Your World is the brand name of Rotterdam European Youth Capital 2009. Throughout the year, events are produced for, by and with young people. One of those events is Change Your World which lasted a weekend. 300 young people signed up, each wanting to change the world for the better in a specific way. On Saturday, they gave shape to their “movements” under the guidance of coaches and celebrities. At the end of the day, the five most promising movements were selected to take part in a finale event on Sunday. This is where Hubbub came in.
We were asked to create an urban game for the finale that would transform the Rotterdam city centre into a playground. Your World wanted to make sure the city would take notice of the event, it should be highly visible. At the same time, the game should communicate some of the values at the core of Change Your World: any meaningful change is brought about by groups of people, working together in the pursuit of a common goal. The game should also provide a framework for the campaigning the movements would be doing on Sunday.
Hubbub rapidly developed several concepts for the game, that were refined in collaboration with the client. Once we had decided on the game’s core mechanics, flow and player experience goals we were ready for design. We prototyped and tested over nine discrete version of the game’s rules in an iterative manner. The game’s complexity was gradually increased, so that we were sure it would be both deep and balanced. Once we were satisfied the design would achieve both our client’s goals and offer a fun experience to the players, the rules were documented, the experience visualized and guidelines for the production of the game were added. During the event, we co-ordinated the finale event: An MC kept the players on track and entertained. Briefings were provided for both players and crew, we acted as referees and managed the event’s schedule.
The Change Your World urban game Hubbub created had movements battling for territory in the Rotterdam city centre. Players bid for ownership of 16 checkpoints spread across a 400 by 400 meter area by planting flags. Whoever had the most flags at the end of a round was allowed to campaign at that specific location. Each movement had nine flags to distribute, and was allowed to have three players in the field at any time. Players were allowed to hold only one flag at any time, and were forbidden to move flags of other movements. They had maps of the territory, and could communicate over walkie-talkies.
The resulting game had players frantically running around town in brightly coloured outfits with huge flags to match. Movements had to determine which checkpoints they wanted to campaign at and co-ordinate during play to keep an overview of the play-field. In this way, both the goal of making the event visible in the city, and having participants experience the value of collaboration in a visceral manner were fully met.
All photos on this page were taken by Alper Çuğun.