Memoriam

Unreal 4

Designer/Scripter

GGJ 2019

What is it?

Memoriam follows the player as they explore objects in their childhood bedroom, reliving old memories through mini-games. Made during a 48-hour game jam, all of the mini-games are inspired by old 2D games. You activate them by looking at objects in the environment as a way to emulate drifting into a memory. Winner of Best Game Design at the SCAD chapter of GGJ, our goal was to create a well-scoped narrative experience that would leave an impression. The prompt was "what does home mean to you?" and it inspired us to focus largely on a sense of nostalgia for things out of use.

What did I do?

During the game jam, I wore the hats of a game designer, a systems designer, and a level designer. The entire team of nine all brainstormed the initial overall concept together. I then worked with two other designers to formulate what exactly each minigame would entail as well as the overall story of the game. The minigames were then divided among the 3 systems designers on the team, with myself getting the bike level. Art was provided to us by the artists on the team but everything else about the level from how it functioned to its layout was left up to the system designers in charge of it.

How did I do it?

This project was my first time developing a 2D game in unreal 4 and I had to learn quickly. The only initial qualifications for my level were that you were biking down a road with cars on it. So to make it more interesting I added a hearts system, oil spills, and stationary obstacles. This was all determined by a timer moving to different states determining when to drop what. since it was so small and quick the entire level is actually stored just above the screen. Though for the sake of convenience the houses were spawned and dropped randomly for an indefinite period of time.

Why did I do it?

Our primary objectives when working on this project were to make something that was reasonable to do in 48 hours as well as leave an impact on the person who plays it. So, with the prompt being home, we wanted the player to feel as though they were reliving childhood memories and ultimately coming to terms with the death of their mother. For this reason, we wanted to minigames to be entertaining but never nearing too frustrating as this would pull away from the emotional impact. In my mini-game, this was seen in the health system and reasonable pace of traffic making it less likely that a player might fail but still create a sense of danger. All of this was done as to create a sense of emotional familiarity to the objects in the room to truly make it feel like a home.