Game Design
Kate Orr GAme Design

Story of the Game:  Digging up Imly

A few summers ago, I spent 3 weeks building a giant patio in the backyard.  

Chopping through dirt, clay, and tree roots for several days, and then filling the hole up again with tarp, gravel and sand, is an experience that might not change your very soul, but it will at least change your biceps and give you plenty of time to think as you shovel.  

I started forming the idea that would grow into Imly’s story. What if we found treasure? What if we found a body? What if we found a whole building underneath? What if, like so many fairy stories, we found an enchantment or a curse?

Though it started as something to keep my mind occupied while I was digging, I wanted to see where the story would go. I started writing the outline:  The story of a buried palace, dormant because of a curse, waiting for its hero to come home.


IOS Puzzle Adventure Game for ipad

The creation of Imly afforded me the opportunity to serve as Project Lead, Game Designer, Art Director, and Story Designer.  

Team size:  12

Length of Production:  7 mos

As Game Designer  

Although Kismet for Unreal Mobile was new to me when I began this project,

I had fun learning how to use it, and figuring out how to bring the game to life.  

Designing the functions of the game became directly dependent on my own ability to make them work, and the limitations of the program itself.

Ideas were created, changed, and cut based on the technical aspects. Keeping the mood of the game intact, and continually exploring new techniques was the most important aspect in creating Imly.    

As Art Director

The storyline is influenced by Celtic folklore, so our art style is influenced by Celtic artwork, both ancient and new.  The style of Cartoon Saloon’s The Secret of Kells and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker helped develop Imly’s look and mood.  

The brightness and high visibility that was used in Imly’s artwork helped facilitate better visibility for the mobile devices and gameplay, as well as complimenting the storybook feeling.  

To help our concept artists capture the vision of the levels, I blocked out 3D models of levels, created reference libraries, had numerous doodle-filled meetings, and they rendered the scenes and characters for the modelers to follow.

As Project Lead and Narrative Designer  

Efficient teamwork  and team direction is approached in much the same way as  game design.  To complete an objective, communication must be clear, team members must understand the role they play within the team, and the work must be rewarding.    

To keep the production process clear, consistent, and positive, I implemented bi-weekly team meetings, scrum pipeline workflow, and easily accessible resources.

Imly’s story needed to provide motivation for the player to continue playing and also inform the team as to what kind of world we were creating. Emphasis was placed on the sense of urgency and the story’s through-line.

To help document the process, I kept a production journal and sketch journal in addition to the documents linked on the right.

This Box of Kismet -

If the previous puzzles are completed, the room has been accessed by the player, and the player is within a certain distance of the left stone, the left stone will respond if tapped.  

The response is to trigger an animation of the middle stone rotating 90 degrees clockwise, disable the other stones from registering a tap while the stone is rotating, and register if the location of the stone is rotated to the correct position to help solve the puzzle.

Each stone movement has the same series of functions.  Since tapping the middle stone moves two stones, there are 4 sequences per puzzle.

As Level Designer

The gameplay had to fit within our 8-12 minute vertical slice window, so 3 puzzles were planned with about 3 minutes to complete each one.

Using the Library and the Throne Room of the castle allowed me to design puzzles based upon objects that might be found within the rooms.  

In the Library, the player discovers portraits painted of the ghosts, as they were in life.  As each portrait is placed, the player is able to learn more about the story of the ghosts, and why Imly is chosen for this quest.  

This enables the player to expand the story as the puzzle is solved.  After all portraits are in place, the player can move on to the next puzzle on the second floor.  

The book puzzle consists of the player selecting the correct order of books on the shelves, based upon riddles inside each book.  Each riddle’s answer is the title to the next book.  Once the correct book is chosen, it flies down to the first floor, triggering a hidden switch in the desk.

The library’s treasure is now revealed, and the player can move on to the Throne Room.

The Player Looks Around -

This sequence gives the player the ability to rotate the active camera from any of the footstep platforms.

This Box of Kismet -

The player chooses places to explore by tapping a footprint circle, and is transported to that location.

Each footprint circle has a different camera attached.  The player then can “look around” by tapping one of the directional buttons on the lower left of the screen, which rotates the active camera.

During cinematic events, the camera buttons are disabled, to avoid conflicting information.  This also ensures the player will be able to see cut scenes properly.  

Imly - Throne Room


For contact information, please address

Kate Orr  

Project Lead - Art Director - Game Designer - Narrative Designer

Seung Lee  

Environment Concept Artist - Environment Artist

Anjie Quijano  

Character Concept Artist - Animations

Laura Ferguson  

Character Modeler - Environment Artist

Ernesto Gonzales  

Texture Artist - Environment Artist

James Hatch  

Character Modeler - Particle Artist

Kevin Him  

Environment Artist

Kelvin Huynh  

Texture Artist - Environment Artist

Brian Ngo  

Environment Artist

Brian Sanders  

Environment Artist - Particle Artist - Website Designer

Darren T. Lodwick  

Lead Sound Designer - Composer - Vocals

Kerry Cubuccio  

Sound Designer

Jack Farmer  


Special Thanks:  Nick Marks - Jerry Kowalczyk - Andy Clayton  

Joe Cannavino - Johnny Crespo - Timmy Jordan - Aaron Marshall

Andra Navarette - Ammi Obejas - Mike Padoongpatt - Scot Taylor   

Our Friends - Our Families

Imly - Library

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Design Document - Imly

Original Game Concept of the 1st Level

Workflow - Imly

Asset Creation Process

Naming Conventions - Imly

How to submit work

The Playing Board

The board has a different starting position for each player, and a center “island” for the storage of movement cards during gameplay.

 Each square on the board is either:

Shipwreck Cards

Drawn when a player lands on a Shipwreck spot, these cards can serve 1 of 2 purposes -

The Boat Board

Individual dry-erase boards, so that players can change their ship throughout gameplay.  The board is where the players keep track of their resources as well as movement information and cost of ship parts.

Movement Cards

All players are dealt the same amount of these cards at the start of the game and maintain that amount by drawing and discarding each turn.  

Treasure Cards

Players receive equal amounts of these cards at the start of the game.  Each treasure corresponds to one of the Islands.  The first player to reach all of their treasures, wins.  

Board Concepts by Hugh McGinley

Card Concepts by Josh Hahn

Boat Board by Kate Orr

All Gameplay/Design a team effort by

Kate Orr (Producer and Director)

Hugh McGinley (Artist)

Kirk Martinez (Programmer)

Josh Hahn (Artist)

Design Document - Plunder

Includes Development,  and Playtest Results


Stone Song

Design Document - Stone Song

Pitch Idea and Design Parameters

Game pitch idea for an Action/Adventure RPG style game.

The storyboard layouts are for a theoretical game trailer.

See bottom of page for Stone Song’s story.  

Short Stories

Stone Song

Genre - Action/Adventure

Intro story for Stone Song, documented above


Genre - Sci-Fi Adventure  

Main Character Motivation - Intro


Genre - Fantasy Adventure

Character and World-Building Story Intro

Whether or not the full backstory is revealed to the player, the development team should know what drives the characters, and the gameplay.  This helps facilitate a more consistent design and immersive player experience.  

I write short character-driven stories to examine what actions a game’s characters might take.  I also like to exercise storytelling through written word, to better communicate ideas.  

Imly’s Story

Genre - Puzzle Adventure

Plot motivation of Imly, documented above

Shot List - Stone Song

Storyboard Direction

Plunder is a fast paced, treasure hunt themed board game,

conceived and prototyped by our 4-person team.  

All materials and documents are original works created by team members.  

Back to Top

See bottom of page for Imly’s Story

Turning the Stones -

This particular sequence enables the middle stone to rotate when the first stone is tapped.