Our banner design from the convention - thanks to Michael Stanley for putting it together on such short notice!
This update is going to be all about our trip to the Penny Arcade Expo (known as PAX Prime) in Seattle at the beginning of the month.
It's been a busy few weeks since we last posted an update. I (Burton) got back in from Seattle on Sept. 3. It was such an incredible experience and I can't adequately express how profoundly thankful I am that Addo Games was allowed and invited to be part of the Indie MEGABOOTH. Kelly Wallick and Rami Ismail are two of the leading forces behind the MEGABOOTH and were simply two of the nicest and most stealthily busy people I've ever known. Their ability to handle so much and serve everyone's needs in the MEGABOOTH was truly admirable. Addo Games was selected to be part of the MINIBOOTH, which is comprised primarily of exhibitors that only show for part of the convention, as well as a select few that are showcased and are allowed to show the entire convention duration. We were chosen to show on Sunday September 1 and Monday the 2nd. I made the most of the convention by heading up on Thursday, August 29th, the night before the convention actually started. I got a chance before everything was in full swing to meet a lot of the other independent developers who were also showing in the MEGABOOTH. It was a great experience to meet so many people whose work I admire.
Friday and Saturday
On Friday, Becca flew in and we went to our AirBnB place. It had a great view, but got a tad hot (w/ no A/C) in the evening hours. Fortunately for us, we usually had something going on most nights to get us out of there. Most of the networking events going on happened to be five to ten city blocks from us, which gave Becca and I an opportunity to take a stroll or two together and take some small bits of Seattle.
I think if I could think of one major thing I learned during this convention it was that I need to lock my code down before I head out to a convention. I ended up spending most of my first two days in Seattle working on fixes and adding a few "one more things". That all said, I don't think I could have changed the way things worked out given how busy I've been with contract work. Still, my need to work and have wifi while I was in Seattle gave me a good excuse to get out and see a bit of the city en route to a coffee shop to work from. Seattle is such a remarkably beautiful city.
Throughout the weekend we were able to attend numerous events hosted and/or attended by the major platform holders (Google Play, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony). We had the opportunity to, in some cases, sit down and have intimate conversations with representatives from those companies about Robots Love Ice Cream and possible plans for the game beyond the iPad platform. One of the main reasons we wanted to be at PAX was to have those types of one-on-one interactions with the people we'd like Addo Games to be doing business with at some point in the future.
Sunday - Showtime!
Sunday was our first day showing the game. In hindsight I wish I had gotten more sleep, but I was trying to polish some rough edges with the game build we were showing. I ended up with about 2.5 hours of sleep and, within minutes of setting up and minutes before the convention started, we found a few bugs that would prevent people from playing the game normally. Aaron Yip, a former-Atlantan and now Seattleite, helped us out with our booth. He was a tremendous asset to us in so many ways and handled all manner of questions about the game like a pro! Our first day we had a few technical kinks but, by the end of it, I felt really good about how our message and presentation was being communicated and received.
A few people checking out Robots Love Ice Cream!
Monday was the final day of the convention and despite my guess based on the last day of the convention last year, it actually seemed a lot busier than Sunday. This was great for us, since we weren't showing the whole duration of the convention in the first place. We met so many wonderful people and got a lot of great feedback. Last year, if I were to sum up the feedback, we heard "looks great, controls are meh". This year there was a much more balanced amount of positive feedback between visuals and gameplay. This tells me we're doing the right things to make the game more enjoyable and approachable. One of my favorite moments of the whole weekend was when Becca was holding the iPad for a kid that was probably all of 5 or 6 years old and he was able to play it and seemed to be enjoying it. We're hoping the final game will offer a lot of depth for those that desire that, but we also want for the barrier of entry to play the game to be low and gradually ease people into some of the more complex mechanics the game will have to offer.
Here's a picture of me explaining the game to The Joker and Harley Quinn. There's always lots of cool cosplay outfits to take in at a convention like this!
So now we're back in Atlanta and I'm spending the majority of September continuing work on the game. PAX was just a terrific experience, from all of the new friends we met, the connections we established with the platform holders, and of course the opportunity to get the game in the hands of people to see what does and does not work. I'm hoping that our hard work continues to earn us the right to be a part of the Indie MEGABOOTH. It's certain to get more and more competitive moving forwards as it seems to be one of the most popular parts of the PAX conventions.
Above is a picture of only part of the number of people who participated in the Indie MEGABOOTH. The picture probably missed about 50-100 more people out of frame. This is pretty close to the density of people visiting the Indie MEGABOOTH during any given day in the convention.
I do want to take a moment and thank Patrick Rossetti who has been helping us with game design over the past few months. His help getting things organized with respect to the game over the past few months has been invaluable. I also would like to thank Becca for taking care of all of the travel arrangements while I toiled away at getting the game ready for the convention. Without their help, I would know my right from left lately! Thank you guys.
Time to get back to it! Thank you all for following along. As always, if you'd like you can get more regular updates via our blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Take care and thanks for all of your support. -Burton
We explore the claims of Andrew Womack, alleged photographer of the Google Streetview half-cat. Andrew makes the unusual claim that the half-cat that gathered media attention and was later discovered to be a hoax was not a hoax at all...
Several updates today about the production, getting all your names in the credits, publicity and backer rewards!
Huy Fong Foods & Underwood Ranches have finally hit the peak of their jalapeño harvest, so I'm returning to L.A. this week to film the action! This year's weather delayed the harvest, which has pushed back the film release—I'm now aiming for mid-October.
You're all in the credits!
Mallory and Dylan Simonds have completed a gorgeous set of credits for the film! Not only did they fit all the Kickstarter backer names, but they did it in a prominent, artistic, meaningful way. I'm really excited for you to see it when the film is done!
Front page of Digg
All posters shipped!
Yesterday, artist Matt Wiley, who designed the Sriracha movie poster, helped me autograph a couple hundred posters, and my friends formed an assembly line to get them all packed in mailing tubes. They're shipping out today—all across the U.S. plus Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the UK! Here's a video:
If you ordered a poster, I imagine you'll receive it this week. When you open the tube, your rolled poster is wrapped in a white sheet of paper. That way, you should be able to remove the tape without damaging the poster.
Hello Beautiful Person!
I just got these photos of my cards in production from my new friends at the United States Playing Card Company! (They noted that it's a low quality photo, but the cards look better in person) Woo hoo!
Thanks to all of you who have responded to my surveys so far regarding the one of a kind work and the custom pieces. I plan to catch up this weekend with all of that correspondence.
Thank you for your support! We're delighted to have surpassed the $75,000 mark, thanks to your wonderful generosity.
We wanted to let you know that we’ve just released more tickets to our April 2014 production of The Marriage of Figaro. Supporting our project is an exclusive first chance for tickets—they are sure to move quickly! Please tell your friends and family about this wonderful opportunity to support the Opera and to see us on stage by spreading the word about our campaign.
New York City Opera
The book finally hit the presses in Italy last week, where thousands of sheets of paper were imbued forever with our Sensible history. I took a trip to see it all happening (on my dime I should add – no Kickstarter monies were harmed in the making of this update) and it's looking excellent! The text pages in particular – printed in two inks on a thin, off-white recycled stock – look wonderfully touchy-feely.
Some pictures of sheets pulled directly from the press are below, however I should point out that I've somehow made the 8-megapixel camera on my phone look like a webcam from 2004 – the real things are fizzing with colour and life:
The final pages were printed last night, and the copies are now being bound. Our fold-out jacket is then applied to each copy by hand, after which every book is individually shrink wrapped to protect the uncoated jacket in transit to your door.
I should be informed of the exact delivery date any day now and I will issue an update as soon as I have it - we are so unbearably close to shipping your books I feel like I may strain something important. I'll be sending out surveys to you all later this afternoon so we have all your addresses at the ready!
In other news, the Sensible vinyl EPs were shipped last week and have now arrived with our backers. You can see some teasing glimpses of it below, printed using the same stock as the book itself and housing a six-track selection of Sensible's finest musical moments:
Finally, I have our last VHS archive clip to share with you all. This is a cinema-style trailer for Sensible's ill-fated swan song 'Sex 'n' Drugs 'n' Rock 'n' Roll'. Sensible put this together to show the production company Hewland International (creators of GamesMaster) as part of a pitch to create an animated tie-in TV show. I'll let Gary and Jon take it from here...
Jon Hare: We even made a cartoon pilot and showed it to Hewland. I don’t think they were very impressed with it though. We found that a lot of people didn’t like the 3D art much – they thought it was a bit shit when we thought it was stylised. The reality was we were struggling with the 3D modelling.
Gary Penn: The characters in the videos always reminded me of sex dolls.
Jon Hare: [Laughs] I’d never noticed that before....
It's been just over a month since we reached our Kickstarter campaign goal, so we wanted to fill you in on what's been brewing here at the Itty Bitty HQ. A very busy month indeed - with some exciting new projects kicking off in our design studio, Kiss Me I'm Polish, a couple last-minute summer jaunts, an unexpected bout of un-summer-like germs making its way around the office, and even a very special Itty Bitty wedding celebration!
But amidst all that the end of summer had to offer, we've been working doubly hard on getting our rewards out to all of you in the next couple of weeks! We're about 90% done making all of our handmade bits, the mugs and screens for the KMIP Fan Club items have been ordered, and we have received our latest (and heaviest!) shipment of tshirts and tote tags from American Apparel. Itty Bitty production has literally taken over all available work spaces in our office - see for yourself:
We're also super excited to start splatter painting all of the Itty Bitty Cosmos tshirts and sweatshirts next week, and will be sure to share our photos with you when all of that messy goodness goes down.
Lastly, we wanted to share what may be one of our favorite photos yet - one of our tees found its way to Burning Man two weeks ago. We can't think of a better way to give summer the big send off!! Thanks so much Casey!
Till soon.XO, Agnieszka + Annie
Thought you be interested in seeing this video.
This isn't meant to be some flashy sales pitch video but more of a look at how we, The Black Dog, work with the CS X51 in the studio. In this video Richard is remixing Atavistic Resurgence live using Ableton and Soniccouture's Konkrete 3.
The aim of this video is to show our process in creating arrangements and remixes. Parts are played and recorded live to find the groove and vibe of the song.
Thanks for all the support so far, we still have a long way to go but we think we can make it.
Martin - Machinewerks
three weeks ago I visited Mister Keller in his Berlin based Type foundry, gallery and bookstore. In the first half I helped him with setting up the exhibition that is on display now and in the second half he helped me with computing some complicate OpenType features.
Unfortunately Mr. Keller decided that this would be the last exhibition and the closing of the Mota Italic gallery and typographic bookstore. Which is sad because over the years it became a social meeting point for typographers from all over the world. Yes, while sitting and working there for a couple of days it was easy to notice that it is not only typography obsessed Berliners but Type-fans from all over the world that visit the store. It was impossible to work here because I had to chat with every visitor for at least an hour. This is also the reason why Rob is closing, he likes to focus on his foundry work and publish more fonts. Which is great, so there will be more fonts!
So if you are around Berlin until September 21, go and see the last show at Mota italic about indian typography. (I heard there is great closing party with free drinks!) http://www.motaitalic.com/gallery/exhibitions/typographic-thali
Is it a drum or a waltz?
After the opening of the show Mister Keller introduced me to a method of coding that I did not know before. Also a piece of code that I have not heard of ever being used in a commercial production. It can be very complicated to explain what a code does. The structure of the program is divided in three blocks. The program is activated by typing a letter in the Sigmund Freud Typeface. Each block of the program looks back to the letters typed before and has a different way to ensure that no letter that has been typed before is being used twice. Each block uses a different technique to ensure that and exchanges glyphs with alternates. My task at the moment is to think about what would be the best way to interlock these blocks to get the best possible result.
What is the best possible result?
I started this project with the aim to create a beautiful typeface that captures the amazingness that I found in looking at Sigmund Freud's handwriting. One of the tools that I planned to use was to create a vast amount of ligatures and alternates. In the video of the project and description I give the example of writing the word 'look', in handwriting every o looks different whereas in typing every letter looks the same. Here the ligatures kick in: every letter combination that is drawn into the font will be replaced by an alternate version, which gives the overall look a more natural appearance. The limit of ligatures: all ligatures look the same.
Back to the question what is the best possible result and what does this have to do with this berlin code? On one hand the code can work like an Enigma encryption machine. The Enigma became (in-)famous in the second world war because it was used by the Germans military to encrypt their communication. A group around the mathematician Alan Touring was able to build one of the first computers to decrypt a small amount of the messages send by German military.
What this machine does it replaces every typed letter with another one. This is processed by rotating drums (German: Walze) that carry the alphabet - by adding more and more drums the encryption gets stronger and stronger.
Surprisingly the encryption was so strong that only a few years ago (ca. 2008) it was possible to decrypt the last message remaining unread.
Instead of replacing two letters by one glyph (ligature) my suggestion is to generate four (or more) versions of each letter. As one types these letters get constantly exchanged, like the letters on the drums of the Enigma machine. The upside of this polyalphabetic substitution is that instead of one possible form for two letters up to 16 possible combination can be displayed.
I know this sounds very technical - and thank you for following me till here.
Want to dance?
On the the other hand one can think of what the code 'does' or what a program is as a dance.
In order to dance we imagine ourselves in context. One step forward, slide and close. To alter the appearance we sprinkle 'improvisations' and 'alternatives' into the movement program.
To dance means to move to a model in your head.
There is a definition made by scientist for dance: to move to a model in your head.
Back to the code: In order to understand what a program does one needs a model of what the program should do, in order to get a 'grip' on it. In German 'to understand' can be translated to 'be-greifen' which literally translated means '(in)-touch' or '(in)-grip'. At the moment I am not sure in which direction my model, vision or grab should go or reach out for. A Dance or a Enigma - this is what I am working on.
The outcome to me so far looks promising. The actual version renders two lowercase alphabets. I would like to implement four. While typing you can see how the code alters the appearance of the written type. Type that seems as vivid as handwriting.
The downside of this is that there will be no more need for ligatures as they would destroy the appearance of improvisation in the dance or encryption in the machine. The upside of this is that for every possible combination of letters (incl. the ordered two or three letter ligatures) there will be multiple individual renderings depending on the text before and after.
And finally Yes! you can download the font immediately. The links are published in a separate update (#13) for backers only.
The Waltz code will not work in the Mail program of MacOS 10.8. It seems Mail by default turns off 'contextual alternates' feature in fonts.
About using the Font on an iPad.
Gerneral Situation: The operating system iOS does allow developers to embed fonts to their apps. But at the moment iOS does not allow users to install fonts to the system. This will probably change in future updates of iOS.
Workaround: Since the iPad supports OpenType fonts but not the direct installation of fonts, you will need to install an app that allows the installation and usage of external fonts like the Sigmund Freud Typeface. Apps that claim to support external fonts are i.e. iDraw and Inkpad - both apps can be purchased through the Apple Appstore on your device. I have neither tried Inkpad nor iDraw, but I found these articles that explain the installation process of fonts in these apps. iDraw: http://applyd.com/?p=84 Inkpad http://workingipad.net/tutorial/2012/2/20/install-and-use-typefaces-fonts-on-your-ipad.html
Please, let me know how this works for you. Also I like to encourage you to share your experience with other Backers in the comments of the project, there are a few iPad and iPhone users among them that would like to hear about this - including me.
The Books Are In
I got the books from the printer and they turned out fantastic. I also got the packing materials and a couple of kids on the same day too!
What does this mean? Two things...
1) You'll be getting your books as soon as I sign, pack, and ship them all. That's about 1500 books total and it should take a couple weeks to get it all done. People in the States should be checking their mail boxes at the end of September or early October. Everyone else; later in October.
2) You've gotta fill out the survey I sent if you haven't already. I'll be needing your address.
Got some of the prints from my printer too and they look fab:
Robots, Spaceships, and Skull Chaser*
I've been drawing away on the rest of those original drawing tiers. They've been a lot of fun guys. Thanks for backing those levels. Image dump:
That's all for now. Have a great week.
*So, someone's trademarked the name Space Skull for their character of a skull who flies through space. Which means I can't really use the name Space Skull anymore. Don't worry, he's now called Skull Chaser (Skull for short), and you'll be seeing a lot more of this guy as I've begun drawing a graphic novel about him. More on that later.