The Estate Foundation

http://www.theestatefoundation.org/

 

The Estate Foundation website was a social media campaign site that Monte Cook Games proposed in support of The Strange RPG. In the fictional world, The Estate Foundation is a corporation that publicly advances science while privately being a policing organization that sends investigators out to find the strange and weird phenomenon that are caused by beings moving between Recursions (sub-dimensions that spawn off of the real world but each having their own reality). I was approached to see if I could make a site that had a public and a private facing side. The original idea was two different sites, but I got inspired…

 

Features

  • Responsive Design To Accommodate Multiple Screen Sizes
  • WordPress Based
  • Heavy Customization
  • Private side and Public Side
  • Fun options on private side to foster interaction

The base idea was that credentials to the private site would be leaked online and users would find a different site with information about the game system that would spark their interests. Given broad parameters and told to do what I could, I dug in and created two different sites in the same install – an intranet and regular site. Giving it a custom  login, internal styling,  and locking off the internal content I created an Emergency Operatives site, casting the users as operatives accessing a suite of emergency tools…



Are You Ready To Become An Operative?

Click the video above to go through the login process and see The Estate Foundation website on both the private and public sides.

Emphasizing The Narrative

In the fiction of the game world, the Estate Foundation exists as a rather boring scientific funding organization. To play this up, we created their website with fairly droll website that pulled news feeds from various scientific organizations with real news RSS feeds. This played up the fake articles we wrote and found art for and the real news we pulled from sites that reported on real world events. To anyone finding the website without knowledge of the game, it would look like a very basic corporate website.

To those who know the game and were lead there from a link in a social media post or a web search for the game system, they would know something was up. Submitting an application for the Morrison Fellowship Prize would get those bold souls a “leaked” email that apparently glitched and provided credentials. Using this on the logon page (where the internal styling starts) and the users get to see the Operative site.

Click to enlarge

The internal site is littered with small inside jokes and easter eggs. Forums exploded with people asking how to access the locked off messages or speculating on ways to unlock the rest of the content. The konami code was suggested by more than a few. People looked for clues in the hacking tool (a simple javascript that put “hacking” code on the screen as you type) and other areas.

Some elements like the Operative News Feed were updated by MCG staff who would weekly drop a few interesting articles or tidbits that fans would use as adventure seeds or pick apart as if they were more clues to unlocking the rest of the estate site. We talked about extending the options and linking it into the broader MCG network I had created and turning it into an MCG forum. These plans haven’t yet come to fruition and more pressing concerns have come to the front, but getting to create  site with this much fun content was truly enjoyable.


Incredibly Fun To Make And Follow

Making this site was incredibly fun. There were some challenges in keeping it updatable by MCG staff and still locked down from most users. Many of the elements and scripts I got to use (like ip address lookup and geolocation) are things that just aren’t useful on other sites in the same way. Watching people wonder aloud in forums how the site could target the city they were located in or wonder what the 2 urgent messages said was a great benefit after the site launched.