Shelby Susannah Smith (She/Her)
Shelby Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist creating immersive video games with a focus on thoughtful and unconventional narratives and aesthetics. Her specialised interests include visual and aesthetical development, spatial cinematography and immersive audio/visual design for the moving image.
Over the past year, Shelby has been working on her first major solo project, “A Journey Through Love and Time“; an action-adventure, rhythm game hybrid that applies focus to the narrative through the use of continuous, mixed music, inspired by non-stop dance albums. Academically, Shelby takes a philosophical interest in considering the place of Video Games and other forms of interactivity as fine art, pursuing this topic for her fourth year dissertation studies. Her interactive game installation, “Am I Pretty?” considers the way that players use digital avatars as a form of fantasy – and how this fantasy may represent feelings of dysmorphia.
In her spare time, Shelby’s hobbies include her love for music, pop culture and traditional art practice – including illustration, printmaking and graphic design.
Shelby has completed her final year of undergraduate study at the School of Simulation and Visualisation, and is due to graduate in Summer, 2022. She is currently working on the development of unannounced personal projects.
A Journey Through Love and Time
“A Journey Through Love and Time” is a third person, music adventure game that I designed and created for my year-long Honours project whilst studying at the Glasgow School of Art, alongside my Dissertation Project. The game and narrative are designed in the likeness of an album, with each level representing a track of an album. The game is a sequential, non-stop experience – inspired by the album Confessions On a Dance Floor by Madonna, which is mixed from beginning to end. This concept is a twist on the traditional rhythm game format, as to apply more focus on the flow of the story and investment in character and narrative development.
The plot follows Arcadia, the lead singer of a nu-disco band, who is heartbroken after her partner breaks up with her moments before she is due to perform at a New York nightclub. Although devasted, she continues her performance, and the game follows her through the evening as she learns acceptance and hope.
Genre: Third Person, Music-Adventure
Development Period: September 2021 – April 2022
Am I Pretty?
“Am I Pretty?” was the title of the video game designed as part of my BSc research dissertation considering the place of video games and other forms of interactivity as fine art, in the context of exhibition and gallery spaces. The game is an art game that is a parody on traditional character creation systems in games, inspired by the way that players use digital avatars as a form of fantasy – and how this fantasy may represent feelings of dysmorphia.
The game is designed as an example of a game in exhibition, and uses webcam functionality to provide visual feedback to the player. The application aesthetic is inspired by collage techniques used in traditional art practice, as collage is often used as a method of visually communicating body dysmorphia.
Genre: Art Game, Exhibition Piece
Development Period: September 2021 – April 2022 (Dissertation)
Act in Time
“Act in Time!” is a arcade party game inspired by minigame compilations. The game is a response to a Game Jam theme of sustainability and was created during our forth year “Vertical Project”, where we work with a team of students from different year groups. For this game, I was the project lead and primary programmer for the experience, helping lead research and art direction, and provide planning and support for team members in the years below myself.
The game features a custom Arduino controller, embedded into a live plant pot.
Genre: Minigame Compilation, Party Game, Arcade, Serious Game
Development Period: December 2021
Platform: PC, with custom Arduino controller