Last year, the Game Creation Society at Carnegie Mellon University played an icebreaker to welcome new members. Officers in the club, including then-senior Duncan Boehle, had come up with seed guidelines for teams to develop into little games.
“One of the ideas was smell-based stealth,” Boehle said, “but no one could come up with a game for it.”
Then, inspiration struck. “I came up with a game about a guy who crapped his pants.”
The result, Silent But Deadly, is now playable on Boehle’s website. In it, you are a faceless office drone who has pooped himself in frustration over a malfunctioning computer. Emitting an aura of crap-stench, you have to navigate floors of the office building without being discovered by sniffing colleagues. This mechanic, in combination with the asides from your workmates (“what is love?”) combine for a surreal and hysterical experience.
Boehle built the playable demo in a game design class last spring, then shelved it as he started a job at Tim Schaefer’s studio, Double Fine. When the company’s annual “Amnesia Fortnight” – a two-week game jam during which employees develop on off-the-wall prototypes – rolled around, however, Boehle pitched it.
“Tim was a bit surprised,” Boehle said, “but he was very amused.”
The event is a competition, with public voting that closes Sunday. If Boehle’s game wins, he says he can imagine building out a fuller version in which the stench contains a biological agent that is wanted by the government and aliens [ED: We have, of late, noticed some gas in the KS office that could absolutely be weaponized]. He cites Super Meat Boy as an inspiration in terms of tone and aesthetic.
That’s all well and good, but where, ultimately, did Boehle get the idea for Silent But Deady? Personal experience?
“I’ve never soiled my pants in public, thankfully.”