As many of you may know, back in March 2015, Tanguy announced a private space creation contest on the Atom Universe forums here.
In mid-April 2015, the winners of the contest were announced in update #29 of the Kickstarter project as well as on Atom Republic’s blog. One of the winners was the duo of Sergio Isaev and Noel Toro, who built a beautiful cave house for the contest. Here are some pics of that space (taken from the aforementioned Kickstarter update and Atom Republic blog) which includes an infinity pool and a minimalistic interior and offers spectacular views:
Sergio and Noel have formed a development studio called SubD Studio and having won the aforementioned contest, are now official content providers for Atom Universe. Near the end of September 2015, SubD Studio uploaded the following virtual tour of the Cave House space to their new YouTube channel and as you can see, it looks AMAZING!
In November 2015, I had the pleasure of conducting an exclusive interview with SubD Studio. Sergio and Noel were both very nice and provided their background and experience as well as some insight into their work on Atom Universe. Here is what we discussed during the interview (note that the first couple of questions were answered individually by Sergio and Noel while the rest were answered as a team):
Trisha: Hiya Sergio and Noel! As I know you are both very busy designing for Atom Universe, I very much appreciate you taking time to chat with me today. Could you each tell us a little about yourself as far as your development/design background and experience and how you got into doing that?
Sergio: My background is based on architectural visualization and 3D design, but I have loved creating and designing all my life! My experience with game development is very recent. In fact, Atom Universe is my first real experience in this industry and I’m really enjoying it!
Noel: I have always loved architecture and design, but unlike Sergio, I started with line drawings using pencil and paper until I discovered the new technologies that helped me to better develop my ideas. My collaboration with Atom Universe is the first time that I’ve been involved with games and have now discovered a new passion.
Trisha: So were either or both of you users of PlayStation Home? If so, what did you enjoy most about PS Home and what similarities and differences are you looking for in Atom Universe?
Sergio: Yes, we were PS home users and indeed that is was where Noel and I met! I personally very much enjoyed the ability to let my creativity loose on decorating my personal spaces and of course meeting new people with whom to chat and play. At the moment I see many similarities between both games, but I need to see Atom Universe fully completed to give a more detailed answer.
Noel: I fully agree with Sergio. Anecdotally, I will tell you how we met. After the famous PSN outage we were in PS Home’s PS Plus public space, trying to get the red sofa and the stool. To get it, we had to win a number of consecutive rounds with 4 players. I went with a friend, trying day after day, until finally we got it. Before leaving the room we saw two guys annoyed because they could not get it. So I offered to help. At first they declined, but finally agreed. One of them was Sergio. Over time we became great friends, and four years later we are working together on something which for us will be the new PS Home!
Trisha: So how did you guys start working together to form SubD Studio?
SubD Studio: We’ve known each other for quite a long time, but lived our lives separately until we were presented with the possibility to take part in Atom Universe. Then without hesitation we decided to form a team and that is how SubD Studio was born!
Trisha: Did you have any history with Atom Republic prior to entering the contest becoming content providers for Atom Universe?
SubD Studio: We knew Atom Republic thanks to PS Home, and that was what motivated us to join Atom Universe.
Trisha: How do you like working with Unreal Engine and what have been your biggest technical challenges with using it?
SubD Studio: We love working with UE4 which offers so many possibilities. The biggest technical challenge was getting adapted to the UE4’s workflow. It is very different from the software that we’ve used previously.
Trisha: In your opinion, what do you think are the advantages of using Unreal Engine over other gaming engines?
SubD Studio: Basically we are using it now because it is the engine used for Atom Universe, but its graphical quality is what makes it stand out from other engines.
Trisha: Are there any other tools that you use in your work for Atom Universe, e.g. any custom tools provided by Atom Republic or other development tools of your own choosing?
SubD Studio: We do use other software besides UE4 such as: Cinema 4D, SketchUp, Photoshop, the entire suite of Substance Designer, etc. but we are always looking for new tools to improve our content. For now, we have not used any tools provided by Atom Republic.
Trisha: Have you had any collaboration with other developers from the Atom Universe team and if so, can you describe your experiences?
SubD Studio: For now, we have not had that pleasure, but expect to enjoy that experience in the future!
Trisha: As you already know, I loved the video of your “Cave House” personal space and it seems to have been very well received by the community. What was your inspiration for the creating this space?
SubD Studio: First, we want to thank the AU Community for their kind words and their reception of our content! The inspiration for the “Cave House” comes since we knew its location. We decided to design a house with sharp shapes because of its similarity to the surface of a rock in that the house was sculpted from a mountain’s stone as was its collection of furniture.
Trisha: Can you share what other kinds of personal spaces you are currently designing or plan to create for Atom Universe?
SubD Studio: Yes, we are working on several projects right now, but it’s a surprise! However, we do want to share that we plan to remaster the “Mirage House”.
Trisha: Do you plan on designing other content for Atom Universe besides personal spaces, e.g. club houses, public spaces, virtual items for avatars, etc.?
SubD Studio: Yes, definitely! We have big plans and ideas for the future. We want to focus our work on creating high quality content and applying our knowledge of architecture and general design. As PS Home users we know what the community is looking for, but also like to read the opinions about our content to improve and meet all needs.
Trisha: I know that you guys are busy with designing for Atom Universe, but hope you will have time to play the game too. From a user perspective, what kinds of features, items, spaces, etc. would you like to see in Atom Universe to enjoy?
SubD Studio: Of course! For sure we will be users of Atom Universe! As users, we would like to see mini-games with collectible prizes, regular video games, and the possibility to customize our avatars.
Trisha: Thank you very much for your time today and we look forward to seeing your content on Atom Universe and hopefully in the game itself!
SubD Studio: Thank you too for this interesting interview! We enjoyed it so much!
The interview above was conducted and written exclusively for J.F.C & The Virtual Community