The Interactive Canvas is a book that champions the idea that games have artistic merit, and interviews the people that make them
Video Games Are Art
What happens when you bring the creators of The Witcher, Alice: Madness Returns, Deadly Premonition, Braid, Dear Esther and Europa Universalis IV together to discuss their games and their creative inspiration? You get some truly great insights into the artistry of game development.
And that's exactly what we've done! The Digitally Downloaded team has an idea for a deluxe hardcover book about games as art, and we've got some of the greatest game artists working in the industry keen to participate in it, including;
- American McGee, Spicy Horse; American McGee's Alice, Alice Returns
- Jonathan Blow; Braid, The Witness
- Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, CD Projekt Red; The Witcher series
- Hidetaka Suehiro (aka SWERY65), ACCESS Games; Deadly Premonition
- Ed Key; Proteus
- Michael Samyn and Auriea Harvey, Tale Of Tales; The Path, Luxuria Superbia
- Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room; Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
- Guillaume Provost, Compulsion Games; Contrast
- Thomas Johansson, Henrik Fåhraeus, and Johan Andersson, Paradox Development Studio; Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV
- Nic Watt, Nnooo; escapeVektor
- Tamara Schembri and Peter Budziszewski, ToyBox Studios; Flowmo
- Neil Rennison, Tin Man Games; Gamebook Adventures, Fighting Fantasy gamebooks on iOS and Android
- Mike Bithell; Thomas Was Alone
"Video games can be art" is a statement that those of us who love games almost take for granted. In the last few years it's proven especially true; for every Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Hollywood-style blockbuster there is a game from a small or independent game studio that could easily form part of an interactive art exhibition.
While we accept that games can be art, we don't often treat them as such. In the media we focus on new features that are being worked into a new game, or getting insight into the technical side of game development from the game creators. Many reviews focus exclusively on how entertaining a game is, with little thought to its deeper meanings. The industry, in general, still does not treat game developers as an equivalent to film directors or writers. Filmmakers are seen as highly creative individuals and thinkers about their work, while game makers tend to be lauded instead as technically-proficient creators of entertainment.
That's where our project idea has come from! Interactive Canvas: Gaming Artists will be a deluxe hardcover, annual, coffee table-style publication that will give some of the most creative and artistic game developers an outlet to discuss the inspiration behind their games and the themes that they look to draw out of their work.
Who Are We
Digitally Downloaded (www.digitallydownloaded.net) has been an independent games publication since 2010. From the outset we've been focused on the artistry and creativity of the games industry, and we've looked to engage with games as something more than simple entertainment. A major part of what we do is to interview the most prominent and creative game developers working in the industry. In 2013, for example, we ran interviews with David Cage, Yosuke Hayashi, Suehiro Hidetaka, and Ted Price.
Games matter to us. It's great when a game is fun to play, but as an emerging and commercially-important entertainment industry, the games industry has the potential to become as culturally important as film, literature, dance and theatre. For that to happen, it's important that there are high quality publications that look at the deeper themes within games.
Guillaume Provost (Compulsion Games) on the book:
What We Are Looking To Do
We're looking to Kickstarter to finance the first issue of The Interactive Canvas. It will be launched in July 2014 as a 200+ page glossy, full-colour, premium quality book filled with detailed interviews and features about games, art, and the development of the games industry; far beyond the scope of what is typically possible when running a day-to-day website.
A key part of the book will be in-depth, multi-page interviews with a diverse range of game developers from around the world. And we've had a great response from everyone that we've approached to participate in the project among the developer community, as it will give them a unique opportunity to talk about a different and more personal side of game development.
- Inon Zur (Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Dragon Age, Prince of Persia)
- Jesper Kyd (Assassin's Creed, Borderlands, Hitman, State of Decay)
- Olivier Deriviere (Remember Me, Of Orcs and Men, Assassin's Creed IV Freedom Cry)
- Mark Morgan (Wasteland 2, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1&2)
- Peter McConnell (Broken Age, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time)
- The retainer to recruit a freelance designer for a couple of months (~$10,000)
- The production, editing, and printing of the book itself (~$15,000),
- The cost of sending it to all the backers (at over 1 kilogram in weight, shipping for this book is, amusingly enough, the most expensive part of the project, and will cost us ~$22,000).
- Kickstarter fees account for around 8% of the total amount of pledges
- A small kitty for incidental expenses - the usual unexpected costs that come up with a project of this scale.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
If we hit our funding target then the book will be printed; we have been meticulous to ensure that we've costed the project properly. Of course there is always the potential that production deadlines will be pushed out in this industry, and the July delivery will become August or September, but the book will happen.
Our only concern would be that a game developer that has said that he/ she is happy to participate in the project is no longer available due to looming production deadlines or the like, but we have mitigated this concern by allowing for a three month window with which to complete interviews.
Great question! There is no guarantee that we will be able to do a second print run of the physical book; it's something of a soft stretch goal, but we'd need to exceed the Kickstarter by $20,000 or more in order to justify a second print run.
If that happens, the book would cost $65, to reflect the additional cost of warehousing and distribution that we won't have from the first run.
The digital version of the book will remain at $30; a premium price for a premium digital book :-)
Absolutely. In fact, our goal is to get as many copies of the book into as many hands around the world as possible. As such we're subsidising the international shipping costs to just $10 AUS over the pledge amount (so the book will be $60 + $10 for $70 Aus).
This book is heavy at over 1 K.G in weight, but of course we want to do the right thing by our supporters. :-)
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Thank you very much for your contribution! Every dollar brings us one step closer to realising our dream.Estimated delivery:
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Thank you for helping make our dream a reality! We will list you as a contributor in a special section on our website, and send an e-card as a way of formally saying thanks.Estimated delivery:
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THE DIGITAL BOOK! With this you'll get a digital copy of the book once it's completed. This book will be made available on Smashwords, and that means you'll be access it on any of the popular devices you might own (Kindle, iPad, Kobo etc). Additionally, you will be listed in the "Thanks" section of the book, and on our website.Estimated delivery:
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THE PHYSICAL BOOK! This will get you a physical copy of the book (price includes shipping, please add $10 for postage outside of Australia). Additionally, you will be listed in the "Thanks" section of the book, and on our website.Estimated delivery:Add $10 AUD to ship outside Australia
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THE BOOK + DOWNLOAD! You'll get both a physical copy of the book and a digital copy. That's a saving of $15 on buying each individually! You'll also be listed as a sponsor in the book. Please add $10 for postage outside of Australia.Estimated delivery:Add $10 AUD to ship outside Australia
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23 backers Limited (152 left of 175)
THE LIMITED EDITION! The first 200 books we print will be numbered, and come with a personalised note of thanks in the book itself. We're reserving 175 copies for this reward tier. (Price includes shipping, please add $10 for postage outside of Australia). You will also be given a complimentary digital copy, and you will be listed as a "premier" backer on both our website and in the book. Thank you for being one of our strongest supporters!Estimated delivery:Add $10 AUD to ship outside Australia
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BUY TWO BOOKS! Want to buy a copy of the book for a friend as well? You'll also get a complimentary digital copy of the book, and be listed as a backer on both our website and in the book.Estimated delivery:Add $15 AUD to ship outside Australia
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SILVER SPONSOR! Thank you for digging deep to help us realise our dream! You'll get a limited edition copy of both the book and the download, a personal letter of thanks, and you will be listed as a special "Silver Sponsor" on both our website and in the book. In addition, we will hold an hour-long Skype call with you so you can talk to us about the book, and suggest questions that you would love to have answered by the developers that we're interviewing. We'll also cover the shipping costs for this reward tier outside of Australia.Estimated delivery:
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3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)
GOLD SPONSOR! You really are a hero to us! In addition to all of the rewards listed in the "Silver Sponsor" category, you will be invited to come along to the book launch that we will hold in Sydney (you will need to cover any travel expenses yourself). At the event there will be plenty of drinks and good food, and you'll get your copy of the book before anyone else. The book will be signed by us too, of course! You'll also get a special mention as a "Gold Sponsor" in the book.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)