The company I founded Time For Art Studio LLC is a small game company devoted to building state of the art games with education and learning as a focus, while also creating an unforgettable imaginative player experience. In 2015, we saw the release of a 2D game version called Magic Vinterloo! mini, an experimental prototype copyrighted through Michigan State University.
My interest in games as a powerful medium of communication falls in the area of Indie games. I enjoy making, creating, and playing Indie games because they have story, significance of aesthetic feeling, they can be flawed in certain ways, but, the whole (in terms of the experience) always seems to be greater than the sum of its parts - and not insignificantly. To me, indie game titles have magic in their imaginative approach to game design. They seem more like books, with a compelling story driving gameplay.
In 2016, my company promises to go a step further - Time For Art Studio LLC - will release Magic Vinterloo! 3D an indie release that is a complete remake of the former game. Now, step into the producers world:
The most vibrant distinction for this game is the total novelty of the art direction of the game. The world of Magic Vinterloo! has been inspired by scenes from The Wizard of Oz, The Beatles song “Being For the Benefit of the Kite,” Victorian era circus posters, and water cities like Venice. There’s elements of Sherlock Holmes, and the mysterious Mr. Moriarty aka in our game, dutifully played by the dark shadow of a character Sir Winston Coffinwood. To get the look of the game, I studied architecture from Great Britain, taking special inspiration from the water mazes found at Hever Castle, and the gorgeous design of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
There’s also an array of innovative technical features for the player that we won’t discuss here, but has been made possible with the cutting-edge tools released by the game company sponsoring this contest! One detail - you can connect a Nimbus Controller to your iPad or iPhone and play this game like a console game.
We adventure into London, 1851. The gardens house a secret world, full of nature’s magic and under a mysterious spell that has been caused by the disappearance of Sir Winston Coffinwood. In the 3D version, Stuart the main protagonist in the story will be able to jump, and travel through the maze worlds to find answers to this mystery.
Early concept sketches actually formed the backgrounds to these imagined worlds:
Now here in the 3D version:
The 2D prototype version of Magic Vinterloo! mini available now has a unique character called Tucker the Robot.
Tucker was drawn in the old hand drawn Disney fashion. How to resurrect a dark art: hand drawn character animation. Where would I begin? My background as a graphic artist has taught me that research always helps you find answers to creative problems. I began by scouring books, looking for interviews, and materials - anything associated with the film “Sleeping Beauty.” I came across an out of print hardcover book that distilled all the magic and secrets of classic animation: “Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life” - by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. In this book I found the key aspects for the scientific understanding of a discipline that I intuited must exist with animation - the secret recipe book for the art form. I learned about squash and stretch, and then found GIF’s of Pinocchio animated in a sequence that showed exactly what the two of the “seven old men” as Disney nicknamed them were talking about. In the new game, Tucker the Robot has now evolved into Stuart. I utilized the opportunities of Mixamo, and my skills as a portrait artist (in another career) to realize this character. Stuart evolved out of short story I wrote.
Into the fires of game design we jump!:
Finally, no game project is complete without its share of mountains to climb, seemingly impossible challenges, and loads of hours that seem to spill from the late night into the next day. Thousands upon thousands of hours. My admiration for games that are out there, (or currently in production) increases every time a new game makes it to market. When the game project first began, there were three of us: a graphic designer, a programmer, and myself. However, as often happens during a game's creation, the programmer and graphic designer were hired away. After two years I found I had to start over - from scratch. Now the game is here. Be in the game! If you have any innovative ideas in any way, shape or form, or could make a possible contribution to my game, don’t hesitate to fill out a contact Time For Art Studio LLC here: Contact us!