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Road to the IGF: David O'Reilly's Everything

In Everything, you can become a car, driving idly around a city. You can stop and become one of the buildings you pass by, ot its cinder blocks or pylons. If you can see it, you can become it.

This interview is part of our Road to the IGF series. You can find the rest by clicking here.

Everything is of the mindset that, if you can see it, you can become it. It puts you inside a world where anything you see, you can take control over. You can become a car, driving idly around a city. You can stop and become one of the buildings you pass by, shuffling an entire office across a cityscape. Should your giant size lose its appeal, you can become boxes, cinder blocks, pylons, and other things. 

You can be garbage.  Shuffle around as insects. Become pollen. Float about as a germ. Travel the seas as a continent. Hurtle through the cosmos as a planet. All of existence can be put under your control, letting your guide its path and destiny through a world where you can seamlessly become anything you want.

The heady experience of being able to be anything, to bond with all of existence, has earned David O'Reilly a nod for an Independent Games Festival Nuovo Award. Gamasutra sought him out to ask some questions about how he could possibly create a game where the player could become anything they wanted, and what it meant to give the player this much freedom to change the self.

However, with a game like Everything, O'Reilly is far more content to let his work speak for itself.

What's your background in making games?

I started yesterday.

How did you come up with the concept?

I had to undergo surgery after a fire incident some years ago, the entire time I was imagining this game.

What development tools were used to build your game?

We had to design & build our own tools. There was nothing off-the-shelf for this kind of idea. 

How much time have you spent working on the game?

There are parts I started six or seven years ago. I have been on it full time for three years.

How do you even begin to make a game where the player can play as anything? How do you create a game where the player can become whatever they want?

That is something I am still finding an answer to.

What are you trying to do in capturing this much choice and freedom with Everything? What do you want to create for players to explore and feel through this world of choice and varied existence?

I want Everything to make people feel better about being alive. Not as an escape or distraction, or arbitrary frustration, but something you would leave and see the world in a new light.

What thoughts went into creating the audio for this kind of grand, yet subtle and personal, experience? What did you consider when creating the sound for an experience that will be so emotionally varied from player to player?

The sound is very formal, it's very grounded and sincere, it has always been that way. You can go conceptually crazy in a lot of areas but sound ties it all together and makes it feel real, if done right. 

What do you think are the biggest hurdles (and opportunities) for indie devs today?

The hurdles is the market saturation, caused by all these people not from games coming in and ruining it. The opportunities are... being a self sufficient artist, which is all anyone wants. 

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