Project Description

Shape of the World developer Stu Maxwell discusses the difference in motivation between AAA and Indie game art. 


Shape of the World is an ephemeral first-person exploration game where the world grows around you in a procedurally populated environment. Exploration is about intentionally getting lost and the joy of being found again. Your presence is the driving force behind the evolving environment as you establish permanent monuments to mark your way. Without your presence, will the forest still come alive?

Shape of the World builds on the ideas of experiential games like Proteus and Flower where points and combat don’t enter the equation. An evolving world that grows with each step and hints at distant landmarks encourages the player to explore. Shape of the World offers a unique unfolding experience for those seeking an alternative to quest-driven adventure games.


Development began in early 2014 by lead developer Stu Maxwell, currently a VFX artist at Black Tusk Studios (a first-party Microsoft studio in Vancouver, Canada). He was soon joined by Athomas Goldberg, a 20-year veteran of the computer graphics industry, who specializes in procedural animation technology and Brent Silk, who is composing the game’s music and sound effects. In 2015, Stu created Hollow Tree Games Inc. as the game’s core team continues to grow.


  • Developed in Unreal Engine 4
  • Procedural dynamic effects
  • Custom responsive soundtrack