Enriching the visual environments of interactive story-driven games

Revolution Software and University of York

Revolution has created eight successful adventure games which have won multiple awards and collectively sold over 10 million copies. The company has a large, diverse and highly passionate audience who enjoy the rich stories set within beautifully detailed hand-drawn environments.

Unlike a linear medium such as a cartoon, an adventure game invites the player to investigate and search for clues in the intricate environments. As these stories become increasingly ambitious, so does the requirement for increasingly visually appealing and detailed backgrounds to support and enhance them.

To date, the backgrounds for our adventure games have required huge volumes of art assets to be created in a very labour-intensive process. The ambition of these stories and adventures are heavily limited by the production cost of 2D/3D art assets. As Revolution plans to move from 2D to full 3D, whilst retaining the hand-drawn visual look, so the problem is exacerbated. This project would investigate how new techniques and processes can offer a powerful solution to overcome this constraint, allowing Revolution to create detailed, beautiful backgrounds much more cost effectively, and so increase a game’s narrative ambition by providing larger, more extensive environments through which stories can unfold.