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Open/Shut Case

Open/Shut Case is a narrative based game in which the player uses documents, pictures, and letters to figure out the story of the player character's incarceration and husband's murder. Spatially arrange what you believe to be true on the wall of your cell and flush the lies down the toilet. What you decide to keep influences your release.

  • December 2015

  • Made during Carnegie Mellon University's Experimental Game Design Fall 2015 course

  • Unity3D, 15-20 minute play time

  • I created all the documents, programmed every function, modelled all the models except the door, and designed and wrote the entire experience

  • Download and play here

Paper Prototype

In its early stages, I created a paper prototype for this game. I wanted to test how players reacted to: document types, number of documents given at a time, methods of spatial arrangement, what documents were thrown away or kept, and how players drew connections between documents. I received a great deal of verbal feedback, for example, players had a hard time getting past the levitating fart drawing, to the point where it broke them out of the experience, even if hilariously so. I ended up keeping that drawing in the game, though redrew it with much more serious intent. 

Production and Assets

Open/ Shut Case contains 33 unique documents, each relating to one or more of three possible subplots which lead to three different endings. When the player sleeps on the last day, the game cycles through each alignment of documents on the wall, taking note of which documents are linked to each other. The game ignores documents that have been flushed down the toilet, as this means the player considered the information in that document to be bogus or irrelevant. The game then tallies the number of connections between documents of the same subplot and delivers the ending corresponding to the subplot with the most connections.

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