Orwell


Papers, Please meets the NSA surveillance state in Orwell.

Credits

Animation/Edit/Audio - Marlon Wiebe
Concept/Marketing - Drew Taylor (Surprise Attack Games)
Game/Art - Osmotic Studios

Making Of

When Drew Taylor from Surprise Attack Games sent me a copy of Orwell, I was immediately intrigued. Think of it as Papers, Please gameplay where you are playing an NSA-esque surveillance state by harvesting information from publicly posted websites online. It’s unsettlingly accurate and nails the mood perfectly. The concept for the trailer was ambitious and breaks my usual rule that trailers shouldn’t be longer than a minute, but rules are made to be broken! Especially for trippy endings like this one. :)

Inspiration

Drew showed me a short film titled “Noah” which takes place entirely on a teenager’s computer screen and we used that as a basis as to how to handle how the screen zooms and focuses on parts of the screen where the user is focusing their attention. Watch the full film below, it is NSFW btw.

So good!

After that, it was a matter of taking many screenshots of apps on my computer and recreating a desktop in After Effects and animating the whole sequence. Here’s a quick composite of the screenshots and the final versions of the sites.

Orwell Composite Gif Composite of Custom elements on top of desktop screenshots.

Some things I used

Big ups to the Polytrace plugin as that fit the game’s style perfectly and allowed me to make polygonal videos as well as stills for the desktop background.

The desktop background by the way, was taken from Unsplash, an amazing curated free photo site where my friend Aaron works as back-end dev. Check it out!

Sound Effects

Lastly, I had to come up with a couple fake computer sounds, so I booted up Reason 8 and jammed out a few quick ones. I’ll be uploading them to my Freesound.org account here (which has some hilarious old gems) and you can download them and use them in your own projects. I use Freesound.org A LOT and I love to give back to that community. :)

Thanks for reading! :D