I Designed an Escape Room From Scratch to Run!


If you want to play DotSawOut don’t continue reading! This doc will spoil everything!


If I had to pick a job other than product design, I would choose game design without a doubt! Game design has always been a passion of mine, and I spend a lot of my free time studying and learning more about it. Luckily, as a big fan of escape rooms here in Iran, I got the opportunity to design a whole escape room experience – from the storyline and puzzles to the gameplay, atmosphere, and acts. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to combine my skills as a product designer with my love of game design. In this case study, I’ll share my journey as both a product designer and a budding game designer.

500 Escape rooms!

As a self-proclaimed escape room geek, I’ve had the pleasure of playing nearly every escape room in Iran. And let me tell you, it’s a thriving industry here! Despite what some might think, there are countless escape rooms to explore, and we’re proud to say that some of the most creative designs come from our very own country. In fact, there are over 500 escape rooms spread across different cities in Iran. After experiencing so many different games, my friends and I decided to take on the challenge of designing our very own escape room. That’s when I dove headfirst into game design courses and books to learn as much as possible.


At the beginning of our project, we noticed that escape rooms were becoming saturated with horror themes. So, we decided to shake things up and choose a different genre altogether – Sci-Fi! Our story, DotSawOut, is set in the year 2090 and follows a physicist who takes it upon himself to launch a rocket to destroy a meteorite hurtling toward Earth. Why, you ask? Well, after NASA rejected his and his team’s theory on how to save the planet from certain doom. Unfortunately, Dr. Haywood’s project fails, leading to the tragic deaths of millions in the eastern hemisphere. Three months later, NASA receives a signal from the East, and that’s where you come in! As players, you’ll act as agents sent to investigate the source of the signal.

Where did we start?

When it came to creating our escape room, we knew that the key to success lay in the Experience Design. Before even delving into the story or characters, we asked ourselves: what experience do we want the players to have? With a wealth of ideas at our fingertips, we ultimately settled on a Time Travel experience – something that was completely unique at the time. From there, we began fleshing out the idea by adding mechanics, and dynamics, and structuring the gameplay. We designed missions, quests, and puzzles to create a fully immersive and engaging experience for players.


“Why do they need to travel in time?” you might ask. Well, in our game, players must travel through time to prevent a disastrous event from occurring. As they begin their journey as NASA agents investigating a strange signal, they encounter a damaged robot that has lost its memory. To help the robot remember what happened, players must use a time machine found in Dr. Haywood’s workspace. This machine allows players to journey back in time and prevent the explosion of Dr. Haywood’s rocket, thus averting a catastrophe that could spell doom for humanity. It’s an exciting and thrilling adventure that challenges players to think on their feet and use their skills to save the day.



After discovering Dr. Haywood’s notes, players will be tasked with going back in time to destroy the resources he used to create the catastrophic rocket. Each time the time machine is used, players will be transported to a new location, providing an exciting and unpredictable adventure. We truly thought out of the box in designing our game. In one mission, players must even destroy one of Da Vinci’s inventions, ensuring that nothing ever flies! With every twist and turn, players will be challenged to think creatively and use their problem-solving skills to navigate the game’s complex and intriguing storyline.

Gameplay: Main Mechanics

As we wanted to make a time travel experience we needed to create a time machine with all its mechanics that players want to interact with and travel to a time. As we wanted to create two past and one future experiences we had the same approach to experience design for those locations too. 

This Case Study is being updated….