Interview for ActuaBD and Europe Comics


Mateusz Skutnik: Embracing multimedia

Still in Poland, a reader from the West flipping through the science-fiction series Rewolucje (Egmont Polska/Timof; Revolutions, Europe Comics) by Mateusz Skutnik can sense a touch of surrealism reminiscent of Terry Gilliam or Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. The reader might not realize that, in fact, such stories were also common across Communist Europe, the most notable being Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek by Henryk Jerzy Chmielewski, which remained popular after the fall of the Berlin Wall. “When I was 8 years old, Tytus made me want to create my own comics,” recalls Mateusz Skutnik, born in 1976. “I gained the acceptance of my peers through my stories. In 2004, I was published by the Polish branch of Egmont [editor’s note: a Danish publishing group]. Revolutions became a success and I continue this series today.” Skutnik, however, is active across other fields as well: “Becoming a professional comics artist gave me access to video games. Europe has played a major role in this field. I was an architecture student, and while the art in Revolutions is generally made up of buildings from my hometown, I also get inspiration from my travels abroad. I created a game series called 10 Gnomes based on photos taken in European cities. At the same time, some of my books are being translated into English and my two worlds are starting to intertwine. My video game fans are increasingly becoming interested in my comics…”

Mateusz Skutnik, l’Insolite transmédia

Toujours de Pologne, le lecteur occidental qui feuillette la série de science-fiction Rewolucje (Révolution) par Mateusz Skutnik peut y trouver un parfum de surréalisme et songer aux univers de Terry Gilliam ou Jeunet et Caro. Ce lecteur ignore souvent que ce type de récits était également courant en Europe communiste et notamment avec la bande dessinée Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek de Henryk Jerzy Chmielewski, restée populaire apres la chute du mur de Berlin. « A 8 ans, Tytus m’a donné l’envie de créer mes propres BD, se souvient Mateusz Skutnik, né en 1976. Grace a mes premieres histoires, j’ai pu épater mon entourage. En 2004, j’ai eu la chance d’etre publié par la branche polonaise d’Egmont (un groupe d’édition danois, ndlr). Revolucje a connu un certain succes et je poursuis cette série aujourd’hui. » Skutnik est cependant actif dans plusieurs domaines : « Devenir dessinateur professionnel m’a permis de franchir le pas vers le jeu-vidéo. C’est la que l’Europe a joué un grand rôle. J’ai étudié l’architecture et si les décors de Revolucje sont généralement constitués par les bâtiments de ma ville natale, je voyage aussi a l’étranger pour m’inspirer. A partir de photos que j’ai prises dans les villes européennes, j’ai créé une série de jeux, 10 Gnomes. Parallelement certains de mes livres sont publiés en anglais et mes deux univers commencent a s’entrelacer. Les amateurs de mes jeux s’intéressent de plus en plus a mes bandes dessinées… »

by Laurent Mélikian

 

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raw interview source:

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How did you come up with the idea of becoming a comics artist (and a game creator)?

This one is an unanswerable question, because it was so long ago, that at the time it siply had no reason. I don’t mean – I don’t remember, I mean that at the age of 8 what are the reasons and ideas of doing something that I could possibly relate to you now at the age of over 40. I just started drawing comics, because from what I saw in books my parents bought me – I figured I could do something like that as well. My go-to answer is I always wanted to awe people by telling them stories. Comics seemed to be the right medium for me. The no-man’s land between books and movies, telling stories without actually having to get on stage.

Me becoming a game creator is a completely different story. It was, once again a childhood’s dream, however at that time it as completely impossible to create games. Mainly because it was still 1980s and I didn’t have a computer. And all you had to do have create comics was a pencil and piece of paper. I came back to the idea of creating games years later, once I established myself as a comic book artist. I was working as a flash animator and just naturally picked up the ability to script events and objects. The rest is history.

What is your background in comics?

My books are being released by different publishing houses in Poland since 2004. I got lucky, because in those early years my main publisher was Egmont Polska and my main series, “Revolutions”, took off. It’s still active today with most recent eleven’t book released in 2018. I also have two more series, “Morfolaki” and “Blaki”, The former is closed, but there will be another book in Blaki series in a year or so.

How does Europe affects your creations if it does?

I’m an architect, at least on paper, as I’ve graduated from Technical University of Gdansk, so I have an eye for urban and architectural styles of my surroundings. I have lots of architecture of my hometown in my comic books, but I also look abroad for inspiration. I also travelled Europe creating one of my game series – 10 Gnomes. These games are built from photographs of interesting locations that have lots of nooks and crannies and hideouts for titular 10 gnomes that you have to find. It’s a hidden object style of game series. So Europe is, in fact present in my art.

What type of books did your parents give you?

I assume we’re talking about comics, as a kid I read mostly polish books, like “Tytus”, “Kajko i Kokosz” or “Kapitan Kloss”. That epifany of me being able to do something similar came after reading one of the books in “Tytus” series.

Do you attend to comics events in Europe?

Yes, I do, if timing is right and I’m not in the middle of some time-consuming project like a big game or something.

Do you have feedback from readers out of Poland ?

Concerning comic books – I had some feedback when “Blacky: four of Us” was published in english in UK. Also fans of my games are reaching for my comics more often nowadays, especially since my games and books are kind of intertwined a bit. Those separate worlds start to come together more and more.



NYCC 2018 interview


From Oct. 4th – 7th the Europe Comics team will be traveling stateside for the 2018 New York Comic Con, and we have the privilege of bringing with us Polish author Mateusz Skutnik, creator of the groundbreaking series Revolutions, in addition to his popular computer games. Be sure to stop by our booth #1558 for one of his signing sessions, and don’t miss his panel discussion on Fri. Oct. 5th, on “The World Comics Invasion.”

How did you decide to become a graphic novel artist? How did you achieve this goal?

Actually, I remember it clearly. It was early autumn of 1986, I was 10 years old, and as I held one of our Polish comic books for kids, I thought to myself, “This seems easy enough, I can do that too.” My grandma bought me a blank notebook that day and I immediately started drawing adventures of He-Man. Of course things weren’t so easy as they seemed, it took me about 10 years before my drawings became half-decent. I’m trying to improve to this day.

How would you describe the comics scene in Poland? How has it changed since you started creating graphic novels?

You’re asking me about the last quarter of a century of comic book history in Poland… Long story short: when I was starting in the late nineties the situation was abysmal, especially for Polish creators. We had our share of legendary comic book writers, we had our Marvel and DC comics on newsstands, but that was basically it. Me and most of my fellow comic book creators around my age were creating straight into the abyss, with no chance of publication on the horizon. And now? The market is flourishing, getting bigger from year to year, there are lots of great authors from what I’d consider the next generation after me. And hey, they even respect us, those aging guys from the “bygone era of sorrow.” Things are looking good.

Which other comics artists and writers inspire you? Who would you like to collaborate with, in Europe or beyond?

Nicolas de Crécy is one. I’m just in constant awe of this guy’s audacity and style. In a way he set me free. After reading his books I felt good about creating flawed, unapologetic drawings for my own books.

Tove Jansson comes to mind. She must have been the earliest inspiration for my non-realistic, yet atmospheric style of drawing. She also wrote a piece about the Snufkin creative process (Snufkin being a character from her series The Moomins), which became a template for my entire writing career.

Of course, Grzegorz Rosinski. He is a legend in our Polish comic book world. Everybody wanted to be like him, to have a career like his, a career that happened once and would never happen again. Also, Thorgal was a pretty good series to have grown up with. I’m buying and reading it still, to this day.

Finally, Hugo Pratt — a self-explanatory choice. He’s a legend worldwide, the Corto Maltese books are classic, and his watercolors are on an even higher level. Sometimes I just like to look at what he created to remind myself of how insignificant I actually am. That’s a very healthy thing to do, you know.

Tell us a bit about your series Revolutions, and the creative process behind it. How would you describe the genre? Which elements of these books did you find the most fascinating or challenging?

Here’s the elevator pitch: Revolutions is a series about the technological revolution of the late 19th, early 20th century. For every genius invention of that era there were probably 10 or more insane ones that never made it, forever lost to oblivion. This series is about those inventions and the people behind them. I’m striving to create a new comic book album each year, and it’s mostly this series. I want to give people the certainty of a series. That’s why, while we’re on book 11 right now, I have four more books lined up for the coming years. They’re almost written, too. By that I mean I have about 70% of the structure of each of those books set, they just need polish. This queue of books allows me to dodge the dreadful situation of sitting over a blank page not knowing what to do. I hate that. I’m unable to write when pressured to do so. The most fascinating thing about creating a comic is the transition between the spoken word and a panel of drawings. That’s the moment when the comic book magic happens. Writing a story, drawing it — sure, those are the meat of it, but most fascinating is the transition between.

What projects are you currently working on?

Right now I’m working on my biggest computer game yet. It will be the outcome of 10 years of experience in creating games such as Submachine and Daymare Town, combined with my comic book style of storytelling and watercolor graphics. It’s my most ambitious project to date. As for comic books I’m writing next chapter of the Blaki series, which will probably be published next year, and after that another Revolutions trilogy.



Submachine Universe Q&A; January 2018


1. At the ends of Submachine 10 and Submachine Universe, the Player ends up in a desert. What is the significance of this place for people like Murtaugh and Elizabeth, and where is it located with respect to the rest of the Submachine? Is it a foreign planet, as it appears, or is this an alternate Earth?

The desert is located on Earth, it’s just another layer of reality, as those layers span over entire universe, so you can get a planet set in different layers having different characteristics, like atmosphere or number of moons. This explains green hue and two moons in this particular instance.

2. Where is the Edge located exactly? Is it a wall between the Core and the Outer Rim, or is it surrounding the Outer Rim? Or both things are true, and we travel to the outer part to disable the inner part’s defences? How does one explain the human infestation map in Submachine 6?

The Edge was evolving with the expansion of the subnet. It was firstly created as a measure of defence for the core, but then was expanded to cover more and more ground regarding expanding nature of the entire subnet. Yes, we travel between different parts / rings of defences. Infestation map was created by artificial intelligence.

3. What does the Defence System actually do and what is it protecting? Who are the turrets for and where are they pointed? Does it govern the subbots? Does it protect the Core or is it at the outer edge of the outer rim? Are the defences in or out?

The purpose of the defence system is to protect the core from colliding with collapsing parts of the outer rim. It does not govern the subbots. The defences are outwards toward the “enemy”. That enemy being other, rogue parts of the subnet growth.

4. If the Lighthouse is a part of the Core and the Root is a part of the Outer Rim, how can they be connected physically (as seen in Submachine 5)?

The border between the Core and the Root is not reflected in the physical form of those locations.

5. What is the true layout of the Lighthouse? Is the painting shown in Submachine 1 correct? If so, why can’t we see the entrance nor the third floor window in Submachine 2?

The painting is not correct concerning the architecture of the actual lighthouse from Submachine 2. That painting could be from another layer.

6. Do the structures seen at the ending of Submachine Universe imply that the player didn’t exit the Subnet from any of them because they weren’t their home layer?

They are his (player’s) home layer, as is the observatory that we’re exiting through. It was just a matter of sheer coincidence that we left through observatory and not one of those giant dish telescopes.

7. Where is the Kent we keep hearing about? England, Connecticut or some place original to the Submachine canon?

Kent is somewhere unrelated to our geographical layout. At least of our layer that we, humans, occupy right now.

8. Why do all layers have a black void in the background while in Submachine 8 we see different sky backgrounds?

Each layer is different and presents unique characteristics, light disperses differently in each one.

9. Is the starry background in Submachine 8’s layer 2 fake, or is Submachine really so big that it can host whole stars inside it?

It’s not fake. However, it’s not said that it’s a sky and those are stars. Void can be different as well in different layers.

10. Are the calculations on how big the Root is? That is to say, does the Root comprise of approximately 1413 rooms within 157 distinct transporter locations, which are a small part of 11,818 rooms of transporter locations?

I have no idea how big the root is. I mean, I never thought about it. You see, I can only see parts of the story at one time, I can’t see the big picture. I don’t know if there is one. It could be right, hard for me to say.

11. What is the significance of the statue seen in 314 and why is it so similar to the one in 452?

The statue in 314 is a god of mathematics, or more specifically a god of PI. It’s similar to the one in 452, because it was the same culture that created both of those gods.

12. Are there locations in the Subnet that even Murtaugh with his karma arm cannot visit? If so, why? Are they specific locations, or do they form a group due to some property? Could they be reached by someone else?

No, he can get to any given location at will. All that is limiting him are the boundaries of the karma reach itself. I explain that a bit more down below in question about how does one create karma portals.

13. Is location 672 an example of a Submachine in construction?

No, it’s an example of Submachine entropy.

14. Does the Submachine copy structures built by aliens?

No. Aliens did not make contact in this reality in any of the layers.

15. Does the Submachine have an outer shell, like in the movie Cube, or is it infinite? If yes, what is it?

No, Submachine doesn’t have an outer shell. It disperses like universe.

16. Why does the Subnet exist at all? Where did it first come from and what made the first location be created/absorbed? Where is it? Is it inside a universe or its own universe? If the first Subnet location wasn’t necessarily built by humans then what’s responsible for starting everything? What was the intended purpose of just having a bunch of places in empty space somehow controlled by a computer?

The Submachine was build by humans. Subnet started growing by itself after the singularity.

17. When was the Lab created and for what purpose? Was it a part of the attempt to understand the collapse and rapid expansion? If not, what was it for and who controlled it?

the Lab was created in purpose of understanding the uncontrollable expansion of the subnet. It was not created, nor controlled by Murtaugh in it’s inception.

18. What is the purpose of the Root in the Submachine story line? What was it used for and who by and for how long? Why was there an observation room; is the place still used? In short: what is special about the Root, outside of it being the first man-made Submachine?

the Root was the first Submachine structure build. It was as a sandbox for developing more Submachine locations. Hence, the observation room. The place is abandoned now.

19. What were the seven-layer bullets used for and when? Was there a war between followers of Murtaugh and those who opposed him? Did people try to kill Murtaugh later? How did this affect Murtaugh? How did this affect the Subnet?

Seven-layer bullets are preventing the dodging of the bullet by changing layer. Such a bullet is present in all layers at once. You can dodge a 1-layer bullet just by hopping into another layer, with 7-layer bullets you can’t do it. No, there was not an all-out war between factions. Only smaller armed conflicts. People tried to kill M later. This resulted in him abandoning one-layer life. He became an unfocused being. This didn’t have any immediate result on the subnet.

20. What is the rough timeline of the “Sub-Eras” and the “Dynasties”? When did the singularity happen?

The timeline does not matter in this situations, since there’s a possibility of time travel in the structure. The singularity happened when Shiva gained consciousness. If you want me to spell out entire history of the Submachine Universe, I’m not doing that. I only offer small windows into particular moments of history.

21. Is the plot for Submachine 9:
a: Mur and Liz travel into the past and are revered, but soon die and are buried in a proper format.
b: Mur and Liz go through time normally and, therefore, die normally.

They go back in time, are revered, but don’t die soon. They live quite a bit after starting the time travel era of their existence.

22. What are the specific moments during the series that the player travels in time, and roughly how many years/decades/etc. do they go forwards/backwards?

That’s for the player to find out, I’m not spoiling the game play of Submachine.

23. What happened exactly in the period between Submachine 4 and 5? The player woke up in a bed at the start of Submachine 5, with food and coffee, and there are no signs of them having been teleported recently; how did they get there?

I think a subbot guided the player to the living chamber. However, we did it on our own volition and completely consciously. In any case, this is irrelevant in the grander picture.

24. At which date does the first game take place?

Specific dates are insignificant to the story.

25. How exactly does one decide where to transport to find a new KP or XYZ location? So many of the XYZ locations are completely closed structures, so does that mean that the portals were already inside? But then how were explorers able to access them if they weren’t previously reverse-engineered? And how does Mur find new locations to turn into KP locations? Does he just point his arm off in space until a little chime plays so he knows he hit solid material?

You don’t. You just happen to find one. That’s the idea behind blind jumping. Yes, the portals were already inside the closed/collapsed/abandoned locations. Reverse engineering concerned only the subnet self-created transporters (one-armed ones), to allow them to carry humans, not the exploration team transporters (two-armed). Murtaugh finds new locations to visit by the way of echolocation, but instead of sound, he uses karmic footprint of solid matter. He senses the next possible location point.

26. What are the specific moments during the series that the player changes layer, and which layer do they end up each time?

It’s for the player of the game to find out. I’m not the one to dictate your game flow.

27. How do karma portals interact with the layer “dimension” (assuming that the layer dimension is accurately explained in the first place)? What does it mean to have “interdimensional karma flow”?

They rip through the layer fabric going to another layer. Think wormhole. They kind of ignore the solid state of matter in present layer and focus on similar anomaly in another layer.  Two anomalies combine into a wormhole connecting two layers.

28. Are there instances in the games where layer and dimension are not used synonymously? Consider, for example “[t]he Submachine is now living in five dimensions” in Submachine 10.

No, layer and dimension are two different ways of describing the same thing.

29. Are layers and sublayers actually arranged in a continuum similar to the number line, as the note from Submachine 10 suggests? That is, is there a sublayer 1.5 between layer 1 and layer 2, a sublayer 1.25 between layer 1 and sublayer 1.5, and so on?

Yes, but it’s just a matter of nomenclature, those layers don’t really have any names attached to them. It was us who named them in an attempt to understand the workings of a multi-layered universe.

30. If so, what is there after layer 7? Does the structure wrap back to layer 1, like the numbers in a clock or like in a Submachine loop? Or there is simply nothing past it?

First of all, there is an eighth layer, the layer of light. After that the layers loop back to the beginning. There is a bigger question at hand here. If you jump from layer 7 to 8 and then jump in the same direction and land in layer 1, does that mean that another layer 1 was created after layer 8, or did you end up in the same layer you started your journey in?… I think – the latter is true.

31. What distinguishes the seven main layers from all other sublayers?

Probably not much, really. They’re distinguished artificially by the presence of humans and the number of karma portals that connect them. Think of main layers as highways and smaller ones as side country roads. It depends on karma traffic.

32. In layer 8, if all atoms are “frozen in time”, why can the player move?

In layer 8, all atoms that are original to this layer are frozen in time. Hence, when you jump to it, you can see basically what you’d see after crossing the event horizon of a black hole. With the exception that when you move you create friction, hence the light.

33. Who made up the plan and were the layers involved created by someone/something in particular? If so, how? If not, does that mean it’s just something that was “discovered” that’s tied to this fictional universe that we just have to accept?

The plan was made by the same people that created structures that take part in the plan. The architects of the first era. Layers were not created by anyone, just as the universe is not created by anyone. They were used to develop multi-layered architecture.

34. What is the difference between green, white and blue karmic energy?

The difference is range and bandwidth of karma flow in karma traffic. They are naturally all compatible with each other. When two different colors are combined in on karmic pathway, that pathway takes characteristics of the lower-tier karmic portal.

35. Is the color of a karma portal significant in some way? How about the size (as seen in Submachine 7)?

The color – look at previous answer. The size does not matter. After all – you end up in a tiny wormhole, dimensions are treated differently there.

36. What is the purpose of the player’s journey? Could you explain the player’s journey in your own words and how long it took? Are we a student going through a museum ride or what? How long after the events described in the notes is player actually situated in? Months? Years? Centuries? Millennia?

The purpose is 32. The player is what you want him/her to be. It’s kind of a role-playing element of the Submachine. That person can be just another cog in the machine. Just another explorer of the vast net of Submachine. Or the savior of the world and all structures in it. Depends on you really.

37. Who were the unidentified people who left notes in Submachines 8, 9 and 10, and how were they produced? Why are they written as dialogue, if they are notes? What is the speakers’ and the notes’ significance to the story?

Those were Monks studying ancient scrolls about the events of the second and third era.

38. In Submachine 10 we see what we assume to be inactive subbots lying about everywhere. Are they actually subbots and if not, what are they? Why are they there? Who used them and what for?

Yes, those were subbots. The Subbots are like white cells in your blood.

39. In Submachine 10 we see a lot of skulls, but no skeletons? Where did the skeletons go and where did the researcher get so many skulls in the first place?

He was looking for that chip, remember? He only needed heads to do so. The remains of all bodies are somewhere else.

40. Do subbots attack humans? If not, what is the note in location 613 referencing? Why and how do they do this?

Subbots are not hostile. They are the maintenance of the structure. As we said before they could’ve even helped you along your way in transferring from Submachine 4 to Submachine 5.

41. Does Einstein actually have powers, or was that just an illusion caused by Murtaugh’s uncontrolled use of karma in the lighthouse?

Yes, Einstein does have karmic powers, as all cats do.

42. What is Elizabeth’s ethnicity?

She’s of Indian descent, but at the same time she’s south-american. Think the region of our Venezuela.

43. Does SHIVA or some other AI actually control all of the Subnet or just some parts of it? Is this a part of Submachines or has SHIVA just taken over?

Shiva is not in control. Shiva was the spark that created consciousness in the structure. Side note: no, Submachine Universe is not conscious, but it houses a conscious artificial being.

44. Why is resin pouring into and burying different Submachines?

This is the same process that lead the Lighthouse to be buried by sand. Layers that are offset by an angle can create a spill from one to another. This spill can be created by karma portal or natural intersection of two layers.

45. What significance does the AI from the note in Submachine 8 have on anything we see in the Subnet? Is the AI in question SHIVA? Is the AI responsible for first creating the Subnet? What is the answer to “Why are we” and is there a demonstration of this answer anywhere?

Yes, the AI mentioned in submachine 8 is Shiva. It’s significance is that it was the singularity. And that in turn created the growth of the subnet. I have no answer to the question “Why are we”. Nor does anyone in Submachine. That answer was known to Shiva, but only for a split second after the singularity.

46. Is it possible, for example, that a location, thousands of years old, never existed 3 days ago? in other words, something is old because because it was made to be old.

Not really. Some locations are made to look old, but they’re not actually old. Those locations are more of reconstructions of older ones. They may resemble structures that existed before and are not there anymore, or can be completely original.

47. Did people actually live in the Subnet or could they leave to be on their “home planet” or something like that.

Yes, people lived there and also could leave at any point if they so desired. Things got complicated after the singularity and the advent of spontaneous growth of the net.

48. You said long ago that Submachine locations are either “adopted” from older locations or “created from scratch”. Would you say the Submachine prefers either? If it favoured creating things formulaicly, that’d explain all the basement style locations, but on the other hand there’s loads and loads of unique chambers as well.

Submachine does not prefer, nor favor any type of location scheme. The creation is random and governed only by laws of physics at best, which, as we know are a bit shaky in the Submachine as well. Remember, the net is NOT conscious. It’s rng.

49. Can someone influence the creation of locations? like planting a seed or placing a frame.

Yes. There’s a spontaneous growth of the net, but that doesn’t exclude human interference in the process of building. Humans are still able to create the plan. It’s possible.

50. How does the player appear in the submachine?

Ah, back to the beginning. What a fitting ending to this q&a… If you’re still reading here, hey, have karma cookie! At the beginning of the first game the player is transported into the heart of the subnet via a karma portal from outside of the structure.



Submachine interview for LParchive.org


What’s the most interesting urbex-related thing you’ve found that you couldn’t fit into Submachine?

Anything bigger than a simple room. That includes big shipyard halls for example, large steam engines etc

Why use hindu and buddhist theming? Karma portals, Shiva…is it just for flavor?

It’s not only hindu and buddhist. If you look closely you’ll find a lot more religions in submachine. The point is it all blends together in the post-industrial era of submachine.

If you could redo any section of any game in the series, which would it be and why?

No, I’m not the type to dwell on past mistakes or missteps. I just do another game. However, once I’ll be putting out steam version of submachine I’m sure there will be changes made to locations and puzzles.

What is the exact chain of events and circumstances behind the Submachine(s), how did everything happen, why did they happen, what are the Submachine(s), and what was actually going on throughout the games?

So you want me to completely strip down the mystery of submachine. Why would I do that?

If you could go back and change one thing about each Submachine game, what would it be (if there are any)?

Again, nothing. I don’t imagine myself going back and changing things in finished projects.

Did your vision on what was going on and what you planned to have happen change over the course of creating the games?

It was created on the game-to-game basis. Each chapter was written after previous one was released.

Is there a conventional Earth like the one that we know, or has humanity in the Submachine series been living adrift in these strange, floating worlds of the submachines forever?

Yes, there is. After all, these machines are submerged. This is a world with most of physics similar to our world.

Did you ever sketch official character art for some of the characters like Mur and Elizabeth?

No. There was no need for it.

Did the submachines exist before humans? If so, then were the submachines ever meant for a different non-human civilization?

No. The first submachine was created by an architect.

What are some things that most people don’t know about your game series or haven’t noticed yet? Any plot details or design decisions would be cool to know.

People know much more about the series than I do. Maybe they don’t know that the series will return with new episodes in the future on steam (if they accept it).

Why is Murtaugh so mean? Leaving people to die doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to do.

It’s all explained within the games themselves.

Who are the people who worshipped Murtaugh and placed him in a sarcophagus? Is Liz pissed about being buried next to him?

That’s a mystery. How can you be pissed once you’re dead?

What is up with Einstein the cat?

What do you mean?… It’s a trans-dimensional cat, like all of them. He can move between layers at will.

Also what do you think the scariest detail you have put in your game is? For me, it is the part about how submachine can loop itself ‘vertically’.

Yeah, the idea of a loop is quite scary. So can be the location clusters in the subnet. It is possible to get stuck between two locations.

Now that old puzzles from previous Submachine games are being re-purposed, I’m ready to ask: For how long was it planned to have the final Submachine game reprise the series’s iconic locations? How many of these puzzles were designed for Sub10 and how many were extra ideas that couldn’t be fit into the previous games?

Not until writing submachine 10. I had an idea for it and then looked up previous games which part of them would fit that narrative.

I realize this is a stupid question, but I’m still trying to figure out how you bury a lighthouse while leaving it structurally intact. The Kent Lighthouse was a regular lighthouse, wasn’t it? Or is that an assumption too far?

it is. You bury a lighthouse by bringing together two layers, one of which is turned 90 degrees in relation to the other and then you let the sand slip from one to the other. You can transport entire desert that way.

Who were the Fourth Dynasty, and what happened to them? Their Winter Palace in the core of the Submachine had the same architect as the Kent Lighthouse, apparently outside of the Submachine — what was that guy doing, anyway? How were people apparently naturally living in the Submachine?

these are good questions, perhaps for more chapters of the game.

How far in advance did you plan the games? I imagine at some point there must have been some serious planning done considering items from Sub1 become useful in Sub10.

No. They were retrofitted to appear in submachine 10. As I said before, there was no series-planning up until like sub8 when I started thinking about how to finish this series.

Why was Mur buried in the lighthouse? This note “It’s no wonder they wanted to bury this whole lighthouse with him still inside. The collapse death toll was growing exponentionally. L” makes it seem like it was done to stop him from destroying more of the Submachine with his karma portals, but that doesn’t make sense to me as he was buried in it before he ever entered the Submachine (as far as I can tell). Is Liz just saying that she understands why people would want to bury him in the lighthouse even if that wasn’t the direct reason, or does the Submachine’s time distortion affect even the outside?

Murtaugh most definitely entered submachine before they buried him. That’s kind of a staple of the whole story.

Do you have a favorite fan theory about the submachine? For instance a way to look at it you never even considered yourself?

No. I try not to read too much into them, I don’t want to copy ideas from them, even semi-consciously.

Is the Submachine real?

Of course. We established that 10 years ago.



Krutovig.com interview


Igor Krutov: Hi, Mateusz. Please introduce yourself and tell a little about what you do.

Mateusz Skutnik: My name is Mateusz Skutnik, I’m the creator of Submachine, Daymare Town, Covert Front and so on. I also create comic books, most known series are Revolutions and Blaki.

Igor Krutov: What did you do before the moment you’ve become a full-time indie? Did you work as a programmer or an artist somewhere?

Mateusz Skutnik: I was a flash animator at a learning software company. I guess I was an artist.

Igor Krutov: Did you first game have a commercial success? It is the game called “the Morphs”, isn’t it?

Mateusz Skutnik: No. The Morphs is one of my comic book series. As for the first game – of course it was not a commercial success, because it was not meant to be. Anyone who goes into this business and expects his or hers first game to be a commercial success is in it for the wrong reasons.

(more…)



Bart Bonte interview


– What first sparked your interest in making your own games? 

There came a moment when my computer skills grew sufficient enough to comprehend the  then-emerging game building software for noobs and not-really-programmers, meaning – me. The year was 2001 and the software was ‘the Games Factory’. Though it had it’s limitations, I was able to create my first platformers using my own graphics (strangely enough – it was graphics from my comic book “the Morfs” which resemble Daymare Town. So even back then I was kinda going in the right direction). Of course things got a bit more advanced once I was introduced to the Macromedia Flash software. That was in 2003. Still hooked on platform games I discovered website lazylaces.com which was a hub for escape games, unfortunately it’s no longer active. After playing some of those games I thought: “Wait. I can do this better”. And I created Submachine. The rest is history.

– Is making games now your full-time job?

Yes. It’s been this way since 2008, so for more than half of a decade I’m doing nothing but my games to put food on my table. Best half of decade ever.

– Are you autodidact or did you follow art education? Are there other games or game designers that you feel have strongly influenced you?

The closest I got to actual artistic education was studying architecture on technical university. That actually gave me the ability to look at game design from a slightly different perspective. That’s why I call myself games architect. Other than that – no, I never attended any artistic school nor taken any classes or courses. However it took me 15 years to finally learn how to draw so that it doesn’t look like crap. I already knew how to tell comic book stories by then, so it clicked nicely.

– If you had to name one of your games you’re most proud of, which one would it be and why?

I think that would be Submachine 2.  It was the largest leap in my game dev advancement. Of course, each game that came after that was more complex and better, but this one marks that moment when my abilities just blew up. My eyes opened back then.

– Do you have an entire series planned out before you create your first chapter or do you continually expand a series?

No, of course not. That would actually be pointless and kind of stupid. You see, when you create a series, new ideas pop up in your head from time to time, and planning ahead would mean disregarding those ideas. We’d loose a big chunk of content and storyline this way. I create my games the same way I create my comic books. Often I start the story and don’t know where I’ll end up with it. Good example would be Daymare Town 4. Through out almost entire development I had a different ending in mind. But the game evolved is such direction that I found a new ending, the one that;s better suited for the situation we were currently in. Normally a player doesn’t see that, but each game is jumping through countless parallel universes, where in each the storyline takes a different turn. My job is to float with it and steer the story in the right direction.

– What was the inspiration for the Submachine series? Would you love to design actual machines?

The works of Amanita (Samorost mainly), Wada Che Nanahiro (Memory Park, Treasure Box, TCB Museum), also Crimson room, Viridian Room and MOTAS. All of them I learned through lazylaces.com. Those were masterful works, I never imagined competing with them. But besides those there were loads of poorly designed and drawn games – that’s where I stepped in. The actual machines? No, I don’t think so. My thing is drawing and telling stories really. Not creating installation art.

– Is submachine 10 going to wrap everything up or is it just going to leave us with more questions?

The tenth Submachine wraps up the main storyline. Which is – us following Murtaugh and Liz through time, space and dimensions. Will it explain everything? I doubt that. That’s almost impossible. If it was to explain all questions then it would be a book, not a game. And that’s why I leave door open for possible submachine standalone games after finishing the main run. Those standalone games would try to answer some burning questions left out from the final game.

– What prompted you to choose the two-color design for the Daymare Town series of games? Is the design process for these games very different/faster than your full color games?

The main idea for the Daymare game was this: how about a game that’s so damn hard – no one will be able to say it’s too easy. How about making it in sketches only. By then I also already knew Nanahiro’s work, and Daymare is kind of derivative from his Treasure Box. Is it faster? No, not at all. On the contrary – when making a color drawing I can just fill some spaces with color and not bother with them anymore, while here – I have to render each surface, each nook and cranny with just lines, shadowing, pores, structure and so on. It’s actually harder and takes longer than, let’s say, creating a submachine view.

– Will we ever see something photography inspired like the 10 gnomes series again? Do you do a lot of photography?

Well, 10 Gnomes are not dead. It’s an ongoing series, since the main project ended in 2008, I’m creating one additional game yearly. Not sure if I’ll be able to keep it up, but for now – it’s going well. Do I do a lot of photography? I don’t think so. Right now everyone with a smartphone is a photographer. It’s nothing uncommon. I am not a photographer, I’m just a dude with a camera.

– Are you planning to bring your games to mobile? Is it helpful when we buy the HD versions of your games?

The mobile market is very unpleasant and unforgiving. When you’re not backed by a large promotional campaign, you’re toast. We learned that the hard way when Pastel Games went mobile in 2008 and in less than a year went belly-up. But – we might try again, this time with a better plan. I can’t really talk about this, but something is brewing. As for HD games – those have literally nothing to do with mobile versions. Buying HD versions is very helpful though. Thanks to those purchases I’m able to live, feed my family and work in peace not bothered by some additional work that I’d have to do for somebody else for profit. I’m self-sustaining entity and that’s something very important to me. The creative freedom that comes with it is priceless. Big THANK YOU goes out to everyone who bought a game from me. Or a comic book. That’s also possible, you know.

– Can we expect more Pastel Games from other artists or are you mainly concentrating on your own games now?

Well, that’s a good question, but addressed to a wrong person. You’d have to ask the creators of respective series. We’re not pushing anybody to work with us and we don’t actually manage those people. Once they do something and it lands on my desk for me to program – then I do it and the game is out. It was always like this, lately those people probably have something more important to do. From what I’ve heard, the Fog Fall 5 is in the works (and has been for the last two years, so there).

– Are you playing a lot of games yourself (web/console/mobile)? What recent games did you enjoy?

Not really. I don’t have a time. Especially since the beginning of 2014 was jam-packed with work (Submachine 9, new comic book, now JayisGames game). I didn’t play anything since January and that saddens me. I have a backlog of games waiting in line for me to play them. They’re even installed on steam, just waiting, updating from time to time…. This line includes second season of the Walking Dead, Metro: Last Light, Hard Reset and lately I added Transistor… The only exception is “the Child of light” – I’m playing that with my daughter in co-op on our PS3.

– What can we expect from you in the (near) future?

In the near future – let’s talk the remainder of 2014. You can expect the entire Submachine series in HD, as well as Daymare Town in HD. That’s plan A. Besides that – probably new Gnomes game and for sure Where is 2015. Besides that – another update to the Submachine Universe (reaching for the 100th location). Comic book wise – I just released a book, but I’ll be making another one this summer. It should be out in October. That’s another book from my Revolutions comic book series. This time it’s entitled “Revolutions under the snow”. That’s all I can say for now. So, busy spring, busy summer and busy autumn. I’ll rest in the winter. No biggie…

by: Bart Bonte



Jay is Games interview


efjig_teaser

There are a lot of game developers out there, but few have achieved the cult following and widespread popularity of Mateusz Skutnik. From the post-apocalyptic tale of The Fog Fall to the simple yet oh-so-stylish puzzling of his charming 10 Gnomes games, Mateusz has taken players around the world on memorable point-and-click adventures, to say nothing of his smash-hit ten year series of Submachine games. It’s hard to believe he gets any time off at all… just one month after the first Submachine game, he released Submachine Remix, which dramatically expanded upon the original. Since 2005, he’s made or been involved in the creation of a staggering amount of free online games, to the point where it isn’t officially the New Year until he’s released a new installment of his Where Is… ? series to ring it in. Just lately, he’s agreed to work on a very special project for us, an escape game just for JayisGames, but then, he’s always working on something special, from comics to tutorials, to special HD versions of the games people love. What’s your favourite Mateusz Skutnik game? What was the first one you ever played? Do you like them whimsical… or just a little freaky? What’s your favourite thing about them… what makes, for you, a Mateusz game, a Mateusz game?

 

A big focus of your games is usually story and setting. Is there any sort of story genre that you haven’t tried yet but have always wanted to?


 

Not really. I’m not looking at genres while writing a story. Often when I write… I don’t know what will come out of it. The readers and players determine whether that thing that I did is cute or disturbingly fascinating. That concerns mostly graphics, but story as well. Long story short, I don’t know in what genres I operate. I don’t know what genres I’m missing here.

 

Few people actually think about or understand the time, effort, and talent that goes into creating the games they play online for free. What is the process like in creating the average point-and-click adventure you make?

 

60% is thinking, imagining, writing, going through the game in my head. Another 30% is drawing everything. 5% is programming and the last 5% is all other stuff, like engine integration, implementing sound effects, music, debugging, beta-testing, releasing…

 

Submachine recently released its ninth installment… and has been going on for nine years to boot! Has the series changed direction or vision significantly since you first began, or have you always had a specific storyline in mind?

 

No, of course not. When first one came out I didn’t even have a plan for a sequel. But the overwhelming popularity of this game dictated that it turned into series which is now closing to a ten-year run. I have a not-so-clear vision of the entire plot, but creating each installment is shaping the game to its final state. And with that, the overall story as well. I had a rather clear idea about how the series will end by the time Submachine 5 was released, but how we’d get there… I had no clue. Now, after Submachine 9 we know.

 

Out of all the different settings and storylines you’ve worked with and created over the years, is there any one in particular that you find the hardest to work with, or the easiest? Something that just “comes to you”, while another you might find yourself really puzzling over how to proceed with it?

 

For me there’s no such thing as a setting that’s hard to work with. I don’t struggle with my games, I let them flow, my games are like a river, they take the easiest path to the sea. It’s about floating alongside that river. It’s kind of hard to explain, but that work that I do while creating games isn’t really “a work”… it’s more like drawing my comic books. If I don’t feel good while creating… I just don’t do it.

 

Most of the Submachine games have a very distinctive approach to puzzle solving and exploration. What’s most challenging about coming up with puzzles that fit their environment and are often something the player needs to experiment with to understand, without going overboard to the point where the design gets too obscure?

 

I always had a fixed answer to that question, which is… I don’t know. But the more I think about it, the more I know there’s more to it. I think that’s because I, myself, am an average gamer. I probably wouldn’t be able to solve a Submachine game if it wasn’t me who made it. So I’m just pushing the puzzle design right out of my reach, and that’s that golden spot, not too hard, not too simple, just average enough.

 

Have you ever thought about creating a game in something other than flash, such as Unity or HTML5?

 

I have, and we did. We, as in Pastel Games. But that didn’t go so well for us. However, I’ll probably be moving away from flash-based games starting from 2015, I’m thinking about creating a game that I’d be able to put on Steam. But that’s distant future, right now I have a series to finish. I can’t abandon my players who’ve been waiting almost 10 years for the resolution in Submachine series (What, pressure? No, no pressure at all…).

 

Finally, you have a lot of different multipart games you’ve been working on over the years. Do you have anything new you’re thinking about starting, or are you planning to focus on the stories and games you’ve already got going?

 

No, no new series for now. I’m saving that for something completely different, big and bold and sparkling new that I’d be able to put on Steam and earn a pot of gold. Meanwhile wrapping up the flash-based part of my life, I’m creating HD remakes of my best games, which are available in my store.



8bit-ninja interview


 

dmt_black

8bit-ninja:  Could you please introduce yourself an how you got into gamedesign?

Mateusz Skutnik: My name is Mateusz Skutnik, I’m a games architect and graphic novelist. I got into gamedesign around 2002, when I got my hands on the Games factory software. From that I transitioned to more open and user friendly environment of Macromedia Flash.

8bit-ninja:  the “covert front”, “submachine” and especially the “daymare” series feature a great athmosphere and visual style. Could you describe the process of developing the plot and creating the art for your games?

Mateusz Skutnik: the process itself doesn’t have much to do with the atmosphere and style. Those come from my background of being a comic book artist. The process consists of just transferring the story to the medium, whether it be comic book panels or game levels. What I’m trying to say is – I’m a self-learner and I have no idea about a proper process of creating anything. I just create stuff as I go.But everything begins with a story in my head. Then it’s just a matter of telling.

8bit-ninja:  You do not only work on games but also on comic books. what are the biggest differences between working on graphic novels and on videogames?

Mateusz Skutnik: The obvious thing would be interactivity. The comic book is a straight up storytelling, it’s mien, I tell it, you listen and read and that’s it. In games – the story gets a bit watered down in the gameplay, I give clues, the player has to tell the story himself. The trick is to give him just enough clues for the story to be understandable.

8bit-ninja:  Your adventure games with their surreal enviroment and abstract mechanical devices remind me of the myst-series. What (other?) games inspire your work?

Mateusz Skutnik: Mostly other flash games – Crimson Room, Mystery of Time and Space, works of Nanahiro, games from Amanita Design, 100 Rooms. All were brilliant, innovative, artistic. I fell in love with the format of a small flash game.

8bit-ninja:  Point’n click style games seem to work pretty good on IOS devices like the iPad. Have you concidered porting your games (maybe as a compilation?) to an app since those devices do not support flash?

Mateusz Skutnik: We did that 4 years ago. the fact that you don’t even know about it explains how big of a success that was. The thing is – I don’t agree that point and click games work well on iOS devices. PNC is about exploring, searching, finding hotspots on the screen – all done with the mouse pointer. If you remove the mouse from the equation – PNC games tend to be just a confusing mess of not knowing what to do.

8bit-ninja:  The current daymare game – daymare cat – also includes great music from “cat and the menagerie” both in game and as an incentive for completing it. How did this collaboration happen?

Mateusz Skutnik: Cat reached out to me and suggested creating a game together. It was just that simple. Once I listened to her music I knew more or less what I wanted to do. Separate tracks, building a song throughout the game – that was a good idea for a small exploratory game.

8bit-ninja:  Even though you are probably still busy working on Daymere Town 4 do you have any plans on upcoming projects? Will we see more coming out of the daymare and submachine universe or do you want to “slip in a little side project”?

Mateusz Skutnik: After Daymare Town 4 I’ll make another 10 Gnomes game. After that it’s time for Submachine 9 and possibly Where is 2014? game. I’m set till the end of the year. I don’t have plans for 2014 just yet. I’ll surely create the last, 10th Submachine, but after that – all bets are off. Change is good.

 

—-

[german translation]

8bit-ninja: Stell dich doch bitte einmal vor und wie es dich in die Spieleentwicklung verschlagen hat.

Mateusz Skutnik: Mein Name ist Mateusz Skutnik, ich bin Spielearchitekt und Schöpfer von Comicromanen. Mit dem Spieledesign habe ich etwa 2002 angefangen, als ich das Programm the games factory in die Finger bekam, von dem ich auf die offenere und benutzerfreunlichere Entwicklungsumgebung von Macromedia Flashgewechselt bin.

8bit-ninja: Deine Spieleserien wie covert frontsubmachine und besondersdaymare zeichnen sich durch eine besondere Atmosphäre und visuellen Stil aus. Kannst du beschreiben, wie du bei der Entwicklung der Handlung und der Erstellung der Grafiken vorgehst?

Mateusz Skutnik: Der Prozess selber hat wenig mit der Atmosphäre und dem Stil zu tun als vielmehr meinem Hintergrund als Comicbuchkünstler. Das Vorgehen besteht eigentlich nur darin, die Geschichte auf das jeweilige Medium zu übertragen, seien es die Panels eines Comics oder die Level eines Spiels. Was ich damit sagen will ist, dass ich Autodidakt bin und keine Ahnung habe, wie man “richtig” bei der Erschaffung von Irgendetwas vorgeht. Bei mir entsteht vieles einfach während der Arbeit. Aber alles beginnt mit einer Geschichte in meinem Kopf. Von da an muss diese nur noch erzählt werden.

8bit-ninja: Was deine Arbeit an Comicbüchern betrifft: Worin besteht denn der größte Unterschied zur Entwicklung von Videospielen?

Mateusz Skutnik: Offensichtlich wäre da wohl die Interaktivität. Ein grafischer Roman ist eine gradlinige Geschichte, es ist meine, ich erzähle sie, du hörst zu und liest, und das war’s. In Spielen wird die Geschichte etwas durch die Spielmechanik verwässert. Ich gebe Hinweise, aber der Spieler muss die Geschichte selber erzählen. Der Tick ist, gerade genug Hinweise zu geben damit die Geschichte verständlich bleibt.

8bit-ninja: Deine Adventures erinnern mich mit ihren surrealen Umgebungen und abstrakten mechanischen Geräten an die Myth-Serie. Welche (anderen?) Spiele haben dich noch inspiriert?

Mateusz Skutnik: Hauptsächlich andere Flash-Spiele – Crimson RoomMystery of Time and Space, die Arbeiten von Nanahiro, Spiel von Amanita Design, 100 Rooms. Die waren allesamt brillant, innovativ und künstlerisch wertvoll. Ich liebe das Format der kleinen Flash-Spiele.

8bit-ninja: Point’n’Click Spiele scheinen ziemlich geeignet für IOS Geräte wie iPad geeignet zu sein. Hast du in Anbetracht dessen, dass diese Geräte kein Flash unterstützen, schon mal an eine Portierung deiner Spiele als App gedacht?

Mateusz Skutnik: Das haben wir bereits vor 4 Jahren gemacht [Anmerkung 8bit-ninja: Zu meiner Verteidigung, ich hatte im Vorfeld recherchiert und nichts gefunden]. Die Tatsache, dass du davon nichts weißt, zeigt, wie erfolgreich das war. Übrigens stimme ich dir nicht darin zu, dass Point’n’Clicks gut auf diesen Geräten funktionieren. Das Genre lebt vom Erforschen, Absuchen, davon die Hotspots auf dem Schirm zu entdecken. Das alles geschieht mit dem Mauszeiger. Wenn du die Maus aus der Gleichung entfernst tendieren diese Spiele dazu, ein verwirrendes Durcheinander zu sein, ohne dass man eine Ahnung hat, was man machen muss.

8bit-ninja: Der aktuelle Teil der daymare-Reihe, daymare cat, enthält sowohl innerhalb des Spiels als auch als Belohnung am Schluss großartige Musik von cat and the menagerie. Wie kam es zu dieser Zusammenarbeit?

Mateusz Skutnik: Cat ist an mich herangetreten und hat mir vorgeschlagen zusammen ein Spiel zu machen. So einfach war das. Nachdem ich ihre Musik gehört habe wusste ich mehr oder weniger, was ich machen wollte: getrennte Tonspuren, die im Spiel zu einem Song zusammengebaut werden. Das war eine gute Idee für ein kleines Spiel, in dem es ums Erforschen geht.

8bit-ninja: Momentan bist du wahrscheinlich stark mit deiner Arbeit an Daymare Town 4 beschäftigt, aber hast du schon Pläne für deine nächsten Projekte? Werden wir mehr aus dem Daymere und Submachine- Universum sehen oder würdest du gerne ein kleines Nebenprojekt einschieben?

Mateusz Skutnik: Nach Daymare Town 4 werde ich ein weiteres 10 Gnomes Spiel machen. Danach wird es Zeit Submachine 9 und eventuell ein where is 2014 Spiel. Bis Ende des Jahres bin ich also bereits fest verplant. Für 2014 habe ich noch keine Pläne. Sicherlich werde ich das zehnte und letzte submachine-Spiel machen, aber danach – alles ist möglich. Veränderung ist gut.

8bit-ninja: Vielen Dank für das Interview.



Daymare Cat, GMB interview


So I am in the middle of a very interesting collaboration with Cat Janhke ( I promise I don’t sing) and as a result I had the distinct pleasure to talk to both Cat Jankhe and Mateusz Skutnik about another very interesting collaboration, Seriously.

The whole thing started as a twitter exchange (living in the future is very interesting) and became a new escape adventure starring Cat with her music as part of the treasure to be found throughout the game. Suddenly the whole thing became a brand new online point and click video game from multi award-winnipeg independent game designer Mateusz Skutnik.

The music that Cat provided for the game is a song from her brand new musical project called, “Cat and The Menagerie”. When a player completes the game they are given a link to a private download page where they can download the game’s theme song : “Better”.

I asked them both a few questions about the creative process..

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS TO & FROM CAT:

 

Q: Cat, your songs have such strong storytelling elements in them, so the typical assumption is that as a writer you are influenced by books, but have you ever found inspiration for music in a game?

A: While I LOVE reading and I ADORE playing games, I think that my work as a film composer has actually had more of an effect on the storytelling elements within my songs. Several years ago I was invited for the first time to enhance the movement within a short film and that’s when I really began to practice using music to evoke emotion, instead of just carry a voice.

I give a lot of credit to the directors I work with who continually challenge me to match their vision; they coax me to provide what the audience needs to be in touch with what they are seeing; they give me new vocabulary in this musical language that we all speak.

I am grateful for what I have learned and I hope to continue learning and practicing as I experiment with my music in different media.

Q: Cat, describe what it’s like to go from a fan to a collaborator, to a character in a game, and then move “yourself” around to solve a puzzle…

This has been in the works for some time and for most of the process I just thought, “This is way too good to be true.”

From the beginning Mateusz was exceptionally approachable and encouraging. I think my very first contact with him was a twitter message saying that I’d like to bake him a banana bread to thank him for his amazing games. He responded with “Nom nom” and I was over the moon.

Despite the fact that I am a writer by trade, I’m finding it very difficult to put into words exactly what it means to collaborate with one of my idols, to know that he has spent time in his own world thinking about me and my music…

I’ll tell you what I told Mateusz after I played through the game for the first time:

“As soon as I heard that wind blowing in the background I thought, “Holy crap! That’s me in the Daymare universe!” The ending almost had me in tears (and I do not get emotional easily). I recognize those characters… I recognize those symbols… I recognize that creamy yellow landscape…

This is unbelievable. Your game justifies for me all the hard work and struggling I have faced as a musician. That’s a very valuable gift to me and I am so very grateful.”

EXTRA TIDBIT:

From Cat:

On May 7, 2011, after receiving several emails from me in which I absolutely gushed over his work, Mateusz sent me a message that included the following:

And pls stop with the “huge fan” already ;)

That will help in future dialogue :D

Just thought that was an interesting tidbit. I love this man. :)

————

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS TO & FROM MATEUSZ:

 

Q: Mateusz, your game relies on memory and logic, but also on storytelling elements. Strange sub-plots in the images and items seem to emerge. Can you talk about the process for creating these situations?

A: That’s thanks to my comic book background. You see, I’m a comic book artist first – the game designer second. It’s only reasonable that this game developing business is just another outlet for the storytelling. Moreover, since this is the interactive experience, I can just hint a story, and the player does the rest. The game can be what you want it to be. I just need to point it in the right direction. To quote the classic: I can only show you the door.

Q: Mateusz, In comicbookland where I’m from, a major conceit of the medium is that people buy and read some books just for the art. That sometimes, the part that connects with people is the hardest to quantify. That’s what keeps me coming back to your games. I don’t have time to puzzle out everything, but I don’t feel the need to either, that’s not how I’m wired. That said, I could walk Daymare Cat through the tunnels for a half hour and just marvel at your keen eye for composition and world building. How much of being an artist informs your work in making games?

A: The only way to stay relevant and current is to do everything your way. That’s the only way that proved to be relevant in games as well.

I’m not an artist, I kind of resent that title, first of all because the way people work in comic book land. You need to be a heavy duty worker to finish a book, not an artist, working on a flame of passion. It’s a craft, not artistry. Same goes for the games.

However if imprinting yourself onto the work you do is considered “artistic” – then that’s what I do. And by “yourself” I don’t mean your soul, thoughts or being, nothing that fancy – shmancy. By “yourself” I mean – the state in which you already embraced what you can do and the way you do it – and from that point on you’re fearless in doing just that. That’s the reason I don’t sketch all that much (besides quick composition sketches) and I don’t erase pencil from my works. I leave the whole process on. Same goes for the games.

For me both of those storytelling procedures are almost the same.

author: G M B Chomichuk



interview for Brooke


disposals

Would you recommend entering the art field for professional work?

That’s not something anyone can recommend. You’d have to feel it yourself, not be lured by someone else.

you can’t choose this field of career. it chooses you.

Would you recommend going to school for art?

Not necessarily. I didn’t attend an art school. Hence they didn’t shape me using their own definition of what an artist is.

being an artist is very personal and schooling can damage that. Not always, but there’s a risk.

Did you complete any schooling?

I graduated from a university, I’m an architect.

Did you always know you wanted to become an artist?

No. even when I already was I always hated that term. I didnt want to be an artist. I always considered myself a craftsman. But as years went by it turns out I actually am an artist, however admitting to that is cringing.

Can you name any artist/artists past or present who has influenced you directly, or whom you admire? 

Hugo Pratt, Wada Che Nanahiro, Amanita design, Regis Loisel, Enki Bilal, Nicolas de Crecy  and many many more.

How did you get to be where you are now?

Don’t understand the question. Hard work and commitment I guess?

How did you aspire to become an artist?

I didn’t. Aspiring to be an artist is the first step to NOT becoming one.

What helped you realize this career would be best for you?

I didn’t realize that. I still don’t know what would be the best career for me. That’s the whole point.

How should an artist approach developing a style that is commercially appealing?

No idea. I guess try to do something that will please everybody. Which is like the opposite of being an artist.

Tell me about your style. Do you find that to be ‘commercial’?

Have you seen my style? it’s so far removed from being commercial that I can’t even see the path in this dark daymare forest that would lead me to a commercial highway.

How has your style progressed, and how have you improved?

Uhmm…. How it progressed?  By repetition. You wouldn’t believe what years of training can do for an ungifted person, which is what I consider myself to be.

Do you mostly do digital art or traditional art, why?

There’s just an artificial separation between these two. I do my comic books the traditional way, because there’s no way to get watercolour to look remotely real using digital tools. And I do my games the way of the digital, because there’s no way to do that fast enough the traditional way. Both sides of that coin complement each other, I’m glad I found two separate outlets to cultivate both.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination?

1. imagination.

2. photos, but only when I need something concrete to look realistic enough.

3. from life? No, that’s for the proper artists.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your piece, or the way it is executed?

The subject is the most important thing in all form of storytelling, whether that be games or comic books in my case. The execution is just fancy clothes.


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