A museum of virtual lockpicks

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An unusual new PC game this week features more than two dozen recreations of other games’ approaches to virtual lockpicking.

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Running news: Museum of Mechanics: Choosing a Lock, which can be completed in about 30 minutes, lets players walk through a virtual museum where each exhibit is a playable lock system.

  • Some parts created from games like Splinter Cell and Risen 2 require players to fiddle with a lockpick to manipulate a tumbler.
  • Others are more abstract. For example: lock picking in 2007’s Mass Effect, which plays more like a circular game of Frogger.

What are they saying: The interactive museum was created first and foremost to help game developers, its lead producer Jonnymann Nordgen told Nerdshala in an interview.

  • “Something like this might help someone, maybe sometime in the future,” he says.
  • NordGen says that developers working on familiar concepts often want to test how older games handled those concepts first.
  • But doing so requires searching for the right YouTube videos or playing tons of games. This is time consuming and makes comparison difficult.

Between the lines: NordGen conceived the game in mid-2020 as he was doing contract work on a story-driven game and found himself wishing there was an easy way to test how older games implemented interactive dialogue.

  • he saw a sports journalist float the idea An interactive museum showcasing the implementation of various fishing games.
  • He was inspired and decided to build some kind of playable museum in his spare time.
  • “I chose lock picking,” he says. “It looked like there were only a few games that did that.” (He would soon find out that he was wrong.)

game making With a small team, Nordgen has turned into a casual video game lockpicking specialist.

  • He can cite trends, such as how game designers are slowly moving from lockpicking systems to mouse and keyboard controls, to controllers.
  • They approximate the designer’s intent, noting that the simple lockpicking mini-game in Classic Thief by exposing the player and still adding tension to the game in which you want to hide or advance.
  • They found the hardest locking system could be from a 1980s computer game hillsfar, which involves matching key shapes while running a fast timer.
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Another personal goal: Nordhagen says it’s trying to be more relaxed about the game’s release, paying less attention to immediate sales and reviews after years of hard work.

  • “As with any game launch, it’s inevitable to have a part of yourself tied into it and take it personally to an extent,” he said.
  • His previous indie release, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, struggled, but even though it has been a huge success, Nordjen says, he wanted to change his approach.
  • He wanted to separate his ego from the project, or at least see if it was possible. “Is it possible to divorce myself from my job in a way that gives me a little more shelter?”

What will happen next: After working hard as an indie developer for several years, Nordgen is returning to big-budget game development with a job at Ubisoft.

  • He’s unsure whether he’ll be allowed to continue adding lockpicks, but he hopes others create their own museums or even expand their game.
  • he is source code released On Github so that other designers can be in.

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