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Forbidden Cavern

Forbidden Cavern was created for a senior-level game fundamental design course. The project brief was to create a narrative-driven game with multiple endings while incorporating game fundamentals. We then conduct player testing and revise the previous prototype to improve the original game.



October 2022 - November 2022


Enoch Hsieh, Evan Huang, Samuli Karki, Angela Lee


Team Lead, Level Design, Programmer, Prototyping

Engine and tools:

Unity3D, VS Code

What is Forbidden Cavern?

Forbidden Cavern is a first-person puzzle-solving game where the player plays through a series of escape rooms to save his older brother from his unforeseen fate.


Summary of Contributions

Level Design: I was in charge of brainstorming and creating the puzzle ideas for each room, and ensuring the difficulty was consistent throughout all rooms. The overall idea for the puzzles is for the initial puzzles are meant to introduce basic mechanics like picking up objects. As the player progress, the difficulty slowly ramps up through the use of timers and enemies. 


Once the puzzle logistics are finalized, I would build and design each puzzle room, making sure the setting would be immersive for the player. 

Programmer: When coding in Unity, we used C#. The creation of the cutscenes, where we had to time the projection of each frame, and scripts for certain game mechanics were created through coding. 


Below displays an instance of the script for which I contributed the coding, used for some of the puzzles that involved placing the correct object on the correct tile.


User Testing: Once our first prototype was created, I conducted user testing, and recorded key insights which brought new innovations to our final prototype. From this process, I was able to implement quality-of-life adjustments like adding an instructions page or pressing esc to pause the game. 


This was our team's first time using Unity so we had to self-teach how to script and create a game in Unity within a very short amount of time. While learning how to use Unity, we had to also design, prototype, and test our game with very little outside help and resource. All of the art was created by our visual artist, Angela Lee, while the rest of us had to program and troubleshoot our game.

Below is an overview of our 4-step process and how we approached the challenges that we faced throughout this project.

Step 1/4: Designing

Our team started with building the narrative arc and its branches to further immerse the player. Additionally, players will have to choose their own path, or make decisions based on their actions. This may result in different endings depending on the combination of paths the player took. 

narrative branching.png

Forbidden Cavern's Plot Structure Diagram

Once we finalized the narrative structure, I began brainstorming and creating the puzzles for each room. The puzzles would all have similar mechanics and build off the puzzles of the previous room.


Step 2/4: Prototype 1 & Playertesting

Our first prototype only included a few simple cutscenes and one escape room, to test the overall mechanics of our game. 

I gathered 10 play testers to try out our first prototype and received many insightful inputs on how to improve upon our prototype.

Step 3/4: Redesigning Prototype 1

The feedback we received from prototype 1 was positive with a lot of suggestions and quality-of-life recommendations. With player testing for prototype 1 finished, we began creating the rest of the puzzles and designing the remaining rooms in the game.

The reasoning behind each puzzle room was for the early initial rooms to be very primitive. This is due to the narrative arc of discovering each room. 



As the player explores deeper, the rooms begin to have more signs of a man-made environment. Once reaching the final room, the room is mostly entirely man-made, a drastic change from the very first tutorial room.


In addition, we have received feedback on adding subtle directions or methods to display progression for the player. In order to achieve this, these functions will be implemented in the final prototype, as well as the inclusion of sound feedback when correct tasks are completed. All of these improvements will be fully applied in the final prototype.

Step 4/4: Final Prototype

Within the time constraints of this project, our team was able to implement most of the functions and puzzle rooms we wanted. Our final prototype was able to include all the recommendations and feedback from the play testing, and really smoothen out the gameplay for the player. The cutscenes for all the different branches are also included which really brings the game to life and immerses the player in the events of the game. 

Below we present all the updated changes and quality-of-life additions to our game, Forbidden Cavern.


Hints will be given to the player after 1 minute if the player is struggling to progress.


A progression bar and an objective window gives clarity and positive affirmation for the player


Dialogue from the protagonist to hurry the player up. This will create a sense of urgency to the player.

Sound effects will be played to provide additional positive affirmation and immersion to the player.

Forbidden Cavern Walkthrough


Throughout this entire process, I've learnt the importance of positive and negative reinforcement, and how important these aspects are. When playing games, we don't think about the tiny details and their purpose, but I have begun to understand the importance of these game theory fundamentals. 

Additionally, this was our team's first time using Unity and I've learnt how to script game mechanics in C# as well as how to design a level well and balanced. If our team was given more time, I think it would be very interesting on exploring how to improve the graphics and the HUD, as well as creating more levels with a variety of puzzles. 

All in all, I am very proud of the outcome my team has produced, but most importantly, of how adaptive my team was with every obstacle we faced. This is definitely a project that will rocket my passion for game design, and inspire me to make even better games. 

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