• 1hero

    David OReilly: Mountain

Behind The Scenes

David OReilly on his new game where you make a personal mountain

Posted by Madeleine Morley,

Since last week, I’ve acquired an intriguing new edition to my desktop, which lives alongside my work during my primarily computer-focused day. Mountain is a new game, or perhaps it is better described as an ambient companion, for iOS, Mac and PC, and it’s been rotating and humming and engaging with me at all hours of the day. Its creator is the prolific animator David OReilly, the mind behind the alien interactive game in HER, and the writer, director, producer and animator of the mind-blowing Adventure Time episode A Glitch is a Glitch.

Now that I have Mountain, instead of checking Facebook 3000 times a day in order to break up the monotonous day with more monotony, my obsession has shifted and I’ve been continually checking my personal mountain. It’s a living, breathing, peaceful kind of Buddhist tamagotchi, which slowly but continually delivers sparkling moments of intrigue and mystery and surprise.

If I don’t regularly check up on my mountain, which has been mysteriously generated through my answers to personal, philosophical questions, a serene ping will alert me to one of its fragmented, quizzical and always unique thoughts. I’ve arranged my screen so that it is always in my periphery, and sometimes in its distant yet weirdly personal universe it will be snowing, or sunny, or a misty night, or there will be a random object lodged into the side of its peak. I don’t understand it, and I like that, and it’s nice to know that in some way the mountain is personally connected to me, in a time of so many fragmented, random connections. I decided to find out more about Mountain by talking to David, and it turns out that his answers to my questions are just as enigmatic as his new work, and it is almost as if I’ve conducted an interview with the mountain itself.

  • Screen-shot-2014-06-27-at-09.22.12

    David OReilly: Mountain

What inspired you to make Mountain?

Beckett & Buddhism.

Why mountains?

They are beautiful.

What is the relationship between the personal questions asked at the beginning of the game and the mountain that then gets generated?

This is a secret. 

How do the mountains evolve over time?

This is something people will discover. It will be different for everyone who plays it.

You’ve designed the game so that every generated peak will be different and unique. How did you design it so that no two mountains would ever be alike?

There are multiple layers of influence on each mountain, on shape, colour, flora and many other things – the chances of overlap extend to the billions.

Can you explain a little bit more about the process of designing the game?

It was a back and forth between me and Damien Di Fede – who wrote the code and did all the sound and music work. I sent him a proposal of the idea, with some paintings and 3D sketch of how it might work. Damien wrote some amazing things from scratch, like the terrain generator and a new method of generating ambient occlusion. While he was coding I was creating assets and working on the design of things. 

How has this been different from things you’ve done in the past?

Mountain is a very sincere project. It was made with love. I consider it the best thing I’ve done. 

Do you think that you’ll make more interactive work like this in the future?

If I get the opportunity to make something as un-pitchable as Mountain, then absolutely.

  • Screen-shot-2014-06-27-at-11.44.21

    David OReilly: Mountain

  • Screen-shot-2014-06-27-at-14.48.42

    David OReilly: Mountain

  • Screen-shot-2014-06-27-at-11.36.12

    David OReilly: Mountain

Oo-xtcya

Posted by Madeleine Morley

Madeleine joined It’s Nice That as a freelance editorial assistant in May 2014 having graduated from Cambridge University where she edited the student newspaper. In the autumn of 2014 she will begin her Masters course at The Courtauld Institute of Art where she will specialise in architecture.

Most Recent: Behind The Scenes View Archive

  1. List

    On New Year’s Eve in 1965, photographer Lisetta Carmi met and photographed a group of transvestites living and working on the Via de Campo in Genoa, Italy. It was the beginning of a seven year relationship with the group, considered outsiders by Italian society, and led to the publication of I Travestiti, an incredibly controversial book of all the images Lisetta took over this stretch of time. Now, almost 50 years later, Jacopo Benassi, a photographer already famed for his work documenting prostitution and gay culture, has retraced Lisetta’s original steps, tracking down the two remaining subjects from that body of Lisetta’s work – Rossella and Ursula.

  2. List

    Scott Carthy only graduated from Kingston University’s Graphic Design course last summer, but the 22-year-old Irish creative looks like he has a very big 2015 in front of him if the first week is anything to go by. Uploaded just seven days ago, Scott’s new film Litefeet has racked up thousands of views and been featured on many of the leading creative blogs around. The film – which follows New York subway dancers against the backdrop of a city-wide crackdown on their activities – is the follow-up to 1050.6© Scott’s first look at the same issue which we featured back in May.

  3. List

    There are coffee table books, and then there are huge, fantastic publications so weighty that they’re likely to shunt your table a couple of inches closer to the floor, as in the case of this staggering beauty by TASCHEN. The Rolling Stones is a 518-page testament to the incredible wealth of photographs that have been taken of the iconic band over the course of their 50 year career, and it’s breathtaking.

  4. Main

    It’s great when we speak to editors and founders of the best magazines on the stands today, and they say that the reason they created it in the first place was that “There wasn’t a magazine for me on the racks. There wasn’t one that did what I wanted.” Leith Clark is a stylist to the stars, and has been entrenched in the world of fashion and style for over a decade.

  5. List

    On Tuesday afternoon America’s largest lingerie retailer, Victoria’s Secret, descended on London with a horde of “Angels” to execute one of their famed multi-million pound productions, complete with wings, light shows, male back-up dancers and several hundred black and silver balloons.

  6. List-3

    Harley Weir is an extraordinary talent. Her work is bold and unreserved, whether it be part of a personal project investigating the border between Israel and Palestine, a vibrant fashion editorial for the likes of British Vogue, or a series of ethereal portraits capturing redheads with all of the eerie stillness of Millais’ Ophelia.

  7. List

    Back in August, Thames & Hudson published Collector’s Edition, a stunning book collecting collector’s editions of music and literature releases. Now, to continue the rather meta trajectory of the original, the book’s author and creative director, Stuart Tolley, founder and director at creative agency Transmission, has released a collector’s edition of Collector’s Edition in the form of an “artist cover bomb” series, which has seen ten artists whose work appears in the book decorate a copy, and which will be sold in an online auction to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society. He talks us through the “very loose” brief he set the participants, and how it felt for him to have the likes of Paul McCartney and Nick Cave decorating a book he created.

  8. List

    There are equal doses of pleasure and frustration to be had in stumbling across the work of a photographer you’ve never seen before. It’s classic FOMO on a macro scale, coupled with joy at the prospect of showing off the treasure you’ve found. At least that’s what I felt when I discovered that photographer Mark Neville was to be showing two of his photo-series alongside one another in a new show entitled London/Pittsburgh at London’s Alan Cristea Gallery.

  9. List-flyers-for-the-institute-at-sexology.-photography-by-russell-dornan_-design-by-liam-relph-(3)

    London’s Wellcome Collection space always hosts explorations of the things that fascinate us most. It’s covered death, it’s exhaustively explored the human body in all its glory and grotesquery, and now it’s moved on to surely the most fascinating of all – sex, or more precisely, how people have studied it.

  10. List

    How’s this for a collaboration? Artist Quentin Jones, who counts photography, animation, painting and filmmaking among the tools of her trade, has teamed up with spatial designer Robert Storey to create the setting for her new exhibition in the The Vinyl Factory Space on London’s Brewer Street, with Robert creating a set for each of Quentin’s works.

  11. List

    There’s a real appetite here on the internet for old black and white photos being presented in colour, but in the main they tend to focus on historic or social themes. It’s less common to see sports photography undergoing this treatment, which is why we were so struck by the work of Gooner Frog when we came across it on Facebook.

  12. List-2

    Marrying a playful typographic approach, sensitive illustrations and deliciously tactile gold foil, the cover of The Recorder is a great indication of its contents: a beautifully designed ode to typography and its omnipresence.

  13. Main

    Music publishing is in a strange place. There are certain places we go to get our fix: Dazed, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, NME, ’SUP and FACT to name but a few, but the atmosphere of the industry feels slightly scattered. Do people still want their music news in printed form when the internet will always get there first? We were curious to speak to Hanna Hanra who is the editor of BEAT magazine, on how she started, why the hell she’s doing it, and what the publication aims to do. I asked Hanna who the magazine was aimed at and she answered: “Well, myself, primarily.” Here she is…