Imagine a painting of a tree. Think of an impressionist painting, like the portrait of Van Gogh, except in this example Van Gogh isn’t Van Gogh he’s like a tree or whatever. He’s a beautiful, flowering tree, one with long, reaching branches that squiggle off in various directions dangling plump pears like a three-quarters-drunk nomad beckoning for a ciggy. And, at the base of this tree, just imagine a massive trunk. Like, one-size-down-from-the-biggest-trunk-you’ve-ever-seen massive.
Now, load that painting up in Tilt Brush, throw on your Vive, and walk around to the other side of it. As you come around, you realize that the illusion of a tree has been created by a plethora of contorted game developers. Four years of ballet have helped Paul shape himself into a stork whose beak, when viewed from the side, produces the image of a stubby branch. Dan is standing on Paul’s shoulders with his arms stretched out, and that thing you thought was a pear is just a balled-up toque in his hand. Mike and his ego make up the breadth of the trunk.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Hey, that’s not a tree at all, that’s my favourite VR game developer Cloudhead Games!” Voila, that’s the magic of VR; we can transport you and defy expectations. When Cloudhead started, we were three guys in a small-town garage. We’re still in the small town, but now we’re a diverse team of nineteen with a satellite studio in big-city Vancouver–an essential expansion as we’re approached with more and more opportunities from companies around the world.
But let’s scope down for a moment.
Some of you may know that our studio was once the town’s firehall, destined to be demolished before we offered to repurpose the building as game studio. It confused some of the local retirees, but the building is perfect for our needs; a huge space with enough room for each developer to have their own VR volume, and even a dedicated mocap area in one of the old truck bays. Open quadrants are homed by writers and designers and artists and programmers, with everyone contributing to the big picture of The Gallery. Plus the firepole leads to fun friday nights.
VR is built on a value of community and the individual, and Cloudhead is too. Over the summer, we added young developers to our team who can approach VR without preconceptions, and more AAA veterans have joined us from EA, Visceral, and Disney to apply their knowledge with new freedoms. As we work our way to the release of Heart of the Emberstone, the studio has sort of entered a new era.
Along with our continuing Meet the Devs series, we’re going to launch a new video series this winter called “Inside the Gallery.” With Inside the Gallery you’ll get to see and learn what each of us puts into the game, as it happens, with developer diaries right through to the launch of Heart of the Emberstone in early 2017. We want to show you first-hand that we’re making the kinds of experiences that you want to play. We want to let you see the other side of that painting.
For now, you can meet our ambitious new technical designer, Jord, in his Meet the Devs episode on Youtube right now. And then next week we’ll introduce our newly liberated level designer, Max, and (hopefully) announce a win for Best Debut Game at the 2016 TIGA Awards. And then the week after that you can tune into the Canadian Video Game Awards, where we’re a finalist for nine awards, including the Audience Choice Best Canadian-made Game which you can vote for online. And then the week after that we’ll have some new info on the upcoming hand update we mentioned in our last blog. And then the week after that we’ll have some new info on our Oculus Touch release. And then the week after that—you get the point.
We hope you enjoy these new videos, and let us know what you think over at @CloudheadGames on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr and Snapchat and Pinterest and Vine (RIP). We don’t actually have accounts on those last few, but feel free to make us one and post your cool screenshots or something. Or don’t, and just tweet nice things to us on Twitter instead. We’re always around to answer questions and read your messages.
Enjoy the video, and have a great weekend!