Artwork of ArtiFACT


Created by Rachel Donley

ArtiFACT is part of a transmedia narrative about artifacts and beings called Drifters that travel between worlds, and a person determined to unravel their mysteries. The fictional site operates as a “prequel” to the narrative, setting up context for a physical escape box whose puzzles will provide insight about Drifters. It contains alternate reality game (ARG) elements, with puzzles and pages requiring passwords to access. The original aim of this project was to create the escape box that encourages exploration of STEAM concepts of engineering design and scientific inquiry through puzzles involving manipulation of physical computing components and code decryption. Given the dramatic change in available resources during the pandemic, the project shifted to the ARG site, and some of the work done on the box has been framed within the context of the site.

After managing, building and designing escape games for three years, Rachel Donley decided to return to academia to study the design of interactive media in UCF’s Digital Media MA program. She is fascinated by potential for real-life games and immersive experiences, using a combination of the physical and digital to craft engaging worlds and narratives for players to engage in and explore. Her interests lie in designing meaningful games to inspire change and introspection in players through critical thinking and cooperative play. She plans to continue her work and study the effectiveness of games and narrative in meaning-making as a PhD student at Georgia Tech after graduation.

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