We're excited to launch Queen of Code, an exciting new project that we're running alongside Crowdfunder UK to find the best female game developers in England.
14 innovative game projects have been selected to take part, each launching their own funding campaign to transform their ideas into reality. The five teams that receive the highest backing total will receive an additional £3000 from Creative England. Learn more about the project here.
To celebrate the launch, we'll look at the women behind each campaign to find out about their games and what they hope to achieve with the money they receive. First up we have Constance Fleuriot and her game Lux and the Shadow Maker.
Tell us a bit about your game studio and how it was formed?
At the moment my game studio is me, working slowly, but as soon as I get some funding I’ll be able to work with a 3D artist and a Unity coder - it seems a bit much to ask other people to work on my idea for free. I know a lot of local indie developers through Bristol Games Hub, and the people there are really welcoming and supportive, so there won’t be a shortage of people to work with. I’ve had a brilliant piece of free artwork done to get the game idea across, but asking for more of that from busy people would be a bit too cheeky, even for me!
I’ve always liked the idea of making games, and have developed playful apps over the years with young and old people, and now I want to make things based on my own ideas. I really got into the idea of making games myself after attending XX Games Jam in London, and since then have been involved in organising and attending a few other jams at the Bristol Games Hub. I’ve developed a couple of ideas and collaborative experimentations but nothing live and public yet.
How would you describe your game Lux and the Shadowmaker?
Lux and the Shadowmaker is a game that you play as Lux, a child who is woken up one midsummer night by a finger of moonlight coming through the bedroom curtains. There are strange lights flitting around in the shadows of the midnight garden, so Lux climbs out he window and goes out to explore. I wanted to make a game that didn't involve having to thump, kick or shoot anything, that rewards exploration and moments of stillness.
Lux and the Shadowmaker grew out of a Writing for Games residential course I went on earlier this year in Yorkshire. Having a week away from home meant I was able to develop the storyline and design ideas and get useful feedback from the other games writers and developers there. The house, Lumb Bank, and its surroundings were pretty magical (and Sylvia Plath lived there once) and I used the layout of the gardens and fields and forests around the house as a basis for the different levels the player will pass through in the game. I’ve got lots of photographs to use as the basis to work on with the 3D artist.
What is it that you think makes your game unique to everything else that is currently out there?
I have absolutely no idea. Any piece of creative work will have echoes of other pieces of creative work. I know I want it to have a very English rural feel, set in a time that seems to suggest just post WW1, and then subvert that. When I was at Lumb Bank I kept thinking of the fairy tales and stories that I read a lot as a child, and what I loved about them was there was often a resourceful and daring main character who is a child - and I say child rather than boy or girl because I want to make Lux as genderless as possible. This means Lux will be a short character, so the viewpoint of the player may be lower than they are used to in Real Life. That will be interesting.
When did your fascination with shadows begin and what do you think they add to your game?
Shadows - well, there’s always something rustling in them. How often did you wake up and wonder what that monster was in the corner of the bedroom, until you screamed for your mum and dad to switch the light on?
The shadows in Lux and The Shadowmaker will be a bit unusual, in that they won’t always ‘fit’ with the objects they are attached to, and may move independently. And you won’t be able to reattach them with soap...
How important is the music going to be in your game?
I love the music I want to use - the Three Cane Whale tracks - for me they echo all the children’s animations I grew up with - like Noggin the Nog, or Pippin and Tog, OK, so mostly the music from anything by Smallfilms - I loved their work as they never spoke down to children and incorporated all sorts of strange tall tales, like wild haggises in Bagpuss.
What made you decide on Unity as the software for your development?
It seemed to make sense when I was writing, as I kept visualising moving through the games as a very 3D sort of experience. I’ve ‘done’ some very basic Unity and knew that you can make light sources and set angles so you get shadows, and as the shadows are a big element of the game it seemed obvious to use it. I also want to develop my own Unity skills so it will be great to work with an experienced game coder and see how it’s done.
How did you hear about the Queen of Code programme and what was it that made you want to apply?
I think it was someone at Games Hub who mentioned it. I saw the info just after the Writing for Games course and thought, OK, it’s a chance to take that idea and make it happen.
What will the funding allow you to achieve?
I’ll be able to pay some more experienced people to work with me, a 3D artist and a Unity Coder. I’ll also be able to pay myself for my time to work on it so I can ignore other paid work for at least a month and get a good demo of the game to share with supporters to get feedback.
Have you used Crowdfunder before and what are your thoughts on crowd funding?
I’ve watched other people run crowd funding campaigns and I know it can be time-consuming and addictive watching the amount creep up. I’ve supported a few in my time as well, and seen some people manage to get a project completed that they’ve wanted to do for ages. It’s a brilliant way of getting a project going, if you get enough support. I imagine it’ll feel a bit like being the unsuccessful kid at school on sponsored walk day if you only get a fiver altogether.
What are you hoping to get out of the Queen of Code programme and where do you see your project in 12 months time?
Ideally the Queen of Code programme will get me to a point where I have a good small team of people and we create the first working version of the basic game. In an ideal world we get so much money on crowdfunder that we can pay ourselves for several months to get a really cracking version with all the envisaged levels and a huge fan base.
Visit the Crowdfunder page for Lux and the Shadowmaker here.
Find out about other games funding opportunities by visiting our games page.
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