"The Woods" Download to play 

Download and unzip The Desktop Host onto your computer, Desktop Host for MacOS

Download and print this image, The Woods Ar Marker (.jpg image)

Download and unzip onto your computer, The Woods Audio for MacOSX 

Privacy Policy 

"The Woods" Instructions to play   Click here to view the instruction to play "The Woods"

"The Woods" Description

“The Woods” is a mixed-reality, two-player cooperative game that addresses the perils of social isolation by promoting connections between people and actively engaging them through play. Using Augmented Reality (AR) and 4-channel audio spatialization panning, players choreograph their movement in real-world space while interacting with birds, clouds, and other objects in virtual space. In pursuit of a shared goal, players experience an immersive sonic narrative of rumbling storm clouds and disconnected voices that culminate in stories of hope and reconciliation. The design intent behind “The Woods” is to illuminate human connections to others and to celebrate this through collaborative play.  

The narrative of “The Woods” is built around the broken relationship of two adult brothers who have been separated and out of contact with each other for a considerable amount of time. One of the brothers in desperate to reach out and reconcile with the other brother is heard leaving a voicemail. In the beginning, players hear only fragments and distorted chunks of the message and are unable to decipher meaning or intent. However, as the game progresses through player collaboration, the message becomes clearer. Ultimately, players hear the message in its entirety and learn that, although the two brothers haven’t spoken in years, both of the brothers yearn to mend their severed ties and reconnect. This narrative of reconciliation between these estranged brothers informs the mechanics of the game itself, with the players coordinating their efforts to one another in pursuit of a common goal. The game is designed such that it is not enough for one player to do all of the work. Rather, success requires the combined work of both players. As players engage one another and contribute to the goal together, the game rewards them with the unfolding narrative of the brothers reconnecting to one another. However, even if players fail to find success during the game, the mechanics reinforce that the two players are still connected to each other. 

Locating the bird is the first interaction between the players in the game. When a bird enters the game environment, it comes from outside the playable space and flies into it from behind one of the players, and it is visible to only one of them as it enters the scene. Here, the players must choreograph their moves as they pan their phones throughout the space trying to locate the bird together while communicating what they are seeing to one another. Whether the bird is visible or not, both players are adding value equal to the experience by describing what they are seeing to one another. The second element of the game where verbal and physical coordination is so central is on the branch that connects the players to one another. Because each player controls one end of the branch, neither player can effectively move the branch through space alone. Rather it requires both players. Whether players are in pursuit of the birds or evading storm clouds, their experiences of their coordinated efforts deepen significantly because of this connection between them. In a more recent playtest, the parents of two children who played commented “I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen my kids play together so well." 

"The Woods" Team 

Project Lead Kyoung Swearingn , Scott Swearingen
Aesthetic, Conceptual and Narrative Design Kyoung Swearingen
Game Design Scott Swearingen
Software Engineering Sruthi Ammannagari, Matthew Hall, Skylar Wurster
Sound Design Federico Cámara Halac
Animation Leigh Mordant
3D Models Kyoung Swearingen, Leigh Mordant, Matt Hall
Graphic Design Kyoung Swearingen
Pipeline Development Matt Hall
Voice Acting and Improvisation Kevin McClatchy, Mandy Fox
Video Documentation Kyoung Swearingen
Narrative and Conceptual Design Consulting Rosalie Yu
Sound Design Consulting Marc Ainger
App Development Consulting Jeremy Patterson


© 2021 WIZAGA. All Rights Reserved.