GPS-based murder mystery event app

Detective Hero required a cross-platform app-based solution which centred around tracking users’ realtime location to present gameplay elements in specific locations, as part of a live competitive team-based event.

They got the concept of my game straight away, and had clear ideas for how to achieve it.

Jonathan Goddard, Founder Detective Hero

UX Solution Points


The first UX goal was to solve the realtime interactions as players moved locations, unlocked clues and submitted their solutions for the murder mystery. We created a set of mental models defining the goals of the typical game player. These were converted into a set of user journeys through the gameplay experience, both from a mental and a realtime GPS perspective. Rules around what information to show users when were organised and collected to round up the gameplay specification.

Teams and Codes

We were briefed to enable a team captain and members scenario to enable a simplified method of signing users up who wanted to play together. We prototyped a variety of scenarios until a clear solution was proven using a ticket and team code allowing up to four players to join a captain and share the gameplay experience, each on their own device.

GPS Testing

Without smooth gameplay the experience will still fall over, so once a basic playable prototype was able to be tested, it was taken into real-world scenarios to unsure the game was playable without being too easy. Unlock distances and team gameplay experiences were tweaked to make the game feel exciting and engaging to play through.

A retro angle

The game design was agreed to follow a retro-inspired theme to differentiate it in the market and to provide a dress-up cosplay aspect for players. Taking inspiration from the Art Deco art movement popular in the early 20th century, the theme was rolled out through the app juxtaposing the modern maps feel with an authentic retro experience.


The technology choice was an easy decision based on the brief of a scaleable cross platform build. We chose the highly performant React Native platform which provided an iOS and Android build from a single codebase. Google Maps SDK was integrated into the build allowing fast loading maps data over standard mobile 3G/4G/5G networks.

For the server API the highly scaleable and performance-orientated Sails JS platform was used. This provided a good communication bridge for the app and server and also allowed separate teams to share code points in the same Javascript language.


Detective Hero was delivered on budget and with a resounding thumbs up from the founder, in his own words:


Everyone who saw it loved the design! It was perfect for my prospective users and the brand. They created a beautiful app and it looks even better than I imagined.

Jonathan Goddard, Founder Detective Hero



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