How a small art team created Firewatch's beautiful environment

San Francisco-based Campo Santo is an indie studio currently at work on Firewatch, a visually-evocative game about being a volunteer fire lookout in the wilderness of Wyoming, with a handheld radio and a mysterious supervisor your only companion.

Recently at the Game Developer's Conference, the team's Jane Ng gave a fascinating talk about creating the game's art — layers of burnished color, stark vivid shapes, long shadows and the lonely outlines of endless pines create a poignant image of a world that invites the player. Ng's talk is remarkably accessible for anyone even a little bit interested in visual design. I found it interesting to watch and soothing to listen to, and my artistic ability stopped developing after the school notebook anime characters of yesteryear.

I'm friends with a couple of the people on the Firewatch team — we play board games and Netrunner sometimes — but I haven't even seen anything of their game yet, so I have no special interest in whether you watch this lovely art talk or not. I just thought you'd like it, that's all.