The Dead Programmers Society, a team of four teenagers from Sisters, won “Best in Show” for the middle school division at the Oregon Game Project Challenge (OGPC) competition held at Western Oregon University on May 11.

OGPC is an annual statewide competition of middle school and high school students that compete for original video game development. The competition season runs from November through May. This year 78 teams competed, the largest field in the competition’s history.

The Dead Programmers Society include Bodie Dachtler (8th-grader, Redmond Proficiency Academy), Grey Louvar (8th-grader, Redmond Proficiency Academy), Taine Martin (8th-grader, Sisters Middle School), Matthew Riehle (8th-grader, Sisters Middle School), and Jon Louvar (coach).

Each team had a half-hour to present its game before a panel of industry professionals who judge the game on programming, art and assets, management systems, theme and story, and game design. Dead Programmers Society scored the highest marks in those respective areas to win “Best in Show.”

Game creation through OGPC encompasses the entire STEAM educational focus (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) in one unified program.

Dead Programmers Society used professional software systems, such as Unity, Blender, and Miro. They employed the Agile Development method to manage the project week to week.

“This year we had good synergy as a team that allowed us to flourish and design our final product,” Grey said.

They tracked the minutiae and held each other accountable.

“Working in a smaller team, you feel the weight of responsibility,” Bodie said. “Our feet were held to the fire to complete two tasks a week outside our weekly team meeting.”

Bodie created the art, assets, and soundtrack, which included narration to access those living with disabilities. Grey programmed in C# and debugged as they built the game. Taine wrote the story in Miro, which required storyboarding, imagining, writing, and managing the numerous facets of the player’s choices in the game. Matthew took Bodie’s art and animated it. Together the elements dovetailed for their original game creation,

“Atonement.”

“Atonement” is an adventure that takes place on an island where the player is isolated. The player comes from a dystopian society where the player has committed crimes and must earn a reputation and return to society.

Dead Programmers Society has been invited to present its game and appear at Indie Game Con in Eugene.