From Apple Arcade to Steam: The evolution of College Atlas

From tiny flowers to vast buildings every aspect is hand-drawn in the College Atlas
An undated in-game image of the College Atlads game. — Steam
An undated in-game image of the College Atlads game. — Steam

College Atlas is a dreamlike storybook adventure game, drawn entirely by hand in pen and ink, where players explore the real world and uncover its narrative through interactive environments and observations. 

College Atlas creator John Evelyn spent five years crafting this labour of love, pouring his heart and soul into every detail. From tiny flowers to vast buildings, every aspect is hand-drawn, making this game a true work of art. 

Evelyn's journey began with a simple app idea but evolved into a full game that explores themes of agency, powerlessness, and the impact of our presence in the world. The game's art style reflects Evelyn's passion for improvement and the beauty of unexpected results. 

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He compares it to improvising music, where sometimes things go wrong, but the surprises are what makes it special. This approach requires players to pay attention to details, rewarding them with a rich and immersive experience. 

Collage Atlas started as a small project but resonated with people at the Leftfield Collection at EGX in 2016. Encouraged by the response, Evelyn expanded the game by teaching himself Unity and 3D modelling. After four years of work, the game was released on Apple Arcade but was delisted in 2023 due to the expiration of the exclusive period. 

Determined to keep his work accessible, Evelyn recently launched The College Atlas on Steam, ensuring his creations don't disappear into thin air. The move marks a new beginning, as Evelyn has already begun work on his next hand-drawn game, The Wings of Sycamore, a spiritual sequel that explores the joys of flight and overcoming adversity.