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June 7, 2020
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How Everything connects the arts of animation and game design

April 21, 2017 | By Bryant Francis

“In the early days, animation was about making things come to life. It could be a coat hanger, a tail of an animal, or something’s mustache, or a building….[Everything] was a similar version of that with objects, and with the world itself, with the whole universe.”

Everything developer David OReilly

David OReilly’s Everything, a followup to his 2014 game Mountain, is an unconventional open-world game that doesn’t rely on quests, or other familiar design tropes to get players to navigate the world. Instead, it builds a game world that exists from the largest to smallest most possible levels and encourages players to become every object in those environments, which range from planets to lions to buildings to cells to one-dimensional objects.

It’s not a game with a “win state” per se, and it doesn’t encourage any competition or conflict, but as OReilly explained to us today on the Gamasutra Twitch channel, there was a lot of thought put into the game’s seemingly undriven nature. For one, OReilly says the game largely became possible after experimenting in different game engines and realizing it was possible to bring any object fo life. 

“I got really excited about every object in the universe being a playable character,” OReilly told us. “That led to thinking about groups of things, and how everything is a member of a group, living or dead.”

OReilly also felt like there was a link between this kind of experimentation and works created in the early days of animation, when 2D animators worked to bring all kind of objects to life, even ones that had no life at all.

For more insight from OReilly on the development of Everything, including how the game’s “cheap” movement animations for animals are actually very complex, and how he compares his work in 3D animation versus game development, be sure to watch the full video seen above. 

And if you enjoyed this conversation, you can follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables and gameplay commentary. 

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