Interview with Monkeystack
Troy and Justin from Monkeystack, the South Australian animation company are talking to us about the development of the game 'Double Happy vs. The Infinite Sadness' that is taking everywhere by storm!
For anyone that doesn't know what 'Double Happy vs. The Infinite Sadness' is, could you please explain?
Double Happy vs The Infinite Sadness is an episodic series of games, comics and animations. The stories follow the manic antics of the Double Happy Rabbits as they quest throughout the Isles of the Ancients to overcome an entropic force of corruption called The Infinite Sadness. Each island has a unique art style, story and inhabitants, with our heroes Pink and Blue driving the episode to a conclusion that isn't always the expected 'happy ending'. Wrapped in a beautifully realised art style, Double Happy takes place in a complex world of rich and imaginative creatures and well conceived, beautifully detailed environments.
Imagine mashing up the epic tales of Lord of the Rings, with the mad antics of Looney Tunes, spice it with Odd World and you get a good idea of where the design is headed!
How did the original concept for the characters and animations come about in the first place, were you inspired by anything in particular?
Would you believe it, but it was a sketchy drawing in Troy's notepad of a pair of double mouthed rabbits that kicked off the concept in the first place. Originally targeted as a straight out point click adventure, it rapidly evolved into a multi-platform entertainment series!
How would you describe the characters Pink and Blue and themes behind the game?
Pink and Blue are our daring duo. They are a force of pure chaos. They are the embodiment of life,
energy and action. As a counterbalance, the Infinite Sadness is a methodical force of entropic decay and corruption. So while on the surface Double Happy seems like the classic tale of Good vs. Evil, it is more a story about balance and harmony. I can't say too much more, or I'll give the series away!
Our writers like to say it's a great mix of quantum physics, philosophy and flatulence...
Who will the finished game appeal to in particular?
Those who love being immersed in richly detailed story worlds should love this game, particularly if they have a quirky sense of humour and a love of art.
Unlike many other games, you've decided to give your fans the chance to be involved with a Vehicle Design Challenge! The chance to gain a production credit on the game demo is the top prize (plus more gifts), what were the reasons behind doing this?
Double Happy is a Game Created by artists, for artists. It is our mantra to involve as many different artists as possible to help us realise the world of the Isles of the Ancients.
Our studio often runs incubator style programs for emerging talent and we do a lot of lecturing and training too. We remember what it was like to be emerging artists trying to make a name for ourselves and want to help however we can.
We noticed most art forums run challenges and competitions that give artists a solid brief and a distinct timeline for them to work too. Mostly, the competition stops with artist receiving their prize and that's the end of the life for that particular work. With Double Happy, the artists' works are realised within the story world and are given credit for their work. In this way, we feel we are helping emerging talent get into the industry they are so passionate about.
We have already built a strong foundation of story, art, animation and gameplay and so we feel that there is flexibility for an artist to add their own style to aspects of Double Happy, while not feeling the pressure of having to create a whole universe.
Do you think getting people involved in that way helps the development and popularity of the game?
The art forums give us some great exposure to our fan base but they're an even better way for us to meet talented artists all over the world.
What software, technical processes and expertise are being utilised for the game?
We are currently in the process of building a game demo of Episode 1: The Island of Pharos. There is quite a bit of R&D; still to do, however having just finished a commercial game in Unity we are applying what we learnt to the Double Happy Game. We are creating assets in 3DS Max and Blender and combining these with painted assets developed in Zbrush and Photoshop. The cut scenes will be done as 2.5D animations in After Effects using the 2D pipeline we have developed for a children's TV series currently in production.
How far do you see your rabbit duo, Pink and Blue going in terms of future projects? Will we all be sporting t-shirts and drinking out of Double Happy vs. The Infinite Sadness mugs soon?!
We might see a little bit of merch sported here and there but Double Happy has never been intended to be a big mainstream hit. It really is an offbeat, quirky series that the average Joe probably wouldn't
understand, or even want to understand. We don't mind, it's a labour of love and as long as we can cover our expenses, then we'll just keep making more!
Finally, where can everyone get more information about your project and of course enter that amazing competition?
People can check out all of the current animations, stories and content via the Double Happy via website www.doublehappyrabbits.com. Or if they're keen to find out more about the current Vehicle Design competition that's being run in conjunction with CG Society and Game Artist , they can go directly to www.doublehappyrabbits.com/index.php/competitions/70-cc0006.
We've also recently launched a campaign on STEAM Greenlight, where people can find out a little more about the upcoming game. www.steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=111774605&searchtext;
Lot's of people are interested in how we are financing our progress to date too. It's been a mix of blood, sweat and tears, coupled with the money from our own piggy bank and some additional generous support from the good folks at the South Australian Film Corporation (www.safilm.com.au) and Screen Australia (www.screenaustralia.gov.au/) without whom the project would not have been possible.
Thanks for your time. We look forward to meeting some of your artists!