1 vs. 100
Microsoft | 2009
1 vs. 100 was a massively multiplayer online trivia game show on Xbox Live. It was an adaptation of the tv game show of the same name. It ran for two seasons (which essentially mapped to two development cycles) and was cancelled while we were planning the third season. There were two modes of play, Live and Extended Play, but always ran as a single session game, if you were playing you were playing with everyone.
The Live episodes featured a live host, custom relevant questions, real prizes, and more closely matched the tv show’s format.
Extended Play was usually themed and ran more regularly during each week. The rules were modified so that scoring was proportional to how many players missed a question.
Platform Xbox 360
Tools Rare’s R1 Engine, Maya, XUI, Lua
Skills UX Design, UI Design, Integration, Technical Art, Tool Development, Prototyping
Lead UI design and helped to define the look and feel of the game. Integrated and polished all art assets. Helped to design a unique gaming experience from concept to completion. Co-developed a solution that allows for designers to tweak/polish all in-game events. Supported artists with custom tools, mentorship and critique. Delivered video capture, screenshots and web assets for marketing.
- One session was a huge technical and design challenge
- Incorporating and designing around a live host
- Communicating game state changes and roles to all players
- Tuning pace when one player has control
- Incorporating branding and ads without violating player trust
Design & Development
I might describe the development of this game as one big continuous prototype. We were constantly reacting to adjusted technical constraints around the server round trip time. We started by prototyping the game’s core loop and timing with clips from the tv show and later replacing those with renders from Maya. With no other game experiences to compare to, almost every challenge required design adjustments and prototyping.
Interface Design & Roles
With multiple player roles and specifically one critical role that very few people would ever experience it was important to design a system for organizing gameplay information and feedback. I isolated local player feedback to the upper part of the screen as 2D widgets. Game state was communicated through the set and The One had a dedicated jumbotron to show everyone playing their state. On some occasions the lower part of the 2D space was used to re-enforce changes in the game state. The Question/Answer interface was one of the few times when the 3D set wasn’t in view, as a signal that it’s time for everyone to do something again.
QA screen and player widgets
Cameras & Set Feedback
Camera angles/movement, lighting, and set design/feedback were some of the most critical systems to achieving our creative goals. I helped architect a system for syncing and sequencing these systems with game state changes from the server. With this system we crafted shots that balanced providing critical gameplay information, with local player action (like dancing in the background), and dramatic moods for The One and Mob relationship.
With Season 2 we had a chance to step back, observe the game in the wild and talk more deeply about the design. We focused on crafting a more immersive FTUE for all players, giving The One a chance to show off in their intro, a conclusion to each Live round that rewarded everyone’s play, and we introduced earned Titles and Dances for progression and expression. Also, with Extended Play we provided more opportunities to play and used thematic episodes to drive community engagement.
- “…almost literally my favorite game on my 360. I fumed when MS took it away.”
- “…damn near the coolest thing on a console this generation. It felt like I was part of something momentous in gaming.”
- “I remember when my whole family was in the living room, and my young son got selected as the One. We were all cheering him on like crazy for 20 minutes, it was such a fucking blast.“
- “Man 1 vs. 100 was something I actually could play with my whole family.“
- “1 vs. 100 was amazing. My wife and I would run two 360s but sit in the same room. We’d also have her Dad and brother join in over Live. It was just a good time.”