Things that go bump in the night: Making Midnight Terrors – 7/7/14

Published on Monday, July 7th, 2014

Things that go bump in the night: Making Midnight Terrors

By Joe Lajoie, senior, Becker College


As children we were always afraid of the noises and shadows we would hear and see at night.  On those nights the only way we could fall asleep was to have either our parents check our room or leave a nightlight on. Whether it was the monsters in our closet or the monsters under our bed, we always had the feeling that we were not alone.  Midnight Terrors follows a young child named Casey who is tormented by things that go bump in the night.  Like all children Casey solves this problem by using imagination, giving life to the toys to keep the monsters away.

mtrbtIn Midnight Terrors you play as a protector of Casey, using the toys to build a maze to keep the monsters from reaching Casey. Whether you use the windup robot that shoots electricity from its arms or the toy soldiers who use their plastic rifles – it’s up to you to keep the monsters from reaching Casey. During the game all types of monsters will challenge you and you must use a combination of toys to keep them away from Casey.  Midnight Terrors is an old school tower defense game that focuses on mazing and tower combinations as the main strategy of the game.

The Midnight Terrors team consists of 7 students from 6 different colleges and universities.

  • Anthony DelBuono – rising senior at Becker College – Studying interactive entertainment – Lead 3d Artist & Texture Artist
  • Aromie Kim – rising junior at Tufts University – Studying cognitive and brain sciences – Art Director & Producer
  • Loren Sherman – rising sophomore at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Studying computer science – Build Manager & Technical Artist
  • Benji Smith – rising sophomore at Northeastern University – Studying computer science – Lead Programmer & System Scripting
  • Ning Xie – rising senior at Mount Holyoke College – Studying computer science – Programmer & Code Review Prep.
  • Renzo Heredia – rising senior at Berklee College of Music – Film scoring and electronic production and design – Composer & Sound Designer
  • Joe Lajoie – rising senior at Becker College – Studying interactive entertainment – Lead Designer & 3d Animator

The concept for Midnight Terrors came about from an idea I had been working on for a few weeks. I submitted this idea to Monty Sharma before MassDiGI’s Summer Innovation Program (SIP) began, and I was allowed to pitch this to the other interns to see if they would be interested in turning this idea into a reality.

mtartAs you can tell by now the idea was a hit with all the other interns. During the first week of SIP, the interns were broken up into groups and we given a chance to brainstorm and expand on the idea of Midnight Terrors. From this session the number one feature that everyone wanted was the aspect of light.  This would later become known as the “flashlight nuke” – the ability to turn on a flashlight and clear the entire field of monsters.

During the next few weeks, the Midnight Terrors team began creating a prototype of the game so we could start obtaining feedback on how the gameplay and design was looking. We received a lot of positive feedback; testers thought the concept and story of the game was great! Some people even commented that it was fun to lose just to hear Casey scream.

I’m amazed every time I look at the game how far we have gotten in such a short amount of time and the work ethic of everyone on this team. Some members even work during the weekend just to get it done and into the game before our next build.

Everyday I come to work excited and happy to see how a little concept has slowly turned into a full-fledged and working game before my very eyes. It is exciting to be part of such a talented team.  It is so awesome and satisfying to see someone pick up the game, get a giant grin on their face as they play and know that you have been a part of their excitement through the game.  When we are not working on the game 40 hours a week, we are showcasing the game  at events such as Boston Post Mortem and Boston Game Forum. Both of which I highly recommend attending if you are interested in game development.

We are in the final stages of development for the game, and are having people playtest the game weekly to fine-tune the balancing. We are getting all the feedback we can and changing parts of the game to improve the readability and playability of the game to make it a better user experience.  Midnight Terrors has also made an entrance into the social media sphere. We are working on getting our games name out there in order to have an amazing launch.  It has been a crazy experience for all of us to make a game in 11 weeks that we can all be proud of. We are excited to see how our hard work has paid off.

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