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  • Writer's pictureLeann Sterling

Prey of the Cabin

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

Escaping a cabin in the woods proves to be difficult for these misfit teens. The choices you make along the way will determine whether or not they make it out alive...

Role: Producer, Narrative Designer, Writer, Programmer

Made For: Sheridan Game Jam Week

Game Description:

Talk to a range of characters with differing personalities. Make decisions to determine who lives and who dies.

Solve puzzles to progress and move on to different stages. Do you have what it takes to escape the cabin?

TL;DR - Highlights

  • First time in a leadership role of any sort

  • Made the game in 4 days

  • Wanted a cheesy horror/comedy

  • Writing corny character was a fantastic experience

  • Good communication

  • Played to our strengths with a narrative game

  • But the puzzles suffered from lack of experience and my lack of coding expertise preventing more complex ideas

Post Mortem

Making the Game

I was really nervous about this project. I was one of the older/more advanced students on the team, which I equated with taking more of a leadership position, which was not something I was used to.

My team ended up being made of narratively strong students and not many coders, so we decided to play to our strengths and make a narrative heavy game with simple puzzles. It was also towards the end of October, so we chose to make our game horror themed.

Luckily for me, my team members were mostly dedicated and eager to learn and help, and it was really easy to instruct them. They were extremely helpful with coming up with puzzle ideas while I worked on programming, and they were also helpful in reminding me to take breaks and taking over for me when needed.

When planning the characters and story, we decided to go with the 'cheesy teen horror/drama' route. Because we had so little time to make the game (4 days, with a showcase of all the games on the 5th day), we knew the game was going to be a short one. We therefore decided that corny, funny horror with one-dimensional characters would be quick and easy, plus a lot of fun to write. We decided on what stereotypes the characters would be before even naming them - The Jock, The Prep, The Cheerleader, and the Outcast. Having such simple characters made it easy to blast through dialogues, and kept me in a good mood while writing. They were tons of fun.

What Worked

As a team, we were good at communicating and keeping each other up to date on our progress. We were also really good about supporting and encouraging each other, as well as giving feedback.

We were smart and played to our strengths. It was an easy decision to make a narrative heavy game with minimal coding. Because we were all informed about the writing process, we all have helpful things to add. If we had done something more coding heavy, I doubt we would have finished our game in time.

I'm really glad that we decided to go with stereotypical, cheesy characters. That's a stress reliever to me, and something I find hilarious in small doses, which helped to keep it from becoming an overwhelming project for me. Because the game took 15 - 30 minutes to play, it didn't get to a point where the characters became too bland or annoying, either.

What Didn't Work

One team member was mostly absent for 2 out of the 4 days that the game jam ran. Our team was already small, so having one person missing pretty heavily impacted us.

With everyone juggling tasks, our puzzle design got a little sloppy. I was mostly writing and coding, which left the younger team members designing the puzzles, which they didn't have much experience in. This meant the puzzles were a bit underdeveloped.

The Results

The Prey of the Cabin wasn't a perfect game, but ultimately, I'm proud of how the 4/5 person team, four day game turned out. It was a ton of fun to work on, and I gained valuable experience working with that team.

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