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The five-year journey to make an adventure game out of ink and paper

A screenshot from the video game The Collage Atlas.
Image: John William Evelyn

“I couldn’t walk away from the pen and ink thing,” says John Evelyn, creator of The Collage Atlas, a dreamlike storybook adventure recently released on Steam. The entire game is hand drawn, from tiny flowers and insects to huge buildings and the clouds that float over them. Exploring this world unwraps its dreamlike story, with environments folding out in response to your approach.

“I had been drawing for many years before that […] and I’d always draw with ink straight away, without any kind of prior pencil work or sketching,” he says. “I liked all the incidental details and the accidents that come out along the way.” He compares it to improv music — “actually, sometimes it goes horribly wrong!” — but says that the feeling of getting…

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