We recently had a conversation with Daniel Strom and Louise Meijer from Guru Games, a Swedish based game development company that is currently in the process of releasing their first game, Magnetic: Cage Closed. The game is getting comparisons to Portal, the popular puzzle platform video game from 2007.
Daniel is the CEO and Louise is a 2D artists for Guru Games. We began working with Louise, and asked her to try Painter X3 and eventually Painter 2015. It wasn’t long before she was creating official artwork for Painter Essentials 5. She then introduced us to Daniel and Guru Games and we have been working with them to get Corel and Painter more involved in the gaming community.
Daniel: We started out as a group of friends in school about two years ago. It all started a class project, which was Magnetic. In the summer, some other friends who were ambitious and hardworking joined us to work on Medusa. We wanted something as a portfolio project or maybe for commercial use later on, but we mainly just wanted something to do during the summer. By fall, Magnetic had actually got a lot of interest. We were even nominated for Swedish game awards… So our teacher said that we really need to do something with this project; to either sell the demo or get it up on Steam somehow. As a result we got together and discussed starting a company, to finish Magnetic, with the thought that it would take 1 or 2 months. Now we are here, about 1 ½ years later and Magnetic is finally about to be released in a couple of months.
Do you have plans for the future of Guru? Where do you envision this company in the next couple years?
Daniel: The goal with Guru has always been to keep it to a small, family sized company. We started out as a group of friends and hope to stay that way. We don’t want to be too big, as far as team size goes. We are 11 right now, and with one intern. In the next couple of years, we plan to grow to around 20 people but I think we will stay there. That is probably the right size for us. It allows everyone to feel like they have a big part in what we do and it’s enough for the scope of games that we want to make.
Daniel: We have so many plans, but we try and keep them on the drawing table for now. We are actually going to discuss a sequel to Magnetic, mainly because there has been so much positive feedback and interest in the game. Then of course there is always Medusa, which is the game we started the company wanting to make. It’s our little baby. We love the idea of the game and we love horror games in general. It’s always fun to work on something that terrifies people. So in short, we are set for a couple of years to come. I don’t think we will run out of ideas for the next couple years. We could always make a horse game, that’s something Louise has been nagging us about. It gets mentioned during the meetings about once a week.
You used Painter to make the Magnetic Poster. Can you tell me why you chose Painter for that poster?
Louise: Well I really like, as I have mentioned to you in the past, how Painter truly resembles traditional art compared to Photoshop. When you paint in Photoshop you can feel that it is a digital program because colors don’t mix. For example if you use water colors and paint a blue sky and then add yellow, the color won’t become green, as it should. In Painter, you actually get that effect. It adds to the flow when you are working and trying to mix colors to make the picture look more real.
Also of course the Perspective tool. I talk too many of my friends about this tool because it is amazing. I don’t understand why other programs don’t include something like that. I don’t have to spend time mapping out and drawing straight lines so I can add perspective. It is a huge time-saver.
The mirror mode is also great, especially for characters. When you make the turnarounds or the blueprints for characters that I design before sending them to the 3D artists, having the mirror tool is so smart because I don’t have to concentrate on making both sides the same and mirror it myself. In other programs, you can paint half and then cut it out and duplicate it, but it’s quite a process. It doesn’t work so fluently as when you use a tool like the mirror tool.
How do you plan on using Painter in your future work at Guru Games?
Louise: I have decided that I am really going to give it a try to understand most of it. I still have the short keys from Photoshop ingrained into my muscle memory, so I tend to press the wrong buttons which can be quite annoying. But I think that will wear out as I use Painter more in and outside of work. My plan is to use it for conceptual artwork, like for environments with the perspective tool and characters. I’d also like to try out texturing because I think that would be interesting using Painter.
Daniel: I think as a company, we want to investigate how well it will work for texturing, because with Medusa we have a lot of new textures that need to be made. So it will be good to see how Painter can handle that kind of work and how we can set up a workflow around that.
Watch how Painter helps video game designers bring their ideas to life!