Memoriam was made in only 48 hours for the 2019 Global Game Jam. It is a narrative experience that sees the player revisiting their childhood home. By looking at important objects of their past, they can be transported into rose-tinted memories seen through a nostalgic lens. It blends together 2D and 3D gameplay.
Memoriam starts with the player entering their room in a 3D space, mostly emptied and packed away. They can look at key items that spark memories, transporting them to romanticized versions of them that take place in a 2D gamespace reminiscent of the graphic style of the games they played as a kid. Each memory creates a narrative roadmap that discloses a larger story.
Full Gameplay Video
Role and Development
This game was developed in two days, during which I acted as the project head, lead designer, and systems designer. It was completed with a team of eight. This was my first attempt at a game that relied on narrative over mechanical complexity. I had to re-work how I had planned games previously, and instead, promote telling a story in a subtle and bittersweet fashion. After we had figured that out, we were able to move onto the game's mechanics and how we would tell the story. It won Savannah's Game Jam's award for Best Game Design.
Memoriam was completed from start to finish entirely in 48 hours. Everything was produced during that time, from the art and music to the systems and code. Because of this, I needed to plan schedules around peak efficiency. Everyone on the team got to go home and sleep for at least four hours a night if their work was done up to where it was planned to be and they chose too. Planning around this and other potential disasters was the hardest part of the project for me.
Obstacles and Challenges
Because this project was done for a Global Game Jam, we had to work off of a prompt. The prompt for 2019 was 'What does home mean to you?' Ultimately, we decided that home is home because of the memories made while living there. Because of some changes happening in my own life, I wanted the story we were telling to be bittersweet. Not all memories are happy, but together they all make a place home.
Jonathan Rey-Brookes= Game and Systems Design
Leo Lo- Game and Systems Designer
Justin Garber- 3D Environment Artist
Tianyi Lu- Lead artist and 2D Environment Artist
Parker Scott Daniels- 3D Environment artist and Composer
Alex Sanches- 3D environment artist and Game Designer
Aiveen Dunn- 2D Character Artist
Memoriam was my largest leadership role leading a team to completion in 48 hours. Memoriam required organization and unity, prioritizing as the project was being developed. My time was spent primarily supervising, managing the schedule and keeping everyone on track. Although this project required full devotion from all team members, it was an amazing experience and taught me how to work under pressure.
As a designer, the idea was possible due to the research we had done prior to blending 2D and 3D within Unreal. The ability to easily switch game modes made this a simple and impactful mechanic. It was the first narrative-based game I created. Writing a narrative and designing game feel around it was a brand-new experience. Memoriam taught me that aesthetics and game feel are just as important as mechanics in producing a great game.