School of Illustration Student Creates Hand Drawn Video Game
School of Illustration student Leo Dasso is creating his own video game titled College Ruled Universe funded by Kickstarter while attending Academy of Art University. The game is on schedule to release an alpha build by July and a beta by September of this year.
College Ruled Universe is a completely hand drawn video game involving a war between the logical, classically drawn ideas and the whimsical or creative ones. “The whimsys are losing big-time. It's sort of a play on what's going on in every art student's mind as they get training, and the battle between what they want to do and what's correct and marketable,” Leo explains.
Leo is currently working with Nicholas Minniti, a sound specialist, and Jacob Lorentzen, a technician, to help complete the game. “They're great, and have shown a great and intuitive enthusiasm for the project,” said Leo. “Honestly, I was just going to do the whole thing myself but I started talking with friends, co-workers, and they were like, 'no man, do a Kickstarter and get a programmer,' so that's what got me looking into it… because I really want to see this world come to life,” he said.
Leo is currently working on other projects but says, “Don’t remind me. Yes, assignments for class, but they're temporarily on the back burner.” However, what is not on the back burner is that he is starting his own business called Arachnid with the goal of developing games similar to College Ruled Universe. Leo’s inspiration to pursue a career in art was the design complexity he saw in video games. “As I was growing up, the level of sophistication in games grew tenfold. Goldeneye, Final Fantasy and Halo… it was like jumping into a new world. That's what inspired me to pursue a career in art,” he said.
“If I have to just name one Academy of Art University instructor who was very influential, it would be Joko Budiono. Any art school is a competitive environment and students often hide their most personal work out of fear that it will be ridiculed. However, in Budiono’s class, everyone's work is respected and treated like the potential masterpiece that it is,” said Leo. “He's got a knack for pushing students beyond their limits but doing it in a very respectful and encouraging way. Advanced perspective was essential for my development as an artist.”
Leo’s advice for current students is to “keep up with what you really want to do and what’s marketable; it's the reason you came to the Academy after all. Your art skills won’t shine through if you're a barista.”