Factsheet

Developer:
Studio Waterzooi
Based in Gent/Brussels, Belgium

Release date:
Winter, 2021

Platforms:
Steam
Apple App Store
Google Play
Nintendo Switch

Website:
studiowaterzooi.com

Regular Price:
-

Description

Please, Touch The Artwork bundles a set of unique calm, compelling puzzle-games with light-hearted stories, and art based on existing abstract paintings. It answers the question: What would happen if we DO touch the artwork (which is normally not allowed in museums)? It aims to be aesthetic, relaxing, inspiring and educational. It's a journey to the origins of modern art.

Studio Waterzooi is a one man company run by Thomas Waterzooi. Thomas Waterzooi previously worked on Divinity Original Sin (Larian Studios) and Hitman (IO-Interactive ) as gameplay/AI developer before becoming a solo-indie-developer in 2018.

Process

The idea behind this project is to take existing modern paintings and try to generate them procedurally (by means of a set of predefined rules). Only when satisfied with the esthetic result we add the gameplay. Season 1 contains 3 puzzles each based on a different Mondrian painting.

  • Compositions in Red Blue Yellow
  • Boogie Woogie
  • New York City
Each puzzle has a different mechanic and should be challenging/relaxing in it’s own way. All puzzles will be procedurally generated so that each player has a unique copy of the game. The games are not about skills or high-scores. They are about relaxing, reflecting, playful tinkering, and being sucked into the story and aesthetics (nowadays often referred to as ‘wholesome’).

The project has two outputs: a game (iOS/Android/PC/Mac and Switch) and 2 art-installations.

The Game (mobile/Switch/PC)

The mobile version contains 3 puzzles (Compositions RBY, Boogie Woogie & New York City) They are connected by a story:

Visit the exhibition of T. Waterzooi, an avant-garde digital abstract painter and a contemporary of Piet Mondrian, founder of art-movement De Stijl (The Style, 1917). While Mondrian was advocating pure abstraction, Waterzooi accidentally discovered an interactive world behind Mondrian’s canvases. However, people thought his work was too derivative and Waterzooi was never accepted as a real artist in the art-community. Now, a 100 years later, he finally is.

Art-Installations

There are two art-installations connected to this project as well (see pictures in image gallery)

Please, Touch The Artwork has the same name as the mobile game. It works the best if there's none or few people around. The installation looks like a normal painting but seems to be affected by vandalism. The rope that should prevent you from coming to close is cut and there's a dirty handprint on the canvas. It triggers the fantasy of being able to touch the untouchable. The visitor starts doubting cultural norms (you normally can't touch paintings) and gets the feeling they are doing something naughty.

Landscape Artist Without Landscape is about the fantasy of landscape painting. You get out there with your easel, canvas, paint and brushes and install yourself somewhere on a nice meadow with a thermos full of hot coffee. Next you want to start painting but you realise: there is no landscape! In this installation you're the one creating the landscape. This installation will show a 4th game (that is not in the mobile version but custom made for the installation) based on Mondrian's:
  • The Red Tree

Future

In case you were wondering "Will there be other artists included in the game?", the answer is: "Yes! But in the sequel. Please, Touch The Artwork Too (name not definitive)". The roadmap contains artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Sonia Delauney, Paul Klee and Lygia Clark.

History

In 2018 Thomas was reading a book called ‘What Are You Looking At’ by Will Gompertz. In Dutch (his mother tongue) the title was changed and it freely translates to ‘My little sister can do this as well. Why modern art is art.’ Thomas has a technical background but very artistical parents. He's always had a complex relation with modern art so this title triggered him. It’s an anecdotal and informative book which sketches the chronology of the origins of modern art, from the impressionists to the present. You go on a journey and read about where these artists lived and worked, who their friends were and what drove them to make their art. It was the period after postimpressionisme - the period of cubism, suprematism, the style - that attracted Thomas the most.

The avant-garde abstract artists are considered one of the pioneers of modern art. They reflected the rapidly industrializing society. All artists portrayed their own inner criticism and opinions on that society thus their art became very personal. It is precisely that aspect - the emergence of the path of the artist - that I find so exciting about this period.

During a night of light insomnia Thomas wanted to try writing a Mondrian-painting generator which randomly generated paintings in Mondrian's famouse Composition in Red, Blue, Yellow style. He thought it would be nice if the user could manipulate the paintings as a way of ‘becoming the artist’. A little puzzle mechanic was added and ‘Please, Touch The Artwork’ was born.

Features

  • Aesthetic elegant puzzles
    • Based on real famouse art
    • Each mini-game based on a different painting
    • Procedurally generated levels for replayability and uniqueness
  • Accessible
    • Simple controls (single-touch)
    • Fit for ages 12 - 99
    • No gaming experiences or skills required
    • Color-blind options
    • Left handed options
    • Available on (almost) all mobile platforms
  • Relaxing
    • No-stress puzzle-solving, no time-pressure
    • Subtle challenges
    • Jazzy-soundtrack thatcomplements the art-style.
  • Educational
    • Get to know the story behind Mondriaan and De Stijl
    • Contains artist-quotes
    • Unlock parts of the story as you progress
  • Playmodes
    • Adjustable difficulty after a long work day
    • Infinite zen-mode for replayability

Videos

Trailer YouTube

Gameplay Playthrough (Uncut/SPOILERS!!!) YouTube

Artist intention YouTube


Images

CoverArt_Diamond_PostCard_1748x1240.png
CoverArt_Diamond_Square.png
FrontDesk_CanISeeYourticket.png
CoverArt_Diamond_FullHD.png
Quote_CurversAreSoEmotional.png
BW_Story.png
LibraryHeroWithTitleYellow1920x620.png
NYC_InfiniteProgress.png
NYC_GoalDescription.png
NYC_Gameplay_Steam.gif
NYC RightAndLeft.png
CompRGB_Gameplay_Steam.gif
CompRGB_Gallery_Intellect.png
CompRGB_Gallery_GrayVisitors.png
CompRGB_Gallery_DuhShtile.png
CompRGB_Gallery_DeStijl.png
CompRGB_ColorTransition02.png
CompRGB_ColorTransition.png
BW_GrowingRapidly_03.png
BW_GoalDescription.png
BW_Gameplay_Village+Snake.png
BW_Gameplay_Steam.gif
BW Text 02.png
CoverArt_Banner720x160.png
CoverArt_Banner1400x400.png
CoverArt_PreOrder_ColorPeople_FullHD.png
BW_WoogieWasNotAlone.png
Installation_LandscapeArtistWithoutArtist_StoryBoard.png
Installation_PleaseTouchTheArtwork_StoryBoard.png
BW_LevelCompleted.png
CompRGB_MatchTheColors.png
CompRGB_Level4ColorMoves.png
CompRGB_Quote_Christians.png
CompRGB_PrimaryColors.png
CompRGB_4LineMoves.png
CompRGB_Gallery_4MovePaintings.png
BW_GoalDescriptionOtherPainting.png
BW_ThingsWerStartingToWeighOnWoogie.png
BW_JustWantedToBoogieWoogie.png
CoverArt_Gallery_ColorCharacters_FullHD.png
CoverArt_BlackChars_FullHD.png
Filmposter.png
FrontDesk_HowDoYouFeel.png
TitleOnly.png
CoverArt_PreOrder_FullHD.png

logo
logo

Awards & Recognition

  • "Nominee INNOVATION IN GAMES Ludicious" Zurich,
  • "Winner VERY BIG INDIE PITCH 2019 (Pocket Gamer, Helsinki)"
  • "Second runner up INDIE SHOWDOWN (The Label, Mobile Publisher)" 2000k price for best mobile game
  • "Digital exhibit at IndieX 2020" Lissabon, October, 2020
  • "VAF Prototype funding" 25k funding from Flemish Government
  • "Selected to exhibit at Indiecade Paris 2018" Paris, October, 2018
  • "Selected to exhibit at INDIGO 2018" Utrecht, The Netherlands, June, 2018

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About Studio Waterzooi

Boilerplate
Studio Waterzooi is an immersive experience game studio based in Brussels, Belgium. We develop low threshold esthetic or narrative driven games inspired by culture, philosophy, society and art, with a focus on ‘the human condition’.

More information
More information on Studio Waterzooi, our logo & relevant media are available here.


Please, Touch The Artwork Credits

Thomas Meynen
Design & Development, Studio Waterzooi

Lars Burgwal
Audio Engineer, Composer, Freelance


presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks