what’s been, what will be
Header photo by the tremendously talented Tours Departing Daily.
Dabbed in the Western Mountain range of the majestic Rockies and nearly 700 miles from the Magic Kingdom, lies a small, unregarded green house. In front of the house are tulips and daffodils that recklessly tease the home’s owners by popping up in the middle of November, just before the wilds of winter set in. Outside the protection of bulb and dirt, they are inevitably crushed by the impending freeze; dismissing all hope of actually blossoming in March, as most of their kind will do.
In the basement of that house, where daffodils and tulips cannot be seen despite the large daylight windows is a large square table and four cushioned chairs, with rigid, round bamboo backs that become quite uncomfortable should one choose to sit in them longer than an hour. Give or take.
It was shifting and sitting in those chairs beside that table in the basement of the green house with the teasing daffodils that two brothers toyed with the idea of turning Disneyland into a game.
They named it Masters of the Kingdom, a game playable only within the geographical boundaries of the Happiest Place on Earth.
A game, an adventure game, a competition; a go and do, ride the attractions, hunt for clues, solve puzzles, turn visitors into players, played with your smart phone mobile app. A game that interacts with the park around them. There’d be quests and adventures for Disneyland Old-timers and First Timers alike. It would test park savvy and knowledge, it would challenge and teach.
It would be a game Walt would be proud of.
That first “toying” turned into a plan and the plan into action, and while the blue-green planet we call home circled the sun, actions produced achievement. The plan, as they affectionately called it, was comprised of three parts (phases) that would ultimately lead (not follow) to a killer (remarkable) game (game.)
Now, doing something that’s never been done before, will, at the very least, require the adventurers to find solutions to undiscovered problems. Masters of the Kingdom would be the first of its kind–a mobile app that would react to the players’ real world actions. But getting anything (or anyone for that matter) to attempt something it’s never done before can often be more than a struggle. iPhones are no different. They’re stubborn. They like to throw ornery little obstacles in your path as you delve deep into brackets and “if-then” code to gently shepherd the blasted machine into doing what you want it to do!
But, with patience and luck, and not a little bit of brilliance, obstacles were overcome, barriers broken, and Phase One of Three was completed earlier this year, the phase that proved the technology was possible, and the experience real.
You would not believe just how much more alive the Park feels with just a tiny bit of interactivity.
How much more the player becomes part of the Disneyland experience.
The two brothers are more electrified with the hope and promise of Masters of the Kingdom than ever before.
A patent was filed to protect their excitement.
Phase 2 has begun and The Masters Engine, the core that makes the game-play possible, is nearly complete, with initial testing highly encouraging (heart-beatingly so.)
The long road will soon lead to the completion of the Masters Engine, Phase 2, and finally to the development of the actual game. Fine tuning of the experience, designing quests, and building the game’s interface are also ongoing.
Will they announce a release date? Of course not. You see, as much fun as it is to see green shoots in November, popping out too early can (and usually) cause lots of problems when the freeze hits. They’re building this thing to last. Choosing to produce the game the same way tens of thousands of other remarkably exciting products have been launched in the past, developing in our free time while still holding down day jobs (aka, “The Old Fashioned Way,”) makes timing difficult–if not downright impossible–to predict (Hofstadter’s law.) If someone were to hold a 10 pound hammer over his authentic replica of the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, one brother might say with eyes rolling, sometime after the freeze and hopefully before the next freeze. But they’re not saying that. So they won’t.
Instead, they will say, that as the blue-green planet once again circles its yellow sun, they will be hard at work overcoming the remainder of ornery obstacles and building an app that provides unique and exciting ways to enjoy Disneyland.
Many of you have reached out to express your support, curiosity, and interest in Masters of the Kingdom and the brothers can’t tell you how much it means and how motivating it is. They are definitely still here. And it’s awesome to know that you are, too!
Updates will follow. Including about the daffodils.