Behind the Scenes: The Making of Hut 17.

Get ready to go behind the scenes with our very own Room Designer, Charlie Butcher, as he takes you on an exciting journey into the making of our top-rated escape room, Hut 17. The Cipher team dedicated a whole year to bring this captivating room to life, from its initial conception to the actual construction. If you’re a fan of escape rooms, this blog post is a must-read. Join us as we unravel the creative process and uncover the secrets behind the success of Hut 17.


  1. Conceptualising Hut 17: From Idea to Reality

According to Charlie, the first vital phase was the conceptualisation of the room, transforming a mere idea into a tangible reality. He emphasized the significant amount of time dedicated to in-depth research, as “the team at Cipher strives to deliver the utmost immersive experience for players”. Historical accuracies relevant to the time period were meticulously explored, as they serve as one of the most effective ways to truly immerse players in the room’s storyline.


  1. “Designing the Immersive World of Hut 17: Set, Props, and Atmosphere”

With a solid foundation in place, Charlie then shifted his focus to the room’s layout. Armed with floor plans and drawing from the knowledge gathered during the research phase, he meticulously designed every aspect to ensure an authentic ambiance aligned perfectly with the room’s captivating theme. The attention to detail and commitment to historical accuracy ensured that every element within the room worked harmoniously to transport players to a different era. “Prop selection is especially important when designing a room” says Charlie, “the wrong props can act as red herrings that can really throw players off the game but a lack of props prevent players from getting as engrossed as they could be”.


  1. “Cracking the Code: The Puzzle Development Process in Hut 17”

“The puzzle creation process was both challenging and exhilarating,” Charlie revealed with enthusiasm. “Designing, testing, and constructing the puzzles became my favourite aspect of the entire room creation journey.”


At Cipher, our puzzles are meticulously crafted to seamlessly blend with the room’s theme and time period. In the case of Hut 17, set during WWII, the technology within the room remains subtly integrated, allowing the puzzles to evoke an authentic experience with responses true to that era. However, this approach presented its own set of challenges. Charlie shared, “Creating puzzles that functioned seamlessly within the room’s design, while maintaining historical accuracy, often proved to be particularly demanding.”


Nevertheless, this challenge turned out to be a stroke of brilliance for the team. Charlie further elaborated, “It pushed us to explore simpler, yet incredibly satisfying, low-tech puzzle designs in order to keep the room authentic to the time period. The boundary between high-tech and low-tech puzzles became blurred as we focused on creating an immersive shell that customers interact with. Take the radio puzzle, for instance. It required intricate design and setup behind the scenes, but the player’s interaction remains perfectly in theme, camouflaging the modern technology at its core.”


  1. “Behind the Sound: Creating the Authentic WWII Ambiance in Hut 17”

In addition to the significance of puzzles and props in crafting an immersive and authentic room, Charlie shared Cipher’s secrets for achieving the perfect atmosphere:

Music played a crucial role in creating the desired ambiance in Hut 17. Countless hours were dedicated to curating a playlist that seamlessly complemented the room, effectively building tension and intensifying the drama as the game progressed.

Another vital element in establishing the right atmosphere were the Games Masters. According to Charlie, they are trained to embody specific characters throughout the entire room experience. From welcoming hosts at the beginning to becoming integral characters within the room’s storyline, and finally transitioning back to hosts for the post-game debrief, their seamless portrayal adds depth and immersion to the overall experience.

Charlie highlighted the unique clue system designed to maintain thematic consistency. “We offer two options for presenting clues to players: a vintage ring dial phone that connects them with their ‘operator’ (aka Games Master), or our customers favourite: Mabel, a sassy 1940s-style operator featured on a tannoid system.” The clue system seamlessly integrates into the room’s theme, ensuring players remain fully immersed. “Our aim is to never make players feel as though they are being overly guided. That’s why our clues, whether through the phone or Mabel, are designed as puzzles in themselves. Players are expected to extract key information to solve the puzzle they’re currently working on.”


  1. “Unveiling the Technology: How Hut 17 Integrates Electronics and Gadgets”

Cipher utilizes a cutting-edge system to power its games, enabling the creation of one-of-a-kind and immersive experiences for customers. According to Charlie, “Incorporating theatrics was crucial for us to develop captivating storylines and atmospheric settings for our players. We constantly strive to push the boundaries of what our Escape Rooms can deliver, be it immersing players deeper into the game or introducing innovative puzzle concepts.” At Cipher, innovation and immersion go hand in hand, ensuring every visit is an extraordinary adventure.


  1. “Testing and Refining: Perfecting the Flow and Difficulty of Hut 17”

The final crucial step in preparing Cipher for its public debut was the rigorous testing and refinement of Hut 17. The team underwent two weeks of testing, initially involving close friends and relatives, followed by further adjustments based on their valuable feedback. Once the necessary improvements were made, the room was opened to the public for testing. Charlie shared, “Even months after our opening, we remained committed to incorporating feedback from various groups. We continuously adapted and replaced puzzles, fine-tuning every aspect, including the development of our clue system to aid players experiences when stuck.” The entire team’s unwavering dedication to enhancing Hut 17 has resulted in overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. Today, Hut 17 proudly holds its position as one of the top-rated rooms in Milton Keynes. Curious to discover why? Join us on an unforgettable journey and experience it for yourself.