By Alana Riley
Imagine B-Block at Garden’s Point sprawled with lush greenery. Ivy wrapping around the red brick exterior, entwined with the vines of giant budding flowers. Imagine it dripping in leaves as if left uninhabited for decades.
If you ventured into Gardens Point library over the first half of this year, you would have seen exactly this – well, you would have seen a mini-model of it.
Tucked behind HiQ on level two of GP library lives the mini scale model of QUT’s GP Campus. It’s part of the QUT Monster Megagame by Half Monster Games, an interactive treasure hunt table top game that will have you running across campus solving clues.
The mini-model is the handiwork of QUT alum Jaimeson Gilders, known as Jam, who was thrilled at the opportunity to bring a monster-infested QUT campus to life.
“We have a 3D map of the campus and next to that is a stash of treasure maps. You follow and solve clues and scan QR codes, you can decode particular bits and pieces depending on the map… then you solve it.”
“The lore behind the game is that QUT has been trying to open a portal to another dimension for ages and they have finally cracked it … but all these monsters have started coming through.” Players can choose to join one of four factions: mechanica (orange), biochrondis (green), void-born (purple) and gate-keepers (black).
A weekly ‘battle for the block’ would have a building on the QUT mini-map up for grabs. Whichever faction wins its battle would get to take over that block which Jam would take home and paint up for the next week.
This was no small feat, as Jam explained, as she was tasked with the role of creating each factions physical identity and what it would like if they “infested” a building.
“I knew I had the four colours of each faction to work with and the monsters within each faction.” For example the portal-creating squid of the void–born faction was the inspiration for the oozy, purple tentacles you’ll find wrapped around Y-Block. And the green biochrondys faction inspired the cultivation of lush, green ivy across the B-Block building.
“I took all the ideas and went ‘OKAY! Let’s just run with it’. I went hunting for inspo and would share pinterest boards with the guys like ‘is this the aesthetic we’re going for’.”
Jam is one third of the crew behind the game which was launched in semester one of this year. Jack Ford-Morgan of Half Monster Games is “the brain behind it” according to Jam, and is studying his masters in game design at QUT. And James Elliolt, who is part of the Brisbane Treasure Hunt Society, is the mind behind the labyrinth of riddles you’ll come across during gameplay.
While the Jack and James had the concept in the works for some time before Jam came on board, she said she just fell into the role after doing some play testing of the game and “just being really enthusiastic”.
“Jack went hard into the game design part and James went hard into the map making and puzzle part but they needed people to play test. So I just went along to those.”
“The model they were working with was just this dodgy foam thing and I said ‘Hey I can do this and I can do it better!’ and so I did.”
Jam said having complete autonomy over the creative design is “absolutely surreal”.
“To have been working on this project for less than six months and from the start to have them say ‘yep go nuts we trust you’ is very cool but spooky.”
Jam reflected on how her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in technical production had led her to this project. “Even though none of it made sense at the time – all the weird things you learn along the way – you look back at it and it reads like a road map to wherever you end up. Whatever you do, it’ll be fine.”
If you have some spare time between classes, catch a glimpse of Jam’s handy-work, pick up a faction info-sheet and join the hunt! Look out for updates about the QUT Monster Mega-Game by checking out their Facebook page @qutmonstermegagame