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Recreating Crimescenes Virtually In Photobomb

Was it you, Red?

You only have one shot in Photobomb, but you might not have had enough time to identify which suspect is guilty before firing it. Justice is swift and crowd-pleasing in the dystopian future.

Photobomb’s a free game created by Milkbag Games for both 7 Day FPS and the Procedural Generation Jam. As a Media Peace Officer, we roam around virtually reconstructing a bombing scene using government tracking data and photos scraped from social media, trying to identify the bomber. And then we execute someone. It’s a fine game. Look, I’ve made a video explaining it:

Or here are some written words repeating what I just said, for if you can’t watch video now.

The premise: everyone is supposed to be monitored everywhere, but a city square has been bombed by someone who wasn’t wearing their tracking ID. Six people there were unidentified at the time of the bombing, and we need to figure out which it was. We can wander around inside a reconstruction of the scene, replaying the last seconds before the bomb went off, watching a crowd mannequins move about and, eventually, seeing one drop the bomb.

We have no idea who that person is, but we can tag and track the unknowns by recreating photos which feature them. Everyone’s Instagramming everything nowadays, you know. Once we’ve recreated a shot, the suspects and bomb sites within them are forever painted bright colours as we rewatch events. Eventually we can find clear proof, but may not have time. With people baying for justice, we only have two minutes to identify the guilty. We might need to rely on deduction.

The photo-restaging is tricky to get the hang of, but jolly fun once you’ve figured it out. Watching the crowds buzz about is a lovely thing, as is watching bright suspects pass through them. Our one gunshot is pretty powerful and final, especially at times when we’re not certain. That’s a problem with many FPSs: shooting loses a lot of its power when we’re doing it constantly. And the mannequin shatters, not even seen as a person. Pretty harsh place, this city. It occurs to me now that I’ve never tried not firing or purposely missing at the end.

And! Being procedural means the suspects and square are different every time. Splendid.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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