Monocular, by Helen Galliker

[3b/3] The ZHdK games showcased at Gamescom 2016

These interviews of ZHdK game design BA alumni Marco Bach, Helen Galliker and Florin Gasser were conducted at video games fair Gamescom in 2016. Like with the ZHdK VR interviews, this is published months after they were conducted. Better late than never.

The game of Helen Galliker is called Monocular

The game of Marco Bach, Tunay Bora and Florin Gasser is called  a m i i [Its name was Organism at the time. Many elements of the game have changed in the meantime.]

How do you feel after these three days at the Gamescom?

Marco Bach. It was very useful for us to talk with publishers, including someone from Apple [Organism is developed for iOS]. Globally, many people stopped by the booth. Overall, we had a lot of very profound discussions about our game and the whole project. We really saw on what we need to focus during the ongoing development process. All these conversations provide a stable basis for the advancement of our game project.

Florin Gasser. We are here to increase our network. The important thing is to receive feedback and reach out to new people. The goal is to spread the word about our game and gain experience in pitching our game.

Helen Galliker. It was a great experience. I’ve never exhibited my work in a place that big before. The Swiss booth was very nice, it had a lot of space and the atmosphere was good. The main outcome was to have people play my game and providing me with feedbacks.


What made you want to create games?

Florin Gasser. I finished a propaedeutic year in Bern. Then I had the choice between the art schools of Lucerne and Zurich, so I decided to go to a school more focused on interactive design.

Marco Bach. I already worked as a motion designer for SRF and other brands. So I already had the chance to create design projects on a major level. But in games you have the capability to form unique and highly immersive audiovisual experiences due to the interactive opportunities. This is why I decided to study game design at ZHdK. Organism is exceedingly influenced by other creative fields like motion or graphic design, which makes it the consistent corollary of all my interests.

Helen Galliker. I wanted to do something creative. Simultaneously, I have always liked maths and I wanted to do something technical. Game design is the combination of these two aspects.


Could you describe your game in a few words?

Florin Gasser. Organism is a skill game for two players. The basic idea is that you play together. You have to collaborate. Timing is the important element of the game. The two players need to be timely coordinated in order to reach the target.

Marco Bach. We focused on the visual design. We tried to break the walls between conventional game aesthetics and contemporary art. For us, it is a very challenging task to design a game with such minimalistic aesthetics, which are yet self-explaining. But this is exactly what we always wanted to pursue with this project.

Florin Gasser. It had to be something you don’t see every day. We wanted to take a different approach.

Helen Galliker. In Monocular you play a cyclope. Your body and your eye are controllable separately. You can throw your eye away from your body in order to discover the environment from another angle. It’s a bit… experimental.

It has been interesting for me to watch people play my game. They tried to play it thinking it’s a «classical» game. However, rapidly people got immersed into this universe and lived an emotional experience. And they seemed to like it.



How was the cohabitation on the Swiss booth with the other authors?

Florin Gasser. This booth is really a Swiss thing. There are people from many parts of the country. We got to know all the other game designers, the professionals as well as the students from Lausanne and Geneva. Swiss designers have come here as a group and have shown that we are creating both interesting and cool games.

Marco Bach. It is the perfect place to share our experience with other Swiss game designers. During the whole year we barely see each other, because we are located in so many different places and everyone is busy doing his own thing. In fact there should be much more exchanges between game designers in Switzerland. This is why occasions like Gamescom are so important to us.

Helen Galliker. I really liked the opportunity to have a look at the other games. I have enjoyed this atmosphere, which is very familiar. Some people already had experienced exhibiting in these kinds of events and it was interesting to benefit from their knowledge.


Will you keep creating games?

Florin Gasser. First, it is really important that we finish this game. Then, after that, maybe? We would like to use it as a platform to really kickstart «The Collective» as a brand.

Marco Bach. As already mentioned, we are interested in a lot of different things. We see ourselves and our projects at the intersection of different creative fields including graphic, motion and game design. Organism is our first big project in this regard. We really want to expand and step up this kind of design approach. So – along with other creative projects – we will definitely keep creating games.

Helen Galliker. In September I will start creating an app for a start-up. This will last at least a year and I am planning to keep developing games in parallel. I am really interested in game art and I love experimenting with the medium; I think there are still lots of things to do. The spectrum is so wide!

The banner image is taken from Monocular.

Here are some other articles I wrote about last year’s Gamescom.

Yannick Rochat

Yannick Rochat est collaborateur scientifique et chargé de cours au Collège des Humanités de l’EPFL. Il est co-fondateur de l’UNIL Gamelab.