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The unique challenges of building a game world out of cardboard

Lume, a smartphone and PC adventure game from State of Play, was built as a model and filmed, rather than constructed in 3D inside a computer. The technical challenges? Paper cuts and uncooperative models.
Lume, a smartphone and PC adventure game from State of Play, was built as a model and filmed, rather than constructed in 3D inside a computer. The technical challenges? Paper cuts and uncooperative models. As creative director Luke Whittaker writes in his new postmortem, working with cardboard offers some challenges game developers might not run into -- but his way of thinking will be familiar to those who hope to push boundaries. "In developing this game, it was priority for us to be ambitious with our method. By its very nature, that meant that we couldn't plan for every outcome because we didn't know how it would pan out," Whittaker writes. Lume's environment, a house, was created entirely out of cardboard and then filmed by a professional cameraman who had worked with the BBC. This video was overlaid onto a Flash game logic layer created by Whittaker and his team. Working with paper, however, presented its own challenges. "The front of the house had to fix tight enough to stay on. This meant it needed some jimmying to take it off, by which time Tom had subtly moved the camera while we'd subtly moved the entire house," writes Whittaker. "Needless to say, we couldn't perfectly match everything up, and it necessitated an unplanned day or so of After Effects work to merge the scenes together." Still, the work was core to the creative concept for the game, writes Whittaker. "It was important we weren't just taking stills of a model but also moving through it. That's where the real feeling of exploration was. For lack of a better word, it's the indefinable 'something' that Lume offers." The full postmortem, with plenty of photos of the creative process and frank discussions of what the team learned during development, is live now on Gamasutra.

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