The Collage Atlas: A Dreamlike Adventure on Steam

John Evelyn, creator of The Collage Atlas, recently shared his inspiration for the hand-drawn game, stating, “I couldn’t walk away from the pen and ink thing.” He describes the entire game as a dreamlike storybook adventure where every detail, from tiny flowers to towering buildings, is meticulously drawn by hand. As players explore this world, they unravel a captivating narrative that unfolds in response to their actions.

Embracing the Unexpected: The Story Behind the Art Style

Evelyn’s approach to creating the game’s art style was unconventional. He explains, “I’d always draw with ink straight away, without any kind of prior pencil work or sketching,” emphasizing the importance of embracing incidental details and unexpected outcomes. This improvisational process, akin to improv music, allowed for surprises and unique moments to shape the game’s visual identity.

The Power of Observation and Agency in The Collage Atlas

The art style of The Collage Atlas demands players’ attention to detail, rewarding them with a world where even the smallest interactions hold significance. Evelyn originally intended the game to explore themes of agency and empowerment, aiming to convey the idea that personal presence and observation have a meaningful impact on the world around us.

From Art Experience to Game Development Journey

Initially conceived as a short art experience, The Collage Atlas evolved into a full-fledged game after Evelyn’s showcase at UK gaming convention EGX. Encouraged by the positive reception, he delved into expanding the project, drawing from his diverse background in illustration and music to navigate the challenges of game development. Despite his initial doubts, Evelyn committed to creating a game that could immerse players for hours, delving into new techniques like converting hand-drawn illustrations into 3D models.

Perseverance in the Face of Impermanence

After years of hard work, The Collage Atlas made its debut on Apple Arcade in 2020, only to be delisted later on. Evelyn reflects on the transient nature of creative works, acknowledging the impermanence that often plagues artistic endeavors. Driven by a sense of obligation to his past efforts, he relaunched the game on Steam to ensure its continued availability.

The Evolution Continues: The Wings of Sycamore

Despite initial thoughts of leaving game development behind, Evelyn’s passion reignited with the creation of his new project, The Wings of Sycamore. Serving as a spiritual sequel to The Collage Atlas, this hand-drawn game explores themes of flight and liberation, offering players a journey from the depths of introspection to the exhilarating freedom of flight.

In conclusion, John Evelyn’s creative journey exemplifies the power of artistic expression and the resilience required to bring a vision to life. Through his unique approach to game design and storytelling, he invites players to immerse themselves in worlds where observation, agency, and imagination intertwine to create truly memorable experiences.

What do you think?

Written by Barbara

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