There are two types of artist. The first sort can spend an age on a work of art, painstakingly, bit by tiny bit, building it up until, finally, often years later, they deem it ready for public consumption. And then there are those rare individuals who are blessed with such an abundance of talent that they can turn around wonderful artworks in the time it takes some of us to read a book.
In the casual gaming world, Mateusz Skutnik is undoubtedly one of the latter. Over the past few years, his output of games has been nothing short of phenomenal. Eight games in his hugely popular Submachine point-and-click series, no less then 12 Ten-Gnomes games (quirky takes on the hidden object genre), two editions of the much-acclaimed Daymare Town series, three Covert Front games, and that's before we even get on to some of his lesser known works, including my personal favourites, the Squirrel games, of which there were more than 25 at last count.
And we are not talking low production value games here. His games are notable for their brilliant artwork, gripping storylines and imaginative reinventions of existing genres. Mateusz is that rare specimen, a gifted artist who also has the wherewithal to write computer programs and market his creations. Until relatively recently, he created the majority of his games single-handedly, doing all the graphics and programming himself. With growing recognition of his work, Mateusz quit his regular job a year ago to focus on his gaming business. He now runs a small game studio - Pastel Games - with Karol Konwerski.
Mateusz was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us:
Your output of new games over the past few years has been nothing short of phenomenal. And you do all the graphics as well as the programming. Do you ever sleep?
Umm, sure. It's not like all those were made simultaneously. For example it took almost two years between Covert Front 2 and 4, and one-and-a-half years between Submachine 5 and 6. Besides, developing doesn't take that long. To create a game from scratch I need about three months, so it leaves more than enough time to think all [the game] stories through, create a game and have a normal life afterwards.
Where do you get your inspiration for your games?
Everything and nothing. In 10 Gnomes it was the surrounding that I was setting the game in. Sometimes it takes just good sounds or ambients to spawn an idea, sometimes something I see in a movie or TV.
Your games are notable for their brilliant unique graphics. How did you become such a great illustrator?
Years of training. Twenty years of drawing comics, five years of learning how to program these things. There's no way around it. Time is the answer.
Do you think games can be considered to be art?
What are you working on at the moment?
Daymare Town 3 point and click game, and trying to get on track with a new Revolutions comic album, but that's on a hold right now.
Which of your games are you most proud of?
Can't judge. There's no favourite, besides they're all different and incomparable really.
Is it possible to make a good living out of developing casual games?
Yes. A year ago I quit my regular job and I'm still alive today. That proves the point.
You have recently moved into iPhone development. How does developing games for the iPhone differ from creating Flash games?
Teamwork, proper programmers, graphic and level designers, project managers. Kind of professional compared to one-man developing process.
Are their any game developers whose work you particularly admire?
What are your plans for the future?