Sunset in the valley of the Deerman.
Concept work for Alpenland the comic book and video game. Alpenland loosely connects to Where is my Heart?
(Alpenland Concept Part 5 here)
[Cross-posted from our Kickstarter page]
(Thanks Ian for the gif suggestion)
Now we get to finish all four [Sportsfriends] games and share them with all of you!
It truly was a communal effort. Just when things were looking grim, all of you helped fuel a big come-from-behind push. Some of you tweeted, others increased their pledge, others even published enthusiastic articles and videos about the games.
Suffice to say, we’re humbled and honored and, well, totally floored.
We want to thank all of you for all your enthusiasm and support. Special thanks to all our colleagues who gave us advice and contributed games, video testimonials, footage, photos, designs, music, help at events, and other support. We also want to thank the team at Sony’s Foster City office for championing the concept and making the PlayStation side of the project possible.
Looking to the future, we’re so, so excited to get these four games finished, and to share them with the broader world. If you contributed at the early alpha tier or above, expect to hear from us in the coming days about your Hokra and J.S. Joust builds. We plan to get those out this month, and then BaraBariBall in January. And then more rewards after that!
Your Best Sportsfriends Forever,
- Bennett, Ramiro, Noah, Doug -
In case you missed the news, we’ve finally announced our release plans for Johann Sebastian Joust. We hope to release the game as a part of Sportsfriends – a compendium of four sports-themed local multiplayer games.
We plan to bring the package to PlayStation 3, and then PC/Mac/Linux.
We’re crowd-funding Sportsfriends on Kickstarter in order to raise funds to finish the games and hire expert programmers to port them. We’d love any support you feel like giving us!
This series of posts will be dedicated to sketches, be they quick or meticulous concepts, environments, moods, level designs or character sketches. Each post will have its own topic, so let’s start with “ideas.”
When making sketches you often have to visualize an idea out of your head, which is both fun and frustrating, but more fun the more you draw. The following sketches show the first draft of B.U.T.T.O.N. characters, an idea for the musical gardens for Mutazione, some drafts for a Where is my Heart? box art which we never ended up using, and a ridiculous game idea sketch about riding a bike with balloon wheels in a bouncy landscape.
Big news – we’re opening a new outpost of Die Gute Fabrik in New York City!
Er, well, that makes us sound larger than we actually are. By “opening an outpost” I mean that I’m personally moving back to America (my home country). Nils and Christoffer are staying here in Copenhagen, and we’ll be working together remotely.
I’m moving for a whole variety of reasons. I was born and raised in New Jersey, and so after over a decade in California and Denmark, I’m finally returning “home.”
But the move is also motivated by some professional reasons. In the last few years, New York City has become a real hotbed of game dev talent. As far as I’m concerned, NYC is the place to be for cutting-edge game development these days. Institutions like Babycastles, Eyebeam, Come Out & Play, and the NYU Game Center are running innovative events and programs that are galvanizing community and building bridges between games and other cultural domains like music, art, theater, and academia. And so many of my colleagues and favorite game designers are in NYC. Suffice to say, I want in on that mix!
If you’re in NYC and want to say hello, drop us a line! I should land next month, just in time to speak at NYU’s PRACTICE conference. Exciting!
Nicklas, Ricky, Brandon, and others play a game on Standoff. Nicklas is already eliminated, Ricky shoots the sky, and Brandon shoots himself. (Photo by tigershungry).
Time to teach another one of my favorite folk/playground games!
Standoff is a simple game for two or more players – ideally a group of 5 to 10 people. It’s kind of like Rock-Paper-Scissors meets John Woo action flick.
I learned the game back in college, through my then-roommate John Shedletsky. The game and its variants go by many different names, but “Standoff” is the name that I use these days. In this post, I’m going to explain several variations of the game, including my own favorite version.
Today, my roommate Nicklas – the renown Swedish indie developer better known as “Nifflas” – beat the secret “Hell” world in Spelunky. It was truly a run for the ages, full of daring feats of skill and a well-timed miracle or two.
But I’m getting ahead of myself! First, some background:
Over the course of this past summer, I gradually got sucked into the game. Nifflas is very good at the original version, and so he’s been teaching me along the way. Of course, Nifflas has had to adjust to the new XBLA controls, so we’ve both been honing our skills.
About a month ago, Nifflas and I started a daily tradition – a ritual, if you will. Every night, each of us gets one – and only one – Spelunky run. The other sits and watches, cheering along and providing advice. On rare days we’ll indulge in a few practice runs, but it’s only the “official” run that really matters – at least to us!
This ritual has been deeply enjoyable for several reasons. First, the tradition gives us something to look forward to every evening. Second, the “stakes” of the game feel so much more real when you only get one shot. One error and you’re done for the day. Nerve-wracking, but invigorating! Third, and perhaps most importantly, I find that it’s far more rewarding to play the game with somebody spectating – a witness with whom to share your triumphs and tribulations. After all, Spelunky is all about the stories you the player end up producing. As my hero Hannah Arendt puts it: “The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and ourselves.”
Jokingly, before each run, we make a little prayer to Derek Yu, the game’s creator. (For example: “Derek Yu, please grant us plentiful bombs and protect us from dark levels. Amen.”). The prayer has itself become a key part of our daily ritual – to the point where we feel like we’ve almost created a Spelunky religion/cult. Like, why do bad things happen to good Spelunky players? And does Derek Yu even exist? Spelunky theology is tricky!
This leads us to Nifflas’ epic victory today. (Warning: spoilers ahead).
The three monsters, their friends and a haphazard toad are playing Where is my Heart? in a glade in the forest.
A preview was also playable last week at the Fantastic Arcade, in Austin, Texas.