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High Concept: Remember is a single-player narrative experience driven by visual and aural puzzles.
Built In: ZeroEngine
Development Cycle: November 2011 - December 2011, March 2012 - April 2012 (7 weeks)
Puzzles based entirely on audio input
Puzzles based on visual input with audio feedback
Introspective statements designed to ask the player whether he puts more weight on the self or on the 'we' that evolves in an intimate relationship
Designer Notes: The player assumes the role of a soldier, who knows only that he needs to find 'her'. This game resulted from my desire to create a sound heavy puzzle game, as there aren't many of these kinds of puzzle games in the industry at present. The game turned into an experience about the dichotomy between our two sense, sight and sound, and switching between the two.
Remember has two kinds of puzzles: one based on sound, and the other on audio. During the sound segments, the player has no visual feedback, and is encouraged to close his eyes. He must then locate 'her' by listening for the sound of her singing, which becomes obscured by other noises as the game progresses. The visual puzzles involve riddles, the solutions to which are located within photographs. The player must find the answer to the riddle by clicking on the correct object in the photo.
This game was written as more of an experience than a conventional game; its core aesthetic is the player's desire to uncover the soldier's (and thereby his own) story, using sight and sound in an attempt to emulate the process of trying to remember something by searching through one's memories.
Postmortem: The core mechanics and narrative proved to be strong - all kinds of people that playtested it testified that they enjoyed the experience, unconventional as it was - but it is lacking that layer of polish that would transform it from 'neat' to 'spectacular'. A few of the puzzles proved frustrating to players, and if I had implemented some sort of 'hint' system, it probably would have helped ease some of that tension. Additionally, the visual puzzles needed more feedback for when the player clicked on something that played an audio cue. I could have gone back and made it so that when the player clicked on an interactive object, it lit up briefly, or greyed out. Even a simple bit of feedback like that would have made the player's action more apparent to them, instead of wondering if they had clicked on something randomly.
The soundscapes were very fun to design. Narrative Design is my primary interest, and it was an interesting challenge to decide how to build the levels and sounds in such a way that they communicated the relevant information to the player. Nailing the feel of the game was critical to its success, and the base feeling is there. It is the appropriate level of melancholy, with the appropriate vagueness in the beginning of the game to allow the player to piece together his own narrative.