I recently caught up with Stuart Maxwell, the lead developer behind one of the most gorgeous titles I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Currently looking for funding on Kickstarter, Shape of the World is a procedural, first person exploration game for PC, Mac, and Xbox One.
Here’s what happened when I sat down with Stu to chew the game development fat.
Side One: Where did you find the inspiration for such a weirdly magnificent title?
Stuart: Well, there are lots of thing that’ve inspired me, but here’s the main thing: I have this childhood memory from when my parents took me to the Bath Springs Hotel, which is this massive hotel in the Rocky Mountains. That was when I learned it’s fun to get lost. It’s this enormous hotel, and they let me roam around while they went to a corporate Christmas party.
I would get completely lost. I’d just be running through the halls trying to figure out where I was, and then finally I’d come across a place I’d seen before and feel relief. Then, of course, I just ran straight back off through all the doors to go and lose myself again. I realised that, these days, you can’t get lost. You get to know your city and your town really well, and if you are travelling you just pull up Google Maps.
It’s the same in video games. You’re always given a map, or there’s always an arrow telling you where to go.
Yeah, you’re right. People are so familiar with video games now, they must almost find it impossible to get lost. The HUDs are all so similar, and the navigation systems, such as waypoints and map markers seem to be replicated in every open world game out there. They’re there for a reason, but it definitely makes it difficult to actually lose yourself.
Exactly. There are so many different UI solutions, and even in-world solutions, to make sure you don’t get lost. We’ve forgotten that it’s actually a good experience.
Read the full interview over on Side One.