Things That Inspire: Lumino City

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This week, I discovered a new game by London-based, State of Play Games called Lumino City. The story revolves around a young girl named Lume as she travels through Lumino City searching for her grandfather and solving puzzles along the way.

Lumino City takes all of my favorite aspects of maker culture, indie-craft, and game development and puts them together into something at the same time very modern and timeless.

I’m a sucker for both miniature worlds and puzzle games, so this game was right up my alley. The game, story, and puzzles were first designed on paper and in Flash to make sure that all the parts fit together. The world of Lumino City recalls a childhood steeped in storybook illustrations, cartoons, and inquiry. Then, each part was hand cut and assembled out of card, wood, paper, and electronics. Using a variety of tools and techniques, State of Play stretches the boundaries of what can be done in a game while paying close attention to detail. The puzzles are well crafted and challenging without being too difficult. Luckily, Lume’s grandfather left her a book of ideas that helps nudge players in the right direction if they get stuck.

When I was a kid, the most common way to see how effects were made in the movies was small, grainy pictures in Starlog Magazine.

The experience doesn’t end with the final puzzle though. There’s also a short prequel game called Lume, which is essentially State of Play’s initial experiment that led to the final game. In addition to that, there’s a free “making of Lumino City” app that takes us on an interactive tour through…the making of Lumino City. There’s a lot of work that goes into a project like this (over a year of it, in fact) but it’s presented in a way that’s not scary or intimidating. There’s a tone of confident experimentation and collaboration that underlines that marriage of indie-craft, maker culture, and game development. There’s a whole world out there that we can help build, and games like this are showing us the possibilities.

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