With the launch of Elizabeth Ann Clark aka VIRGO’s new game Water Planet, we thought we should reach out and do an interview with her, about her music, game and her thoughts on the gaming industry.
So to get started, please can you introduce yourself?
Hii, I’m Elizabeth aka VIRGO
Nice to meet you VIRGO, Before we delve in Water Planet, we want to know about you so tell us where does your passion for music stem from and are there any artists you feel have influenced your musical style?
The sound I reach for draws from the ocean, distant galaxies and future worlds. Music can be transportive, and with that I like to imagine what beings from others planets might listen to.
Nice, very interesting way to interpret music, so why did you choose to take your music in the direction you have gone?
While creating the songs, I’ll spend hours finding a baseline or lead synth, and the textures I end up with shape the sound. Most of all, technology has guided the direction.
As with everything, technology has helped us move forward and find new ways to approach what we enjoy in life.
On that note tell us what games and genres do you enjoy playing and have these had some influences in your game?
I always loved medieval fantasy and anything with elves. Elder Scrolls Online, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Witcher, Might and Magic 8-X. Recently, I played through The First Tree and was completely in love with the experience, it left me in tears on my Twitch stream. And in Water Planet I imagine the lost civilization as elvenaliens. The mood and architecture definitely draws from games I’ve played, especially ancient bathhouses and the level where you reclaim your soul in ESO.
If anyone is interested in checking out VIRGO’S Twitch stream you can check it out here
Now let’s move on to your new game, could you describe what is your game “Water Planet” is about and how does it stand apart from games of a similar genre?
Water Planet is the hypothetical home of VIRGO, where you can explore, listen to the music and have a meaningful connection with a lost cybernetic jellyfish. I see the game as a living music video that you can enter and be a part of.
A living music video that you can enter and be a part of, that does sound like an interesting concept, can not say I have heard a developer describe their game in such a way. So how did you develop the narrative of the gameplay?
I made the environments first and the story emerged from there. I had to discover the planet first.
Interesting, where did you get the inspiration for the environments one can experience in the game?
A lifelong fascination with the ocean, and the possibility of habitable zone ocean planets and the architecture of sacred spaces.
OK, What is it about VR that fascinates you so much and with it being such a new technology do you feel it is a sophisticated enough platform for your game to be played on, or even have the user base for sales?
I wasn’t so convinced about VR until after I read Ready Player One, and now I drive everyone mad forcing them to read it. Overall game systems are not fast enough to support the type of hyper realistic VR experience I wish were on the market, but that will shift in time. With Water Planet, we made the desktop version of the game equal the VR version so more people would have a chance to play the game.
Its good that you have created your game for both non-vr users and vr users, gives your game more scope and more gamers to delve in and play.
Keeping with technology, are there any areas of the game that you feel would be better if the technology were more advanced than it currently is?
The technology is there, it’s really a matter of my own technical skill. I’m excited to learn more and create on a higher level in the future.
OK, What is it like working on water planet, day in day out?
In the beginning it was trying because I lacked the skills to make simple game mechanics, but as soon as I learned how to program a door, things started to form. When you have the knowledge of the tool you’re working with, you have all the freedom to create.
So, its was basically a learning curve with everything you put your hands to, same as everything we do these days, unless we try we do not succeed. So how many people were involved in the development? How much time have you spent developing?
We’re a small team. The core developers are my partner Aoud and myself. Everything visual and cinematic I had a part in, and all the gameplay mechanics/logic were Aoud. Along the way I learned all the basics of blueprints in Unreal Engine, and we worked side by side for the past year sharing knowledge and learning how to develop a game.
That is impressive, just the two of you to create a game, learn to program, wow. But we all know that its takes some time to create a game and many developers and friends to help out most of the time, so how have you adapted yourself?
With producing a track you listen to an 8-bar loop endlessly tweaking a frequency or adding effects. In the same way games take a lot of time and attention to detail. This is something I have a lot of endurance for.
OK, How and why did you make the leap from creating spell binding music to immersive interactive gaming?
One moment I was rendering visuals for my live performance in Unreal Engine and then I was creating the first level of a game. It really happened without me even realizing and then I had to work backwards, learning as the project evolved.
Sounds like something I did in University, create a project, became Invision and years later I am still working on it toi make it better. So what advice would you give to young musicians who want to break into the gaming industry?
Download Unreal Engine right now.
OK, fair comment, now for the final question, there has been a lot of talk in the media of late about women in the gaming industry, that we need more, and a fairer pay gap, which we all agree on… To all the young, aspiring ladies who read our site, what would you say to them?
I played games all my life but never realized it was an option to make games. We live in a time where information and learning resources are made available to everyone with Internet access. Don’t wait to be a part of a project, you can start right now with Unreal Engine. Hone your craft, whether that be coding, design, modeling. It’s not always about being the best, be different.
Thanks alot VIRGO for taking your time out to chat with me today, its was a pleasure and a honor to of had this experiance.
If any of our viewers want to follow VIRGO just head on over to either
Want to listen to listen to the music from the game, check it out below.
Buy the Game Water Planet click here
Finally check out the launch Trailer.