Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Let's Play High School Reunion

This weekend I was down in småland to attend a junior high school reunion. It was pretty interesting even though there weren't a lot of people from my old class. I hadn't really talked to any of them since graduation, and not even seen most of them, but I was kind of surprised by how little people had changed. Also I can't help feeling a bit competetive when meeting people from the past, but I think I ranked pretty good; I have a somewhat decent career in a field that I'm passionate about and even though I haven't had much success in relationships or have started family I'm happy with being single for the moment. Also most of the people at the party still lived in the same area where we grew up, which somehow feels a bit weird to me; I'm not really sure why, but it just seems natural to me to include a bit of physical translation in life's journey, then again I have a lot of friends around here that has barely moved away from home.

On a completly different note I have found a new guilty pleasure called "let's play" videos. Basicly it's a youtube phenomenon where soomeone plays through an entire game while filming and commenting the whole time. Of course, watching it might be one of the most unproductive and patethic things ever but it can be surpisingly addictive if the player is fun to listen to. And in my defense I usually just have the video on in the backgroud while doing something else or watch it when I'm really tired/bored/hung over. It's also a decent surrogate for playing through a game yourself if you can't find it or if the gameplay sucks but you want to see how the story unfolds.

Monday, 22 March 2010


I haven't been very productive lately, but as the documets are signed and the money is invested to start the company I'm not feeling much motivation to continue working on my game. Also I still can't get over how brilliant the story in Shattered Memories is, so I've been playing through (or in some cases youtubing through) most of the old silent hill games. I was definatly right in thinking Shattered Memories is different from SH1, in fact it's very different from all the previous games, but I like it a lot more. I really recomend it to everyone, it's also available on PS2 and PSP; I don't know how good those versions are but the story ought to be the same, which is the important part.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Best name for a remake ever

I played though the new Silent Hill game today. The only memories I have from Silent Hill 1 are from a demo and from the movie though so there wasn't that much shattering going on, but I believe it has very little in common with the original or any other game in the series for that matter, though I've only really played SH2 before.

However I must say I really liked the game and the story was quite brilliant;
the ending left me speechless and after reading some forum discussions about it online I'm actually temped to play through it again for all the stuff I missed and didn't think about the first time. The ending really makes you re-evalute the whole story.

From a gameplay perspective it suffers from some usual problems in survival horror games though; namely that there isn't that much gameplay. However one thing that I really like is that they have dared remove the awful combat, instead youre just running from monster's occasionally. While I can't really say that the chase sequenses are that much better gameplay wise it's refreshing to see a game without a crappy combat system crammed in there; I can think of a handful of other series that really should cut the combat system (Prince of Persia for example).

It's a shame the game is getting so little hype. I'm not sure if Silent Hill puritans would like it, and most people probably doesn't even know it exists as the series has been on a steady decline ever since SH3, but personally I think it's just as good as Silent Hill 2, if not better.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

GMC speedrun

So I'm still a bit anxious about the future and the prospect of starting to work in Stockholm and somewhat disillusioned about my own game and lacking motivation to work on anything at all. Then I stumbled upon this and I felt a bit better.

When some poor soul bothers to post a speedrun (not a very good one though) of an unfinished, unknown homebrew game on youtube, I've got to have done something right haven't I? Though it probably says more about the people on youtube than about the game.

For those who doesn't know, Project GMC is a project I worked on for a while in early 2009; I was kindof hoping to make it into a Wiiware title someday, but when I got the job Pieces Interactive and it was becoming apparent that nothing would happen with the project I released what little I had done so far on the Wii homebrew scene. GMC is short for Generic Megaman Clone btw.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Just found something funny while doing some random googling; apparently my name is in the credits of an obscure Symbian puzzle game.

Back in 2003, just after graduating from highschool, I was doing some freelance pixel work and somehow got in contact with some obscure company that was going to port some obscure fighting game to the Sega GameGear. While I obviously though this was very strange, I still wanted some cash so I agreed to do the work. Basicly my job was to redraw all the sprite animations in a much lower resolution and a very limited (and quite awful) color palette. After the job was finished I kept looking for news about the game for a while but never heard anything and just assumed they were just crazy people.

However it seems that in december 2008 my sprites found their way into an obscure puzzle-spinoff of said obscure figthing game for SymbianOS mobile phones. Here's the game on mobygames with my names in the credits: www.mobygames.com/game/super-fighter-block-battle (I've done the sprites in the top of the screen; not my best work but I blame the horrible palette that was forced on me).

It also seems that the company has now released games for Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Atari Lynx so maybe the GameGear thing wasn't that crazy after all... just very strange. It would have been a lot more fun to have a GameGear game in the CV than some lame Symbian tetris clone though.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


It's finally starting to hit me how inconvenient it is to start a company in Stockholm (still no plans of leaving Skövde). First of all I'm starting to run out of SJPrio points so I'll have to start paying for train tickets like normal people again soon. Obviously I'll have to buy a one year traveling card if we actually manage to sign a deal and start production; but that's still quite a some time away and the card costs nearly 40k SEK so it's a pretty big gamble to buy it before we know if we'll ever get any money. However before that there will be a number of meetings and a period of working on pitches fulltime, so even in the absolute best case, and if I sleep on a sofa for a week in a row while working on the pitches, I'll probably have to spend 5k on train tickets minimum, and maybe 15k in the worst case; if we make large number of pitches and then give up. I'm not really sure if it's possible save money by buying the tickets though the company either.
Also I can assume that it's pretty hard and expensive to find an office as close to the central station as the old Grin office, so I'll probably need an SL-card as well which is another 700 SEK per month, and it will probably add another 15 minutes or so to my two hour commute. While I'm hoping to be able to have a bit more flexible working hours and do some work on the train, I'm not really sure if that's possible as I'm sure we'll all be pretty damn busy. Also I'm not sure what kind of salary we'll be able to give ourselfs, but I doubt it will be that high to begin with, so right now it feels like all my free time and all my money will go to travels. And that's if things go well.
I kept a brave face during my time Grin as the extreme commute was my own choosing and I felt it was worth it in the end. But right now it feels a bit overwhelming to spend all that money (I haven't even mentioned the 33k I'll be investing in the company at startup) for the chance of working my ass of and spending 4-5 hours a day on a train/subway... but I guess it could be worth it in the end as well...
Anyway... now I'll be heading to the train station...

Insomnia and late night gaming

I couldn't sleep and I have to go up at 6 am to catch a train to Stockholm tomorrow so I decided to stay up and then sleep on the train instead... we'll see how that goes.... Anyway I turned on the Wii and realized that Megaman 10 has been released in europe now. I guess the proper thing to do would be to make some remark about how Capcom are starting to milk the franchise again, but I find that I don't really mind. I'm not looking for any ground breaking innovation in a pseudo-NES game and I'm perfectly fine with getting a new Megaman every other year or so; they still feel more fresh than a lot of games trying to be ground breaking in today's market. I'm not enjoying it quite as much as MM9 though, but I can't really point to any specific reason, other than the music being slightly less awesome. Maybe I'm just not in the right mood; I am pretty tired and still not quite sober, so this might not be the ideal state to Megaman. I'll play it some more on wednesday; now it's almost time for me to head to the station. I'm temped to try and squeeze in an hour of sleep first but I'm not sure if I dare risk it

Monday, 8 March 2010

Sunday, 7 March 2010

A little texturing exercise

I stumbled upon a pretty neat texturing tutorial yesterday that and decided to give it a try today. Basicly you create a few different UV-layers and project different photos to them, then you use the warp image function to convert the images to fit your real UV map and then you combine them in Photoshop. It's a lot easier than trying to use liquify tool to fit photografs to a UV-map directly in PS. Anyway here's the result:

I think it turned out pretty decent; though I was a bit sloppy when projecting the images and of course the 3d model wasn't very pretty to begin with (or the actual model for that matter). Also I really need to figure out a way to render hair other than just a solid textured surface. Not sure if I'll use this for anything (maybe a cameo in my shooter) but it was fun to try and I'll definatly use this technique in the future.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Multiple shadows and a multitude of shaders

Last night I finally touched the code again after a week of extreme unproductiveness, and started playing around a bit more with the shadow rendering. The plan was to setup a system that could render a shadow map per light. However I realized I had totaly forgotten to add a proper projection matrix to the shadows, which worked decently with directional lights but of course didn't work at all with spot lights, and I had a lot of problems with getting that to work.
I got it to work in the end though but the system isn't quite finished yet, there's still some hard coded stuff and the code really needs a clean up. My big dilemma now is how to set up my shader library; as every object can be affected by a variable number of shadows and lights it might be a bit to expensive to process all lights and shadows for every object, but from I've heard if-statements might be even more expensive so the most optimised way would be to create different shaders for every number of shadows and lightmaps that affects the mesh. Even if I don't create seperate shaders per number of shadows it's starting to get a bit out hand to just copy paste my shaders whenever I need a small change somewhere so I really need someway to structure up a proper shader library.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Ace Attorney Investigations

Ok I don't want to turn this into a regular gaming blog but I felt I needed to wright something about the awesomeness of the new Ace Attourney since I mentioned it in my Heavy Rain post. One of the biggest differences from the previous games is that they've switched to third person view in the investigation scenes, and the sprites are absolutly gorgeous. If there was anything that could make me love this series anymore it's a 16-colors, 80 pixels high sprite of Edgeworth pointing his finger.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Epic phone conversations

I recieved some updates about the company today. It seems thing are moving forward; next week I'll be going to stockholm again to discuss the formalities and the bureaucratic aspects of founding the company and then we'll start contacting publishers as soon as possible. Also I had a phone meeting with Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, today about the cost of licensing the Unreal engine. It was pretty scary, as I get really nervous by telephones in general and don't really have much experience of talking with higher ups in the game industry, but it went pretty well; he seemed like a nice guy and I got a lot of good information. Of course we're still far from deciding anything about an engine... I'm still kindof wanting to go with my own engine even though it's definatly not a very good idea.