Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 23, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 23, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

Derrick the Deathfin, the first video game built from papercraft Exclusive
 Derrick the Deathfin , the first video game built from papercraft
October 2, 2012 | By Mike Rose

October 2, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Indie, Design, Exclusive

It takes a few more steps than usual to get Derrick the Deathfin and his world flapping about on screen. Due for release on October 9 for PS3, the game features characters and models that look like papercraft -- and that's because, at one point, they were.

Every character in Derrick started off as sketches on paper by artist group Ronzo, who then turned the sketches into real papercraft models. Finally, photos of the models are sent to 3D modelling studio Ten24, who take everything they see and turn them into virtual models with full animations.

For the team at Different Tuna, the dev studio behind the game, it's then a simple case of importing the models into the Unity engine, and away Derrick goes.

"It's pretty essential really," says Different Tuna's Gordon Midwood of the process. "We wanted to make something genuinely unique and base it on real papercraft, so the building of paper characters and scenery was necessary to get it exactly right."

Building everything in papercraft first ensured that the team got the look and feel of the visual style spot on, says Midwood -- and it helped that they had fun playing around with it along the way.

"To us the main appeal of papercraft was that it hadn't been done before," he continues. "The style transferred really well into the models and then the game."

Of course, because it hadn't really been done before, it meant the team had a fair bit of trial and error to deal with. "Obviously it took a lot of experimenting with the texturing, modelling and so on but once we had the process down things worked nicely," notes Midwood.

He adds, "It's also not a very computationally expensive style in our implementation - low poly, basic animations and so on."

As for the game itself, Different Tuna has found itself cutting out and sticking back in (excuse the pun) many different elements since the original vision was divised.

"To me that is all part and parcel of making part of a parcel", says Midwood. "It's also what happens a lot in game development. Everything is up for change, refinement, or scrapping all the way up to the end of the project. In my opinion that's what makes game design documentation more or less a gigantic waste of time, it's just how games development works."

He finishes, "We always stuck to our original vision for what the project should be though, even if its contents shifted around a bit, and with each iteration and refinement the game got better and better of course, so it's a positive process."

Related Jobs

DeNA Studios Canada
DeNA Studios Canada — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Analytical Game Designer
University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas at Dallas — Richardson, Texas, United States

Assistant/Associate Prof of Game Studies
Avalanche Studios
Avalanche Studios — New York, New York, United States

UI Artist/Designer
Bohemia Interactive Simulations
Bohemia Interactive Simulations — ORLANDO, Florida, United States

Game Designer


David Amador
profile image
omg this is awesome

David OConnor
profile image
looks fun ! :D

Michael Joseph
profile image
It's always neat to see how some designers are able to come up with a fresh new style that can make a tried and true genre instantly stand out from the rest. That's gotta be one of the hardest things to do in game design. Here they manage to bring virtual paper figures to life.

I wonder if the designers come from a cartoon or stop motion animation background. Cuz it doesn't seem to me that one would be inclined to approach the problem as they did if one comes from a traditional game dev background of concept art -> polygonal modeling & animation workflow.

But what do i know. I suppose the paper miniatures is similar to clay sculpting and the puppetry is like motion capture with human actors. Similar but not the same thing so it makes me wonder where that outside the box thinking comes from. new dogs with their new tricks. gotta love 'em :)

Luis Alis
profile image
I couldn't like this approach more if I wanted to. Bravo!

Saul Gonzalez
profile image
Well, this shows how papercraft has become part of the zeitgeist. Media Molecule's new game Tearaway has the same core concept, down to the actual modeling in paper. Looks like Derrick will beat it to release, tho.