The indie developers of Australia were showing off their marvellous creations during PAX Australia, and Canvas Interactive was no exception. Canvas Interactive is made up of a carefully selected team led by James and Angus, the founders of the company. Together, they have begun to develop a vibrantly-designed multiplayer game for the PC known as Painters Unite.
Remember those movies where they’d play a prank by leaving paint at the top of the door, so when it opened the paint would fall all over the door’s unfortunate opener? Well, the hard-working team at Canvas Interactive have been trying to bring that experience to life through Painters Unite.
Everyone begins a game coated in a particular colour; anyone sharing the same colour is allied. The aim of the game is simple; you shoot each other with paint, and after you’ve been painted enough by another colour you’ll convert to that colour. Once you have converted everyone to your colour, you win that round.
Having a go at the game, I found myself being reminded very much of Team Fortress 2, which Angus elaborated as being one of the inspirations for Painters Unite. The reason for this was not only the art style, but in the general set-up of the game. Unlike Team Foretress 2, Painters Unite has a bird’s eye view, which adds a very interesting feature to the gameplay. I found it was a lot easier to manoeuvre and be strategic about my moves when attacking and retreating.
They’ve implemented a shower to wash off paint, which you must use strategically as you play. Things heat up more in the game when you are converted or convert someone to make the beginnings of a team. This is where the fun really begins; trying to be a part of the winning team by helping your allies take over the competition. Or, if you’re lucky, you can be the last one of your colour, which gives you a boost in your resistance to paint as well as an attack up.
There are weapons other than your standard in the game, like a shotgun which deals quite a bit of paint but takes time to use. Currently there are only about two other kinds of weapons, but they’re looking forward to adding in multiple kinds of guns and ammo in its ongoing development.
The map I got to play on was quite small, but James and Angus were delighted to tell me about their plans to include many more maps, including a skyscraper. With a game like this, you don’t want too large a map, and I felt that the one I played on gave a good sense of space. The game currently has an individual scoring system, but there are plans to add bonuses for team achievements in the future. James and Angus both stated that they wanted Painters Unite to be a game where you can’t trust anyone, but where everyone works together for their own benefit, and that is definitely the vibe I got.
Currently the game is still in development; even while they were at PAX, the team was actively watching people play and listening to the feedback from those who tried it out. They were even updating and changing the game consistently throughout the day. In the morning you’d have a play, only to come back to find they’ve added a radar! Now that’s some dedication if you ask me!
The game has plans for closed beta later this year, and hopefully a release in 2014. It will be exciting to see how this game continues to grow over the few months leading up to its pre-beta and then its final release. It’s a game I think people who love to play with their friends in a fun but competitive way will be looking forward to, but in general, it’s a game to look out for. Painters Unite is certainly a game to play with your mates, but the developers themselves have a goal to make games that “will be known 10 years later.” With their dedication and their passion, the crew at Canvas Interactive will be someone to look out for in the indie side of gaming! But for now, we can look forward to enjoying painting our friends.