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Sun, Nov 27 2011 19:13:17 UTC

Interview with A Walk in the Dark indie game maker

Today we have an interview with Paulo Silva, one of the creators behind the indie game A Walk in the Dark and its recently released trailer.

Could you briefly describe yourself?

My name is Paulo Silva. I'm 26 years old and I live in Portugal. I'm an artist that usually works in 3D. I started studying 3D a few years ago, fascinated by movies like Toy Story and 3D games. Along my path I learned that 2D and 3D weren't that much different, the tools were just a bit different. It's you as an artist that must have the passion and skill to do great artwork. I love to tell stories and to make people feel something with my works.

What is A Walk in the Dark?

A Walk in the Dark is a project that I started with Bruno Vidal about a year ago. We worked together in a multimedia software company. We both wanted to work as game developers, but unfortunately in our country there aren't many options, so we started to do a game on our own. The freedom of doing our own project appealed to us. Along the way we lost our full-time jobs due to the adverse economic situation that is affecting Portugal. After that we started doing this project full time. The growth of Digital distribution and self-publishing makes us believe that is possible for this kind of projects to be successful.

You released an interesting trailer for the game that seems to be made of 3D and 2D elements along with shots from the game, can you talk about how it was made?

Yes, as you said we mix 3D element with 2D elements. The characters are fully 3D while the environments are 2D paintings. Because the environments were painted they have a moody and illustrative quality. We have a lot of control about the lighting and the colors. To add depth to the environment they were broken into layers and projected to 3D planes that matched their positions in 3D space. This way it is possible to have camera movements with the environment matching the characters. To bring it all together they were rendered in layers and some color correction was applied.

How did you get the idea to make that type of cinematic, instead of just showing videos from the gameplay?

For an indie game developer it ain't easy to be noticed, there are a lot of people on the Internet. And we don't have a marketing budget, so paid advertising was out of the question. So we decided to do a cinematic trailer to promote our game, it is something that is rarely seen in the indie game community. We though that this way we would catch people attention. With the cinematic I wanted to present characters that live in our game, to show the relations between them. Another advantage is that now people have a better idea of the characters and environments, and their imagination can fill in the blank spaces that the gameplay graphics cannot show. I hope it adds a bit more depth to the world when you're playing it.

How long did it take to create, and which software programs did you use?

The trailer took about two months from concept to final render. Initially I was aiming for one month to one month and a half, but the smoke simulations required a lot of tweaking and baking time, so it ended up being two months. The main software used was blender, all the modeling, animation, simulations and rendering were done with it.

Do you see the game as more of a craft or an art form?

I guess it is a bit of both. Good games always make us fell emotions, Joy, Affection, Fear, Happiness, so I definitely believe that games can be an art form. But no one wants to play a game that is buggy, runs slow or is poorly designed, so it needs both.

Can you tell us when it's getting released and for which platforms?

We don't have a set date yet, but it will definitely be in 2012. Hopefully Q1 For now we are targeting PC via Digital distribution.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Support indie developers! There are a lot of projects that are being done by small teams and have a lot of quality. While not having the production budget of AAA games they can be as fun to play. So be sure to keep an eye out. And if you're an artist or a programmer and want to work in games, why not start one of your own? It ain't easy, but it's certainly possible! Start with something small during off work hours and see how it goes. You'll never know if you don't try it!

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