History nerd? Art aficionado, specifically renaissance art? Well darnit, look no more for this game brings the two together, giving birth to a beautifully pixelated simulation and management game of artistic proportions. See what I did there? *wags eyebrows* Don’t judge meh! I’m tryin’ to be witty here!
Interview with the developer at the end of the review.
(Really interesting read especially for developers who gets into their own slumps)
A Renaissance Art and History Inspired Simulation and Management Game
Developed By: Lucas Molina
Shout-out to Mr.Lucas on getting the game GREENLIT on Steam!
What got me interested: Actually, I initially discovered this game through my twitter feed. One of my dev buddies there retweeted the game when it got greenlit and being the history enthusiast that I am (specifically Renaissance and Baroque), I was all over that beez-knees. There’s also a concept in the game that I really loved. You see, I tend to read up on the history of how and why the artists painted certain works of art so I actually know a lot of what most people would call, “useless” information about a handful of art during that era. Having said that, when I researched the game more, I found out that, not only did it had a LOT of my favorite painters (Caravaggio!) it also…Well, you’ll see as you read further. Again, if you’re a history nerd like me, especially about this era, you’ll really appreciate this part of the game.
First Impression and Gameplay
What Painters Guild gave me is basically a game made up of a couple of my favorite things (sim and management genre, history, renaissance art). Quite frankly, I really enjoyed it. You actually start the game off as one of the most renowned painter in history (and many considered to be one of the first anatomist and engineer, but that is subject for debate and I digress!). So who could this beastly artist be who’s work is still, to this day, considered to be magical pieces of art? Well it’s none other than Leonardo DiCaprio! Kidding! (but give the man his Oscars Dood!), It’s actually the brilliant artist, Mr. Leonardo Da Vinci in his teen years. He’s the kid in the red hat on the picture above, and the man next to him is his mentor, Verrochio. From there, you get a mail telling you how the control works (click n’ draggin’ the painters) as well as your first batch of customers. Honestly speaking, in the beginning of the game, it may drag on a little bit for some people when the paintings’ difficulties are still low and you get a little bit of downtime as you wait for the painters to finish painting. Now, personally speaking, I actually had to look back and think in an outside perspective to notice this fact because I didn’t feel that way at all when I was playing. As you read further, you’ll see why I didn’t feel like it dragged on at all, especially as I got more prestige and as the paintings’ difficulties got higher.
As you probably have noticed, the game uses a quaint 2D pixel artstyle. I really loved seeing some of the famous works of art transformed into pixel versions of themselves! Although, I did notice that the paintings that were based off actual works of art by certain renowned historical painters, were actually not done by their game versions. For example, pixel Da Vinci painted The Creation of Adam in-game when it was actually created by Michelangelo, his arch nemesis! Dundundun! However, if this was done on purpose by the developer just so he can show you that the game includes all these well known paintings, well, we’ll just have to wait and see on release.
The piano piece playing in the background really invokes calmness. It’s a really nice piece for sure. But, if you’re like me and you end up invoking TOO MUCH calmness upon yourself thanks to the serene piano piece and the fact that you’re exhausted, resulting in you dozing off, which consequently caused many of your customers to be angry where in the end your guild goes bankrupt, there is an option to mute it. I honestly want to grab the mp3 of that piece.
Historical Events and Prestige
There will be messengers arriving at your door throughout the game. They’ll be giving you letters of historical events that consequently influences your prestige, both positively and negatively.
Reality hit me and I was forced to be a multitasking queen!
So…I thought this was one of those management games where I can take my time and just chillax on my chair, maybe watch a little Judge Judy as I wait for them to finish painting. Well, I was wrong. At first I thought it was okay to be lax since I just started the game after all. Next thing I knew, when I look back at my screen, the picture below is what I saw.
After that little notice, I started to pay attention more. What had happened was that I took too long to finish the customers’ paintings, and at the time, I had no clue what I was doing wrong! I started to panic as one by one, the customers basically threw a BF (“bitch fit”. A term I had learned from the movie, White Chicks) and stormed off. Before I knew it, I saw a more dreadful notice (pic below).
Now! Having said all that, as well as showing you how I shamefully mismanaged things, let us boogie down onto this topic’s subtopic and hopefully it will shed light at what I did wrong as well as inform you the mechanics of the management aspect of the game.
- Furniture: Not only does it beautify your humble abode, but it will help you get sh!t done son!
So…I kindaaa forgot about the fact that furitures give certain effects…Well, ok, fine, I neglected to hover on the stuff, missing out on the fact that they weren’t just decorations. As of this moment in the alpha there’s only a couch, a sofa, and a desk. These furniture will become very important as you get commissioned with more higher difficulty paintings, specifically the sofas/couches. The higher the difficulty, the longer those pieces takes to paint, so you really have to be on top of your painters energy bars. Otherwise, you’d end up like me, noticing too late that they slowed down a lot with the painting or that had fallen asleep and stopped painting entirely.
Now, the desks aren’t chopped liver either, they also play an important role. They increase the painters’ skills and speed, so if you have one painter who’s just lolligaggin with nothing to do, I highly advice you to drag his lazy gluteus maximus onto the desk. You really need speed with the higher difficulty paintings because they are timed, so even if they’re well rested, but they’re lagging, it’s no bueno.
The picture below shows the painters stats.
- My only gripe with this game: This is why/how I was forced to be a multitasker, clickin’ and draggin’ all ovah the place~
Unless I drag the painters onto the sofas/couches, I wouldn’t know how much their energy bars had depleted, so I have to do a lot of estimating. Or worst, they’d already be asleep, and that little chair in the beginning of the game takes a bit of time refilling the energy bar back up, resulting in customers angrily stalking off. As more customers started coming in with their high difficulty demands, I had to be clicking and dragging the painters from the paintings, to the sofas/couches, and when I have an opening, the desk, one after the other. Sometimes I’m forced to split the work between the painters and have them paint the big ones alone rather than together when I’m pressed for time. This is usually because one of them is working too slow due to tiredness that I didn’t notice due to the lack of visible energy bar (unless they’re sitting on the couch/sofa). Meaning, I had to make them paint as much as they can, get the most tired to rest, then drag the newly restored painter to the painting that’s mostly done, then move the other tired painter onto the couch/sofa, get that one rested, then drag his pixel butt onto the mostly done big painting with the other painter so that they can finish it together and move onto the next halfway done painting. Yeah…and this is why I never felt that the game dragged on at all. Coz I be all over the place.
The following was taken directly from the website
-Play from 1400 to 1650 in Sandbox mode with infinite replayability.
-Hire new artists, both procedurally generated and historical: Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio as well as female artists such as Sofonisba Anguissola and Artemisia Gentileschi.
-Customize your guild with furniture, wallpapers, floors, decorations and more.
-Form relationships and romances, both heterosexual and homosexual.
-Paint in different Renaissance art styles: Chiaroscuro, Sfumato, Cangiante, Unione and Tenebroso.
-See more painting sizes and visual diversity.
-Listen to new great songs by Morvan, our soundtrack composer.
-Craft items like paintbrushes, canvases and colors.
Side-Note: CARAVAGGIO! One of my most favorite painter. This guy is one interesting dude and talented artist. Seriously, check him out. There’s even murder in his background…muhahaha…
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the game and how much multitasking I had to do considering it’s still in alpha stage AND didn’t even have many of the features that’s going to be in it upon release. From the pixel versions of the famous works of art, to the little history related mails you receive that affects your prestige just like how it would in real life, I enjoyed them all. I would highly recommend this game for sure and eagerly await the final product when all of the planned features are implemented and ready for action. Plus, c’mon! If you think about it, this game may very well be the first of its kind. And when I say kind, I mean a hybrid of history, art, and management/simulation game. Honestly speaking, I try to get as much Renaissance games as I can. I wish a Baroque one will pop up somewhere (if anyone knows anything let me know!).
Please Read: Alpha demo
I want to address something about the ALPHA demo. As I’ve mentioned, for me, the alpha demo did not drag on because I was forced to multitask, however, it may drag on a bit for some and, considering that the demo so far only has the basic mechanics of the game, it can get repetitive as well, but please do remember it’s an alpha demo, so I hope you won’t rush to conclusion that that’s everything the game has to offer because that would be false, as you can clearly see not just from the features section of this review, but from the game’s recent indiedb update as well (pic below).
Sometime this year, 2014
Official Website: guildofpainters.com
For more game reviews: Game Breakdown Reviews: Released/Beta/Alpha
Interview with The Developer
What inspired you to make this game?
-My inspirations are history and art. I’m an art history student (master’s degree) and I enjoy this subject a lot.
Was it hard to replicate the famous works of art in your game as pixelated versions of themselves?
- No. I have years of experience in replicating famous paintings digitally, I like studying the old masters. It’s easier for me to copy something than to make something original. I usually make digital paintings, though, not pixel art. But pixel art makes it even easier – that’s why it’s the game’s art style, it’s easy and fast to make. As a solo developer, efficiency is important. If I spend too much time on art I won’t have time to code.
Is this a one man team, if so, what are the hardest parts about developing the game so far?
- I’m pretty much alone, my friend Morvan is making the music and I’m making everything else. The hardest part right now is finding motivation. When I was aiming towards getting greenlit I had plenty, but now it seems to have faded away. I still force myself to work on the game daily, but I haven’t been making the absurd amount of progress that I was making before.
Concerning the previous question, what has changed? (Concerning motivation). It’s just so people understand better as well as realize that sometimes this does happen to developers.
-I lost a lot of motivation due to personal issues. Still making daily progress, just not nearly as much as before. Since I’m a solo developer, what happens in my life affects the game a lot. I agree that finishing games is extremely important. Easier said than done, of course.
Were you already experienced in the game dev field prior to making this game?
-I’m somewhat experienced in making my own games, no industry experience. I started in the end of 2012 with Avant-Garde, another game about art history which was a university project. As with most first projects I was overambitious and have yet to finish it. Then I went on to make over 10 games, most for game jams, through which I learned how to scope my projects and finish games.
Are there any other future plans you wish to implement in the game that has not been stated on the website?
- Probably not, I tried to put my best, craziest ideas on the website to get people excited about the game. I guess one plan hasn’t been stated because it’s rather grim: the plan to make sure some of those plans never become reality, because finishing games entails cutting planned features.
What do you wish to bring to the players with Guild of Painters?
-I want to give players a playground. A playground built in 1450 with paintings, canvases, artists and history. I want players to create their own narratives and use the game as a catalyst to their imagination. It’s about having fun with history, playing with things that never happened but that could’ve happened. But they only happen because of the player. It’s a subjective experience inside historically inspired systems.
Any advice to those budding indie devs who also wish to make games based off things they love about?
-Make games and finish them. You don’t need anything; not money, not a computer, not prior knowledge, not even advice.