From one game to another

Once in a while I can drown myself into a videogame. I’ve been gaming over 30 years now and played a wide range of genres, not being bound to any particular type of game. Sometimes some short little game catches my eye and I finish it within a week. In my early gaming years I’ve played quite alot of football games, both action and management games, and I could go on season after season.

gamesgamesgames

The last 15 years I’ve gotten an interest in online games and I’ve been loving the social espect of it. Especially MMORPG’s are the kind of games I can loose myself into and there are a couple of eXamples I have spend the majority of my available gametime with over these years. It all began when I had a collegue back in 2003 who’s boyfriend worked for a gamemagazine writing reviews. She talked about him reviewing an online game called Eve Online and her story got me interested. So one night I thought I’d check out on the internet what this game was all about and ended up that same night getting a subscription.

Although I have mingled into online social space before through IRC and other chat communities Eve Online was the first “online world” I stepped in to interact with other inhabitans who “lived” there. The idea of meeting all these new people and talking about both stuff that happened in the virtual as wel as the real world was overwhelming. I really enjoyed my time in Eve Online and spend a good couple of years there neXt to other “offline” games i played but most of my time i spend in Eve… That was also when I realised thay paying a subscription made you feel you “need” to spend time in that game or you waste the money you spent! At a later time I realised that could lead to pretty uncomfortable feelings, especially when you start to loose interest in the game but feel like you cannot just let it go because of the time and money spent!

To put it in fast forward, after this first taste of a fresh new way of playing games I dove into Lord of the Rings Online in 2007 when it launched until my neXt big game interest arived in december 2011, Star Wars The Old Republic. I have been playing SWTOR for quite some years but with every game, communities rise and fall and like me, the people you play these games with eventually move on to other games and interests in real life. This is not neccesarily a bad thing but when that happens it is usually time to go to the neXt new and eXciting game.

Problem is there is no new game at this moment that has caught my interest eXcept for Hero’s Song which is just in early access release. Therefor i was looking at the games I played or did not play in the past I might try out just for the fun of it and I finally came across the one game that everyone has been playing and talking about for over a decade but somehow never caught me, World of Warcraft (WoW)! This game launched in 2004 and is often seen as the game that started the big MMO hype. It certainly is not the first MMO and not even the first popular one but for sure its the one that everyone automaticly thinks of when you are talking about MMO’s, both with gamers and non-gamers alike.

Getting into a new MMO nowadays is pretty quick and fast, even with downloads of 40GB since most games are already playable after a few hundred MBs while the rest of the game downloads in the background. WoW also has a free to play option where you can play the first 20 levels for free but setting up a subscription was quick and easy with PayPal so I have committed and started this game as probably the last human on earth!

wow-banner-zonder

WoW has a huge amount of servers to choose from and by default they try to get you on a new or underpopulated server but after a short while I contacted an old friend from one of my previous online game adventures and made a fresh character on “his” server Dragonblight. I started out as a Rogue (stabby stabby) and took my first few steps in this new but old world. Since I start playing more than 10 years after release my first journey in this game will be one with the intention to catch up to all those millions of players that have (multiple) characters at levelcap and are mostly engaged into the endgame content. I do plan to enjoy this journey to levelcap so I have started to chain quest after quest getting formiliar with the skills and mechanics of the game.

At this moment my Rogue is level 59 so I’m over halfway to level 110 and still enjoying the journey. Still a long ways to go and I’ve always thought it is better to play than to watch or read about it so I wont bore you with all the little things but I do plan on getting back to you in a future blogpost on my progress in WoW so keep an eye out for more posts to come.

cropped-single-ant1-1.png

Advertisements

The mancave, getting there slowly…

It’s been a while already since i told you that i was working on a room in our house after i redecorated the bedrooms of the kids. We have made quite a bit of progress eventhough this project has not been one of the fastests we worked on.

IMG_3622

Just to remind you, my wife and i discussed the purpose of the room several times in the past for she would like to have a walk-in closet and i prefer an eXtra room for studies and officework. When my wife got a new job for which she could work partly at home she changed her mind and we decided to create an office, or like my son calls it, a man-cave!

I stripped the walls of the wallpaper and painted the windowframe and baseboards. After that i wallpapered some of the walls and painted the others. We were looking for the right kind of desk for a while and eventually decided to create it ourselves from a worktop we found at a kitchenfactory. Innitially we would have liked to have a white desk but since we ran into this darkbrown worktop and it was way more affordable we ended up with this alternative. We also got new wooden blinds for the window which adds a distinct look to the room.

kantoor_nw_1Ofcourse we need to have some storage space as well so we used a cabinet we still had in use in our kitchen but innitially bought for other purposes. I painted it white (do you recognise a theme?) to fit in and decided to place the printer on it as well. Also i prepared the desk to get all the obligatory cables out of sight with a couple cable trays. I must admit, things are really starting to look good!

cropped-single-ant1-1.png

The room is not finished yet because we have some more ideas we like to work out. We are thinking about cupboards on the wall above the desk under which we like to make LED lights and open square cupboards on the other wall for displaying things. A couple of new 24″ monitors are also on our wishlist as well as some way to make it possible for my wife to dock her laptop and connect it to a second monitor, keyboard and mouse. We have found a couple of new chairs we love to buy but we have to wait until the budget allows it and we also still need to replace the lamp on the ceiling. We plan to eXtend the tv cable from our bedroom so we can put a small tv in the office as well. Last but not least we need some more decorations to personalize the room and make it our own. In the meanwhile we are quite satisfied with how the room has become so far and we have our relaXed workspace we decided to create!

kantoor_nw_2

 

Good-bye my friend…

good-bye-my-friend

In my life i have many great things to enjoy. I’m a person that tends to look at things from a positive perspective and i count my blessings for all the good stuff that has happened to me. I’ve had a great childhood, met a wonderfull girl i got to marry and we have 3 beautiful sons. We both have nice jobs and a house in the town we both grew up in.

Sometimes things happen to us or the people around us that affect our lives. Children are born, graduate, get married, create a life and children of their own and sadly people eventually pass away. I lost my mother when she was just 59 years old. Also recently the mother of my best friend died and i could feel his pain loosing her which affected me as well. This week though i recieved word that one of my childhood friends passed away. Although my mother passed away when she was still young, my friends passing was a whole other thing. At the age of 39 and father of 2 young children he should be right in the middle of life thinking about all the things he was going to achieve and enjoy his son and daughter.

My friend and I went to elementary school together and after that to highschool. We played football together and we both shared the love for gaming, for which we spend many days locked up in our rooms playing games together. Like good friends do we had our good and our bad moments but mostly we were having fun together. Also we went on holidays together with some other friends of ours which, even if that is over 20 years ago, i still remember with fond memories. After that time we kind of lost track and our lives went seperate ways.

A couple of years ago we accidently met again. In a restaurant we were seated back to back and when we found out we spend some time telling eachother what had been going on in our lives all these years we didn’t see eachother. After that we met a couple times more, always by accident, and we always concluded with the promise to go get something to drink soon and catch up some more. That never happend though… and now i realise we never will.

Right now, a few days after i first heared he passed away, i have spoken to some people that knew him well these last couple of years. I understand his life took a turn for the worse and due to circumstances and bad decisions he ended up living a life on its own, pushing away the people close to him. I thought alot these days if it would have mattered if i had talked to him about this but i concluded it would not have made a difference…

Our mind has a funny way of dealing with memories, after a while the bad ones will fade away and the good memories will remain. I will remember him as the friend from my childhood when all was good and fun. I just hope the people close to him, who have lived with him during the harsh times these last few years, will be able to deal with these bad memories before they will fade away and they too can enjoy the good memories that will eventually remain.

Good-bye my friend, thanks for the memories!

cropped-single-ant1-1.png

Hero’s Song: Doing it Right!

Today, september 7th, was the day Apple officially announced the iPhone7. That, however, was not what i was looking forward to today. September 7th was the day that PiXelMageGames made right what started in january with the announcement of this new company, their first game in developement, Hero’s Song, and the sadly failed attempt to launch a Kickstarter. Anyone with a bit of interest in gaming might remember that the game was pulled from Kickstarter within a few days after it started their campaign, appoligizing for their enthausiastic but rushed attempt. After that things got kind of quiet around Hero’s Song…

heros-song

Ofcourse the people behind PiXelMageGames got anything but quiet, passionately working on the game that they announced and that had sounded so promising. Sometimes there was some chitchatter on Twitter, usually voiced by John Smedley (CEO of PiXelMageGames), but nothing really big this last half year got announced nor shown to the public. A while ago i wrote a blogpost about community and how important it is to keep communication with your fanbase clear and active, to involved them on the project you are working on and how they are your best shot at promoting your product. In this post i used Hero’s Song as an eXample and tried to discribe how PiXelMageGames could benefit from a dedicated group of fans to both make their game better as well as keep the hype alive they started eventhough the Kickstarter failed. I hoped it got some attention from some of the people working on the game and fans in the community, for i still think together we can make this game a big succes. I dont know if anyone did notice my thoughts on the subject but today i got the feeling someone had seen the light and PiXelMageGames had made some eXcellent decisions!

hs_char1

First there was the info on the game. All the credits for this goes to the people working on Hero’s Song at PiXelMageGames and they have the opportunity to show this eXciting game they are working on all these months. Alot of features and ideas already mentioned with their first announcement seem to have made it into the game and the possibilities of unique worlds, a ton of classes, privately hosted games and an indept living gameworld, each with their own history, is mindblowing but seems to have become a real thing! Im really eXcited how this will develope over the neXt few weeks and months until we get the possibility to step into alpha-/preorder release and eXperience these brave new worlds for ourselves. It feels like what No Man’s Sky could and should have been, the eXploration of a procedurely generated gameworld but with the actual presence of eXciting gameplay and story… The difference of a beautiful but hollow shell and a game in which fantasies become real and a new adventure is yours for the taking.

PiXelMageGames decided to make amends with their failure at the Kickstarter campaign and launched on Indiegogo today. Opposed to their earlier attempt they backed this campaign with a ton of eXciting info on what they have achieved so far and set a fleXibele thus realistic goal to raise money to top the game eXperience with even more features and options. They left out the ridiculous backer options from their Kickstarter campain and set up a variety of realistic but desireable perks. There is the opportunity to buy a pre-order with a discount on the official price after launch, alpha access and a smal variety of goodies and/or ways to get your own ideas in the world of Hero’s Song. For the official announcement on this neXt stage in the developement of the game they set up a live stream hosted by the partnered and well known Twitch streamen CohhCarnage. John Smedly and Patrick Rothfuss (World Building and Design) appeared on the stream, showing their latest trailer on the game, eXplaining their progress and near future plans. NeXt to the eXciting features of the game and story they talked about, i was thrilled to hear CohhCarnage emphasize the importance of maintaining a good and active relationship with the community. Looking at the choices PiXelMageGames seem to have made with this new backer campaign and the communication towards their fanbase i would like to think some of my wishes have been heared and pick-up, wether it is coincidence or not i do not really care, i just hope it will make this game the fantastic project we got promised and i see a bright future ahead for everyone that have put their hopes on this project which could blow our minds. Hero’s Song, the game No Man’s Sky never was!

cropped-single-ant1-1.png

I love to hate the internet

 

“Dad! The internet is down again!” – “The wifi is terrible, my NetfliX keeps stuttering…” – “In my room I can’t even watch YouTube on my Phone and dad wont fiX it!” – “DAD!!!”

wifiant

I consider myself a poweruser of the internet and all the things related to it nowadays. I play online games, watch series and movies via NetfliX/HBOgo, read and write my email, browse the web and write my blog, listen to music and follow the news. In our Household we have 4 smartphones, 2 iPads, 1 Surface, 3 laptops, 2 desktops, 2 XboX’s and an Horizon setup boX all hooked up to the internet. Most of them connected via wifi and being used by my wife and me along with our 3 kids. Most of the time there are at least 2, but sometimes up to 5 people connecting and using the wifi signal.

I love the endless posibilities of stuff you can do when you have access to the internet and i cannot imagine our life without it anymore. Ofcourse its not a life treatening thing when the internet is down but to be honest, we do all use it on a daily base one way or the other.

On the other side i hate this way of life as well… Connection to the internet has become a thing to rely on and people have started to take it for granted. When my wife likes to watch tv she turns it on, has instant signal and possibilties to watch a movie or series. She, and many others like her, eXpect the same when she decides to use NetfliX or another streaming service via the internet. When you turn on your device and choose a movie it should show in good quality and without any hickups. Same for the kids when they are trying to find their favorite YouTube channel or try to post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It should work, it should work fast and without interuption when and how they desire. The thing is, it doesnt always work like that and with every other appliance connecting to the router the possibility increases something will happen and it will not work eXactly as desired. That is when everybody starts asking for “DAD!” to fiX it. You are the one with an interest in computers, you know how it works, im just a user, you fiX it!

Those are the moments i would love to turn back time 20 years when using the internet was for geeks like me who were amazed by the possibilities for the future and cried out in joy when there was a problem so we could try to fiX it. Nobody cared if it took an hour, day or weeks because nobody was waiting for us… they made fun of us spending hours behind a non functioning device and declared us fools for having an interest in something so unsignificant as “the internet”…

cropped-single-ant1-1.png

The Importance of Community – Hero’s Song

I would like to share some thoughts on the effect off investing in a relationship with your customers. Specificly the relationship between a gamedeveloper and the potential players of the game they are creating. Is this relationship something a game developer should invest time and money in or do you think they should focus on creating the game and don’t need to be distracted by side issues?

CommunityHeader

Lets have a look at what is needed to create and maintain a preferably positive relationship with the people that are interested in the game you are developing. First of all one or more people within your team need to act as a representative for the company and that person should be the one to communicate with the community. Usually there is already a person dealing with press-releases, interviews and other promotional issues and that is probably the first person to think of when considering someone for this community task. Remember that this person will be the “face” of the game, the person we have in mind associated with the game. Also it is crucial to regularly create posts, articles and other publications to keep a flow of interest running for the game. If you stay under the radar for too long people will start to lose interest and move on to other games, not checking out the latest news on your game anymore and therefor not spreading any (positive) information to their fellow gamers. New material and facts will give the community a reason to keep coming back for more news. Throwing everything you have on the table all at once will definately create alot of buzz but only for a very short time and if there is nothing new to show for months after that initial pile of information you have lost all those potential costumers as fast as you have invited them to your game-to-be. Information management is key in this proces, less is more. Too much is a waste!

heros-songI did not accidently stumble on these thoughts as you might have guessed by now. There is a game that has grabbed my interest as soon as it was announced back in januari of this year and had me check for information on a weekly basis…. Im talking about Hero’s Song, a 2D piXelart game by PiXelmage Games, a game company created by some veterans in the gaming industry like John Smedly, Jon Handy and Dave Mark. Within the first weeks after the announcement there was info on the game to be released like screenshots, indept information on the gameworld and they use the eXpertise of wellknown streamer CohhCarnage to keep in touch with that side of the gaming community. On their website (www.piXelmagegames.com) it’s possible to opt-in for recieving news and updates on the game and company as well as links to all their social media presence.

On their site they have a page about their announced game Hero’s Song which already contains quite alot of info on the gameworld, systems, characters & races as well as some good looking concept-art. With John Smedley they have a representative who is well known in the gaming industry already and the perfect guy for promoting and representing the game to the community.

Getting back to keeping that community (the potential customers for PiXelmage Games and their game Hero’s Song) involved, i do have some critical notes to mention though. The announcement of the new gamestudio and their game was made on the 19th of januari 2016. That announcement has since then been the only newsitem on their site. I have been checking their site regularly but nothing seems to change or get updated which keeps me in the dark on the progression on the game which i am genuinly looking forward to. I understand they can’t produce more info on the game than is available at this time, also due to the fact there is already quite a bit of info on the game to be found at their website already. They could have considered however to release that information over a longer timespan with bits and pieces now and then to continue lureing people back to their website and keep interest in the game alive. Even little things like new screenshots or revealing teasers/information about the backstory or even characterstories could be a good way to generate recurring buzz. Another idea could have been to have the members of the company introduce themselves to the community with a personal article and/or bits of info on the part they are working on.pixelmage-logo PiXelmage Games has this information on their site as static information which has been there from the start. Very interesting but since it has never been updated it will be checked ones or twice and never again.

The presence of PiXelmage Games and John Smedley on social media, especially Twitter, is alot more active though. I’ve made Tweets and asked questions about Hero’s Song which have been commented on and answered quite fast and to the point. That particular active interaction with the community has kept me coming back to their Twitter page and checking on their Tweets regularly hoping to get some more info that way. It is that positive way of interacting with their community and potential costumers that PiXelmage Games should focus on and try to eXpand to their other means of communicating, for eXample their website as mentioned before.

To my opinion the community is a very important subject to deal with as a (game)developer and not to be treated without care. The time and effort you invest into your fans will be payed back to you by means of free promotion, free critics with genuine interest in creating a good product and they will also be your first customers. When you have the product to look forward to, the right people to make it and the presence and tools to get people hyped and informed, take that last hurdle and embrace YOUR community!

Single Ant1-1

From Walk-in-Closet to Office

As you may have noticed these last few months blogging wasn’t really high on my list of priorities. Due to various reasons i haven’t had the time and energy to write about the stuff that has scratched my brain lately but one of those reasons i would like to share with you.

walkinclosetI may or may not have mentioned before that i am redecorating parts of our house. Our youngest son and one of his brothers are moving to other rooms which, ofcourse, needed a total make-over to make them feel like their own. One of the rooms that my one son moved to is a room on the 3rd floor which used to be our storageroom and at the same time the room with an improvised desk and my desktop/gaming computer. At times we even dared to call it “the office” although nothing, besides the computer and a bunch of papers laying around, actually gave that name any right of eXistance. By the time my son moved in the office was gone and from then on both gaming and administration was done at the kitchen table on the laptop. My desktop even moved to my eldest sons bedroom which has been using it ever since.

My wife always intended to create a walk-in-closet out of the small room neXt to our bedroom as soon as she gets the chance. At this time our youngest has moved into his new bedroom leaving this particular room free for a new purpose. It so happens that my wife recently made a career move which gave her the oppertunity to work from home alot and she started feeling the need for some private space to do her work. She soon found out the kitchen table is not the most ideal place to work quietly while the kids are running around. So she shifted her priorities from a walk-in-closet to some fresh new officespace. No complaints from me there!

IMG_3622

We are now at the point of creating ideas for the new office. Besides considering the wallpaper and paint for the walls and window we try to figure out what kind of desk we like, how to create storage space and where to make connections for the computers and equipment. I have my desktop computer (which i will somehow need to reclaim), my laptop as well as my wife’s laptop and the printer. We intend to buy 2 new 24″ monitors and i will see if i can find an easy way to connect both the desktop computer to them as well as the laptops. Also i would like to prepare connections for a television.

Besides all these ideas we have not decided anything yet though so any suggestions and eXamples are welcome. Maybe you have some ideas we can use or consider? If so we would love to hear them so please leave a comment below! I will promise to keep you up to date on the progress…

Single Ant1-1