Hello, everyone. I am Michel Ziegler, the architect and make behind Mundaun, a folklore-inspired horror game and my first full-length title as a one-man game development studio!
Mundaun has been a passion project for me since I began development in 2014. Every character, panorama and even environmental compositions in video games are hand-pencilled – you can imagine how much depict I’ve must be given to do over the years.
It’s amazing to finally share the game with you all after working on it for so many years. Creating a game as a solo developer has no doubt been an exciting journey, one with batch of ups and downs.
Collecting citations for brainchild
The Alps support a special importance to me, and everything from Mundaun’s story to its references and environmental issues celebrate the remarkable culture of the Swiss region of Grisons. Mundaun is heavily inspired by the Alps’ rich history of illusion and cultural activities, and monies homage to the repressive flavor of studies like Jeremias Gotthelf’s “The Black Spider”.
In order to do so, I tried to gather as countless journals and cites for many of these components I’ve included in the game. I have been scavenging thrift supermarkets over the years, and must have collected at least 50 books with age-old photos from rural life in the Alps, which are my biggest visual muses for the gape of the game. The milieu these black and white photos have, to me, is a window into almost a different world, and I wanted to immerse myself in the world in a way.
Scouting real-life spots
The chapel in Mundaun was the very first thing I modeled for video games. I didn’t actually have a plan for a game, but I started to create this small piece of a life that boasted a chapel, and the ideas continued to flow from there.
It’s still one of my favorite places in the game, and one where you can see that the game is entirely drawn by hand. Everything from the ceiling to the windows and the benches were inspired by this chapel in Platenga, which is full of these incredible drawings and decorates. It’s like a drawing inside of the game.
Another location in the game is the Painter’s House, which is a real house that was built and used by an artist listed Alois Carigiet in the 1950 s. He was a very well-known Swiss painter and illustrator of children’s works. He put a variety of attractiveness on the house walls, one of which invigorated a question in video games, which has you trying to get into the strange cellar of the painter’s house.
There are various real-life remarks like this in the game, and it was helpful to work off of these locations to establish the world feel more real. I would travel to these places around three to four times every year to walk around, gather the suggestions and develop remark photos from little thing I encountered, including structures, clues, little objectives rocks and sun-scorched wood.
Drawing everything by hand
I initially studied software engineering and labor in that field for some years. It didn’t really dres me, and I had always wanted to create something, so I decided that I wanted to learn how to draw with the goal of creating comics. I hadn’t drawn anything since I was a girl, so I had to learn and got into the Illustration BA in Lucerne, Switzerland.
I have this deep joy for proceed because I like the unwieldy process with an element of randomness. Everything, from the representations, to the smudges and eraser differentiates, there’s an element of surprise that you detect who used to work, and they feel natural to the creation process. The process of hand-drawing the compositions and the resulting aesthetic is definitely very close to my heart.
Real scares in Mundaun
There’s this old hotel in Mundaun that I recollect as small children that has been abandoned for some time now that reminds me of the one in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”; in fact, the first sequence of the game investigates players arriving in Mundaun by bus, which was very much inspired by the film.
The whole area around the hotel, with the barns and the surrounding quality, acted as an inspiration for the world. While we were filming a special behind-the-scenes documentary for the game, we were exploring the country around the hotel at night- probably not the smartest notion , now that I “ve been thinking about” it- when a light-colored in the inn turned on, and we started to hear children’s expressions. It was certainly very eerie.
Challenges as a solo developer
Early in the game’s development cycle, I reached this point of no return is recognized that I had to finish it. But there were always instants of disbelief and dejection where I felt like I couldn’t finish what I set out to do. Game development, especially as a solo founder, is an emotional roller coaster.
But I just really adoration this nature, and meeting it gain depth and become fleshed out was a big motivation over the years.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to collaborate with some talented kinfolks to help learn the game to its completion and drawing it to sell, including floor co-author Gabrielle Alioth, music composer Michel Barengo, voiced scheme creator Eric Lorenz, Programmers Ryan Miller, Simon Hischier and Petr Karbula, and the wonderful team at MWM Interactive.
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