Twitch Decides Your Fate: Choice Chamber

By Nathan Grayson on April 8th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

I wonder if they intentionally made the entire world's background rare glitch Pokemon Missingno

I’d be a bit unsettled by the notion of random Internet denizens deciding my every action and footfall if they didn’t sort of already do that anyway. I mean, my job only exists because of the web’s ravenous hordes, so I’m basically a puppet for their whims. That said, Choice Chamber sees Twitch chatters taking on a bit of a different role than they did in genre (?) pioneer Twitch Plays Pokemon. The idea here is that one person controls a side-scrolling platformer character, and everybody else decides, well, pretty much everything. Levels formations, level themes, enemies, helpful minions, weapons, power-ups, how high the player can jump, etc, etc, etc. Soundodger developer Studio Bean has taken the experiment in crowd control/cacophony to Kickstarter.

The streamer in question was a bit, er… yeah, but you get the idea. The audience makes tons of micro-decisions that add up to very different experiences on a player-by-player basis. Here’s the gist:

“Choice Chamber is designed to be played while being streamed live to Twitch.tv. As you stream the game on your channel, anyone watching can participate in the game simply by typing in the chat box. A series of polls  ask viewers to vote on certain aspects that alter the game’s progression in real time, or viewers can trigger special events, friendly helpers, and even attack the boss themselves. Chatters can band together to help out the main player in getting far in the game, or they can work against the player and create a devilish challenge.”

“Right now, the prototype allows for voting upon the player’s weapons, abilities, special maneuvers, all variations of powerups – both physical and elemental, enemy load outs, and terrain formations including claustrophobia and lava hazards. It’s a good start, but there’s tons more that will be added to the game.”

Choice Chamber also scales for different audience sizes, so in theory you don’t have to be some hot shot streamlord whose audience has its own gravitational pull to have fun. Granted, only time will tell how well it scales, but it’s good to hear that is very much a priority. You can even play alone with friends if you want, as chat functions still work sans a broadcast. Lastly, if Twitch makes you twitch, there will also be an offline mode where the game makes its own choices. I hope it does not choose to murder me with a loose computer cord or, worse, break my heart.

Studio Bean is hoping to have Choice Chamber out at the end of this year pending Kickstarter success. It’s nearly halfway to its $30,000 goal, but time is a fickle, ever-trickling thing.

There’s big potential in this idea, though I would say its appeal seems variable based on what “level” you plan to participate at. The challenge, I think, lies in designing a game that’s equally engaging for players and audience participants. The latter aspect turned the Internet into a beautiful, screaming Katamari for a brief period of time in Twitch Plays Pokemon, but that initial fervor died down quickly. Really, though, TPP was a happy accident. The timing, the audience, the particular game it focused on – all of it. So what happens when somebody tries to design that sort of system from the ground-up? It seems we’ll (hopefully) find out soon.

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10 Comments »

Top comments

  1. thaeral says:

    I was in a Twitch stream last night and they guy played this game with a room of about 200 people and it went over really well. Vocal users mostly commented that it was pretty amazing. The 30 second built in delay in Twitch didn’t have a detrimental effect on the voting. It got me to look up the Kickstarter. For a relative pittance, you seem to get a lot of value – even just out of the beta prototype.

  1. MrFinnishDude says:

    I think this is a nice idea, but it might get boring because there won’t probably be any conflict on the votes.
    The streamer will say “give me a sword”, and everyone types in sword.
    They should add a mechanic that makes the watchers want to create mischief.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ksempac says:

      So you think the Internet doesn’t have enough trolls on its own, that we need to encourage them ? O_O

      FWIW, Twitch plays Pokemon is full of bots that are here just to mess up with the game.

      So in a public channel, i would never fear about lacking challenges. In a more private settings, i think it would depend on what kind of friends you bring along, but here also, i think there is a lot of opportunities for challenges. Watchers will probably want to watch an interesting (ie difficult) run and if that’s not enough, I would definitely challenge my friends with something like “You will NEVER beat me TWIIIIIIIIIIITCH ! I’m invincible !”, and similar taunts.

  2. MrFinnishDude says:

    EDIT: Sorry, I clicked the opinion away button twice.
    Ignore this comment.

    • vlonk says:

      Sorry Dude I cannot do that.

      Your honest apology and explanation just entices me to create mischief with it.

      • MrFinnishDude says:

        Yeah.. english is not my first language.

        • vlonk says:

          Your English is fine, Dude!

          I just wanted to subtly respond to your first comment by having fun with the second comment.
          Somehow relevant: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/92dd8/test_post_please_ignore/

          I think that all kinds of interaction with the Twitch crowd will be having a big response. Especially mischief will happen often unless the majority in the channel can overrule it. Even then the Caster can actively ask his channelviewers to mess with him or set up a system that allows a minority to make decissions. That allows the creativity (and humor!) of a single person to shine, which cannot happen with majority/groupvotes.

          Good example of crowd-interaction: http://www.prequeladventure.com/2011/03/prequel-begin/

          • MrFinnishDude says:

            Oh, I just thought that the phrase “create mischief” was wrong.
            And you have a good point there, but I think the mischief system should be built into the game at least to some extend.

  3. Tei says:

    EAT THIS ROMAN EMPIRE!, they did a lot of things first, like a national road system, a public sewage system, ..lots!.. but they never had this idea. Imagine how glorious would have ben the roman circus with the hoi polloi asking what the next weapon or monster will be :D

    So has taken us 2014 turns, but we finnaly have beaten the Roman Empire.

  4. Moraven says:

    Dead Nation, PS4 edition has a Broadcast+ mode with a voting system. It is interesting when you have more than 20 people watching.

    Daylight will have Twitch powered scares when it is released.

  5. thaeral says:

    I was in a Twitch stream last night and they guy played this game with a room of about 200 people and it went over really well. Vocal users mostly commented that it was pretty amazing. The 30 second built in delay in Twitch didn’t have a detrimental effect on the voting. It got me to look up the Kickstarter. For a relative pittance, you seem to get a lot of value – even just out of the beta prototype.