I think we can all identify with this one – sitting in class, doodling all over the page and letting your mind wander off into new worlds, particular video-game related. One day, art student Leo Dasso did just that – but looking at what he drew, Leo realized that they would make a great game! And so, College-Ruled Universe was born.
The game is entirely hand-drawn by Leo on college-ruled notebook paper in ballpoint pen and will feature a cool, ambient soundtrack by Doc Prop.
Meanwhile, I caught up with Leo Dasso about the project and his grand entrance into game development:
GirlGamer: What was the title that hooked you on video games?
Leo Dasso: I’ve been a life long gamer, so the title the first hooked me was Super Mario World on the SNES. I would crave for that game so bad as a kid…if you thought nicotine withdrawal was bad, man. Since then, I’ve been avidly into gaming, although in my college years I can’t quite financially keep up with it.
GG: You’re earning your BFA in Illustration and are obviously incredibly talented. What were your favorite things to draw growing up and what or who continues to inspire you today?
LD: A lot of different things inspired me growing up. In my generation, anime was wildly popular, so that was a big inspiration. Art from games, movies, CGI, that stuff all got into my head and stayed there. I remember seeing artwork in the 'making of’ section on 'The Matrix’ VHS, and it was like a whole world that I wanted to be part of. As someone in art school now, I’m inspired by a lot of what my friends
do, and (I know this sounds cheesy) nature. Especially plants.
GG: This project was inspired by all your doodles, but prior to that were you planning on using your art for games?
LD: Yes. I’ve been building games for a while, but I discovered that as a single person I was never able to finish them. The work for my other games is much more elaborate. The reason CRU is built out of doodles is because they’re quick, easy, and fun. I can get a bunch done and it keeps production time really low. If you’re interested in seeing some work I’ve done for my other game project, here’s the blog: http://dreamdev.tumblr.com/.
GG: College-Ruled Universe is completely hand-drawn by you on college-ruled paper with a ballpoint pen. Is this your favorite medium and if not, what is?
LD: It is one of my favorites. I don’t have a particular favorite. My top 3 are ballpoint pen, graphite pencil, and Photoshop.
GG: Why should people invest in College-Ruled Universe?
LD: To put it bluntly, people investing in this is the only way it’s going to happen. I’m deeply grateful for the people who’ve already brought the project past $4000, and anticipating the next couple grand. For anyone who’s even slightly into gaming, it will be an experience to play. I can guarantee that. I keep a close eye on trends in gaming, so I can decide which to follow and which to break. Anyone who’s looking for a more artistic, cinematic take on the shoot-em-up genre should look into it!
But more than that, by investing in CRU (or any project like this), people are fueling the grass-roots indie game economy. If this game gets to market, it will generate enough revenue to start on another game project; it’s a cycle.
GG: Where can we find more of your artwork?
LD: Glad you asked! I’ve got work up at:
College-Ruled Universe, Kickstarter, Leo Dasso, doodles, funding, fundraiser, hand-drawn, mobile game, space