Work in Progress: Wayfarer

Burning Brigid Media’s latest project is Wayfarer, an interactive audio fiction mobile app.

Part audio drama, part interactive adventure, part fitness app, in Wayfarer players will play on their phones while traveling in the real world. The game is presented audibly, with professionally voice-acted dialog and carefully constructed soundscapes produced in a manner similar to the stories presented in the Synesthesia Theatre podcast, with one major difference — input from the player determines the direction the story will go, in the form of multiple-choice selections.

Excuse the placeholder art.

Rambling On

In the finished demo there’ll be a progress bar and map.

Another twist: To travel in the game, you have to walk in real life. Wayfarer uses your phone’s GPS to track your position and calculate distance traveled, so if your character decides to head somewhere a quarter mile distant, the player has to walk a quarter mile to get there. Ultimately the plan is to allow for a highly localized mode — Explorer Mode — in which players who live in the setting city physically go to the landmarks indicated to continue the story — if you’re looking for clues at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago or the Louvre in Paris, you need to travel to the Shedd or the Louvre.

Players who don’t happen to live in the setting city can still play in Wander Mode, traveling the equivalent distance from one landmark to another to simulate the journey. The point is to get people out, to get people walking.

Of course, GPS has its limits, and its accuracy is limited by your device’s hardware. It doesn’t work as well indoors or around a lot of tall buildings. Pinpoint accuracy isn’t the goal, a reasonable facsimile is.

The demo we’re working on lacks an Explorer Mode, but should be otherwise a feature-complete, if short, adventure. The story and dialog are written, but we need to finish recording the audio lines, and replace the placeholder stock photos with something nicer.

Getting Involved

Interested in what you see? We’re going to need beta-testers soon, after the audio is complete, and after that, we’ll need funding to commission art to replace our placeholder images. If you want to help out, the best way is through our Patreon — it’s at present the only income Burning Brigid Media has. We don’t sell add space in our podcasts or charge for them in any way, so if you like what we do, support our mission, or want to be one of our beta testers, it’s the best way to go about that.

If you just want a heads’ up when we’re done, you can instead sign up for the Burning Brigid Media mailing list. Select “Project News” to get an announcement of the Wayfarer release; we also have a separate list for casting calls if you’d like to audition for roles with us in the future.

About Michael Coorlim

Michael Coorlim is an author and producer for the Chicago film production company Burning Brigid.

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