Catnip Western

cody-home

Catnip Western, 2007

Flash Game > Click Here to Play

Team: Pretentious Studios


My Roles: Director, Designer, Writer, Artist/Animator
Collaborators: John Pang, Mohammed El Eryan

Details

The first game I ever created, Catnip Western was produced in our introductory game design course under current Zeros 2 Heroes president Matt Toner.

A labour of love and hard work, this was our team’s first encounter in game design, script writing and our first time using Adobe Flash.  The game is modelled after the classic Adventure games of the early Lucasarts games by Tim Schaefer, David Grossman and Ron Gilbert.

I was responsible for all the art in the game and most of the animations, the writing, game scenarios and created the initial concept.

Highlights

The game was nominated by SFU to the 2007 ELANS Awards in the categories of Best Writing in a Student Game or Animated Production and Best Art Direction in a Student Game Production.  We were among the 4 finalists in the Writing category: the only game to make it, in fact. We also created an entire package to accompany the game: cover box, printed instructions and a labelled CD.

Media

Process

The Idea
We chose a Western theme due to the scope of the project: we had planned a massive amount of content for a first-time effort, and would need to minimize environments and characters.  A classic western town was typically small and sparsely populated: the perfect environment. We were then forced to adapt our idea to include the theme ‘Cats’ due to a late change by our instructor.

Scenario Planning
Being a puzzle and exploration driven game, we planned out the sequence of actions and events visually via flow charts before compiling our goals and game design into a game design document. Although we had only a handful of puzzles, coordinating all the intersecting puzzle elements proved to be an interesting challenge.

Story & Gameplay
We chose to shape the game around a story to give context to the player’s actions and the game’s events. It was a monumental task for us, but we managed to achieve a narrative-driven experience that challenged the player with contextual problem solving.