Based in Prague, Czech republic
October 8, 2012
Press / Business contact:
+420 608 664 514
Circus Atos is a small independent game team based in Prague. We are passionate about creating genuine and imaginative experiences.
Under Leaves - A color-filled hidden object game from the world of animals. Lovingly crafted watercolor illustrations with relaxing audio and gameplay.
Little Mouse's Encyclopedia ("Hravouka") - Our biggest project yet. An interactive educational game for kids. Open up a world of adventure to your child through nature's laws, her plants and animals.
Circus Atos was founded by Michal Berlinger and Barbora Podhorska while working on the indie mobile game about love and canoeing, Ahoooj. Bara was studying illustration, Michal film production at FAMU – both wanted to learn game development.A tale of three game engines
Back during the big indie boom, everybody was making a game and everything seemed somehow possible. Michal had some skill in programming websites, but admittedly no experience in game development. The natural choice was to start out gently with a small mobile game. He set off on his voyage of game-engine discovery with Stencyl, which used an easy visual scripting interface. It seemed such a dream tool that Michal's joyousness lasted a whole year. It was only when the game was almost ready... that he found some less-than-dreamy realities pertaining to performance. Michal's joy wobbled a little when he had to switch over from Stencyl to Game Maker, which meant building the game from scratch.
But hard work and results brought renewed satisfaction as he worked well with Game Maker... until again he ran into problems, and again when the game was almost finished. It is safe to say there was a distinct lack of joyousness when Michal then switched from Game Maker to his third engine: Unity. Fortunately for his mental health, that was the last engine change, and, after three years of work on three engines, Circus Atos at last released the game Ahoooj in February 2015.
The game received an honorable mention at the IGF 2015 student category, but with a little less polishing and promoting than was perhaps needed, commercial success was limited. And yet, the amount Michal learnt more than made up for this. Switching between three engines might to some seem a sign of ingrained stupidity, but for Michal it was an amazing and invaluable education in game development. The experience was not always joyous, but it was certainly worth it.Game jams
During the development of Ahoooj, the Circus Atos team started to participate in game jams and other local competitions. Our biggest success was first place in the 'Open Eyes by Games Competition' (2012) for One City's Adventure, which stood as another stamp of assurance that our efforts make sense. During game jams, we learned a lot – most of all in terms of design experience. Game jams, with their fast prototyping and iterating, have become an essential part of the Circus Atos culture.Student Synergy
Michal, the head of the studio, very much enjoys a creative and artistic approach to game development. Working with art students presents a lot of opportunities and is always extremely refreshing – Michal collaborated first with Jan Netusil on his final Master's work and that project led to an introduction to Jan's schoolmate, Tereza Vostradovska, a talented illustrator and designer. Michal and Tereza went on to work on Little Mouse's Encyclopedia - an educational game for children which they are still expanding today. Our studio's latest release Under Leaves also partly began as a student project. Michal is always looking out for fresh collaborative opportunities with students on the new game design degree course at the well-known Prague FAMU.Why Circus Atos?
Choosing a name for a game or studio is actually a painful process. We chose 'circus' because we wanted to make playful and humane games. And Atos? Well, if you don't know how to name something, you call it after your kid. We didn't have a kid back then, but did have a dog, Atos.In line for commercial success
It's worth mentioning that, outside the odd external contract, none of our core members are paid - we make games as a hobby at evenings and weekends alongside our day jobs. Our original projects haven't paid off yet in commercial terms, but each of them means everything to us.
There are far more images available for Circus Atos, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!
Logo & Icon
Awards & Recognition
- "3rd place at the GDS Showcase awards" - Dimension Brothers, Prague, 6 November 2016
- "IGF 2015 student competition; honorable mention" - Ahoooj, http://www.igf.com/2015
- "Winner in Open Eyes by Games Contest" - One City's Adventure, Prague, 7 December 2013
Team & Repeating Collaborator
Producer, Game Designer, Programmer
Graphic and Animation Designer
Graphic and Animation Designer