If you like beautiful games, here's one to definitely explore further! Arty Swirly Colourful is a game currently in development by the Owl Sanctuary Studios team, which I'm so happy to have connected with and worked with on the music to this stunning game. Discover more about them and their wonderful game now...
How did you all come together to make Arty Swirly Colourful?
'We met in University where we were all studying Games Design. We became friends towards the end of first year and eventually ended up working on a few projects together during the degree. From there if we skip the middle bits the three of us moved in together, setup a company and starting working on Games together. Also two of us are married, to each other, that was an important thing that happened.'
Where did the idea come from?
'The idea for Arty Swirly Colourful (ASC) came from an assignment during an experimental games design class our Lead Developer, Tom took during his final year in 2016. It was originally designed as a really simple relaxation focused experience. The world came together as a result of messing around with the Gaia add-on for Unity. Tom wanted a simple beautiful game world with dynamic seasons & weather that was just pleasant to spend time in.
After the course, Tom was asked to show the game at the Joint Conference on Serious Games 2016 in September. So development continued, as it did so we discussed the game with more people and the core idea of the game started to evolve. Somewhat nebulous ideas from the early days of the game were formed into coherent designs, more features and functionality was added and out of all that came the version of Arty Swirly Colourful shown at JCSG 2016.
Despite the fact that the demo we setup at JCSG couldn't be played by conference attendees and showed very little of the game's mechanics we received a very positive response. Once Tom graduated at the end of 2016 we setup Owl Sanctuary Studios and Tom went into full time development on the game.'
Who is Owl Sanctuary Studios?
Owl Sanctuary Studios is an independent Game Development Studio founded in 2016 and based in Brisbane, Australia.
- Tom - Lead Developer, Creator, Environment Artist, Studio Director, Generally doing everything
- Caroline - Concept Artist, 2D Artist, Game Designer, Occasional 2D Animator
- Zahra - Awesome... Apparently..., Community Manager, Concept Artist, 2D Artist, Character Artist
- Ruth - Lead Writer on ASC
- Ashleigh - Facial Animation Lead on ASC
- Jamie - Ginger Floof
- Maowee - One Punch Neko
Can you describe the game to us?
'In a nutshell Arty Swirly Colourful is a narrative driven game where the player takes on the role of a photographer sent to the stunning but ficticious Green Bay National Park in Canada. The player has the task of recreating with photos a series of paintings created in the National Park 100 years previously. To do this player's will have to explore the national park and work with the Park Rangers. It's also a game about reflection and the protagonist's emotional self-exploration.
Playing Arty Swirly Colourful is still quite a chill relaxing experience with gentle music and nice surroundings. There is plenty of things to take photos of, people to talk to and an engaging story.'
Is there anything special we should be looking out for in the game?
'Arty Swirly Colourful features a beautiful world populated with interesting wildlife and complete with changing seasons and weather. All of these things add an incredible amount of variety to the experience. We also think we have come up with some unique story telling mechanics to do with the protagonists emotional journey but it would be spoiling to talk about them now.'
Were there any big challenges that you've faced in your team or development journey?
'We've had a variety of challenges throughout development, working out design problems, performance issues and AI pathfinding being just a few. We have had a lot of big distractions going on this year which have made it difficult to get production going smoothly during the first half of the year.'
Where does the music fit into the game & gameworld?
'Quite early on during ASC's development we realised that music would be a vital part of the experience. We built a system that randomised the music based on a variety of factors. Initially we got simple royalty free music that did a reasonably good job of matching the different variables used by the music system. During our closed alpha testing it became apparent that while the royalty free music was ok it lacked consistency and just wasn't good enough for a full release.'
What do you think of the soundtrack so far?
'We love the custom soundtrack we have now for ASC, we were really impressed with how quickly it came together. The custom tracks while not entirely replacing the royalty free music has tied it all together adding consistency. The quality of the new music has also added impressive key pieces to the final soundtrack.'
How wonderful! It's been a pleasure working with you and your team. Here's a sneak preview of the soundtrack:
What are your plans now and where can we find out more?
'Well, we haven't announced our release plans for ASC yet but we are happy to say that Arty Swirly Colourful - Summer is on track for release before the end of 2017. The game will be an episodic release with three more Seasons to come in the months after Summer.'
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About the author: Ninichi is a game music composer & supporter of indie games. She has worked on the music for numerous games, films, shows and more. If you'd like custom music for your game or project, contact me now to explore things further. See her full list of credits here.