Welcome 2015 – Goodbye Tödesdreyeck!

First of all, a happy new year to everyone!

2014 has been an exciting but also a very exhausting year. We won the award for the best german video game in the beginning of the year (article), worked on a very big project for a super nice client (LWL), started work for the next client (Filmtank) and i could be part of a very awesome project by my buddies from major bueno (tour bueno). But this post is not about my work stuff but instead it’s about something personal. An experience i think many of you already had. It’s connected to that major bueno project and what came out of it. I named it the “Tödesdreyeck”. The correct german word for it would be “Todesdreieck” which translates to something like “Triangle of Death”.

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What the actual fuck is he talking about?

Let me explain:
When you have a longer period where you spend most of your time working your life also changes. At least if you’re not careful enough, which i obviously wasn’t. You get into some kind of toxic routine. Your daily movement patterns start to transform. As you have less time to move from point a to b, then c, then d, and so on (home, workplace, lunchbreak, evening activites) you start to optimize the paths. And by that i don’t mean the paths themselves, you start to cut your points you translate from to a bare minimum. And this minimum consists of 3 points: Your sleeping place (i wouldn’t call it home during that time), your working place and one local meetup point where you sometimes hangout at late nights (which results in being a bar).

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A:Sleep, B:Work, C:Drink

So basically when times get even more rough you just travel between A and B and if you do this for a long time you’re super happy if you manage to move again to C from time to time. And that’s one of the main problems. You get satisfied superficially with A,B,C. Suddenly you accept this Tödesdreyeck as a standard. And it shouldn’t be one. You definitely need time to understand this but you also need someone who looks from a external perspective. Someone who asks :”Is this everything in your life?”. For me it was myself that crumbled after a year of that cycle. In the last quarter of 2014 i realized: “what the actual fuck am i doing? Somethings wrong and i have to change that.”

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But … what’s wrong?

So i took the last 4 weeks of 2014 off. I did this testrun for the tour bueno and made a game about this issue with Marius and Bene and we called it “Tödesdreyeck”. The “making of” of that game will hopefully be released someday as some kind of “Episode 0” of their tour, i’ll keep you posted about that.

Tödesdreyeck – the “Game”

This is not a game about highscore, it’s a game about your story. A game about your personal tödesdreyeck from which you can only escape by shifting your own Tödesdreyeck (click and drag on the corners of the Tödesdreyecks) in a way in which the corners of the Tödesdreyecks collide. Now both characters have one point in their Tödesdreyeck they share. If you connect one another point, you united their Tödesdreyecks and they eventually will meet on their paths. And when they meet they’ll share their paths and expand their own Tödesdreyeck. Example: Guy #1 usually walks ABC and Guy #2 BDC. By combining this 2 Tödesdreyecks Guy #1 now walks ABDC and Guy #2 walks BDCA.
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Get that?

Well, and what happens when you do this with a lot of Tödesdreyecks? You expand each of the characters own personal Tödesdreyecks to a big polygon on which they can hang out and meet a lot of cool dudes and dudettes. 5_DreyeckThu Jan 15 19-48-55 2015 UTC

This little “game” was developed in less than 48 hours (way less, we did a very healthy game jam!) in Starling using the physics engine nape. Marius and Bene did the awesome Artwork, Bene did the awesome SFX and looping track and i did the coding. Give it a try and tweet some screenshots with #TödesDreyeck as a hashtag!
Controls:
space – take a screenshot (It opens a save file dialog box)
r – reset the game
Beware, this is buggy as hell …

Beware of fake youtube-stars

Today i got a strange request from someone pretending to be the youtube-user “dooger“. They wanted some free steam keys from “The Inner World”. The mail i got seemed to be from some scammer, i still am waiting for a response from “dooger”s official twitter handle. Meanwhile i wrote a reply to that mail that i want to share with you:

 

Hi there,
first of all – thanks for your request. We’re happy that you like our game! As for your request, here’s my answer:
I reached out to your official twitter account (@studiofizbin), in order to verify that it’s really you – just give me a short reply per Twitter. Until that, I can’t send you keys.

Let me explain…
I guess you’re aware of lame-ass copycats that pretend to be famous youtube people in order to squeeze out some free steam keys from hard working game developers. This is a situation we can’t and won’t tolerate as a game development company. We’re a small studio fighting for survival in order to be able to do what we and our customers love: making games the way we want them to be. Giving away free steam keys to people that don’t help us market our game results in, yeah you guessed it right, nothing. Even more, it results in us not getting any money for our games and nothing in exchange. Imagine what would happen if we give away keys to everyone that sends us such fake requests. Oh, you’re right! We can’t make money with our games, we loose our jobs, we close our studio and no one will ever see another game from us. I think we both agree that thats a very nasty thing to happen, so we should both do the best to avoid that.

In conclusion:

  • If you really can help us with a video on your platform, just confirm it by replying to my tweet with your official twitter handle and i will be glad to give you one key for testing and 3 for community events.
  • If you’re not the person you’re pretending to be but still want to play our game and can’t afford it, try again with a honest mail. State your case, and don’t be shy. We already gave keys to someone that loved the game but just couldn’t afford it.
  • If you just wanted to have some keys for free,to resell them or whatever … well then you can go and … yourself.


Sincerely,Alexander 

Me is now bashing fake-youtube people like this:

mail-scam
thx to http://thecodinglove.com/

“We killed the Indie-Game Star” – Pt.1

Wow – 6 months … that’s a pretty long time. And it would have some weeks more if there wasn’t a topic that popped up yesterday which got my attention and proves (again) in what a sick world you have to dive in if you’re doing mobile games.

The title of that article is “This is why we can’t have nice things: …” and it talks about the release of the first “Level Pack” for the magnificient MONUMENT VALLEY. So it goes for 1,79€, not bad if you think that you get the same amount of levels you got in the first game. But – i assume that ustwo were aware of that – of course the average iTunes customer does not hesitate to complain. About paying 1,79€ for another bunch of levels for that beautiful game. Seriously, we are talking about 1,79€ or 1,99$. That makes me sad to the heart. video games can do so much beautiful things (as i said on my last talk on the GamesNight). But people seem to be not willing to pay for that. If you actually know what work stands behind video games i warn you: reading the following comments are truly hurtful:
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There are way more, but i just can’t keep on reading. I mean, yeah we got way more problems on this planet than stupid-fucks that don’t appreciate the value of others people work. But, as it’s a blog about games i’ll focus on that.
All this led to the following statement:

That’s it, we’re giving up the premium game. Next time we’re just going to sell you 500 coins for $2 instead.
— ustwogames (@ustwogames) 12. November 2014

Although i don’t think that that’s really going to happen i still find the simple statement harsh enough: We as consumer are preparing our own free 2 play hell. So my equation is the following one: I love to play more for quality and as i have limited resources buy less. It’s like the problem with cheap food. Instead of eating crap meat every second day i try to get good meat once every two weeks. So back to mobile games – are people really arguing about 1,79€? Their “god-damn average crap beer in a fuckin’ bar trying to get wasted and looking incredibly stupid while doing it” is two times that price! Hey “You let us down”-folks, how about that? Next time you get into your club after having your first drink try arguing with the bar keeper that you want your second one for free. Dumbasses.

I am totally aware that this post consists more of swearing than real content – but i just had to let off some steam. Too many developers (friends, people that i admire, myself) have to deal with such people. And it’s getting worse. But the “getting worse” part will be explained in my next post. Hopefully faster than in 6 months …

Until then – have something beautiful (for about 13€, yes that’s real money you have to pay for something good. That’s also 4 beers in a bar or just 2 packs of cigarettes, think by yourself what’s more worth …):
http://www.tri-game.com/index.html

“The Inner World” gewinnt bestes Deutsches Spiel 2014 [German]

Ludwigsburg, 9:10 Uhr
Okay, heute ist es soweit. Heute Abend werde ich es endlich wissen. Gewinnen wir den Deutschen Computerspiel Preis und setzen uns gegen “Crysis 3” und “Giana Sisters” durch – oder bleibt es bei der Nominierung für das beste Deutsche Spiel? Vielleicht sollte ich weniger darüber nachdenken und endlich mal aufstehen und mich fertig machen. Oh, schon zehn nach zehn! Ich sollte nun wirklich los. Schnell Krawatten und Hemdauswahl in den Rucksack gestopft!

Zuffenhausen, 10:45 Uhr
Tobias wartet schon und Sebastian und Mareike lassen nicht lange auf sich warten. Das ist sie, die Fizbinsche Delegation für den wichtigsten Preis der Deutschen Videospielbranche. Am liebsten hätte ich den ganzen Fernbus gemietet und das ganze Team mitgenommen, da solche Gala-Veranstaltungen aber immer eine gewisse Exklusivität haben sollen dürfen nur Mareike und Sebastian zusammen mit Dieter und Marcel auf die “VIP”-Couch, Tobias und Ich sitzen in der “Fan Zone”. Ist aber auch egal, denn falls wir gewinnen sollten werden wir wie auch immer auf die Bühne kommen. Oh unser Shuttle Bus ist da.

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München, 15:20 Uhr
Nach einer langen Busfahrt und einer kleinen Exkursion durch das Münchner ÖPNV Ticket System (Meine Fresse, eure Tagestickets sind verdammt günstig!) sind wir auf der “Games Bavaria Conference” angekommen und dürfen uns zusammen mit den Jungs von Black Forest Games über den Preis und unsere Erfolgsaussichten unterhalten. An diesem Punkt wird mir klar: Okay – klar würde ich gerne gewinnen, aber Adrian und Andreas hätten es auch verdient den Pokal mit nachhause zu nehmen.

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München, 18:10 Uhr
Anprobe. Aufgrund der vertrödelten Zeit am Morgen habe ich mir eine Auswahl meiner Krawatten mitgenommen und 2 verschiedene Hemden. Okay, weiß und eine dunkle Krawatte mit bunten Streifen. Mittlerweile haben starke Kopfschmerzen eingesetzt, die ich der Nervosität zuschreibe. Aber das bemerke ich nur nebenbei. Meine Gedanken drehen sich darum wie ich vor 4 Jahren Sebastian und Mareike kennengelernt hatte und was in diesen 4 Jahren alles passiert ist. Von der ersten Idee von Asposien bis hin zu diesem Spiel war es ein aufregender aber auch steiniger Weg. Und das Ding könnte heute auch noch als das “Beste” Deutsche Spiel ausgezeichnet werden? Was ist eigentlich das “Beste” Deutsche Spiel? Während ich Tobias seine Krawatte binde halte ich für mich fest: Was auch immer das “Beste” Deutsche Spiel bedeutet, ich würde mich freuen wenn die Arbeit der letzten Jahre so geehrt wird.
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München, ca 21:30
Mein Kopf pocht wie schon lange nicht mehr. Wir sind als nächste Kategorie dran. Moment mal, ein Gesangs Act? Ernsthaft? Okay, ich bin kurz draußen.
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München, 21:40
Die Kippe hat es nicht besser gemacht, ich glaube mein Hirn hält die Anspannung nicht aus. Ah Okay, der Minister hält die Laudatio. “Was macht ein bestes Deutsches Spiel aus” … “Es muss mich fesseln” … “Das können bei mir am besten Jump’n’Runs“.
.
.
.
Okay, das wars. Giana Sisters hat gewonnen. Verdient.

“So und der Gewinner.”
“Des Deutschen Computerspiel Preises”
“Für das beste Deutsche Spiel ist”

Black Forest Games mit Giana Sisters.

“The Inner World!”
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Der Rest des Abends ist auf komischen Fotos auf Twitter und in der ganzen Presse in Deutschland zu sehen und nachzulesen.

Wir haben es geschafft.

Als vor 4 Jahren die Konzeption und Entwicklung dieses Projektes losging hätte ich mir niemals denken können dass wir jemals den “Deutschen Computerspielpreis” für das BESTE DEUTSCHE SPIEL gewinnen könnten. Ich weiß dass der Preis einige Kontroversen hervorruft und auch ich denke dass der Preis noch einiges zu tun hat bevor er das ist was er sein möchte, aber alles in allem hat dennoch eine Jury sich entschieden uns den Preis zu geben und nicht Crysis 3. Auch wenn 4players ihn wohl lieber Crysis gegeben hätte. Die Frage ist nämlich in Reviews sowie in solchen Preisen: “Was bedeutet eigentlich bestes Spiel ?”.

Aber, jetzt ist auch mal Zeit DANKE zu sagen!

Ich bedanke mich in erster Linie bei meiner Familie, die mir diese Reise durch Unterstützung und vollster Zustimmung überhaupt erst ermöglicht hat. Wenn Papa, Jenny und Chris so stolz sind, kann Alex noch mehr als 140% geben.

Und natürlich das wohl fantastischste Team ever. Schmitt und Mott – ihr seid die geilsten Kollegen, ever. Danke für Fizbin. Danke für die Zeit, und Danke für die kommende Zeit. Elke, Tobi, Anika, Andi, Flo, Fabi, Ferdi, Regina, Kim, Miri, Jana, Verena, Paul, Moritz, Angie, Philipp, David, Chris, Bertram … ohne euch alle (und all diejenigen, die ich vergessen habe) wäre The Inner World nicht das geworden was es jetzt ist. Ein preisgekröntes Adventure für Jung und Alt. Danke. Danke. Danke.

Aber auch bei meinen Freunden, die mich mit ihrem Stolz und ihrer Unterstützung durch die schlaflosen Nächte getrieben haben, welche mich dieses Projekt gekostet hat. Ich sollte es nicht tun, aber ich versuche es einfach mal: Beni, Nobbi, SteDu, Ela, Simone, Paul, Alena, Äxl, Martin, Nemo, Nagash, Matze, Neffi, Kati, Bohmi, Suhlig, Adriana, Jens, Martin … und und und und und. Danke für Bier, Unterstützung, Mut, Schulter zum Abstützen und Liebe.

Klemens von der Hochschule Ravensburg-Weingarten, Inga von der Filmakademie, Teut als Mentor (You teut us so!) und Stephanie von der MFG – Danke für euer Vertrauen, eure Ratschläge und eure Unterstützung!

Zu guter Letzt: Auch bei dir, bedanke ich mich. Auch wenn unsere Wege seit geraumer Zeit sich getrennt haben, so hast du am meisten von der Zeit, in der ich an The Inner World gearbeitet habe mitbekommen. Du hast die schlaflosen Nächte am meisten mitbekommen. Die Zeit an deiner Seite haben mir die Kraft gegeben, die das ganze hier gekostet hat. Danke für das Aushalten, das Warten, das Hoffen, den Glauben, die Stärke und die Liebe. Egal wie oft ich Danke schreibe, ich glaube kaum dass es dir gerecht wird. Ich hoffe du musst so eine Zeit nicht noch einmal durchmachen und wünsche dir alles liebe und gute.

So – und jetzt muss ich raus für ein paar Tage. Raus aus dem Netz, raus aus dem Haus, raus in die Natur. Der Kopf ist voll und neblig. Zeit ihn freizumachen.

So long and see you soon,

Alexander – Pepe – Alex

p.s.: Es folgen radom impressions!

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“Work-Life Balance” or “A little rant about random stuff in a box.”

Although some of you won’t like to hear that, i’ll say it anyways: No, i am not dead. I just was pretty busy. Being the Game & Technical Director in one person on our current game is pretty demanding and i am struggling to not work more than i can.

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thx, thecodinglove.com

But this is not always easy, especially if you try to run a indie studio. You have to keep your project going, do some pitches for new client jobs in order to get some money to work even more on your own projects. Get that irony? Besides of that i try to still get some free time (and i had some wonderful days, trust me!) in order to refresh creativity and motivation. After the last years i learnt a lot. One of the most important things was – if you work too hard, and even harder than that, your efficiency gets pretty crappy.  But hey, i promised you a rant. So let me get to the point.

Thanks to very specific facebook ads i always get the appropriate ads: “Get a ton of muscles in just 1 day.” “Get laid!” “Get money!” “Get pretty!” “With no effort!”. Here is a selection of stuff i gathered the last years …

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’nuff said.
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Rose loved Jack’s “JizzButton”.

Seriously – who on earth believes this crap? But ranting about stupid facebook ads, is lame, i know. So i got another topic. Here in germany there are lots of startups trying to sell me stuff they select for me in a box. It’s perfect for busy & hip people that run their own business and have no time for such bullshit like selecting their own clothes or get their own food. My facebook wall is cluttered with this bullshit. Ads and even some people i have on the friend list don’t stop bragging about how they try this crap (Short reminder to myself: I’ll have to clean up my friend list). So – what the f*ck is wrong with going outside and get shopping your own food? Mr. Hip-Business-Punk is to busy for that? Or maybe he is too busy eating also? So why waste your time with chewing if you could just get intravenous food? Why should you care about getting out of your office and selecting the stuff you’ll stuff into your mouth? Because i still have a life god damn it. I want to get outside and pick my food by myself. And i don’t want to hear about that so would you please shut the fuck up.

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Thanks, but no thanks.

It’s like facebook knows “Hey this guy works too much and always gets into the supermarket on the last fucking minute. Let’s propose him some “i am a total retard”-boxes. Oh and he also still not dresses like a total jerk, so let’s help him with that too!”

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Yeah, i want to look like these poor morons. Right.

What on earth were they thinking? I mean, thanks to all the online delivery stuff of course you could survive by not leaving your home, or even better than that, by not leaving your office, but now we even don’t have to select our stuff? Try to have our own style? Seriously – if i hadn’t had such beautiful days recently i would have totally gone berserk by the seemingly endless stupidity of some people.

Thanks for listening, i’ll start cleaning my friend list. Bye you “Superbusy-but-hip-human-being-that-doesn’t-have-time-to-select-his-own-food-or-own-clothes”. Have a nice day I hope your lunch sucks and you look stupid in your chosen outfit.