Case Study – Choose Your Own Adventure on DVD
Challenge: Use the branching feature of DVD to create multi-path adventure games.
DVD introduced a new experience to home video – the capability to show different content based on user decisions. At Advanced Media Post, we were challenged by a client to create a choose-your-own-adventure game on DVD.
There were two main challenges to accomplishing this:
- This was in the very early days of the format and capacity was limited on one side of a DVD (approximately 2 hours of content), but it was possible to manufacture two-sided DVDs.
- DVD players did not have persistent memory, so as soon as a disc was ejected, the memory was cleared. Therefore, it would be impossible to simply have a player eject the disc, flip it, and continue where they left off.
Fortunately, the number of paths was somewhat limited, so we created codes for the end of each path on side 1, which the player would be prompted to input when side 2 was inserted. That allowed us to determine what decisions the player had made and pick up from there.
Of course, once the codes got out, anyone could start on the second side of the disc, but since this wasn’t a competitive or “winnable” game, just different outcomes, we never received any complaints.
As far as I know, we were the first to create this type of game on DVD. When dual capacity DVDs came along, we were able to leverage the work we had done on branching to create much more sophisticated games that did not require the player to flip the disc.