Chasing the Whale

Posted July 29, 2014 by eriksvedang
Categories: Announcements, Podcast

Me and my good friend Andreas Zecher have started a new podcast! It’s called Chasing the Whale and is about making indie games and things like that. Today the third episode is out, the topic this time is game design books that we’ve read over the years.

The podcast can be found at iTunes and www.chasingthewhale.cc. Our plan is to release one episode every week. Feedback and thoughts are appreciated! (here or on twitter)

Erik

Busy Times

Posted June 5, 2014 by eriksvedang
Categories: ElseHeartBreak

Here’s a photo from when we were showing Else { Heart.Break } at the Nordic Game Indie Night. That was fun! The game is starting to feel like the real thing now – and a pretty massive thing that is. We are posting pictures and videos at postcardsfromdorisburg.tumblr.com. Cheers!

IMG_3861

Blueberry Garden on Linux and Mac!

Posted January 25, 2014 by eriksvedang
Categories: Blueberry Garden

blue

Exciting news! Programmer/musician Ethan Lee has ported Blueberry Garden to Linux and Mac – thanks so much for that!!! Follow him on twitter at flibitijibibo.

If you have already bought the game for Windows you should have access to these versions already. If not, get it here.

Take care,
Erik

The aesthetics of motion in software

Posted December 11, 2013 by eriksvedang
Categories: Links

Birds in trees.

There is something very special about how to make interactive things for a screen, it has to come alive in a certain way. This is something I constantly think about when designing and programming games but I still have a lot to learn. In a way I believe that it’s the most important thing to master for someone in my trade and I think there is a whole other level of dynamic motion that we all should aspire to. Here are two things I’ve read/watched recently that inspired me and advanced my thoughts on the topic. Perhaps someone has more tips? If so, please comment!

What Screens Want by Frank Chimero – I particularly liked the second half when he starts talking about horses and ends in a kind of political statement. This is more from a web design perspective but the point is valid no matter what you make.

Stop Drawing Dead Fish by Bret Victor – all of his talks are amazing, you should definitely spend some quality time on his website if you haven’t (Inventing on principle obviously, but there is more). This particular talk touches upon some really important aspects on how to make animated and interactive things for the computer.

Oh, and I just realized Martin (Grapefrukt) Jonasson’s and Petri Purho’s talk Juice it or lose it is about this topic too and it’s great! From watching the video and playing their games I think they might be experts in this area of interactive design. I’m looking forward to what they and others will do in the future. And I hope Bret Victor will release some of his tools :)

Cheers,
Erik

On features and tiny computers

Posted October 17, 2013 by eriksvedang
Categories: ElseHeartBreak

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.05.14

For a long time I have had the intention to start publishing small essays and opinion pieces on this blog, here comes the first one.

This morning I flipped through a fresh copy of a Swedish game magazine called Level. On one of the ‘indie’ pages I found an interesting looking game by Blendo Games, the creator of Gravity Bone & Thirty Flights of Loving (two famous and very good indie games, you should definitely try them out if you haven’t). This game was called Quadrilateral Cowboy and apparently it revolves around hacking and computers. It had also made a splash at IndieCade so I guess a lot of you know about it already and that I’m just really behind the times – that’s what happens when you work hard on your own things. Reading further I realized it’s a game where you learn how to program computers and get be a oldschool hacker,  breaking into places and doing other cool things. The computers in the screen shots looked suspiciously similar to the ones we have in our work in progress Else Heartbreak – a game that happens to also involve programming computers and “realistic” hacking. My heart started beating faster. Oh no, I thought to myself, please not another one of these damn great-looking programming games!

The thing is that Quadrilateral Cowboy seems really good and actually not that similar to the thing me and my friends are working on. I hope that both our games will find big (overlapping) audiences. The only thing that worries me is that they both share a very distinct feature (‘programming’) and unfortunately computer games and their critics are extremely concerned with these kinds of features. There is a good reason for this also, features are tightly connected to game mechanics and how something works. Games surely do work a lot. Seen as an artistic medium this  is really dangerous though, since it makes us focus too little on the themes, feelings and ideas expressed through the game. Put another way: most people would agree that a piece of art isn’t good because of the individual parts (the ‘features’) but rather because of how they all fit together and feel as a whole. This is true of games too but by always examining the parts first we get into tons of trouble when thinking about them, arguing whether gameplay is better than graphics, what elements they must contain to be called games and other strange things.

What I’ve realized is that as a creator and artist I can’t rely at all on features, it was a severe mistake if I ever thought I could. Back when we started working on Else Heartbreak a little over three years ago this whole idea of computers inside the game seemed so fresh and new, like a free ticket to get people interested. Games with programming were mostly Robot Wars like things or pure fakery with mini-game puzzles symbolizing hacking, to actually make the machines work “for real” was a very exciting thought. Today the situation is quite different and it seems like everyone is putting little computers into their game. Maybe it’s an effect of what is technically feasible to do nowadays or maybe it’s just the zeitgeist, I don’t know. I think we will have to get used to that they are part of games anyway, and I actually think it will be a lot of fun. It’s just not very unique anymore.

I hope that in the end people who play games will not be too obsessed with features, getting hung up on whoever thought of something first or that something which perhaps seemed like a very novel and weird idea pops up in several people’s work around the same time. In the end each game is its own little world of themes, ideas and things to experience. Seen as cohesive wholes they are expressions of their creators and their features should only help fulfill that cause.

Thanks for reading,

Erik

Status updates

Posted October 3, 2013 by eriksvedang
Categories: Clairvoyance, ElseHeartBreak, Slice & Dice, Teaching

I felt like writing a few words about what I’m working on right now and what is going on with my projects.

Most obviously I’m working full time on finishing our big game Else Heartbreak! You can follow the progress here.

The illustrations (by Nicolai Troshinsky) for my card game Slice & Dice are also done (!!!) and I’m currently looking for a publisher. Feel free to contact me if you can help out with this.

I’m also giving some courses on how to build interactive worlds and games with Unity. After leaving my job as a teacher in Skövde I haven’t had much chance to do stuff like that but I really enjoy it and want to find more opportunities for teaching in the future.

This past weekend me and Danish composer Anders Monrad had an intense work-session where we made a small sound app for iPhone/iPad, it should be up on the App Store very soon (we have submitted it). Despite being very small and simplistic it’s a lot of fun to play with so be sure to try it out in a week or so.

Clairvoyance is still in beta since we are focusing all our time on Else Heartbreak right now. When this intense period of work is over (February 2014) I’ll try to reach version 1.0 as soon as possible, I promise. The game is very much working as it is now though, so feel free to try it out and you’ll get the full version when that is completed.

Oh, and this upcoming weekend there will be an event here in Gothenburg called Automat where there will be different indice arcade games shown. I’ll try to have some things on display, come by if you have the chance!

Yours sincerely,
Erik

Unity Workshops

Posted August 6, 2013 by eriksvedang
Categories: Teaching

I’m giving three one-day workshops on how to create interactive worlds in Unity, 16 – 18 August. They will be held in Gothenburg at NTI Gymnasiet. More information can be found at the website for Kulturkalaset here. They will be free to attend so please tell anyone who lives nearby and who might be interested.

Take care,
Erik


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