Main :: Everything :: Map :: RSS


Edited January 18, 2023

This was one of my 20 2020 jam games. You can play it by clicking the image above. WASD to move, and... that's it.

It was originally published in February 2020 over here on

Development Post-Mortem

I had always sort of ignored Bitsy, because it seemed like I’d find its limitations too frustrating. This is not to knock it, it’s just not built for the kind of stuff I like to make. As I understand it, Bitsy lets you do all kinds of conditional logic inside conversations, but basically none with objects in the world. An NPC can comment on items you’re carrying or remember having met you before, but as far as I can tell there is no way, in un-hacked Bitsy, to let the player pick up a key that unlocks a door. I think this probably says a lot about the creator’s intentions for the engine.

When this jam showed up on the itch feed, I thought it might be an interesting challenge to insert the kind of interactivity I prefer into a format that doesn’t really want it. I’d been thinking of the kind of paper puzzles used in the MIT Mystery Hunt ( as an example of something that was deeply interactive without actually providing much in the way of affordances. I decided to make a series of rooms with a bunch of wrong doors and one right door, and a puzzle to solve in each room to learn which was which. If the wrong doors made you waste a bunch of time backtracking to try again, you’d be incentivized to actually solve the puzzles instead of just brute forcing them.

The theme (RAT) eventually made rot13 pop into my head, and I decided that each room’s puzzle could just be a simple code. I didn’t want to limit the audience to puzzle enthusiasts, but I did want to appeal to them. I made the main sequence a series of very simple codes. A=1 B=2, Morse code, etc. I then concealed a more difficult puzzle in the interstitial spaces, and made that puzzle lead to a secret “good” ending.

As a kid, I had dreams where I was in a room full of objects, and whenever I would touch one of them an NES-style dialog window would pop up and give me some text about it. I think it was probably spawned by the weird first-person exploration segments of The Goonies 2. Making the break rooms between the puzzles in RAT13 was some serious accidental deja vu.

Main :: Everything :: Map :: RSS