The developers of Stasis are working on their new game Beautiful Desolation. In this interview, they’ve discussed the production of
Life after Stasis
As we’re a two man team, I think we’re lucky that we don’t need the blockbuster sales numbers that other titles need to be a success. Working smartly and streamlining our work process has allowed us to move into full-time independent development from the sales of STASIS. It gave us a wonderful foundation to build our company on, and so was greatly profitable for us.
If there is genre that has always fascinated us as creative people it’s post-apocalyptic! From FALLOUT to Oblivion, the ideas of wandering through the ruins of our civilization has an almost romantic quality to it.
Africa is a place that isn’t often associated with science fiction – but when you start to delve into the design language of our home country you’ll see the massive potential it has for incredible design.
The merging of a post-apocalyptic world with Africa seemed odd at first but as we spoke about it, the more the idea of a tribal punk future started to form. And morphed into something exciting to explore and imagine. And if there is one thing that adventure games do well – its exploration of the unknown!
Since the release of STASIS, we’ve moved over to Unity. Unity has allowed for a huge amount of flexibility to take our ideas and art assets to another level.
Although, our work pipeline has changed much, expect that we can now use additional 3D particle systems, etc. to push the graphics further. The animations are now a blend of pure 2D rendered frames and 3D objects/effects created in Unity.
We’ve just about doubled our team – we’re TWO people now! Ha! So the transition from ideal to final room goes much faster now!
I’ve been using 3ds Max since the days of DOS. 3D tools are an essential tool for us – honestly, I can’t imagine my life without firing up 3ds Max at least once a day!
Each game screen starts off with references (photos, artwork, props, sketches) and ideas to make the scene unique and interesting. A scene’s creation is an organic process when we’re working together on it – and it could change as we move forward with the puzzle design. I provide a rough layout, and then add in details – we tweak the size, shape and objects until we’re both happy. From there it’s design and iteration which has each change one step closer to the final layout… Call us perfectionists!
After that’s all in place, I render out the layers needed to construct the scene which Nic puts together in Unity, where he wires the extra effects and puzzles together. While he’s doing that, I get time to work on specific character animations need for the puzzles and scene.
Does everyone love isometric as much as I do? It’s a wonder way to show off the game work – the detail and scale at the same time. Our work is pre-rendered, the isometric screens in our game are usually created ‘in camera’ so we often move things around until they feel right.
Gameplay is always the deciding factor in the design – can the player clearly see what we want them to? Are there places that are too obscure or hidden? How can we use light or texture to draw the players attention to certain areas? How can we combine visuals with sound to truly immerse the player? All of these are the questions we ask when we go about creating the visuals in our games.
STASIS was a challenge because it was largely a one man show, with Nic running our other company to keep me stocked up on Red Bull and pizza! Now that we’re fortunate to be on the same team again, we’re speeding up our work flow.
Having a game like STASIS helped us to work out many design problems (that interface is deceptively simple) that we can go right into production without having to iterate on.
The framework that Nic has developed has been built with abilities like easy patching, extensive bug tracking features, and even the ability to load up fan translations in the game with a single click.
CAYNE is a testament to how fast and accurately we can work together to create something truly special – and BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION is going to push that work to its limits! And I can’t wait!