Ask An Indie: Interview with Julian Glander, creator of Lovely Weather We're Having
Julian Glander is not your typical game developer; in fact, he's not your typical anything. Over the years he's been a professional GIF artist, animator, illustrator, comic artist, app developer, music video creator, and filmmaker. Only now is he truly expanding into the indie scene with his second game Lovely Weather We're Having (LWWH) that currently is on Steam Greenlight.
A 3D explorer about weird, cool, beautiful things that sometimes happen in the outdoor world.
LWWH is an atmospheric game where you play as a young girl that is locked out of her house. It's unique in that the game incorporates local weather data, so the environment you experience is simulated based on your location.
I want everyone to feel 20% more relaxed and happy. That is so corny, sorry. I mean it though. LWWH is a space to decompress.
About Julian Glander and LWWH's creation
Glander had his start in the media business by creating T-shirt designs and moved on to create GIFs for major companies (source). Since, Glander has bounced around so many different media, it's sometimes hard to keep up. When asked about how he's able to master so many different forms, his answer is pretty straight forward:
Kind of a stock answer, but the Internet makes it really easy to get the tools and learn stuff and jump around. And maybe I'm just a really flighty person and I always wanna do the new Cool Thing when I see other people doing the Cool Thing.
However, when asked about the hardest part about creating the game, it still came down to the technicalities anyway.
There's a lot of REALLY boring technical challenges that made me want to chuck the game. But we worked past all of that.
GS: Tell us about the easiest and strangest part of making LWWH.
EASY: The dialogue. After I drink a pot of coffee it shoots out faster than I can type it. I haven't shown most of it to anyone, though, maybe it's terrible.
STRANGE: I started having dreams that the game was real. Basically it was VR but with a fried brain instead of a headset.
Julian is working with a programmer, but brings his unique flair to the art, music, and humorous dialogue.
GS: What brought you into the indie game scene?
Haha, this is actually very selfish, but...LWWH is my ultimate dream game; it's basically just the game that I always wanted to play but could never find. So it's really personal and it's a culmination of everything I'm into...I kind of fell into the indie game scene after I put out my first game, Cloudytown, which was an art object for the iPhone with some game elements. Through that I made so many new friends on Twitter and got hooked.
GS: Do you have a favorite medium?
I won't commit to a favorite medium, you can't make me, but I am crushing hard on games at the moment. I love that we are starting to think about them as cultural objects on the same level as music, film, etc. In 2015 there are so many kooky, personal, exciting games coming out and we are still barely scratching the surface of what we can say with this medium. I'm psyched to be here.
Lovely Weather We're Having is the game Glander wanted as a child, and it's designed to bring you happiness
There are still mysteries surrounding the game, even though most commenters talk about the strange and fascinating art style.
GS: So, can the main character ever get back inside?
Don't hold your breath about getting back inside; maybe in the sequel, or as really expensive DLC. I will say that she is full of surprises and you will learn about her as you play.
A sequel, eh?
GS: What inspired LWWH?
To shoot off a few inspirations: Animal Crossing, Ghost World, Mountain, Sofia Coppola, Chris Ware, Monument Valley, Where the Wild Things Are, The Life Aquatic, The Smiths, The Field Mice, Mouse Corp, Gumby, The Raincoats, Adventure Time, etc.
GS: Did you write the dialogue?
Yep! I think I'm going to be adding little bits of dialogue until, like, five minutes before the release date. There's a lot already but I keep getting new ideas.
GS: Tell us about the music of LWWH.
I tried some different ideas for scores and even had a professional composer try some stuff out. But the game is better with just nature sounds and atmospheric noises. When you play it you should listen to whatever music you want. I don't want to be prescriptive because music has an overwhelming power to determine the mood.
Julian Glander is a multimedia connoisseur, and in addition to working on LWWH, he runs a weekly comic strip titled Please Look At Me on Vice. The humor and art style appear similar to the game, but Glander has confirmed that they are separate entities and the comic has actually helped him in the game's creative process.
The comic is a wholly separate jam but they inform each other. Doing a Please Look At Me strip weekly is an intense bootcamp for story and character design. It's made me less precious—I think I've drained out all of the ideas that I was saving in my head. It's all fresh now.
In a previous interview, Glander talked about how LWWH's neighborhood is based on where he lived as a kid in Georgia. He believes weather affects you personally, so this idea is reflected in the game. Players can explore and experience the NPCs differently like in real life, and moods change based on the time of day.
I spent a lot of time outside catching turtles, building rock sculptures, falling out of trees. At the time I thought it was so boring, and I just wanted to be on the computer playing Neopets 24/7. But it was really formative.
-Julian Glander, Kill Screen Daily
GS: Last question—You used to play a lot of Neopets. What was your favorite thing to do and/or who was your favorite Neopet?
This is so sad but I don't remember any of my pets. I remember being in competition with my friend to earn Neopoints. It's funny, all my favorite games have this problem: they seem relaxing and cute but at the core they are super competitive/goal-oriented/capitalism simulators. The earn>spend>earn pattern is really addicting, but I don't really need a game for that any more because that's my life IRL. I think a lot of people feel that way, and the super-aggro nature of even the cutest games pushes them away. So, it's not a political statement or anything but that's something I'm working against in LWWH.