Hive Mechanic

Hive Mechanic is a tool for ordinary people and local groups to make their own games and playful activities. Our goal is to make it easier for anyone to design activities for neighborhood spaces — from librarians with maker spaces, to community museums. What can you do?

  • Have a conversation with a sculpture, coordinate a neighborhood scavenger hunt across teams, tap into smart city data for game events, or map local art by cameraphone.
  • Designed for non-programmers, our card system means that anyone can create a branching story or neighborhood treasure hunt. More advanced programmers can tap into our open-source code.

Card system for branching stories

Just connect “cards” on the screen to create branching narratives and pass messages between players. Our web interface for Hive Mechanic is how you create and then host a game — no special apps required. Similar to educational game-making tools like Scratch and ARIS, our tool is designed to be visual and to help democratize game design.

More activities and play genres

  • Escape room puzzles for groups at a farmers market, where each person receives a part of the puzzle and everyone must come together in public space to solve the puzzle
  • Treasure hunts to accompany a special collection at a neighborhood library, drawing players to explore beyond the walls
  • Text conversations with public sculptures and historic objects as part a museum exhibition

Recent playtests and experiments

Currently in early beta testing, contact us if you would like to help!

  • Late 2018: Ideation phase, thanks to seed funding from American University, alongside prototypes using Raspberry Pi
  • 2019: Software development begins by Audacious Software. Two technical versions tested by Audacious Software; one was selected for our beta
  • February 1, 2020: Our first public workshop within the Global Game Jam
  • March 2020: Pilot project with the DC Alley Project
  • May 2020: Library and museum community pilot (scheduled), with seed funding from the AU Humanities Truck and the AU School of Communication (separate projects)

Our toolkit is open source, and anyone can spin off their own civic use. Developed in partnership with Audacious Software, the AU Humanities Truck, the AU Game Lab, and the Leimert Phone Company. A project of The Playful City Lab.