Escape Room

Posted: Friday, Jan 8 2021

If you’ve played a virtual escape room, you’ll know that it’s more than just a series of puzzles and clues to solve with your friends. When done right, these elements come together to create a full-on unique experience that’ll leave you asking, “How did anyone make this work?

It’s not just one person that makes it work — it’s truly a team effort. We asked some team members of The Escape Game what it was like to build the virtual escape room experience. Together, from graphic designers to software architects, they’ve taken the escape room industry to the next level through Remote Adventures. Read on to hear how they collectively worked to turn physical escape rooms into an immersive online adventure and ultimate virtual team building experience.

Virtual escape rooms are not just available through The Escape Game, but there are unique components that you’ll only find in their Remote Adventures.

TEG: One idea we had that sets our virtual games apart is adding what we call a “Host” to the experience. The other virtual games that I’ve seen only have a Game Guide. We have both. In our games, the Game Guide is in the physical escape room streaming live. This person serves as the team’s eyes, ears, hands, and feet in the experience. The team directs this person through the game. The Host is on screen with your team the entire time working with the team. Think of them as the experience MC. They provide instructions, clues, and a few jokes along the way.

With both the Game Guide and the Host, virtual escape rooms feel a little like a first-person view in a video game. But in this game, it’s much easier to direct your character when they can hear what you want them to do!

The first prototype of the Game Guide’s streaming rig was actually just a cell phone, headlamp, battery pack, and headphones! Since then, they’ve upgraded to a system that’s perfect for teams to see what the game guide sees and work towards breaking out of their room.

Once you log into a virtual escape room, you might see some familiar graphics if you’ve done an escape room in person. Graphic designers took inspiration from The Escape Game’s physical rooms in locations across the country to create designs that enhanced the game experience. 

As more people began playing, the team updated those designs and their platforms to best fit the needs of the virtual escape rooms, leaning into one of their biggest strengths: innovation. 

TEG: The innovation of our current platform lies in how we’ve empowered our guests through technology to explore our worlds, as if they were there themselves. We enable our guests to explore 360 scans of every space that they discover, and as they find items to help in their escape, our digital inventory system allows them to keep track of those finds. 

The digital inventory and 360 scans are incredible features in the Remote Adventures. They elevate play and make you feel like you’re not just looking at the game through a screen.

Anyone can have this at-home experience, wherever in the world they may be. Through The Escape Game’s platform, you can play a virtual escape room hosted in Cincinnati, Nashville, Chicago, or in any city that has an Escape Game location. Because of the differences of games at each site, the game team includes those subtle variations in the designs and game inventories. 

While the online element of Remote Adventures might sound more challenging than physically being in a room, this creative team has put in the leg work to make sure that players can still escape and have fun. Virtual escape rooms are definitely different than in-person ones, but certain tasks that might be difficult in-person become simpler in an online environment. What stands out is the need for teamwork and communication, which you find quickly even in a physical escape room. Through the Zoom platform, that teamwork is still possible.

Now, you may be wondering, what were the biggest obstacles in taking The Escape Game online?

Each team member had a different challenge: creating seamless graphics and designs, revamping dexterity-based interactions, even matching the virtual escape room with the physical escape room — all to create something unique that wasn’t a replacement to in-person games. Remote Adventures needed to stand on their own as an experience while maintaining the core ingredients of an escape room.

But, using that superpower of innovation, they’ve risen to each challenge, made necessary adjustments, and have developed a full adventure for escapees. Their work has allowed for guests to still experience the satisfaction of breaking out of an escape room while connecting, problem-solving, laughing, and having a blast together. In fact, players have rated virtual escape rooms just as high as physical rooms.

With room to grow in the online sphere, the team at The Escape Game is excited to continue innovating Remote Adventures. They’ve only begun scratching the surface of possibility when it comes to virtual escape rooms.

TEG: It’s been exhilarating to see the number of people experiencing Remote Adventures in cities and countries we weren’t previously accessible to. Our mission statement is to design and deliver epic, interactive experiences for every single guest, and Remote Adventures has allowed us to take that to an entirely new level.

You can book your next Remote Adventure with The Escape Game here

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