NEoN Knights 2010


Hear ye, hear ye..!

SuperFly is primarily about producing creative events in unusual spaces and NEoN Knights, a QR hunt that took place during NEoN (Dundee’s Digital Arts festival) in November 2010, was no exception. It was a collaboration between myself (Jon Gill : SuperFly – game design and illustration), Rick Curran (NEoN Knights web application) and Tim Pryde (game design).
The aim was to produce a fun and immersive game using traditional media (in this case: street posters) and giving it a leg up with elements of new media (in this case: QR reading devices) and encouraging the audience to follow the action via our leader board.

So, how do you play..?
Well, each of the NEoN delegate bags contained a flyer which had the necessary information required, plus a QR code, to get the ‘bravest’ attendees started on their quest. Once scanned you logged in and no further intervention was required.. you just got scanning! The flyer pointed you to a google map of QR locations around the City of Dundee – The further from base you wandered the higher the value of the QR code.

With an XBox360 up for grabs we had allowed for a week of players dipping in and out of the game as and when the conference would allow, but one intrepid explored scanned every available ‘street’ code in one evening (4-5 hours worth); That’s when things started getting interesting!
We had reserved several ‘wild card’ QRs that we could introduce at any point.
Several players visibly gave up when it was clear that someone was so far ahead and with so many points to be made up but a hard core few battled on. The top-spot on the leader board jumped from player to player as we introduced QRs on A5 sized cards strategically placed around the conference centre – some QRs being negative scorers (nega-pointers) just to mix things up! ;)
We also placed a high scoring QR in a video to advertise the game which was played on the big screen at the start of the second day, plus we had NEoN staff (and even staff in the local art centre – thanx DCA) wearing Tshirts with QRs on the back.
As well as gaining points towards winning the XBox several of the QRs contained voucher codes for deals at local establishments, such as a free drink with a meal of 10% off clothing, so there was plenty to play for.

By the final day we had three leaders tying for a the top prize.. you can go here for a blow by blow account of the ‘stand-off’ game that we devised to arrive at a clear winner.

The conference keynote for NEoN was by veteran game designer Dino Dini (Kick Off, Player Manager). One of his key points was that “excessive narrative reduces player experience” and SuperFly couldn’t agree more. My hope for NEoN Knights was to create an immersive experience for players to find their own stories a real-world setting in the same way that I used to in the digital realms of games like Elite (Google it – there’s probably an iPhone emulator app! ;) ).

With a pretty solid (but adaptable) system now in place and tonnes of new ideas already in mind we can’t wait to get stuck into another project. QRs are just the beginning with GPS and AR offering even more engaging and creative opportunities.

Thanks to NEoN10, Blonde Digital (Edinburgh), Tayprint (Dundee) and the Hannah Maclure Centre (Dundee) for supporting the game and to Rick and Tim for completing NEoN Knights templar. Knights be Brave!

Blog posts related to the event:

Tim’s blog post on NEoN Knights ‘as it happened‘ via the medium of Twitter

SuperFly posts from during the event:

Hear ye! Hear ye!

The prophecy was true..!

Let the wild rumpus start..!

Knights who say NEoN..!

We got a live one..!

Thirty Seconds..!

NEoN Knights goes wild..!