Desta: The Memories Between

Desta: The Memories Between

Desta: The Memories between is a turn based strategy game with a unique spin. Developed by ustwo Games and released for Mobile, PC and Switch, you can find out more about this game at!

Desta Screenshot


On this project I served as a prototype designer, designing and proving the initial mechanics and gameplay systems via rapid prototyping (left), that were then used as a template for the final product (right) made by the production team.

destaPrototype.gif destaPrototype.gif

Mechanically it is a unique mixture of traditional turn based tactics, and playground sports game. Instead of weapons, points (or damage in the final game) can only be scored by throwing a ball, which for us achieved three core affordances:

  • It provided a natural random element which helped keep the strategy elements interesting and dynamic, allowing for unexpected failures and happy accidents.
  • It introduced a ‘ball economy’, balls are required to attack and can be dropped or passed from player to player. Attacking may even provide the enemy with much needed resources, leading to interesting and unique scenarios.
  • As a game designed for mobile, it took the largest perceived weakness of the genre, the ‘clunkiness’ of navigating menus and selecting targets, and replaced it with a fun and engaging input mechanic that felt great on device.

While many other things changed throughout production, I am personally very proud that the core mechanics that we set proved to be so robust that outside of some small tweaks, and a lot of additions, made it to the final game practically unchanged.


I also provided technical art support and consultancy towards the end of the project. One fun challenge was the clouds this was a late addition and my performance budget was essentially zero, we could not afford any real time ray marching or even transparency and the clouds had to be rotatable in 3D space.

So a custom ray marcher was written that would filter and bake that information directly to the existing vertex data, generating this soft scattered lighting that characterises much of the game.

clouds hard clouds soft
Before: previous, unsuccessful texture based attempts After: with my ray-marched vertex lighting