Truffle Pig by Los Angeles based studio Gentleman Scholar, is the story of a man and his pig on their daily morning expedition into a dark forest in search of truffles.
Their journey is interrupted when the two suddenly find something far more intriguing than a mushroom. The experience becomes immersive upon their unexpected discovery, transporting the viewer into the body of our hero.
It is now up to the player to find their way home through a series of visually striking – and sometimes perplexing – settings and milestones.
With a downloadable version for both Oculus Rift and PC, Gentleman Scholar welcomes players and viewers alike to experience the adventure for themselves.
“Truffle Pig” began as a small internal endeavor at Gentleman Scholar’s studio, but turned into something much bigger when Creative Directors and Partners, William Campbell and Will Johnson, began playing with the idea of extending the animated experience into VR.
“We always love the challenge of attempting something we’ve never done before. For us, creating an Oculus experience seemed like a perfect combination of animation and storytelling through new technologies,” said Campbell. “We just jumped in.”
The project was a very collaborative experiment, with Associate Creative Director JP Rooney, CG Supervisor/Unreal Developer Tim Hayward, and Art Director Trevor Conrad leading the way through the extensive undertaking.
From conception through animation, to building multiple worlds in Unreal Engine, the Gentleman Scholar team had complete freedom to create the whimsical and surreal framework.
"Sometimes creating projects for ourselves is harder than creating work for a client. We tend to be impossibly hard on ourselves, in a good way,” said Rooney. “Truffle Pig allowed everyone in the studio to bring something to the table.”
The final result is a kaleidoscopic, enchantingly supernatural ride.
As an inaugural leap into Oculus Rift and VR experiences, the team at Gentleman Scholar views Truffle Pig as one of the first of many projects to come as they join the ever-growing virtual reality movement.
“We have a long way to go to really tap into the true potential of what VR can offer the commercial and storytelling community. It’s all about feeling something, a connection to the world you’re journeying through,” Johnson said.
The entire project started from one beautiful landscape painting created by the design team, and ultimately evolved into an all-encompassing dive into VR.
The studio used a full mixed-media approach, utilizing everything from 2D character animation, design and development, to a fully environmental and textural CG landscape.
Gentleman Scholar created two versions of the game, each with a different approach.
The first is a simple viewing experience that leads the player along a clearly defined path, allowing them to fully absorb the magical world around them.
The other is an engaging free-play version, which lets the viewer really take control and explore each level.
The team said creating a world that is immersive and engaging is not a foreign concept to them.
However, creating a world that is immersive, engaging and looks perfect from every single angle, all the while making sure that people enjoy themselves along the way, was a bit more difficult.