Can we go back to design composition a bit? I found that really interesting, as far as visual cues and making a player go where you want them to go.
KS: It's composing a scene like you would for a painting. So let's say I have a basic room [Swift sketches on paper] and I want the player to go here, right? So what I want to do as far as geometry is, let's say, let's have these walls curve in, because it's going to lead your eye along this line here. And you can see, we've done that quite a bit with our curves and angles.
It's not just because they're just quirky and fun, they actually help point and compose the scene where we want you to look. So in the case of, say, this image here, we wanted you to look at the image of Professor Quadwrangle. We wanted you to look at all the stuff over there in the corner, and we also wanted you to look at the ledge up there too.
So as you're coming in this room, I immediately want you to look at the right. Even though there's important stuff to the left, I want you to look at the right. So the way I lit this particular scene is because there's two windows up here on the side, I wanted you to look off to the right. So I made sure to use a light that cast at kind of an extreme angle, because that tends to look the best.
It's creating an effect where it's kind of leading you with the lights.
KS: Exactly. So not only are you lighting this space because you want to cast light in that area -- because lighter spaces, people are attracted to something that's light as opposed to dark. And then in addition to that, I'm using the negative space of the window itself to basically be an arrow that says, hey! Look over here!
I would have never noticed that.
KS: Mm-hmm. But it's those little subtle things that people don't really notice. But once you look at it from a compositional standpoint, that's what's going on.
Do you have a background in art composition?
KS: I have a rough art background. I used to do comics a long time ago. I've kind of been all over the place as far as disciplines go.
Well, as a game designer, you kind of have to be.
KS: Yeah. I have a little bit of an art background, and then went to school for computer science. So I've done programming and I've done art, and now I kind of do design, which is a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B.
Is this what you've been working on since you went to Airtight?
KS: I had a short stint with another project for a very short period of time, but it eventually got cancelled. Then we started this one right away. I joined in... November of 2009? We worked on that one for eight or nine months, then we started late spring to prototype and shopping for a publisher around summer of last year. So we've been working on this for a little over a year.
What's the target demographic for this game? Looking at it, it could be cartoony, or it could be for the young at heart.
KS: We wanted to walk the line of not alienating a particular audience. So we wanted to entice kids while at the same time not making hardcore first-person shooter players go, "Ugh, oh my God, this looks like a game for five-year-olds. What is this crap?" So we definitely are trying to walk the line in terms of keeping the humor in the art style as well -- give you a good giggle. As well as using bright, saturated colors just because, I don't know, we felt it fit more with the game.
Is this being developed as an IP that could be commercialized also?
KS: You'd have to ask them [laughs, pointing at a Square rep].
So it's Square's IP.
KS: Yeah, it is now!