Next in Mouse N Joypad’s long line of interesting interviews is that with Brainy Studio the developers of Turn On, an environmental puzzler whose review you can read here. Without further ado, here’s what we managed to get out of their crew!
First things first, where did the studio name originate from?
From the very beginning, we decided to name our dev team in two words, whereas the second word had to be ‘Studio’. We began to choose the adjectives from the letter A: Active Studio, Ancient Studio, Awesome Studio and etc. When we got to Brainy Studio we were already exhausted. But this name got our attention, and it instantly became clear what our logo should look like.
How long has the studio been in existence now and has it always been composed of the team of four guys that presently work here?
Brainy Studio was founded in January 2013 by students of Perm National Research Polytechnic University: web-developer Evgenii Romin, programmer Anton Baranov and digital artist Ilya Antonov. In the beginning of 2014 company joined Unity-developer Alexander Frolov (but he left in summer of 2015) and marketer Dmitri Ogorodnikov (he is still with us). As an officially registered company, Brainy Studio LLC, weâve been working since October 2014. And it took almost 2 years to gain the skills and expertise in gamedev before we took the full responsibility for our undertaking. And now we almost done with our debut game for Xbox One and Steam.
I noticed that your team has stuck with the Unity Engine since the studioâs first game, what is it about that particular engine that has you going back to it?
Not quite right; our very first game WitchCraftÂ was developed for Windows Phone and we created everything from scratch without using any preexisting materials. So we can say that we created our own engine for that project. And it wasnât the greatest experienceÂ because we spent too much time dealing with technical questions but not with the game itself. In total, we got good feedback, but could have done it faster. Thatâs why our first attempt at making something in Unity wasÂ such a relief!
Now that this is your fourth game using the engine, how has your relationship with that engine evolved over time?
Realising that we donât have experience with Unity, we started with very small mobile projects. Actually, it was very important for us at that moment to start, finish and release every project we started working on. And then we tried to increase the complexity of the every following project. Each time it took us to a more in-depth study of the Unity engine.
TurnOnâ is a game that is trying to both enlighten the playerâs understanding of the world around them as well as get them to have fun while doing so -like such games as âNever Aloneâ before it. Are there any design pitfalls that you worked hard toward avoiding with making a game that strives to achieve such a dynamic goal?
The most important task for us was to mesh the game atmosphere together in an attempt to make the game enjoyable and full of challenges in terms of gameplay. We wanted the players to stay excited about the mechanics of the game and keep it all as interesting as possible. Thatâs why we try to surprise with every new level. You can just explore the areas too, as some of them are musical, in some, you may fightÂ an unexpected boss enemy. At some point, the players will notice that they can move not only from left to right, but also deeper into the levels, then jump between the power lines, which seem far away, but actually arenât. Inspired by the desire to tell our own story as you may find in a great book or in an incredible movie, we paid a lot of attention to the story and the manner in which we want to convey it. Itâs all purely visual, and to resolve the puzzles you should use only what you see (and sometimes what you donât). The story itself is about how strongly the world depends on electricity and what may happen if it suddenly disappears. So we hope that players will like TurnOn.
What was it about WWFâs Earth Day that sparked your imaginations enough to consider making a game inspired by it?
What ifâ¦? We really often ask ourselves this question. Two and a half years ago in the long and persistent search of ideas for new game, our game designer Ilya Antonov told us about a global environmental movement Earth Hour, which is held by WWF. To be honest, we were quickly hooked and inspired by the main idea of this event â to use your power to #ChangeClimateChange. And then we thought: can we create a game with a similar setting? Suddenly we tried to imagine suddenly tripping the light. Electrical devices donât work, there is no light on the streets, no Internet and mobile connection, and people go out into the street to see whatâs happening. Can you conceive it? In such a simple manner TurnOn was born.
There seems to be an overarching design philosophy behind all your games that takes into consideration the enjoyment of both adults and children. Is it something that you consciously consider while starting a project from the very start?
Yes, we consciously design such games, which could be close for adults and for children as well. Most likely this is due to the fact that we ourselves are still children at heart, besides we think itâs wonderful when different ages love the same.
What sort of challenges are there in designing a game aimed at such a broad age spectrum?
It is necessary to strike a balance in the game. At many exhibitions, we prepared a playable demo for both children and adults. And most interesting is that children quickly got to grips with it while adults had more difficulty in coping with the more challenging moments of gameplay. Adults are lacking speed and reaction time in this regard.
And thatâs about what we got out of the dev team! You can read our review of Turn On here and get your own copy right here. Hereâs hoping Brainy Studio keep improving as much as they already have!
For more news on this up-and-coming dev house, stay tuned to Mouse N Joypad.