If you're developing a small budget indie game, having strong visual design can help immeasurably when it comes to grabbing people's attention. This is as true of major publishers showing off games like Unravel and Grow Home as it is of bedroom developers honing their craft.
One such developer is Anthony Tan, a 16-year-old student from Melbourne, Australia, who is making an adventure game called Way To The Woods, about a deer and her young fawn. With no funding as of yet, Anthony took to Reddit to share some of the game's art – giving us the beautiful artwork you see in this article.
Anthony has been working on the game in Unreal Engine 4 for roughly a year with the help of his friend, programmer Jarad Baker, and Jeremy Warmsley, who is working on the game's music and sound design and contacted Anthony through the game's Tumblr. Anthony is the game's designer, artist and writer.
Anthony tells us the game is currently in pre-alpha with just a small vertical slice made so far. He and his team have applied for an Unreal Dev Grant from Epic Games and are awaiting a response. The grant could be anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000 with "no strings attached". Epic's site tells prospective applicants: "You continue to own your IP, are free to publish however you wish, and can use the grant funds without any restrictions or obligations to Epic.
Speaking to IBTimes UK, Anthony said the game was based on the sketch to the right of this story.
"I thought the drawing was cool and wanted to keep exploring that world, because it asked so many questions," he said. "I began working on it, and seeing what I could come up with. Everything I make I turns into a video game for some reason, because that's just the coolest medium to me."
Anthony used a tutorial found on the internet to render the game's first deer. "I think we live in the best possible time right now. Anyone can go on the internet and look up how to do anything. A few years ago you were probably worrying about not dying from the plague or something. A few years from now we'll probably be living underground in fear of our robot overlords who took over in the inevitable robot uprising. But right now, things are pretty sweet and that's awesome."
He's not wrong.
"The game is inspired by animations such as Spirited Away [and] Princess Mononoke. It's also influenced a lot by my love of The Last Of Us, which is the greatest game of all time. I will fight anyone who says otherwise!"
We wish Anthony, Jarad and Jeremy the very best.