Deep Dark

Author Marlena Abraham

After an unfortunate spelunking accident, you are trapped in a cave with no light source but your dying camera. With luck, you can navigate the cave’s twisting passages and find another way to the surface. It’s unfortunate that you’ve never been very lucky.

Deep Dark Playthrough from Marlena Abraham on Vimeo.

Controls: WASD to move, left mouse button to look, Shift+i+z for emergency restart.

Windows Download

Mac Download

Cave Game: Plan for the next few weeks

Current state:

  • Model for first few “rooms” complete
  • Models for stalactites, stalagmites, rocks, boulders, and crystals
  • Sound effects for dripping water, echoing, footsteps, etc.
  • First person controller with camera flash
  • 3D sketch of the rest of the game
  • Water and smoke effects

To do (with current priority):

  • Faster gameplay; currently lagging (high)
  • More rooms base modeled (high)
  • Fill rooms with base level cave models: stalactites, stalagmites, etc. (high)
  • Better textures for existing models (med)
  • Better crystal formations (high)
  • Growing crystals scripts (high)
  • Create water level (med)
  • Sounds for growing crystals (med)
  • More sounds for character (low)
  • Monster build (med)
  • Monster scripts (med)
  • Remake start screen (low)
  • Make pause screen (low)

Next few weeks plan:

  • Nov 8: Find and implement optimization methods
  • Nov 15: Model more rooms, fill with crystals/rocks/stalactites/stalagmites/water
  • Nov 21: Have prototype of water level completed
  • December 1: Have first rooms completed: Drop Zone, underground lake, stalactite maze (intro to hazardous crystals), crawling area, water dropoff

Multitouch: Guardian Angel

You are a sweet old lady’s guardian angel. The old lady doesn’t walk so fast or see too well, so when she wanders into an industrial park you, as her protector, must stop the cranes, wrecking balls, and other assorted death traps in her path by flicking them out of the way with your fingers.

OSCVoice: Hush Now

There are creatures loose in the city. As the city bard, you must serenade them to sleep with a proper lullaby. If the military succeeds in killing the creatures before you can prove that it is peaceful by lulling it into submission with your angelic voice, you lose.

Body: Red Light, Green Light

Your character runs forward. If you lean your body left or right, you will strafe to that side. You are watching for the enemy boss at the end of a hallway–if they have their back turned, you can run toward them. If they turn around, you need to hide behind shelter by running to a blind spot and putting your hands on your head. If the boss catches you, you’re dead, so don’t get caught.

Sneak-Up-On-The-Monster game

The hurdle we’re working on currently is finding a stable application for the IR sensor. Due to its erratic output, we haven’t been able to determine a stable pattern from which we can derive a fun game. We’re considering using a hot/cold mechanic through the use of ice and fire, but we are unsure how to proceed and would welcome instructional input.

Flatland Perils

You play as a square in flatland. You have to navigate perilous regions in 2D space to get to the glowing end goal. If you hit special powerups, the camera pans down and you are thrown into a 3D view with new world rules. Shine Li and Marlena Abraham.

One button idea: Flatland Terrors


You’re a simple character living in the simple x-y plane of Flatland. You can move anywhere on the x-y plane but have no inkling of any other dimensions. One day, some 3D fucker lifts you out of your plane and drops you onto a different one. You must traverse back through the sheaf of 2D planes to return to your home plane. Better hurry, though. There’s something terribly… wrong… with these ones.


Your character keeps going forward until the button is pressed. As long as you are holding down that button, you will stop moving forward and spin in place. Upon releasing the button, you keep going forward in the direction that you are facing.

You emit a light and can see everything immediately around you–everything else is dark. The camera is centered above you looking down and follows you on your journey.

There are portals? gateways? friendly 3D’ers? that can help you travel to the next dimension down. They also emit a light.

There are terrors in the darkness–they do not take kindly to strangers in their midst and will destroy you if you let them get too close.


The Premise:

This is a creativity battle game. You must defend your territory against the other players by drawing the items from the cards in your hand on the board. Last territory standing wins!


  • Pack of object and modifier cards
  • A whiteboard
  • Whiteboard markers; preferably one color per player

The Rules:


Draw a series of circles in a circle, one for each player. Each player chooses a circle to defend as their “territory”. Each player should write their name or otherwise mark their territory using their marker.

When all players have chosen a territory, shuffle the deck and deal a hand of five cards to each player. The players may look at their own hands.

The object of the game is to take turns to try and erase other peoples’ drawings to ensure that you are the last person on the board with any drawings remaining.

Types of Cards

There are currently two types of cards: object cards and modifier cards.

Object cards are composed of four elements:

  • an object to draw
  • the object’s attack power
  • the object’s size ruler
  • the object’s range ruler
To play an object card, the player first uses the size ruler at the bottom of the card to measure how much space they can draw in on the whiteboard. They can then draw the item on the card within that space. The attack power is indicated in the upper right of the card and indicates how much power the object can attack with. The range ruler is in the upper left and can be used to measure how far the object can attack from its borders. Once the player has drawn their item, they should also add a line to the top of their drawing to indicate what the range of the object is and write the attack power next to that line.

Modifier Cards allow the player to enhance the abilities of their previously drawn objects. Most modifiers add attack power or range; when played, the player should update their drawing as indicated by the card and update the range or attack power of that object.

One Turn

This game is played in turns. On a player’s turn, they draw once, DRAW once, and attack once.

Draw once: Draw a card from the deck

DRAW once: Pick an object card from your hand and draw it on the board OR pick a modifier and add it to an object that you already drew on the board.

Attack once: Choose one enemy object to attack. You may attack it with of your objects that have a range greater than or equal to the distance to that enemy object. If the combined force of your attacking objects’ attack power is greater than the enemy’s attack power, then that object is erased.

The game continues with players taking turns until only one person has anything on the board. If you no longer have anything on the board, you’re out.

Playtester Feedback:

The playtesters had some good suggestions for improvements to the game:

Instant attacks/defenses  or other quickplay cards: The playtesters noted that it was disappointing to see their objects erased when there was nothing that they could do about it. They suggested having instant-play cards that they could play if they were attacked to increase defense.

Grid system: It was sometimes difficult to measure the distance between objects; one way to solve this might be to implement a grid system to determine distance. The downside to this is an extra constraint on creativity and added setup at the beginning of the game.

Smaller drawing range: The larger items have a huge advantage–they can span enormous areas much faster than a large ranged object can. The playtesters suggested having a smaller variance on the drawing ranges to combat this.

Specify how far apart territories are: If the territories are too close it can have a big impact on the game’s pacing; in this instance items were destroyed very quickly after being drawn. It would probably be advantageous to test several ranges to find a good balance.

Multiple modifiers: The players wanted to be able to use modifiers on the same turn as placing a objects–they found that they were often stuck drawing objects every turn to defend themselves and had no time to add any modifiers before their new drawings were erased.

What happens if hand is empty?: A question that follows the preceding suggestion is what to do if the player plays all the cards in their hand. How do they replenish it?

Trading system for points a la MTG so that the loser can have reprisal: If one player has an overly powerful object, it can become impossible to destroy. One suggestion is that the object has hit points that are diminished by the loser’s attack points if the object wins.

Object movement: The players expressed interest in being able to move their objects once drawn. Some investigation into this mechanic might be interesting.

Future Improvements

There are certainly a lot of balance issues in this first round of playtesting: the overpowered larger objects and the inability to defend out of turn especially need to be addressed. Overall, though, the playtesters showed interest in the game and agreed that it was a fun idea.

Breakout: Icebreaker

I wanted to experiment with a 3D version of Breakout. The most interesting problem in a 3D version of a 2D game is how to handle the camera as well as the movement controls. I chose to try a version in which the player can control both the camera and the movement of the platform–the arrow keys move the platform on a 2D plane, the “A” and “D” keys move the camera in a circular path around the play area, and the “W” and “S” keys maneuver the camera up and down while focusing on the middle of the play space. If the ball gets stuck in one spot or you wish to reset, press the “c” key.

The platform has an arrow on the top to show the player which way the platform will move when the up arrow key is pressed. It became evident during testing that it is nearly impossible to remember which direction the platform moves in when the camera is rotated so this visual cue helps to serve as a reminder. The physics and controls are not smooth; more tweaking is necessary before the game is enjoyable to play. It might also be interesting to be able to move the platform up and down; it might be difficult to fit that into the existing controls, however.

To play the game, click on the download link below:

The source code is available here:

City of Play: Kill Him and You Will Be Famous

I ended up playing quite a few games at City of Play but the one that stuck with me was a field game called Kill Him and You Will Be Famous.

Kill Him and You Will Be Famous

The Rules

The rules are fairly simple: at the start of the game, an Honorable Master is chosen. The Honorable Master, in the style of many kung-fu movies, is surrounded by the other players and must defend him or herself against their attacks. The object of the game is to kill the Honorable Master.


  • a large open space
  • several dozen small, throwable foam balls
  • two larger foam balls
  • a backpack or container with open top
  • note cards numbered from 1 to n where n is the number of players

First things first: Everyone picks a note card. The number on their note card denotes the order in which they get to attack the Honorable Master. Next, everyone picks up two of the small foam balls, or Energy Orbs. The rest of the balls are strewn around the playing area.

Next, an Honorable Master must be chosen. At this point the person explaining the game will traditionally ask the assembled players if they know the origin of the name of the game (it’s a line from Naussica and the Valley of the Wind). The first person to guess gets to be the Honorable Master; if no person can guess, the Honorable Master is chosen by the game master.

The Honorable Master is then equipped with two larger, hand-sized foam balls and an open container strapped to his back. The other players form a circle and the Honorable Master stands in the center. The Honorable Master states his name to which the other players yell “Prepare to die, Master <name>!”, signaling the beginning of the game.

The game master will now begin calling out the numbers assigned to the players starting at the beginning. When a ninja’s number is called, she will step into the ring and have 15 seconds to defeat the Honorable Master. The game master will count down from 15 and announce when her time is up. If she can get one of her foam balls into the container on the Honorable Master’s back without it bouncing out, she has killed the Honorable Master and thus becomes  the new Honorable Master. As long as she has a ball in each hand, she is invulnerable and cannot be killed by the Honorable Master. If she throws one or both of her balls, however, she can be tagged by the Honorable Master. The Honorable Master may only tag with his foam balls; he cannot throw them.

If the ninja is tagged by the Honorable Master and she does not have a ball in each hand, she is dead. Additionally, if the ninja does not have a ball in her hand, she cannot use that hand to defend herself against the Honorable Master; the only thing she can do with that hand is pick up another ball from the ground. The ninja is also dead if she flees outside the circle before her 15 seconds are up; her fellow ninjas will kill her for cowardice. At the end of her 15 seconds, if the ninja has failed to kill the Honorable Master she must drop both of her Energy Orbs and flee to the safety of the circle of ninjas within 3 seconds or she is dead.

The game continues until all ninjas are dead or the Honorable Master has been killed. The game restarts with either of these events.

My Experience

I had a ton of fun with this game; it was fairly simple but a lot of fun. It succeeded in keeping people engaged even when they weren’t actively participating as the current Honorable Master or ninja; watching the bouts was fun. The matches were both long enough to give the ninja a fighting chance and short enough to keep the game going and keep everyone engaged.

I got to be the Honorable Master three times–once when I guessed the origin of the name, once from skill, and once from trickery. Another ninja from across the circle pretended to be getting ready to jump in on my turn and I was able to sneak up behind the Honorable Master without him seeing and drop my Energy Orb in his backpack. I found it to be a lot of fun and also quickly exhausting; each time I had to fight against a fresh ninja I got more out of breath.

Since this game has such a solid base, it presents a great opportunity to expand upon it and add new game modes. For example, a friend who was playing with me noted that the game is more difficult for shorter people. A fun potential augmentation to the game might be that if any ninja is nose-height or shorter than the Honorable Master, she may choose a Ninja Companion. When either ninja’s number is called, they both get to attack the Honorable Master at once. The addition of different kinds of orbs, tag-team Honorable Masters, or differently terrained play environments could all make the game more interesting in later rounds.

Anyway, this game was great. I highly recommend it and would play it again.