About oddity

Oddity is a horror point-and-click adventure game developed by UAT students as part of their Game Production Studio program. Green-lit projects at UAT are given a 15 week development cycle to produce a working alpha/demo quality build before moving forward with a full year of development support, and the project development is still underway by many original team members and the project lead, Harlan Whitfield.

In Oddity, players become trapped against their will in a nightmarish hotel after a freak bus accident leaves them stranded. The hotel is filled with terrifying and dangerous characters that can (and will) turn on you in the blink of an eye - escaping the hotel with your life is the only goal, but when that fails, but thanks to the unique "shadow-save" feature, time and space do not obey their traditional laws, and some characters may not be so quick to forget past transgressions.

Atmosphere

In a modern horror title designed to stand out from the rest, "jump scares" and other cheap methods of terror have no place - Oddity leaves these behind in favor of a highly polished, deeply unsettling atmosphere that persists throughout every facet of the game - Harlan Whitfield's striking art design allows each non-player character to have a unique and horrifying facade, instantly recognizable in a bleak and distant world; each face follows you across the room, blankly staring at you as you pass by. The hotel itself seems to have a life of its own, as walls shift and contort inwards as you continue down a long, silent hallway.

Dialogue creation process

Character design and interaction are the two main forms of storytelling in Oddity, and as such, a lot of time was spent ensuring that dialogue was well written and correctly formatted. Much of my time on the Oddity team was spent rewriting dialogue, checking for spelling or grammatical errors, writing character sheets, and creating some new dialogue for the later part of the game. Dialogue was written using an Excel spreadsheet - the Unity engine would load the correct dialogue file, and then load a particular cell and display its text if certain conditions were met; this allowed us to keep the same dialogue file for one character throughout multiple phases of the game, so long as they remained in the same physical position.

unitydialogue2.png

Development progress

Over the course of Oddity's development, it has undergone a lot of changes and a significant amount of work has been made to improve its quality. Though I am no longer part of the team, I am glad that I got to contribute to such a great project, and see it come to fruition thus far. There were some difficulties in job assignments and communication between the online members of the team and on-campus students, but the team powered through it nonetheless and completed our goal of delivering a finished build by the end-of-semester deadline. Below is a video showing one of the first builds of the game, when the title was still a side-scrolling point and click, compared to the December 2016 demo, to show just how far Oddity has come.