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expert consultant
project brief

design materials

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

Project Brief

5 Wits Productions is in the process of producing a live-action game experience based around dozens of “rooms” that each contain physical and mental challenges for small groups of guests to solve. The concept is tentatively called Open World and many of the details are changing daily as our team refines the concept. All of the actual content – the rooms themselves, with their theming, architecture, games and challenges – are wide open for exploration by the class!

Our hope is that you, as our design team, can envision themes and the appropriate physical & mental challenges that match those themes, and produce fully functional alpha prototypes of individual rooms for the Open World experience — whatever you think appropriate. The scenic surroundings necessary to support your choices are flexible — you can create them as you see fit. Some useful suggestions for how you think about these challenges are included in the additional notes.

Here are some general parameters we do know:


Each room ranges from 100 to 200 square feet in size. Each room has a distinct theme – and exotic/interesting place or time. You should develop that theme to integrate seamlessly with the challenge within your room, so the puzzle integrates intuitively with the setting you create.


Group size will be 3-5 guests. While guests will be of all ages, the design focus is for young adults, in the 15-35 year old range. Be careful to design for the general public (not specifically an MIT audience). Each activity/room should take 2-3 minutes to complete successfully, and should be designed to be difficult to complete on the first attempt. In general, a “win rate” should be around 25%, meaning groups take 3-5 attempts to become proficient enough to defeat your challenge.


There’s no staff member with the guests, and no one continuously watching from the control room – your design needs to be fully automated. Every element must reset itself, ideally in seconds, after the group leaves the room. Puzzles which toggle states to achieve reset (or similar) are encouraged.

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.

Project Workspace
Room 3-004 has benches, hot wire cutters, sanders, drill presses, band saws, a laser cutter, a Carvey, 3D-printers, 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
Indexed video from the project brief (certs)

Slides from project brief lecture (pdf)

Example room: Aztec cluster (pdf, certs)
Room panel system (pdf, certs)
Wall panel CAD (solidworks, certs)
Wall panel DXF (certs)

Cheat sheet: guidelines for a successful interactive experience

Mannequin pictures for use in storyboards