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Rewarding curiosity in charming explorer ‘Tux and Fanny’

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This interview is part of our Freeway to the IGF assortment.

Tux and Fanny is, technically, about inflating a soccer ball. Players will quickly uncover themselves in an ever-changing world that rewards curiosity, being filled with all technique of points to play with, sights to see, and hidden video video games to play. It’s a celebration of the shock that lies all through us, if we solely take the time to look.

Ghost Time Video video games’ Gabriel Koenig and Albert Birney spoke with Sport Developer about their IGF Nuovo Award-nominated sport; along with the challenges that embody loading a world with secret gratifying and hidden delights in all places, how this world enable them to decrease free with some silly ideas that will not have match elsewhere, and their hopes that the game encourages people to hunt out further shock of their very personal lives.


Who’re you, and what was your place in rising Tux and Fanny?

Gabriel Koenig: I’m Gab, and I was the half of the crew liable for establishing the game itself, writing code, and assembling ranges. I moreover did quite a few the writing and designed a bunch of the mini-games as properly.

Albert Birney: I’m Albert, the other half of the crew. I made the pixel artwork work for the precept part of the game and wrote a bunch of the story.

What’s your background in making video video games?

Koenig: I’ve been making video video games in Unity since 2013, just about solely making the video video games by myself (doing design/code/art work/music). Making Tux and Fanny was my first time having an accurate collaborator, and it has now absolutely modified how I think about the game-making course of.

Birney: That’s my first time ever making a sport. I principally make movies. I had such a blast making this sport with Gab that I’m unable to attend to make one different one.

How did you provide the thought for Tux and Fanny?

Birney: The game is based on an animated film I made in 2019, moreover known as Tux and Fanny. As a result of the characters had been already firmly established throughout the 82-minute film, it was pretty easy to put in writing down for them throughout the sport. The game serves as a prequel to the film, with the ending of the game principal immediately as a lot as the start of the film.

Koenig: I was an infinite fan of the Tux and Fanny film as a result of the day I observed it once more in 2019, so when Albert hinted on the considered ​​making it proper right into a sport, I knew it was one factor I could fully get behind.

What enchancment devices had been used to assemble your sport?

Koenig: The game was all inbuilt Unity3D. It was good having such a robust engine so I could change up sorts in a short while on the fly. I used Blender3D for all of the 3D parts of the game.

Birney: I drew the pixel artwork work using an web website known as That is comparable web site I used to make the film, so it made sense to utilize it for the game as properly. I actually like this website online because of it’s easy to animate and export GIFs. I moreover used watercolors and colored pencils to make the rooster/bug/flower books.


Tux and Fanny seems prefer it ought to allow the participant to make discoveries and uncover fascinating points no matter which route they head off in. What challenges did you face in creating an open world filled with neat points to pull the participant alongside?

Birney: Certainly one of many largest challenges for me was determining when to stop. Month after month, every uncommon thought or tangent we thought of would go into the game. I really feel we might fully nonetheless be making the game, filling it with further mini video video games and peculiar new maps to find, if we hadn’t given ourselves a deadline.

Can you inform us a bit in regards to the technique of deciding what you will placed on the planet? The way in which you picked what you wished to include on this world?

Koenig: Loads of the time, one in every of us would offer you some uncommon tangential thought that we’d joke about, nevertheless just about immediately resolve that it was moreover one factor we should at all times add. Because of, if we found an thought fascinating or gratifying, then we frequently couldn’t take into account trigger to not embody it. I cherished the openness and spontaneity of that course of.

Birney: Yeah, I really feel nearly 98% of the weird ideas we had made it into the game. Gab was an unbelievable collaborator because of he on no account really talked about “No” to any of my ideas. Or he would take my preliminary thought and enhance upon it, immensely bettering it. And I nonetheless don’t really understand how Gab constructed the game. All of the technical stuff seems like magic to me. Unity3D is prone to be a spell behind a wizard’s information for all I do know.

What was the attraction of making a sport about curiosity? About drawing curiosity in regards to the peculiar world out of the participant?

Koenig: I actually just like the small particulars in life. It’s one factor that the film Tux and Fanny captured so efficiently. There’s all these nice particulars hidden in all places, you merely must decelerate to hunt out and admire them, and many of them may very well be so fleeting. There’s quite a lot of pleasure to be current in discovering these moments in life, so being able to encourage that mind-set in our sport felt like a way to advertise happiness in regularly life.

Birney: I actually like video video video games that reward exploration. Like in a Final Fantasy sport everytime you enter a random metropolis and stroll proper right into a random dwelling after which stroll down into the basement and uncover a secret room that comes with a treasure chest. I wanted to make a sport that was regularly rewarding you for being curious.

Why did you choose to current the participant 4 fully completely different characters to play as? What do you feel their views added to the experience?

Birney: The Tux and Fanny film begins with a flea infested cat coming into T&F’s dwelling. I always puzzled what the cat and fleas had been doing correct sooner than the film begins. The game felt like an excellent place to answer that question. Collaborating in as a result of the 4 of them, Tux, Fanny, the cat, and the fleas, was one in every of many first ideas I had for the game.

Koenig: Sarcastically, we had no thought what the cat and flea sections had been going to be until we had been just about completed establishing the rest of the game, nevertheless I really feel that labored out for the perfect – discovering a way to weave them in that supported what we’ d already completed. I actually like how the cat and flea each had their very personal proportionally scaled story-line, so that they didn’t ought to compete with Tux and Fanny.


There are numerous in-game video video games to play all by Tux and Fanny. What drew you in order so as to add completely different video video games contained in the precept sport?

Birney: I was participating within the model new Animal Crossing sport and inside the game I bought an arcade machine. I was so excited until I noticed that I may not likely play it. I really feel if there’s an arcade machine or laptop computer in a sport, you should always have the flexibility to flip it on and actually use it.

Koenig: After we started, Albert had a couple of video video games in ideas to play on the in-game laptop computer, and I really feel merely seeing the entire space on the in-game laptop computer desktop made us discover we could preserve growing on the mini-game thought, and folks video video games formed out of many different places of inspiration.

Lots of the mini-games wouldn’t ever have legs to face on within the occasion that they weren’t bundled collectively on this uncommon assortment, so it seems like Tux and Fanny has turn into an excellent dwelling for these stray miscreant ideas. It was splendidly liberating to take a break from establishing the precept sport to find these transient tangentials.

What concepts went into the creation of these completely different video video games? What made you give them an array of varied art work and play sorts?

Koenig: As soon as extra, the film was a selected provide of inspiration proper right here, which drastically changes sorts at quite a few elements, so it felt logical to extend that feeling into the game. Steadily, Albert would give me the establish of a mini-game, and I would go off and assemble one factor new primarily based totally on the establish alone, like Cool Cloud, Agile Auto, or Hearth Family. The Magic Maker text-based journey sport was an thought I had at one degree all through enchancment and we found a way to embody it because of there was already a precedent at the moment for the mini-games to do regardless of they wished.

Albert wished an addictive Puzzle Fighter-like sport for Tim Tooth, so we came upon a way to make that happen. Some mini-games had been really further worthwhile than others, nevertheless normal our technique was to have gratifying and try new points.

Birney: My principal years of gaming had been 1988-1998 so a lot of the video video games appear as if video video games from this era. It was very gratifying to talk with Gab about which video video games we carried out as kids after which attempt to make our private variations of them.

Tux and Fanny feels as if it must remind players in regards to the journey and pleasure to be current in regularly points and life. Was this your intent? And in that case, why do you feel that’s such an vital message for people correct now?

Koenig: This was a core a part of the game. Significantly these previous couple of years with so much social isolation, many individuals have most likely spent rather more time in entrance of screens, and so sometimes these screens present to us a distorted and unimaginative world. Tux and Fanny gave us the prospect to infiltrate that medium with a reminder that there’s a precise tangible world exterior of the digital one, full of thriller, absurdity, and surprise.

This sport, an IGF 2022 finalist, is featured as part of the IGF Awards ceremony, taking place on the Sport Builders Conference on Wednesday, March 23 (with a simultaneous broadcast on GDC Twitch).

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