CURSE OF CAPTAIN BARNABY
Round 5 of BVW is sort of like the day you go from having a learners permit to having a driver’s license. The restrictions are lifted and its time to take everything we learned and make something amazing. We can create anything we want, but we still only have two weeks to get it done. Our knew from the beginning we wanted to do more than just make something that showcases everything we had learned that semester. We wanted to make something spectacular, after all there is no round 6 in BVW.
All semester we had floated the idea of building an escape room, and this was our chance to actually do it. Knowing that designing and fabricating large interactive set pieces would consume a lot of our time we decided to utilize the week long break leading up to round 5 to start creating the storyline four our escape room and building our interactive sets.
As soon as we had our idea finalized we began construction. The story we had come up with called for several very large moving set pieces and we knew that if we didn’t start building right away we might not have them finished in time. Looking back now I see that construction might have actually gone faster if we had spend a drop more time drawing up some blueprints that were a bit more detailed than just a few scribbles on a napkin.
Early diving bell construction photos
The diving bell was our biggest set piece and was also the way guests entered and exited our experience. The idea behind it was that guests would enter the room housing our experience and the only thing they would see would be the diving bell which would lead them to believe that was all our experience consisted of. unbeknownst to them however while they were inside of it supposedly traveling to a cave at the bottom of the sea the entire set piece rotated 180 degrees and a curtain behind the diving bell hiding the rest of the experience was removed. This allowed for a great surprise when the diving bell supposedly reached the bottom of the sea and guests exited into a different space then they had entered from.
Once guests exited the diving bell there first puzzle was our interactive desk. This consisted of three RFID card readers mounted underneath the top of the desk that where triggered by guests matching up symbols carved into the top of the desk with symbols cleverly hidden on items on top of the desk that had RFID cards embedded in them. Once all three RFIDs were successfully activated it deactivated an electromagnet and solenoid holding the keyboard draw in and allowed a spring to shoot out the keyboard draw which revealed the next clue. The three RFID card readers where run off an Arduino which was connected to a BOOBOX show controller which handled the Electromagnet, solenoid, and sound effects.
In order to reveal the next clue, which was written in black light paint on our gear wall guests had to figure out from a riddle that they needed to blow out candles on our chandelier. The candles were simple commercially available blow out LED units and the chandelier we sourced from the local second-hand store. To help tell our story we antiqued wanted our blow out LED candles and the chandelier in general to have a corroded and aged appearance. While it was our simplest interactive prop it still got a big wow factor out of guests when they realized they could blow out LED candles.
The final interactive prop our guests faced was our gear wall. Designing this unit and getting it to function properly took a great deal of time and iteration but was well worth the effort. To receive the final key needed to find the hidden treasure we presented guests with a wall full of pegs. At the base of the wall was a pile of different size gears that guests needed to properly place on the wall. Once all the gears were properly placed guests would turn a large handle and make all the gears turn together revealing the final key. The gears were laser cut from pine wood and stacked in layers till the gears were around 1 inch thick. In the end people really liked the interactivity of this piece.