Meet Helana Santos, one of the programmers behind “The Cat That Got the Milk.”
Helana has been around the world including Brazil, England, and Portugal, and was hooked on gaming at an early age. She fell in love when she got her first console and played games like Paper Boy and Sonic the Hedgehog. Her passion for gaming grew and after graduating college with a Computer Systems and Multimedia Systems degree, Santos has been a game programmer for over 5 years.
Her team’s latest creation is The Cat That Got the Milk, a simple yet challenging abstract game where you’re on a race against the environment to get your milk!
I recently had the chance to speak with Santos about her game and what we could expect to see in the future.
The Cat that Got the Milk is an action reflex game developed by a team of four massive lovers of games, art, music and technology. I was responsible for the programming part of the game, the implementation of the audio and sound effects, and level design. Ollie Clarke was responsible for all the art and animation in the game as well as level design. Chris Randle composed the music and Jon Mann created the sound effects.
We took a simple idea and transformed it into something refreshing by giving it a unique mixture of creativity. The Cat that Got the Milk is a great fusion of art and music that aims to give players a fun 10-15 minutes gaming experience. The game itself is a night out on the town from a cats abstract perspective, with 18 challenging levels.
We wanted to challenge the games industry with something new, something never seen before. One of the things we like about abstract art is that because it is about what you feel rather than what you see, each person interprets it in a different way by working out how they feel about it. Therefore it becomes personal to them, it is far more effective than literal visualizations of cats, the night, mice, gardens etc.
We’re all about exploring what is possible with games. We’ve loved reading the interpretations that people have made about the game. It’s like a two way conversation where we get to engage with the players.
One of the technical challenges in making this world work for a player was to make it work as a game. I had to make sure that the player was in a solid world of rules, yet one they could interact with intuitively. It was a real challenge however, I made sure the controls were responsive by testing the inputs with various user tests and that the frame rate maintained a solid 60fps across as many platforms as possible.
The Cat that Got the Milk is our first independent game project.
However it certainly won’t be our last, after our first game we’ve got a taste for it now. We’re determined to make some exciting and memorable games that players enjoy playing and feel a little richer having played them.
Steve Reich was the main inspiration for the music in the game (particularly his piece “Music for 18 Musicians”) while music by Philip Glass inspired the feeling of being out on the town at night; and of course the paintings by Wassily Kandinsky were called “compositions” by the artist himself. We found it easy to look at the paintings and associate music with them. Chris worked hard to create atmospheric music that absorbed the player in a new world.
I worked closely with Chris and Jon to implement the sound consistently across the whole game. It is quite tricky to implement sound in a way that creates an atmosphere and yet doesn’t aggressively stand out to the player. We think we achieved it and I personally started to explore a whole new world which is exciting to me.
We received really good feedback from the players so far. We might see the cat out and about at night in different locations.
However, the team has started designing our next project called “The Button” and people can follow its development in the official blog
We respect our players and really do listen and value their feedback. We hope to achieve a more challenging development for us and equally and more importantly a more memorable, unique and fun gaming experience to the players.
I personally downloaded the game and loved it; I guess you could say it’s a puuurfect time killer! Ha! My only complaint is that the game is so short; can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us in the future!
Check out these fun screenshots then satisfy your curiosity (won’t kill you, I swear!) head over to the official website to play (available for PC and MAC) and if you happen to fall in love with the soundtrack (like I did), you can download it for FREE!
Abstract, PC, The Cat That Got The Milk