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project brief

design materials

Client/Expert Consultant
Matt Duplessie, Founder, president and CEO (email)
5wits productions

Project Brief

5 Wits Productions plans to produce a walk-through adventure experience based on the idea of "mystery manor", a turn of the century (1900s) mansion. Very few of the details have been nailed down, as the plot/script, the environments and architecture, and the guest activities and special effects are things we will design in this class!

Our hope is that you, as our design team, can produce storylines for this adventure and fully functional alpha prototypes of select elements for the "mystery manor" experience— whatever you think appropriate. The back story and scenic surroundings necessary to support your choices are flexible—you can write them in as you see fit. If you decide to have plot lines with haunting, in the end it should resolve with a Scooby-doo type of ending—it's not really haunted as there is a "bad guy's" scheme behind it.

There are several categories of deliverables you might consider, including group challenges, simulations, and special effects. Some useful suggestions for how you think about these challenges are included in the attached notes.

Here are some general parameters we do know:


  • The roughly 30-minute adventure takes place in a period mansion comprised of 3 individual rooms totaling roughly 1,300 square feet, with a maximum (exterior) room height of 13 feet.
  • The theme is up to your imagination!


  • Group size will be 2-15 guests, and guests will range in age from 7 years old through senior citizens. We would recommend targeting young adults with your designs, being careful to design for the general public (not specifically an MIT audience).
  • Each activity/puzzle should take 2-5 minutes to complete. Each group will spend no longer than 12 minutes in any one room.


  • There’s no Guide with the guests, and no one continuously watching from the control room – your design needs to be fully automated.
  • Every element must reset itself in 30 seconds or less after the group leaves the room. Puzzles which toggle states to achieve reset (or similar) are acceptable.
  • There will be a master show control system which can provide and receive contact closure, analog (0-10V), RS-232, and/or DMX control signals. So your design need not have 100% of its control on board – anything you can make work with buttons triggered manually, for example, can be automated by having the master show controller essentially push those buttons at the appropriate moments.

General Requirements

  • Durability of your design is a key concern.
  • Quality of documentation is critical – your idea is not useful if it can’t be easily reproduced. Shop drawings, exploded views, BOMs, wiring diagrams, whatever is needed to explain the idea fully.

  • Cheet sheet: guidelines for a succesful interactive experience

    Revisit Matt Duplessie's presentation video and slides

    Project Workspace

    Room 35-307 has benches, a hot wire cutter, sanders, drill presses, a small band saw, and computers. Supplies such as foam core and blue foam will be kept in this room. This will be our primary work area. Remember to never work alone and to wear safety glasses. See the more complete set of shop rules. You will obtain the combinations for the room through a online registration process.

    The facilities in the building 35 LMP shop are available during daytime hours, and with permission, you may also use equipment in the Pappalardo lab so long as it does not conflict with 2.007. Morning is usually best.

    Design Materials

    Mannequin pictures for use in storyboards