Flowery: First-Person Drifter Ruah

By Alice O'Connor on July 7th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Am I being predictable?

Hey there, gang. Alice O’Connor here, joining you this evening to share a screenshot of a deer near some trees and some rocks and some flowers. Look at that. It’s great, isn’t it? It’s from Ruah, and it’s not even the full picture. You’ll find that over here. Ruah’s a game about drifting around as a wind spirit, gathering deer and bringing spring to a land of low-fi polygons. It sounds a bit like Flower, from my vague second-hand knowledge of thatgamecompany’s PlayStation 3 game.

That’s enough preamble. Come look at another screenshot, okay? The next one has a waterfall.

But wait, if you click on this you'll see even more!

The devs explain in a TIGForums post:

The player can float through the game world and use ‘Ruah’, a soft magical gust, to interact with his environment and the deer gods. Watch how the flowers grow and the butterflies dance as you summon ‘Ruah’ whenever you please. The game doesn’t provide challenge or threats for the player. He can relax thoroughly and feel the ‘sense of wonder’ as he progresses through this short and linear experience of harmony and peace.

It’s got a procedural soundtrack too, for peak dreaminess.

I feel I’m being a bit predictable, seemingly posting about every game with low-fi polygons. But it’s not just the aesthetic–games in this style seem disproportionately likely to be the sort of dreamy first-person game that I do so enjoy. It’s not simply that I adore the art style, rather I like the types of game which work well paired with this abstract and evocative look. So I tell myself to assuage my fears that I may be one of those dreadful people mired in nostalgia.

Now watch this deer drinking:

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19 Comments »

  1. PopeRatzo says:

    Ruah’s a game about drifting around as a wind spirit, gathering deer

    So where is my game where I can play hippity-hop to the barber shop? Or pee off a high bridge on a windy night?

    Anyway, deer are nothing but scavenger pests. And boids. Don’t get me started on boids. Doity, stinky, filthy…boids.

    Say, is there a mod for Euro Truck Simulator where I can drive absent-mindedly through deer crossing areas?

  2. SophiaButler says:

    “The player can float through the game world and use ‘Ruah’, a soft magical gust, to interact with his environment and the deer gods. Watch how the flowers grow and the butterflies dance as you summon ‘Ruah’ whenever you please. The game doesn’t provide challenge or threats for the player. He can relax thoroughly and feel the ‘sense of wonder’ as he progresses through this short and linear experience of harmony and peace.”

    Pet peeve; assuming player gender (in this case, He). >_>;

    • Meat Circus says:

      The alternative involves invariably getting mired in a pointless argument with a well-intentioned, fiercely self-righteous and completely mistaken grammar pedant who insists that “they” cannot be used as a third person singular pronoun.

      Is that what you want? IS IT?

    • Llewyn says:

      One of my pet peeves is people applying any form of strict analysis to the English usage of non-native speakers.

    • TWChristine says:

      I get where you’re coming from, but I’d have to disagree. While I prefer the use of “they/their” myself, I feel like this is just the usual case of people projecting their gender onto an unknown. For instance, give a baby or an animal to a guy, and they’ll usually say “How old is he?” or “What’s his name?” Do the same thing for a woman, and you get “How old is she?”, “What’s her name?”

      I think there’s times to be annoyed at the pervasiveness of gender inequality of gaming, but I don’t think this is one of those times. Just my opinion of course, so have what you will! :)

      • Ross Angus says:

        I tend to agree. For me, “they” sounds normal as a gender-neutral alternative.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          In Sweden, there has recently been people who have proposed a gender neutral pronoun called “hen” as opposed to “han” (he) and “hon” (she). It’s been quite widely accepted and you can sometimes see it used in newspaper articles, although some people are of course offended by this new pronoun and claims it’s the first step in the evil plan to abolish gender in its entirety.

    • SamuelCal says:

      Hi SophiaButler,

      I am Samuel, I wrote the dev-log and I am really sorry for that mistake.

      In my native language (German) the article for ‘the player’ (der Spieler) is male, so the German equivalent of ‘he’ would refer to the gender of the word and not to the gender of the player. When I wrote ‘he’ instead of ‘the player’ it felt wrong but I couldn’t think of any other expression and I never thought it could actually imply that the player is supposed to be male. I am glad you pointed it out so I won’t make that mistake again. Ruah is definitely meant to be enjoyed by anyone, it’s not a product for male players specifically and it’s not even a product developed by males only as we have a girl in our team. I hope this clarification helps and again I am sorry if I hurt you or anyone else. I am well aware of how big of a problem discrimination by gender and sexism is in games and I am always trying to make exceptionally fair games.
      I am going to edit the dev-log now so that it says ‘they/their’ instead of ‘he/his’.

      Regards

      • rittenhaus says:

        How kind you are to have taken the time to post that.

        This kind of thing is not a mistake as such. English used to have grammatical gender as well as an indefinite/neutral personal pronoun, just as German still does today. “One plays Ruah” just doesn’t have quite the same flavor to it that “Man spielt Ruah” has, and the result of substituting them straight across also would not lead to idiomatic, grammatically correct sentences in either language.

        While traditionalist grammarians may bristle at the use of “they” in these situations, it’s a better alternative than “it”, which is dehumanizing, or to “s/he” and similar awkward constructions. There have been several prescriptivist efforts to introduce new gender-neutral pronouns into English, but so far none have gained traction in mainstream English usage.

    • Geebs says:

      My pet peeve: referring to lighting using face normals as “low-fi”.

  3. guidom says:

    “Ruah” brings back happy memories of “Fu So Rah!” or however it’s spelt. A little less destructive though…

  4. Geebs says:

    Fart Simulator?

  5. particlese says:

    Ooo…I do like the looks of it. Strikes me as a softened hybrid of Proteus and Secrets of Rætikon. Reading bits of the TIGSource posts, I like what I gathered of the gameplay intent, too: Pokémon Snap staring Solid Snake, Reaper of Souls (“gatherer of spirits” or assembler of deer god forces, anyway)

    I wonder what sort of controls it will have for floating around…my only beef with Flower is that I couldn’t seem to avoid cushily smashing into every available surface. To be fair, I’m pretty awful at any driving game which requires brake usage, but Flower definitely wasn’t the perpetual flow machine I was expecting, even between the smashy bits. Sounds like this game will avoid that expectation by being sneaking- and environmental manipulation-oriented, but I’m still curious.

  6. Shadowcat says:

    I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I look at those “low-fi” polygons, and I think back to the early flight sims I used to play, and then all I can see in these screenshots is incredible detail. Trees and rocks and individual flowers?! Holy cow that’s amazing, says the part of my mind which is familiar with low-fi polygons.

  7. Berzee says:

    These screenshots look nice. I like the deer, and all that nature.

    Minor quibble that hopefully doesn’t sound TOO whiny: I like hearing about games under development, but I like it best when the currently-unplayable nature of it is mentioned at least once in the article so I don’t have to go looking for a download/purchase link and experience a rollercoaster of patient-related, deer-induced emotions.

  8. altum videtur says:

    what is this 1995

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