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The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

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Noah Holmquist creates horror video game for Senior Project

Senior Noah Holmquist shows off his copy of “Silent Hill”, one of the inspirations for his Senior Project horror game, on Nov. 2.

Senior Noah Holmquist is embracing the spooky season through working on his Senior Project: an original, self-developed horror game entirely programmed and designed by him. 

“I feel like there’s so much more that goes into creating a horror game rather than a regular game,” Holmquist said. “When creating a normal game, you need to create a good story with meaning, but with a horror game, not only do you include that, but you also have to make it scary. You have to find the right mix of how to actually terrify the player but also make them enjoy it. There’s a lot of psychology that goes into not only making them scared but also enjoy being scared.”

The game, which he has yet to title, is planned to be created using Unreal Engine 5, which is based in the C++ programming language. Holmquist plans to use a mix of self-made and publicly available 3D models, music and other assets to patch together the game. He says the story will be linear and plans to make the gameplay experience last anywhere between 30 minutes to a full hour.

“It’ll take place in a regular, modern-day suburban house,” he said. “Since it’s like a home, it’s a place where people would feel safe and sort of feels like it could be in your actual house.”

Robotics and coding teacher Jill Whitacre has sponsored various gaming-related clubs and extracurriculars. Having taught Holmquist in middle school Robotics 1 and sponsored a robotics team he was part of, she said she is enthusiastic about his project.

“It is so fulfilling to see students exploring both coding and robotics in middle school to discover a passion that leads to the type of Senior Project he is creating,” Whitacre said. “I love that Noah is able to blend his creativity with the academic knowledge he has gained through his secondary education beginning with robotics and culminating with computer science. I can’t wait to see his final project and have always admired his contribution to the West Shore community.”

Holmquist said he is passionate about both the project and horror games in general, having taken inspiration from other popular games of the genre such as “Resident Evil”, “Silent Hill” and most of all, a spinoff of the “Silent Hill” game series titled “Playable Teaser”. He explained how “Playable Teaser”, despite having been designed as a demo for a “Silent Hill” game that was never released, was one of his favorite horror games and heavily influenced the plans for his own game’s story.

“I have a general story that the player will be a detective investigating this house and what happened to the family living there,” he said. “At first, it’ll seem like a normal murder, but as you investigate the bodies and look around, everything will seem more and more strange and off until it seems like there’s no way that something normal could’ve killed these people.”

Beyond Whitacre’s teachings, Holmquist went on to take AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A in the following years. Despite having faced issues such as learning how to work Unreal Engine 5 and having storage limitations on his computer, Holmquist said he remains optimistic about the project. He plans to make his game available on Steam for free and said that if anyone is interested in playing it, they can reach out to him in the future to try it out. 

“A main reason I chose this project is that I really enjoy programming and making art, and filmmaking and cinematography have really interested me as well,” he said. “I feel like game design is a great way to capture all of that because I get to program the game, design it and write a story for it. With those ‘cutscene moments’, it feels almost like it’s being filmed, so I get to make it very cinematic, and I really enjoy it.”


By Catalina Pelli

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About the Contributor
Catalina Pelli
Catalina Pelli, Staff Writer
Hello! I'm Cat, and this is my first year as a writer on the Roar staff. Besides journalism, I love creative writing and am also a member of West Shore's theater tech crew. I hope to bring light to students, individuals, and groups in our community that normally wouldn't get a chance to share their meaningful stories, hopefully giving them the time in the spotlight that they deserve.