When I started out with Atmospheres, I didn’t have the slightest idea how it would look like in the end. The basic idea was to create a relaxing jigsaw-like game to gather some experience in game design and programming. But at the same time, I wanted to develop something that looks like more than just a first try. I searched the internet for some inspiration, and I stumbled upon a whole bunch of puzzle apps. However, most of the time I felt that there is something missing especially with regard to design – it’s not easy to find a puzzle game that is both fun to play and visually appealing. Of course, if you dig deeper, you find some great examples of how simple and yet engaging a game can be, but I feel like there need to exist a lot more of these games. And that was the starting point of Atmospheres.
I was always a creative person – I really loved to draw and paint when I was small, and as I grew older, I more and more switched over to digital art (although I still like to grab a traditional pencil from time to time). When I was about 12 years old, I discovered Adobe Illustrator and from that time I kept experimenting, I did a lot of tutorials, I even used it for school projects. The good thing is that the software is extremely versatile and once you’ve tried it out, you’ll notice that the possibilities are endless, so for me it was the perfect tool to start my project.
As I didn’t have a clear plan in the beginning, I just tried out different things to find out what looks good and what could be transferred into a puzzle game. And it was really surprising for me how fast I got to an overall concept from there. So, this is something I can only recommend to everyone who wants to start a creative project of any kind but is still struggling with how to approach it – just experiment with shapes, colours, styles – and the concept will materialize right in front of your eyes. What was really important for me was that the game is as minimalistic as possible. I wanted to create something that is soothing and relaxing, a simple game that you can play when you only have a couple of minutes to spare, but which can also keep you busy for as long as you like.
As soon as I had an idea of the basic principle of the puzzle, I thought about how the player should be guided through the game, how the general interface should look like, and of course – and this was probably the most fun part – thinking about the different atmospheres and illustrating them (at the moment, there are seven levels, but as it is so much fun creating them, it’s very likely that there will be more in the future!).
Although in the first place Atmospheres was intended to be just an opportunity for me to gain some practical experience, it became much more than that. I learned a lot from this project – not only about game development and illustration, but also about my conception of how I want to design games to become more than just a time killer.
Written by Madeleine Frister