Nerdferno is a single-player simulation game set in a special plane of hell just for nerds. Inhabiting the world are four office workers, sent to be punished for all eternity. The player is tasked with keeping their productivity high and morale low. Workers labor at their cubicles to make money which can be spent on ‘implements of motivation’ or hoarded to win the game.

Our team sought out to design and experiment with new forms of interactions afforded by augmented reality games. We began with two very direct mechanics: staring and grabbing. Players can stare at office workers by moving the phone in close; the workers react by looking up at the camera and eventually heading back to their desks. Grabbing can be used to position the characters around the office.

Other mechanics come in the form of ‘toys’ which the player picks from a treasure chest. The first toy is a spiky ball which can be used at no cost. It fires from the center of the camera into the screen, knocking over any nerds in its way. The second toy is a spiky mace which attaches itself to the player’s camera. It’s used by physically positioning the mace in the office with the workers and swinging. The final toy is a man-eating plant which guards the break room from the workers. It snaps whenever approached and scares them back to their desks.

This video is a peek at an early prototype of the game, demonstrating some of the direct manipulation described above.

Nerdferno has been worked on over the course of two semesters by:

  • Richard Shemaka – M.S. CS
  • Paul Tillery – M.F.A. Animation, SCAD
  • Travis Harkleroad – M.F.A Visual FX, SCAD
  • Yan Xu – HCC PhD
  • Emily Cribb – B.S. CM
  • Dan Spaventa – B.S. CM
  • Johnathan Massey – B.S. CS
  • Brandon Whitehead – B.S. CS
  • Hyung-Min “Sam” Lee – B.S. CS
  • Michael Hewner – HCC PhD
  • Burton Carter – B.S. CM


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