Thursday, June 19, 2014



Dear followers, readers and friends!

As some of you might recall, a while ago I wrote a post titled Announcing Determination where I told that I want to get back into some Indie development myself. I already prepared additional posts about my idea, I set up various development environments, sketched a bunch of stuff... but (un)fortunately things got a bit out of control already days after this initial post.
I wanted to do a remake of an old game. My research brought me to the point where I could not start to freely twaddle about it, and legally it turned out better that I didn't. In the end I got official word that I am not to do what I wanted to do and my endeavour was crushed before you even heard about it. - Ok, I thought, let it rest. It's not that I have no original ideas myself...
However, also at that time I have been contacted that a class about videogame development, with a focus on art and character design I have registered already long time before, has finally reached it's minimum number of participants and was about to start. So, in the end I was quite lucky that I didn't get into anything because the class alone took about 30 hours per week of my time over the last four months! Nevertheless it was a lot of fun and it did pay off greatly since it was not only theoretical. Not only that it refreshed my skills with 3D modelling, sculpting and texturing, I also learned a lot about 2D characters, colors, design and functionality in general and I could greatly improve everyday workflow by learning a ton of neat tricks in a variety of programs along the way.

So yeah, now you also know why I wasn't too active on my blog for some time. I also met some very nice people in the class and we will probably do something together in the near future. Because I also don't want to get rusty again with - or rather further improve - the 3D stuff, I will use this section of my blog to showcase some of the things will be doing from now on... well... maybe I will restructure the site a bit, I don't know yet. For now it stays here and I would love to get some comments and critique about the stuff. Please enjoy some of the more or less final works from the last months:

Play more! Create more!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014



Days before the biggest videogame event of the year the internet seemed nervous. Torn between big expectations and the still visible scar of recent disappointments. You could feel it. The virtual air was full of electricity; "Who will come out best?", "Will Microsoft redeem itself?", "Did anybody hear something from Nintendo?",... Probably the most important question on everyone's mind however was: "What new games will be announced?" or rather "Can we now finally speak of a next generation of gaming"?

Well, to make it short: Yes, we can finally speak of a new generation of videogames. And the titles that will soon eat up the miserable rest of our souls are more beautiful than ever, vast in numbers and even more incomprehensible in terms of playtime.

Assassin's Creed Unity
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo: Masterchief Collection
Sims 4
Far Cry 4
Batman: Arkham Knight
Yoshi's Wooly World
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Tom Clancy's The Division
Mirror's Edge 2
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Alien Isolation
The Order 1886
Star Wars Battlefront
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Mortal Kombat X
The Legend of Zelda
The Evil Within
Mass Effect 4

and many, many more great games will be released in the near future. I am surely not exaggerating when I say that after this event gamer hearts all over the world need quite some time to get back to their normal rhythm. I liked most of what I have seen and the games that really made my piss my pants were definitely the new Assassin's Creed, the new Batman, The Division, the new Zelda and one indie title called White Night. Of course there was also the new Halo but somehow the creators of the franchise - be it now 343 or Bungie in the past - are never really good in presenting their product at the appropriate time. The trailer of Halo 5: Guardians was basically nothing. Sorry, but you need a bit more than that if you want to make my blood go faster. And all this Masterchief Collection stuff (remakes of the older Halo games) didn't impress me a lot. Is this really requested fan-service or are they still trying to milk dead cows even more? Since you can always switch back to the original graphics, I really hope this time you did a better job than with Halo Anniversary and you also touched the code of the games a bit. Because just changing the graphics is not enough, which is why Halo Anniversary was rather unplayable and in the end not very good!

Anyway, since you all have probably seen a lot about the games I don't want to tell you again why they are good. - If you haven't, check out the links I set above and get blown away yourself. I would rather use the rest of this post to talk about some general impressions I had from watching the event:

First and foremost regarding the games... Are you people - gamers and mostly creators - not the least bit concerned about the path you are choosing with these games displayed? To me it seems like immersive was yesterday and now we should invent a new word like "ubermersive". Was it just a damn good presentation and far from the blunt playtime truth or is seriously every game as long as displayed? - That infinite? From watching all those great games I got this distinct feeling that most of what we are to expect is basically a never ending story; "The universe is infinite", "You can travel all the way to those big mountains in the back", "We will see how big it will really get", and so on... You know, it's not a bad thing if game worlds get bigger and offer the players a lot to explore, but on the other hand this might also not be such a good thing either. Do you honestly expect us to put 100+ hours in every game we play? Who has the time for that? And if we, the people who need work hard to pay the more or less justified prices of those games, had the time, do you honestly think we could play even half of those titles? I hope not. Most of us will have to make a choice. - Do I play Assassin's Creed Unity or do I rather want to put the little free time I have into the new Batman over the next couple of months? Excuse my Russian but that is bullshit! I think the industry is tiptoeing on some very thin ice there. When did the console wars become game wars? More than ever does it seem like everyone wants to make his game as big and as long as possible, to hook-up as many players as possible for the longest time possible and prevent them from playing anything else. - That sounds like "trapmersive" to me. Have you ever thought that this might backfire on the level we are currently? - Especially since you always release all the major titles within just a few weeks? Just imagine that most of the gamers will just buy one or two selected titles and they will be hooked on them for let's say three months each... wow, that sounds like a lot of revenues, right? At least for the few titles that got consumed to the very last crumb. But what if you are with one of the games that nobody bought... well, that's a damn sad story then, right?

What did you think about the presentations in general? I must say, I was quite surprised from the approaches and the different shows. Not considering games (!!!), for me, Microsoft did the best show. Ok, it seemed a bit stiff and to be honest I can't make too much of Phil Spencer at the moment. Was it just the pressure after last year's disastrous Xbox One presentation or did you also think he just faked all the "I am a real gamer" attitude? As much as I want, I can't tell. Both Microsoft's and Sony's show were great to watch and left me with a professional impression, although the developers on stage seemed a bit crazier at Sony's side.

Eye candy, people! Remember all this many green screens? Or the one very long screen in the back from Sony? How can you not even show up in person at all, Nintendo? - Digital Event, my ass! You know, we get digtal events all the year, but at the biggest and most important videogame event of the year, could you please show up in person? That would make you soo much more real and personal...

Microsoft also did not waste any time on any new techno-gadgets, like Sony did with their PlayStation TV or their Oculus Rift copy or Nintendo with their even more ridiculous amibo dolls! This time Microsoft was all about games and that I appreciated most! Yes, Sony also showed some games off big-time (and probably more than MS did), but in the end it simply felt like too much blabla from which I can't even remember half by now. And Nintendo did in no way better; nobody on the stage and for the most part just some Japanese developers explaining the simplest things over and over with more words than necessary, while drinking tea, playing with wool or watching fishes. Oh, and those stupid, badly animated sequences in-between...Sorry, but I didn't like them at all.

As always, aside from the three console giants, also some publishers had their own show and I must say that also those were pretty astonishing. Still, why did the EA guy wear such a ridiculous and snobby suit? Just a second... did they really have a live string performance on their show? Yep, something definitely smelled like big money on that stage. But you know, somehow Ubisoft even topped that... not with their needless dance show but with swearing! - I swear! I thought I was in the wrong movie hearing those top-ranked executives and producers tell stuff like "you are fucked" or "holy shit". Don't get me wrong, it's not that I am offended by cursing in general, but is the biggest gaming event really the right place to curse for these representatives of a major publisher? - In front of all the world? In front of children? What is this? Did they think this was cool? That they would related better to a mature audience? I am sorry, I am very much mature, I am a gamer and I curse all the time, but somehow I did feel a bit offended by such a transgression. I know games break every boundary nowadays and our children are fucked might have lost any moral values by now, but please... you are grown people, public figures,.. how about keeping some decency? Swearing on stage at your grade of representation is NOT cool! And btw. a push-up contest is also not necessarily the reason why I watched your show...

Judging from the presentations it became clear to me that every console giant needs to work a bit more on themselves; Microsoft still needs to become more believable and trustworthy again, Sony needs to step down from their big horse and become a bit closer and personal to their audience without introducing one techno gadget after the other and Nintendo (better sooner than later) needs to grow up. - Making cute games is one thing but presenting them in such a way is another.

All in all and especially game-wise this was a great E3, probably the best I've ever watched. I am glad that console gaming finally made it to the next generation with all those awesome titles. Not only the standard AAA franchises look better than ever and seem to explore new aspects instead of giving us the same sequels again, but also a ton of great indie games are rolling our way.

I am very happy to play those games soon and I seriously hope we gamers will really have the time to get into the bigger part of them!

Play more! Celebrate more!