Silent Bill is my most recent game. It’s a escape room style point and click made for the “I can’t draw but want to make a game (again)” game jam. Ducks have kidnapped you and are holding you captive in a beach hut. Your goal is to take them out and escape.

Concept

I’ve been excited for this game jam for a while; drawing graphics is my absolute least favourite part of development, so being able to let go of that and do some MS-paint style scribbles instead was very appealing to me. I had it in my head for quite a while that this style of graphics would suit a point and click.

Waiting outside the window

The optional theme for the jam was ‘The Beach’, so that gave me my setting – an isolated beach hut stranded on a cove. There’s a variety of categories that games will be judged on, including the “duck related content category”. If you haven’t heard of the fictional phobia anatidaephobia, it’s the fear that you are constantly being watched by a duck. I was also playing Resident Evil 4 at the time. Putting all those things together I came up with the idea to make a survival horror where ducks were the villains.

Design

There’s a few puzzles in the game; you have to take out two ducks and find two combinations to unlock a safe and the lock on the front door. To work out the logical flow of the game, I set an end goal (i.e. leave the beach hut), then came up with problems which meant you couldn’t do that (i.e. the lock on the door). To unlock the door you need the padlock code, to find the code you need an item, to get said item you need to unlock the safe, and so on.

Point and clicks often have illogical puzzles, so to keep the frustration with this to a minimum, I had very limited items – the player can will only have up to 3 items at one time. This means there’s fairly limited combinations to try, so if you can’t work out the puzzles yourself, randomly guessing should eventually get you there. The protagonist is constantly talking as well, offering up hints that range from subtle to bluntly obvious.

To accompany the poorly drawn artwork, the protagonist also offers sarcastic comments and commentary on how convenient some things are. The whole game pokes fun at illogical point and click design, the graphics and the convenience of having codes written down in easily accessible places.

Sound and effects

This game was just a badly drawn and silly point and click game until I added sound and effects. I added a quick film grain texture overlay to the screen, which both darkens the screen and adds some noise.

With film grain (left) and without (right)

I once again had some music from my friend Richard Kerry, who made an amazing atmospheric backing track. The volume of the backing track varies based on which screen you are on.

Richard also made some sounds for the game, for which he went around his house recording random things as he saw fit. He also made a variety of duck sounds and some ‘dread’ sounds.

All of this together completely transformed the game to something I find genuinely unsettling (although, I am a wimp, so take that with a pinch of salt).

Being a wimp, I’ve also added an option to turn jump scares off. This leaves in a few creepy moments, but the main jumps are replaced with amusing situations, such as having a duck take you on a dinner date or a door-to-door salesduck trying to sell you a vacuum cleaner.

Silent Bill is available for free on Windows, Linux and as a Gamemaker Studio 2 project file.

Talk about this post and suggest new blog topics in my Community Discord!

If you like my work, consider supporting me on Ko-fi!