Ten students at Isart Digital, a Parisian video game and 3D animation school, came together to create a beautiful video game called Lily, Colors of Santa Luz. The idea was the brainchild of student Matthieu Bathellier, but when he explained it to his fellow students, they were drawn so strongly to the project that they decided to work together and the final project is a result of all of their contributions. The game centers on the character of Lily, a little girl who is living in a war zone. Her father Yvan must do his best to protect her from losing her innocence by being exposed to the various horrors of war. For each loss of innocence there is a corresponding loss of color, so while it is a war game, it is not the traditional blood, gore, shooting game that many have come to associate with the genre.
The passion and artistry poured into this final project speaks volumes about its creators. Not only are the graphics beautifully created, the story itself is compelling and capable of evoking a deep emotional connection. In an interview with Sculpteo, one of the contributors to the game, Florian Coudray, explained what drew him to the game and what he sees as its unique contribution to gaming:
“Matthieu’s pitch moved us because his intention was to denounce the horrors of war, through the eyes of civilians, and while keeping some lightness and poesy. We got inspiration, for example, from the move Life Is Beautiful, in which, in a horrible situation, the father’s optimism protects the child’s innocence. One of our central themes was the contrast between situation and presentation. We wanted to avoid the tendency that some video games have to make a war game in which violence is everywhere and the players spend their time shooting people.”
To design Lily, Coudray used ZBrush and Maya, as well as SketchFab to give life to the game characters. Having created 3D models for use in the game, it was no great leap to get them ready for 3D printing. A 3D printed figurine of Lily has been the team inspiration and has played a part in presentations and talks gives about the game to broader audiences. Coudray described its impact:
“We 3D printed a figurine of Lily, just so we could have it physically with us…it allows people to become more involved with the character, get a clearer idea of her. For us, it’s also a pleasure to have Lily with us after spending so much time working on her design! The object is precious to the people who’ve tried the game. They’re curious about it, want to touch it and know how it was made. And that’s very good for the game, because it relies very much on the player empathizing with the character.”
As of now, the game is available for free download online. It’s a student game, so it’s only about 30 minutes long, but it is receiving very good critical reviews. Its quality has been recognized by awards given for the best student game at the Ping Awards, and was nominated for the best student game award at the Unity Awards in Los Angeles. The team hopes to be able to secure more funding and turn the game into something bigger than a final student project – and to have the opportunity to 3D print more figurines for fans, old and new alike. Discuss in the Lily forum at 3DPB.com.