holiday season sale + ipad game of the year + interview!

Dezember 22nd, 2010

indie sale! along with a bunch of fellow indies, osmos is part of two bundles this holiday season! we are fortunate and humbled to be part of the humble indie bundle #2, which – after one week – has sold 183000 copies (!). osmos is also included in the indie iphone holiday sale, which started yesterday and runs until december 31. in both cases, large parts of the proceedings will be donated to child’s play charity. i think that these bundles contain some of the best independently developed games of the past years, and since they are almost going for free (or for charity, your pick), what are you waiting for?

ipad game of the year!

to our great surprise and utter delight, osmos was selected by apple as their ipad game of the year! i guess that makes osmos the “best ipad game of all time” for now? right? :) soooo exciting! thanks to all you people out there who love and continue to play the game!

another castle and last but not least, i was interviewed by charles pratt for the NYU game center podcast another castle. they also fed me beer, so my talking gets more incoherent as time passes. it was great fun! if you are not familiar with this podcast series, may i suggest that you check it out right now? there’s an amazing line-up of great game designers (many of which i consider mentors and ongoing inspiration) and i am, again, humbled to be part of this.

what a year. happy holidays you all! … and now back to igf judging…

updates…

November 24th, 2010

indiecade 2010 this blog has been dead for a very, very long time. and i’m not planning on reviving it. thanks to facebook, twitter and many other activities in my life, i clearly have no time to write more than 140 characters at a time, or re-post something to my facebook feed. while i do think this is somewhat unfortunate, the things i am doing instead are so much more exciting than maintaining this space. still, i might try to post something here every now and then, if only to archive it for myself, since facebook and twitter are not useful for this at all.

but while i’m here, why not write a few lines?… i’m currently judging games for the independent games festival 2011, playing some other games on the side, researching/reading material for our book on minimalist game design (tentative title), and looking forward to another celebration of independent games at babycastles (NYC, 42nd street) this saturday, when mr. brandon boyer will be in town. next week eddy and i are off to shanghai for gdc china where we’ll be giving the talk we presented at indiecade 2010 on minimalism and osmos, and after that i’ll be working more intensely on two SIGGRAPH submissions and a few game designs, while also heading over to germany for the holidays. comfortably busy, as always, and i would not have it any other way.

in closing, osmos has been a huge success in 2010, with many glowing reviews and strong sales on ipad and iphone, pc, mac and linux, and i can’t thank all of you enough! it’s been quite the ride, and it will be hard — but hopefully possible — to follow up with more gaming goodness in the future. i am working on a new prototype, and also collaborating on a game with NYC game studio area/code (creators of my beloved drop7), so there’s at least a chance that i will continue to create games. i could go on and on about how much fun and how inspiring this has been, but i think it’s time to put my head down and get to work on all of my projects. one step at a time.

vision award

März 28th, 2009

osmos won the 2009 D2D vision award at the IGF awards ceremony. yay! this all happened last wednesday. in the meanwhile, i’ve taken an overnight flight to chicago, where i have been busy judging the entries for this year’s SIGGRAPH conference. so for today (more to come soon), i can leave you with a streaming video of the awards ceremony. our part is around the 32 minute mark.

the awards ceremony was one crazy event. very professionally produced, and lots of fun. actually, we were nervous as hell, so the real fun started after we calmed down some time later. the definite effect this all had, is that we will continue making games. not sure how, when or what exactly, but i have a bit of a plan. and it involves me giving in and getting a mac. more on this in the near future. first though, i could really use some sleep.

osmos and zeit²

März 20th, 2009

osmos our video game osmos has been nominated for three awards at this year’s independent games festival (igf)! eddy and i are on our way to san francisco this saturday to attend the game developers conference (gdc), the indie games summit, and the igf. the awards ceremony is on wednesday evening, and man, are we excited! we’re nominated for excellence in design, technical excellence and the seumas mcnally grand prize. it was also just announced that we’re nominated for the direct2drive vision award, and you can vote for our game in the igf audience award category, if you like what you see. if you’re interested in more details, some interviews and our general blog, have a look at the hemisphere games website.

osmos on steam frontpage a demo just appeared on valve’s distribution platform steam, where the full game will be available sometime later this year. if you click on the image left, you’ll see the (small) osmos logo in the list, on the steam frontpage along with things like left 4 dead and team fortress 2. so cool… osmos will also be available via direct2drive’s indie games portal. and while the demo gives a pretty good picture in terms of what to expect, eddy is hard at work on more visual experiments for the final version.

zeit² it’s also very much worth mentioning that a group of my very talented students in the tu-berlin game programming and design course are one of the igf student showcase winners! zeit² was developed over the course of a 13 week game programming and design course in the summer of 2008, and it is simply incredible what they have achieved in such short time. thanks to xna, the game runs on both windows and the xbox 360. xbox community games are not (yet) available in germany, but i am sure that the game will be up for grabs once germany is added to the list (hopefully in 2009). encouraged by this, and the overall quality of the games developed in my three courses in berlin, i am continuing this line of teaching (and possibly research) at my new position at rutgers university.

this all still feels too good to be true. we have been getting some incredible feedback over the past weeks since the igf announcement. our forum is full of constructive, positive reactions to the demo, and even rod humble found some very nice words to say in the comments of eddy’s gamasutra interview. rod is the developer of the marriage, which i (and many others) frequently use as a demonstration of just how strong the meaningful abstraction of visuals and interaction can be. thanks rod! and thanks to all of you who have continuously supported our efforts and my desire to work on this. it has been more rewarding than i had ever hoped, and i can promise that you have not seen the last of us. now that this kicked off, let’s see how far we can go. there are many ideas afloat, and so many nice platforms to develop for (looking at you, iphone). to be continued… cheers!

reboot

Januar 8th, 2009

time to get this blog up and running again! so many things to blog about: phd graduation, marriage, leaving my beloved berlin and relocating to new york, new job, etc. too much for now. will get to some of this shortly. for now i am so happy that our game osmos was nominated for three IGF awards. this is so cool. more soon…

pac get!

Juni 26th, 2007

pac man C.E. i’ve been meaning to write a bit about video games for some time now. to my great surprise, it took a rebuilt version of an old classic to make this happen. pac man C.E. has taken up large batches of my spare (and not so spare) time lately, and i think it will continue to do so. toru iwatani and his team at namco have managed to revive the good old ghost eater in a style similar to newer games such as lumines and geometry wars, and the result is nothing less than painfully addictive. for more info, check out the excellent review on 1up.com.

other games i have recently played, enjoyed, and can wholeheartedly recommend are gears of war, god of war II, crackdown and guitar hero 2. guitar hero 2 is great for two reasons (a) it’s fun, and (b) olga is addicted to it. she recently beat my career score on the worldwide leaderboards, making it impossible for me to simply stop playing. this is rather unfortunate, since i am way too busy playing forza motorsport 2 and the recently fixed motorstorm.

fm2 lotus elise 135R

my fm2 lotus elise 135r. both the paintjob as well as the screenshot were created using in-game tools.

eddy and i gave the motorstorm time trials a go during his recent berlin visit, and they rock. in any case, i’m all about the races these days, which is a nice distraction from all the first- or third person action games of early 2007. but not to worry, there’s so much more on the horizon. i’ll be in san diego and montreal in the first two weeks of august, only to be welcomed by bioshock when i get back home. bioshock is the spiritual successor to system shock 2, which, to my great shame, i have never finished. september will greet us with halo 3, and the recent multiplayer beta was significantly more fun than i had expected. october is gta IV month. i’ve played all ps2 incarnations of the series, and judging from the trailer (and yes, the hype) this one should be good. ubisoft has some year-end fun in store for us with assassin’s creed and splinter cell: conviction. the assassin’s creed video footage looks awesome and really nails the visual style. as for conviction: a very good friend of mine is working on their physics and animation systems, and i can’t wait to see the results.

all in all, i’d say 2007 is (and will likely stay) a great year for video games.

in closing, check out what most video gamers look like, and the king of kong. we are indeed a weird (and mostly competitive) breed. we also like the fun. and some even enjoy making games. i personally also enjoy talking about games. for a glimpse of both the talking and the making, check out the class on video game programming i have been teaching at tu berlin this summer term. finally, this link will clarify the title of this post. shine get!

our youtube premiere

April 30th, 2007

got my first youtube video up. woot. it’s the video for our siggraph paper, which was a very collaborative effort of takeo, olga, marc and myself. i think we are all happy with the result, and getting accepted to siggraph, but check it out for yourself

we’ve made the paper(s), videos and the software available on our project pages. if you find it useful, drop us a line. feedback is always welcome. note though, that the software is a research prototype, and might crash. save often. cheers.

[update.] here some more research stuff. i present to you: silsketch.

we just got this work accepted to the workshop on sketch-based interfaces and modeling. my m.sc. student johannes will be presenting at the workshop. congratulations man!

san diego summer

April 8th, 2007

siggraph 2007 logo Our submission made it to siggraph 2007… yay! I have been enjoying a few months of kinda downtime, and what better way to get back into the flow of things. kinda downtime, because i was not only doing random stuff as originally planned, but have been preparing the game programming course, reviewing a relatively large amount of siggraph papers, attending a workshop on pen centric computing, and also starting to write up my phd thesis (which i will submit on may 20th, at least that’s the plan).

siggraph 2007 logosure, games were played, good friends hosted, and too much coffee consumed, but it seems i simply can’t purely slack anymore. what happened to those good old student days of blissful nothingness? ah well, good times nonetheless. if i find the time, i’ll write about it in some in some more detail. for now though, i’m looking forward to a beautiful berlin summer and a trip to san diego in august. cheers. [ps. we have made the software available. click on the image to reach the project page.]

new this year

Januar 29th, 2007

or this new year? what i mean to say is happy new year, only a little late. so, what is new this year? i’d say, not very much. and who says that this “grand moment” between two consecutive years changes anything anyway? but thinking about potential upcoming changes, and what might become new this year… well. this sounds much more interesting to me. but: lets start with how i spent (parts) of the new year. olga and i visited (among others) her parents in israel for the holidays. since i once again do not live near much nature in berlin, i tried spending as much time as possible near the ocean. winter in israel isn’t overly warm anymore, but still very nice for strolling along the beach with a lovely person, a bit of sunshine and some great tunes. some impressions:

israel01 israel02 israel03 israel04 
israel05 israel06 israel07 israel08 
israel09 israel10 israel11

january has been 90% filled with preparing a siggraph submission, which incidentally constitutes the final (and most likely main) chapter of my phd thesis. once it’s written, that is. from approximately mid february on i will be on extended away time from the lab (> one month), and while i mainly plan to catch up on some reading, hanging out in berlin cafes and doing lots of something (i have a leisure todo list that’s a mile long), i will also get my thesis underway. needless to say, i am really looking forward to these months. it’ll be swell. thereafter, this summer term i will (finally) be teaching a course on game programming (yay). but after the summer term, and therefore after the phd? who knows. let’s just say this year is likely to have some surprises in store, making too much planning on my behalf very, very obsolete.

and how have you all been? don’t be a stranger and drop a line from time to time… except for you eddy, you i owe a long email. to be written as soon as i’m back from monaco next weekend. cheers!

klcc

Dezember 3rd, 2006

i’m currently in kuala lumpur, living in the klcc (kuala lumpur city center) district, about 300m from the petronas twin towers. if i wasn’t as forgetful as i tend to be, i could post a picture. unfortunately though, i forgot to take my camera. i’ve been hunting for a new one here, but since they cost as much as in germany i’m going to pass. instead, check out youtube endeavors posted on the interweb.

i’ve been here for exactly a week now. it’s always warm and humid, the people are very friendly and overall i’ve had a better time than i had expected after arriving in the pouring rain last monday. hanging out with marc (a fellow cg dude from strasbourg) and meeting jenny and martin last night surely helped. the 0.66 liter tiger beers helped too, i think.

the graphite conference, while very well organized (and held at a cool venue), was a slight disappointment. and, surprise, it was not the quality of the papers that bothered me. many authors simply did not show up for the conference, and therefore for their talks. this is totally unacceptable and unprofessional in my opinion, and i think the publications should be retroactively nullified, should the authors not have notified the conference office in advance. small conferences such as graphite rely on all authors participating. publishing merely for the sake of the isbn number is pitiful. end of rant. aside of this annoyance, the conference and the networking was fun and informative.

kuala lumpur greeted me with lots of rain, fog and humidity, but after this week i can’t say i dislike it here. it’s actually kinda cool. far away from home, and quite a lengthy flight for a one week stay, but cool. still, it’s time to leave. tomorrow. now it’s time to get back to thom yorke and murakami’s kafka on the shore.