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Interview with Jakub Dvorsky – Creator of Samorost and Machinarium

Today the Next Level Blog has international guests again. Mathias Jansson interviews Jakub Dvorsky of Amanita Design fame. A teaser for their upcoming project Botanicula has just recently been published and is embedded in this posting.

Interview with Jakub Dvorsky

Jakub Dvorsky is the creator of the point-and-click adventure game Samorost published in 2003. Today he is working as a Game Designer and Graphic Artist for Amanita Design, a small independent video game development studio based in the Czech Republic.

Mathias: You created Samarost 2003 when you still were a student at the Academy of Arts in Prague. How was the attitude towards games and art games during your study time?

Jakub: I studied at the studio of animated film where we learned how to make classical animated films with puppets, cut-out animation or hand-drawn animation. At that time only a few people in our studio were using computers for animating and I was the first one who tried to create an interactive film or game. We used to have a lot of freedom in our school so it wasn't a big issue to create a game instead of film as my thesis project but it sparked some discussion. Generally older teachers thought the interactivity is breaking narrative while younger people thought the game is interesting and games as an artistic medium should be taken more seriously.

Mathias: Where do you find inspirations to your games and art?

Jakub: A lot of inspiration comes directly from nature and also from human creations which are in some form of decay - old rusty machines, abandoned factories and industrial buildings overgrown with grass etc. Besides that we are of course influenced by many older games, films, books, music records, paintings etc. Basically you can find some inspiration almost everywhere, important is to have your eyes and mind open and that's not always easy.

Mathias: What have the success for Amanita Design meant for the indie game scene in Czech?

Jakub: I'm not sure as I don't know much about Czech indie scene. However I know a few developers from Slovakia, Russia or Germany who are directly influenced by our games.

Mathias: Amanita Design's latest game Machinarium will be available on the iPad. How did the last year's explosion of smartphones and handheld devices affect you as game developer.

Jakub: We don't care very much about new technologies so we are staying calm:) Unfortunately smartphones have small screens even though the resolution is high, therefore we are not interested in developing for it at the moment but we are definitely interested in tablets which are perfect for our kind of games. It's similar to reading a book - you can do it on the train, on the couch, in your bed and that's great of course. Besides tablets we are also interested in bringing our new games to, at least one, of the bigger consoles so people can enjoy it on their big TV or even better on hi-res projection.

Mathias Jansson

Mathias Jansson will regularly contribute to the Next Level Blog by interviewing the finest independent game developers and artists. Be sure to have a look at Mathias’ past series of interviews he published at gamescenes edited by Matteo Bittanti: »Game Art Worlds: The Early Years« and »Game Art Worlds: Contemporary Practitioners«

Jakub's games:


Samorost 2


Interview series with the finest Indie Game Designers by Mathias Jansson on the Next Level Blog:

Part 1: Interview with Pippin Barr – »The Artist Is Present«