Talking the S-Word at PC Gamer Weekender

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Seed!!! Mundi - the big cheese, the overlord, the governor - will be discussing Seed, virtual worlds, and all things SpatialOS at next week's PC Gamer Weekender in LDN. And when I say talking, I don't mean to himself, but as part of the event's Developer Stage programme!

To quote the event's namesake, PC Gamer, our session will in the form a live Q&A, with discussion topics being the inspirations behind Seed, the design of the project, and SpatialOS' mighty tech. Read the PC Gamer article here: https://www.pcgamer.com/seed-klangs-hugely-ambitious-eve-like-mmo-will-be-on-stage-at-the-pc-gamer-weekender/

The session, titled 'Seed—Build Your Own Utopia', will be taking place on the Sunday (18th February) at noon. If you're attending the weekend, be sure to also check out Automaton Games' session on the Saturday! That's set to be a good 'un!

For Press: If you're down to meet up with us during the weekend, email me at jonathan@klang-games.com to sort something out.

See you there!

Announcement: Peter Holzapfel has joined the Klang Gang!

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We're extremely excited to announce that the man, the myth, the legend, Peter Holzapfel, has joined Klang as the Executive Producer of Seed.

Peter will be overseeing all areas of production and development, maintaining the core vision of the project. He's also to expand our structure, which is no easy task.

Mundi explains in his own words, “We're very excited to have Peter on board as an Executive Producer. Not only does Peter bring with him experience, but also a focused approach towards production, which is extremely vital to us as a team. Our goal is to create an MMO simulation which has never been done before in this shape or form, so focus and prioritization are of utmost importance. Peter's 15 years of experience in game development will help us to realize this ambitious goal.”

Prior to joining the Klang Gang, Peter was working in various creative production roles for companies like YAGER and Crytek, as well as his own company. His most recent role was as the Game Director for YAGER's combat flight simulator, Dreadnought.

Seed is one of those rare opportunities that is so good that you have to drop your own plans and just roll with it and see where it takes you. A project so full of passion, enthusiasm and ambition that it reminds you again why we all joined this industry in the first place. I am proud to be a part of this project and will do whatever I can to help make this dream become a reality,” explained Peter.

You're making us blush, Peter.
Welcome to the team.

Who's this Klanger? An interview with Otto Bruno Rivera

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For the first instalment of our Who's this Klanger? Series for 2018, I sat down with QA Manager, Otto, to discuss his background, favourite games, Star Wars, and blends of tea...

Otto, tell our readers about your working background and experience.

“My introducing into the gaming industry was quite random! Back in 2007, my Aunt found a job ad in a local newspaper that was searching for multilingual people who were interested in video games...it turned out that the ad came from EA Madrid! I initially took it on as a summer job and it ended up turning into a full-blown career.

From then on, I've worked for a bunch of gaming studios, especially for Ubisoft in Germany, outsourcing localization QA for Skyrim. But, originally, I studied history, which is totally unrelated.”

With that in mind, how'd you end up working at Klang?

“It's partly by chance, partly by luck. A while back, I left my previous company to seek out new working experiences, but I really wanted to stay in Berlin; I ended up turning down a bunch of offers that were not Berlin-based.

I sent a speculative application to Klang and when I finally got the answer, Seed had gained a bunch of exposure online, and I was like, 'wow, that sounds interesting!'”

So, what excites you most about Seed?

“What sold me was the political system. During my second or third interview, Mundi showed me a mock-up of the political framework. The possibilities of creating a 'fill-in-the-blanks' political system, allowing players to create a system that works for them, just blew my mind. I knew I wanted to play this game. Now, I'm in-charge of QA for it.”

Are there any games that have inspired you?

“I'm a big fan of all kinds of management and strategy games. To be honest, I'm a huge fanboy of Alisdair's work, Klang's new Game Designer. He played an integral part in the development of Total War: WARHAMMER II, which I just love playing - from the gameplay to the lore.

I'd say that my all-time favourite games are Masters of Orion II and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. I've spent countless hours playing both games...I just can't get enough of them!

I loved working on Skyrim, that's for sure. Working on an AAA game, on that size, was great. Seeing the game being produced, even from the perspective of the fringes of development, was an incredible experience.”

Speaking of being a fanboy, you're also a bit of a Star Wars fanatic. What's your favourite film in the franchise and why?

“Do you have several hours to spare? Because that's not an easy answer! But, I'd say, from over the past 10 years, my favourite Star Wars film is Rogue One. It's set in the same universe but doesn't have the same, traditional heroes. It's a movie about terrorism...in space! How gritty is that!

Of course, The Empire Strikes Back cannot be beaten. The Empire can be beaten (with a bit of luck), but the film, nope, that can't be beaten.

You're known for your love of tea. What's your favourite blend for a good cuppa?

“This is a very funny question to ask a Spaniard! Since I was a kid, tea has always been around my house. Out of my friends and family, it was only me and my parents who enjoyed a good brew.

I would say definitely a dark blend. Something that hits hard. Either Yorkshire Tea or Barry's Tea, an Irish tea that's like a punch to the face.”

Stay tuned, readers, for the next part of Who's this Klanger? coming to you in a galaxy far, far away!

Happy New Year from the Klang Gang!

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A huge thank you from us Klangers for supporting us throughout 2017! It's been a wild ride, filled with tears, fears, cheers, and plenty of beers!

But, seriously, thanks for your love and interest in what we're doing. We've had some brilliant achievements this year and couldn't have done it without you.

I'm not going to bore you any further, so instead, here are some embarrassing photos from the Klang Xmas party:

The Klang Gang!

The Klang Gang!

Still (relativity) civilised.

Still (relativity) civilised.

Getting merrier!

Getting merrier!

Then...it..went...downhill...

Then...it..went...downhill...

Drunken santa - aka. Poop Self - and his merry elf.

Drunken santa - aka. Poop Self - and his merry elf.

But, there's still love!

But, there's still love!

See you all in 2018!

- The Klang Gang

What the heck is happening with ReRunners?

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Remember ReRunners? That game we launched back in 2016? The one with the weird and wacky graphics for mobile? Well, it's about time we give you a status update on what's going on with it.

In July 2016, we launched ReRunners to a dedicated community of mobile gamers and avid retro-gaming lovers. After a brilliant Beta and a super successful launch, we’ve decided to take the game down to focus 100 percent on the development of Seed. We just can’t dedicate enough time to it, which it needs (and deserves).

ReRunners is a game that we're extremely proud of, a game that we put countless hours in to create, and grew an amazing, supportive community. So, it's was a tough decision to put ReRunners on hold.

So, what next?

We don't want this crazy game to die! Hell no!

We really want to get the game back into a state that's playable, so ya'll can keep on running! And, eventually, raise the ReRunners phoenix from the fire.

Now, we're looking into various scenarios for ReRunners, and, as of yet, none of these scenarios have actually been put into motion. But, we'll let you know as soon as we're at a stage to continue.

Until then, thank you so much for the good times. Please feel free to leave us your scrutiny in the comments below.

Love,
- The Klang Gang

Time to Get Slushed with Klang

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Once again, it's that special annual occasion where Helsinki pauses from being the sauna capital of the world to become the global hub of entrepreneurship, as it's Slush time again! And of course, Klang will be bringing the heat to Slush.

Just in case you've been living under a rock, Slush is the place to be if you're a techie, business-person, nerd, and really into Start-Up stuff. Seeing as we're all of the aforementioned, we'll be there again.

But, what for? Well, Oddur and Mundi will be at this year's event - between 29th Nov and 2nd Dec - to show off Seed, hang out with friends, meet with journalists, and experience local Finnish culture, i.e. lots and lots of drinking.

Will you be there? We're offering an exclusive, press-only look at how the game is shaping up. If you're interested, be sure to reach out to me, jonathan@klang-games.com, to arrange meeting times.

Is Gaming Good for You?

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There's a familiar narrative that divides public opinion, whether video games, as a whole, have a positive or negative effect on society. And when it comes to mental health, video games are, the majority of the time, mentioned as either potential causes or cures for health-related issues. But, for the sake of this post, let's instead talk about the idea of using games for good.

In a recent article published in The Big Issue, Lead Content Editor at Improbable, Dan Griliopoulos, looks into just that; how games have been made for good.

First, let's mention the adaptation of games for the educational environment. Dan notes that, despite the skepticism of using games within the classroom, it was found that 71 percent of teachers in the U.S. stated that digital games had been effective in improving their students’ mathematics learning, according to a nationwide survey.

For example, Minecraft, the hugely popular sandbox game, released an Educational Edition, which can be used as an immersive platform to develop new skills in geometry and learn more about the environment and climate change, among a bunch of other really great things.

Testing the Millennial Moral Code

Dan comments that, “games are a form of media that have become a moral guide to the millennial generation,” and I couldn't agree more. It's certainly become a more prolific gameplay mechanic in recent years. And for me, I personally love my morals being challenged as part of my playing experience.

Of course, I'm not the only one. Dan points out that video games have even provided Edward Snowden with a moral structure that informed his actions: “they taught him that anyone, no matter how weak, is capable of confronting huge injustice,” which is more profound than my own actions. Never harm animals. That's my rule.

Now, with all of this in mind, the idea of testing one's moral code is something that'll become apparent in Seed, especially as the player becomes more committed. Although, I can't say much more at the moment...

As somewhat of a conclusion, I do believe that developers have a great social responsibility to create games that can challenge the player's morals or ethics as a virtual test or trial for real life. But, after this is said and done, if you act like a tool, then you're just a tool.

Who's this Klanger? An interview with Rachel Little

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For this instalment of our Who's this Klanger? series, I sat down with 3D Animator, Rachel, to discuss her obsession with Sonic the Hedgehog, what games have influenced her, and her opinions on the gaming industry.

Rachel, tell our readers about your background in animation...

To be honest, I'd never even opened up animation software until two years ago. One day, I made the decision to change my path in life and become an animator. I signed up for the online school, Animation Mentor, and within a year and a half, I'd gone from having literally no knowledge of animation to being a pretty competent animator.

What led you down the proverbial path of the gaming industry?

When I was a kid, I was totally obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog. I used to spend a good amount of time doodling Sonic in my notebooks, designing my own levels. So, I guess that was somewhat me venturing down the path, even if I didn't know it at the time.

While we're talking about the gaming industry, it would be great to get your opinion on the industry, one that is known as being mostly male-dominated.

Luckily at Klang, I’m shielded somewhat from the issues non-males face elsewhere in the industry. But in general, it feels like there's a shift going on. Especially in recent fields, like AR and VR. It's almost like there's more of a level playing field, which is great to see!

So, how'd you first meet the Klang Gang?

I first got to know about Klang during the super early stages of the studio, as my boyfriend was part of the team back then. But, I finally met Mundi face-to-face at a party in Reykjavík, and we've been buds ever since.

You were part of the team during the launch of ReRunners, and now, you've returned for Seed. How does it feel to be back?

It's great to be back! I first joined Klang right at the point ReRunners launched, in the middle of all the mania that came with it. But now, it's incredible to be at the very beginning of the Seed journey, and be a part of the development process. It's really interesting for me, especially as this is my first ever video game job.

What excites you most about Seed?

I was a massive Sims fan growing up. I always saw the game as more of a deep social experiment; I feel exactly the same way about Seed.

It's a really exciting concept to think about what player-driven stories will be created, as we have no idea of how far we can go at this point.

It's going be a microcosm of ideas. What societies will be made? Will players be at constant war? Will players be collaborative? The game can even work as a soundboard for various political models and whether they could actually work in the real world.

Are there any games that have inspired you?

Ironically, I wasn’t really allowed to play video games when I was a kid! Eventually, my parents caved and bought us The Sims, so that was the first game that I really got into.

It wasn't until years later that I got myself a PS3 and aimed to play all the games that I could get my hands on. I'm really into sandbox RPG games that you can get lost in, like Fallout and Skyrim.

Visually, games like Journey, Limbo, and Firewatch have all been a big inspiration. I'm currently making my way through the whole Double Fine back catalog. 

Also, I'm super into games with strong female protagonists, for example, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

As you're Klang's reigning board gaming champion, what is your secret for success?!

Mind reading! Spooky.

Stay tuned, readers, for the next part of Who's this Klanger?