Phillip Tossell and Jennifer Schneidereit have something to be proud of. Next year Nyamyam are set to release a game for iOS, PC and Mac which can only be described as exquisite. Tengami is an adventure game in which you explore a Japanese paper pop-up world. Its art style is inspired by traditional Japanese arts and crafts, and it exudes a placidity which perfectly matches the Japanese aesthetic they so admire.
After a brief run down of his and Jennifer’s careers prior to setting up Nyamyam, Phil revealed their motto,
“Create beautifully crafted games that express who we are, and bring a sense of wonder to the people.”
This is the point at which I fell for Nyamyam. Phil unequivocally believes that if you’re going to be indie, you have to consider what it is of yourself that you’re going to put in. Add to this the creative ideal of ‘maturity’ – not of the PEGI 18 kind, but an appeal to the (emotional) intelligence of the player, and an appreciation of subtlety in gameplay – and you’ve got a recipe for something really awe-inspiring.
Jennifer talked about the key ideas and inspirations for the game, namely, the concept of a pop-up book, and the traditional side of Japan which you don’t often see in computer games.
Once settled on their concept, Nyamyam hit a brick wall… how do you make pop-ups in a game? No tool kits existed and they couldn’t find any examples except for hand animated pop-ups, so they had to make a custom tool kit. Phil developed a mathematical model for folds which they called the ‘Paper Kit’. (We learned in the Q&A that it may be available after Tengami is released next year.)
To hear more about the art of Tengami, Nyamyam’s technical dilemmas, and the journey from concept to product, watch this video of Jennifer and Phil on stage at BAF Game. A full podcast of the talk will be added next week.
Tengami is getting worldwide recognition. It was nominated for IndieCade 2012, and selected for the Sense of Wonder Night 2012 in Tokyo. I’m certain that there will be plenty more of this sort of thing coming their way, and I hope more of their games will be coming my way in the not too distant future.