William Chyr’s long-in-the-works puzzle-exploration art installation of a game, Manifold Garden, has been out in the world for a few months now—which means it’s the perfect time to talk through how the game came to be, how it changed over the past seven years, and how it fits into the tradition of mysterious garden games (let’s call them) like Starseed Pilgrim.
Along the way, we discuss the questionable orthodoxies of puzzle design, how to listen for what a game wants, and why your project needs a producer—and more specifically, why an adversarial relationship between producer and artist can actually be healthy and necessary.
You can get Manifold Garden on Apple Arcade and Epic.
You can also follow William, and the game itself, on Twitter.
• I found this week’s On The Media really helpful in regards to COVID-19 (not to mention the presidential primaries here in the States).
• If you haven’t played Starseed Pilgrim, give it a go. And if you’d like to hear more about why it’s interesting—before, after, or instead of playing it—then do check out Starseed Observatory. (Full disclosure: One of the pieces featured there is mine).
• Here’s Droqen’s piece on whyproofing.
• Honestly at this point it’s a running gag, how often I point people toward Ways of Seeing, but it just makes so very many otherwise nonsensical things make sense.
• And do consider giving Arthur Brussee a follow as well.
“All The People Say (Season 3)” by Holly Hyperion.
“Mise En Abyme” and “Sky & Water” from the Manifold Garden Soundtrack by Laryssa Okada.
Logo by Aaron Perry-Zucker, using Icons by by Llisole, Dávid Gladiš, Atif Arshad, Daniel Nochta, Mike Rowe, Jakub Čaja, Raji Purcell and IconsGhost from the Noun Project.