For the past three years, State of Play, a small studio in London, has been building a 10-foot-tall miniature city out of paper, cardboard, and lots of little lights. There are houses and gardens, and at the center there’s an 8-foot-tall water wheel, powered by a custom set of motors and built using cardboard cut by lasers. It’s a huge, intricate world, and starting next week it’s one you will be able to explore in a video game with the launch of Lumino City for Linux, Mac and Windows PC – December 3rd 2014 on Steam for PC. Linux and Mac will follow, but no official date just yet.
“I was enjoying the process so much at the beginning that I joked that I could work on this for three years,” says creative director Luke Whittaker, who originally estimated it would take a little over a year to complete the game. “I had no idea it would actually come true.”
Lumino City is actually the sequel to Lume, a short puzzle adventure released in 2011 that was similarly built using real-world materials. It tells the story of Lumi, a young girl who follows a series of clues to restore power to her grandfather’s house. It was a short experience, one that was always intended to be part of a much bigger world. But the team started small both because they had limited resources, and because they were not sure if they could actually pull it off. “But we had a hunch, and a small amount of spare time, and so we took the first part of the story we wanted to tell and turned that into Lume,” Whittaker.
- A truly unique way to make a game. Everything you see on screen was made using paper, cardboard and glue. Resulting in building a 10 foot high model city, using laser cutting plus miniature lights and motors to bring it to life.
- A cross disciplinary team worked on Lumino City State of Play collaborated with award-winning architects, fine-artists, prop-makers and animators, each discipline brought something unique to the design and execution of the finished game.
- Lumino City continues where Lume left off. As Lumi welcomes Grandad back at the end of Lume, she is swiftly catapulted into a new epic journey and a hunt for Grandad after his dramatic kidnap. Exploring the unusual dwellings beyond the city gates and finding out more about her intriguing Grandad’s life along the way. Is he all he seems?
When it came to the sequel, building the city involved a somewhat unique team. In addition to Whittaker, who worked on animation, design, and even built some models, staff members included an architect, a director of photography, and a model maker; all told, six people worked on the game. Building the sets and characters was naturally very time-consuming, but the trickiest part was making it all work and feel natural in a video game world. Getting the animation and lighting just right so that the paper looked and moved the way you’d expect proved to be an arduous task, one that helped double the expected development time.
[vimeo https://vimeo.com/97832046 w=480&h=270]
There are a number of games that use a similar papercraft aesthetic, such as Media Molecule’s Tearaway on the PS Vita. But State of Play avoided that route for a few reasons. For one thing, using real paper made it much more feasible for a small team to create a realistic-looking world, as opposed to employing dozens of artists and developers to craft a virtual version. But it also added an extra, intangible feel to the overall experience. “There’s such a sense of warmth you can give to a story using real materials,” Whittaker explains.
The resulting experience is a rarity, a video game that’s literally handmade. The tiny details and charming animation lend Lumino City a distinct and wonderful personality; whether you are operating an old-school computer with a punch card, or just watching lights twinkle in the distance, it all feels like a children’s book come to life. And you’ll be able to experience it very soon: the game launches for Windows PC on December 3rd. Linux and Mac will follow, but no official date has been set.
For Whittaker, he knew that the game was on the right track part way through development, when they finally finished building the huge waterwheel, the biggest object in the game.
“To others it probably just looks like a large bit of wood, spinning,” he says. “But to me it was almost literally a dream coming true.”
Reblogged from: theverge