Interview With “On The Wind” Creator David Buttress

You did some really interesting things with the game’s presentation: there’s a kind of dichotomy between organic and pixelated visuals, and then the musical tones during leaf collection. Can you trace your non-traditional aesthetic approach to any particular influences?

A big influence for me was one of the prototype teams I was on at Rare. We were working on the idea that we’re building a virtual world that will never exist in real life, so why are we making it look like real life? So we played with all sorts of different shapes and patterns, different colours, and the ideas just stuck in my head.

Apart from that, well, I just like using pixels! I think they’re interesting and of course the retro style is trendy at the moment, but I didn’t want to make a retro game so I tried blending it with other styles. The leaves are polygonal and the foliage uses halftone patterns. They’re the base elements of the different forms of digital art: pixels make up 2D, polygons and triangles for 3D models, and halftone for printed art.

It’s a pretty self-contained world and gameplay concept, and yet you’re in an industry where post-release content updates are becoming more and more expected. How could you possibly expand On The Wind going forward?

I’m not a fan of games that alter their gameplay after launch, so I wanted to launch with a complete, polished game and On The Wind is sort of the pure, distilled version of all the different ideas I had for the game. I am going to update the game, but instead of altering the current game I intend to add new modes that push the core idea in different directions. For example, I might enhance the relaxation aspect by removing the possibility of failure and the score system. For a more fun, game-y mode I could add power ups or more random things, like weather.

Finally, where do you plan to go from here? Is an Android release for On The Wind likely, and have any new game ideas gelled yet? Or maybe you’ll just go where the wind takes you?

I’m not planning on an Android release at the moment. To be honest, it’s a lot more exciting making new games than trying to port existing ones over to Android, but if it sells well and it’s something people are asking for, then it’s possible. In addition to the new game modes I’ve mentioned, I’ve got another game that I hope to release quite soon — it’s totally different from On The Wind but still has its own style. I’m just starting to prototype another idea, I think I’ve got the controls and structure down, but it’ll be a while before I can show it off much. And I’ve got another couple ideas I’m still mulling over in my head. I like to have lots of things going at the same time, because if I get stuck on one, I can jump onto something totally different for a while and refresh my creativity.

Big thanks to David for taking out the time to answer our questions! Check out his studio site, Don’t Step on the Cracks, and associated Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest news. On The Wind is available on the App Store as a universal game for $1.99.