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?

EGX 17: Klang to discuss the Future of MMOs (with other awesome studios)

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Tomorrow, Klang will be heading to EGX 17 in Birmingham, UK, to join an awesome panel of studios to discuss the future of MMOs. And, if you're going to be at EGX, you should totally check it out!

Klang's Co-Founder, CTO, and coding champion, Oddur, will be joining Spilt Milk Studios, Bossa Studios, Automaton Games, and the Chief Creative Officer of Improbable, Bill Roper, to discuss the revolution going on in the MMO genre and the potential it holds.

Using their own experiences in helping mould the genre, these MMO big guns will be delving into their inspirations, how boundaries are being pushed, and how much further online worlds can transform the way gamers play games. It's going to be insightful as heck!

The panel, which is titled Breaking Rules and Making Worlds: the Future of the MMO, will be part of the event's Rezzed Sessions, and taking place on Thursday 21st September at 3:30 PM (GMT+1). I know for sure Oddur is excited to be there, so be sure to join and find out more about Seed!

Fun fact: Not only is Birmingham the home of Heavy Metal, it's also the home of Jonathan, which says a lot about him.

Who's this Klanger? An interview with Jakub Pułka

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For this instalment of our Who's this Klanger? series, I sat down with Junior 3D Artist and Intern, Jakub (AKA. Kuba), to discuss how he made the shift from architecture and design to gaming, how he met the Klang gang, and what lies ahead for him.

So, Kuba, tell our readers about your background in architecture and design...

Sure! In 2014, I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture from the Wrocław University of Technology, the University in my home town. Then a year later, I graduated in Industrial Design from the Wrocław Academy of Art and Design. I've also worked professionally as an architect, specializing in the visualization of both residential and commercial buildings.”

What made you decide to shift from architecture to gaming?

“A few years ago, when I was studying Product Design in the UK, a friend of mine bought a PS4 as soon as it was released. At this point, I hadn't played games for quite a while as my studies became a priority. But, as soon as I picked up the controller again after this hiatus, I knew at that moment I needed to shift direction and pursue a career in gaming. There are a lot of technical similarities between architecture visualization and environment design in video games.”

So, how'd you end up interning at Klang?

“While back in Poland, I had planned on working abroad, but I had no specific idea of where. I'd always liked Berlin, so I checked out gamedevmap.com to see what studios are based there...and Klang popped up!

After visiting the Klang website, I knew this was the place I wanted to work at. And, it all happened from there. Now, I'm here having a great time!”

What's your favourite thing about Berlin?

“I spend the most of my time in Kreuzberg; it's a really artistic place. Berlin doesn't feel like a typical German city; it's really multicultural, and you can survive without speaking German. I'm always finding something new in this city, from graffiti to bars and clubs. There's always something different to discover.”

So, what is it that you do at Klang, and what are your main tasks?

"I'm a 3D tech artist, but I'm also taking care of publishing the assets from the studio's artists. Oh, and I dabble optimizations as well.”

How do you like working at Klang and working on Seed?

“As there is no hierarchy at Klang, the best part is that everyone is involved and all suggestions are valuable and taken seriously. As an artist, it's amazing to be able to have an input on everything during development. It's great to be here at the beginning of this journey and to delve into the unknown!”

What are your plans post-Klang, and how'd you see your future?

“Well, I still want to be in gaming. I've always had a dream to be a part of a triple-a company, but now I'm looking at other opportunities. I may try and approach other studios, but I'm not sure yet. So, if anyone out there has any suggestions, let me know!”

What are your favorite games ever?

I've always liked the games from Blizzard. The studio has developed a really unique art style, which I admire. Specific games that have influenced me include XCOM: Apocalypse and StarCraft. I also have a lot of love for the old Amiga games, especially Superfrog and Cannon Fodder. My older brother would play them when a was a child, and I would sit there all day watching in awe.”

Thanks, Kuba. It's been wonderful having you as part of the Klang Gang!

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

The Comedy of Klangers – A Gamescom 2017 Monologue

Cosplay and Pork Knuckles.

Cosplay and Pork Knuckles.

In usual Klang tradition, we will now give you a small account of a recent Klang adventure. Last time was in LA at E3, this time in our home country, Germany, for Gamescom. Albeit, Cologne does feel like a different country. This time around, the lone warrior, Mundi, was joined by comrade Ívar, to accompany him on this Rhineland journey.  

Take it away, Mundi!

“It really doesn't feel like too long ago that I was at a large gaming event. Probably because it wasn't too long ago! 

Gamescom is very similar to E3; it's unbelievably big, with lots of cool games, weird and wonderful cosplay, and hundreds of thousands of eager attendees. In fact, I heard that this year's Gamescom was the biggest, with over 350,000 visitors. I really couldn't imagine even seeing half of the stuff there, but I did notice that there were way more indie titles at Gamescom, though. That was nice.

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But, as per usual, a lot of our time was spent running from meeting to meeting, with a few interviews thrown in for good measure.

The majority of our trip was spent at the Marriott Hotel, where we were staying (ballin'), or at the Dorint Hotel, where a bunch of our meetings were being held. Having said that, we saw some really amazing stuff during the moments we had time to go inside the venue.

From what I did manage to catch, my honorable mentions go to Cuphead, Swords of Ditto, Anno 1800, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, and Star Citizen!

Any respectable gaming event wouldn't be without ridiculous Cosplay. And, of course, Gamescom lived up to the hype. Admittedly, I didn't have enough time to go Cosplay hunting. However, I did see someone in a full Titanfall Pilot outfit, which was incredible, as well a guy intensively playing some game, haphazardly dressed up as Heath Ledger's Joker. That was pretty comical!

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As per all Klang adventures, food and drink are always big, big deals. I was able to try the famous German delicacy, Schweinshaxe, or “pork knuckle” if your German isn't up to speed. Oh, and lots and lots of goulash. Haha! Also, those Colognians love to serve beer in tiny glasses, but also love to keep refilling them. There were multiple points during this trip where we forgot how many beers we had during an evening. Hello, hangover.

It was really nice to have Ívar to join me, especially for the parties! But, funny story. He was waaaayy too hungover to catch his return flight, so the poor boy got a later train back to Berlin.

I'd love to give big thanks to the following people: David Helgason for hooking up those Unity party tickets, Matt, Robin, Ryan, Jeff, David from Improbable, and all the awesome people we met during the event!"

Shhhh....Ívar doesn't know this was taken...

Shhhh....Ívar doesn't know this was taken...

Gamescom 2017: The Return of the Klangers

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Tomorrow sees the beginning of Gamescom 2017, which means it's Klang on Tour time again! We've been to Gamescom before - back in 2015 – but this time, we're heading over to Cologne to flaunt the progression of Seed and meet a bunch of ace people.

If you're not in the know, Gamescom, otherwise known as the “The Heart of Gaming”, is the leading professional game industry event in Europe, which stands for "innovation, enthusiasm, and playing fun". Pretty much everything Klang stands for, minus a few cold beers.

Two-thirds of Klang's head honchos, Mundi and Ívar, will be at Gamescom this year to meet up with a bunch of business peeps, friends, and journalists, showing off the latest version of Seed.

And, with that in mind, 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.

For a refresher, here's Mundi discussing Seed at GDC '17 (starts at 20:15):

See you in Cologne!

#KlangOnTour

Who was that Klanger? A retrospective interview with Eiríkur Hákon Friðriksson

For this instalment of our Who's this Klanger? series, we decided to do something a little different. This time, I sat down with Junior Engineer and Intern, Eiríkur, just before his time was up, to discuss his experience at Klang, his future, and what it's like to be Mundi's brother.

So, Eiríkur, tell me about what lead you to down the path of the gaming industry.

“By random chance! When I was younger, I wanted to be a pilot or a chef, but then my brother – not Mundi, a different one - went into Computer Science, and I thought, 'that's pretty cool, I'll do that!' In fact, both of my brothers now have video gaming companies.”

And how'd you end up interning at Klang?

“I really want to get into the gaming industry, and interning is the best chance to do so. So, when I was offered it, it was too good of an opportunity to not go for.”

What are your plans post-Klang, and how'd you see your future?

“First off, I'm going to finish my degree in Computer Science at the University of Reykjavík next year. Then, I want to work with small teams on big games! My next step is to work at Myrkur Software with my brother, Friðrik.

Myrkur has a really great team working an AAA-quality title but only with a team of seven; it's a role-playing fantasy game...picture a love child between Dark Souls and The Witcher.

I see video games as the purest form of art; I want to create something that's super interesting, with a rich story, beautiful art, and be able to inspire the player. It's the dream!”

What have been your main tasks at Klang?

“Well, I've been working on the 'grow zone', which is the biggest feature I've worked on, as well as a bunch of random bugs. I've been able to dip into the ins and outs of various backend systems, which has been a true learning experience.”

So, a little bit about Seed...what was favourite part working on the project?

“It was really valuable seeing how production works, and delving into the planning phases and organisation. So many meetings, so many planning sessions. That's the greatest takeaway.”

If you could sum up your experience with Klang in two words, what would they be?

“GROW ZONE!”

What are your favourite games ever?

“The Fallout series, Minecraft, League of Legends, and the Civilization games. They're my top four.”

Now, down to the real question. What's it like having Mundi as an older brother?

“It's hard! Haha. He's the best way to get into any field as he always knows someone. I can't complain!”

Thanks, Eiríkur! It's been a pleasure to have you on the team and we're sad to see you go. You'll always be a part of the Klang fam!

Wham Bam, join this Berlin VR Game Jam

Attention, Berlin-based VR fans! Long time Klang-affiliate Joe Virskus, and Klanger Rachel Little, are holding this radical VR Game Jam between 11th and 13th August at Colonia Nova in Neukölln. And, we'll be there for sure!

Interested in finding out more? Keep on reading...


The main theme of the Game Jam is “Genesis", not the prog-rock band from the eighties, but “creation”. To quote the organisers:

The idea is to explore VR experiences that encapsulate the idea of creation, emergence, birth, and invention. Please feel free to interpret the theme as loosely or as literally as you like! It's meant to be a jumping off point, a little speck of dust to form your mental rain drops around, not a hard constraint.”

Klang team members will be there on Friday and during the weekend, so make sure to say hi!

If you're up for the challenge, join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1959326410980229/

And, make sure to sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSePvnXhwi2Pq-i9J6oeynL9tuVQH7AKXz5RS7UHKP5qivy5bQ/viewform

The timetable is as follows...

Thursday 10th August

6 PM: Registration and project brainstorming. This event is optional, but is a great way to hangout and meet fellow VR-loving people!

Friday 11th August

6 PM: The official kick-off!
7 PM – 8 PM: Project pitches!
8 PM and beyond: Join a group and commence jamming!

Sunday 13th August

8 PM – 12 AM: Game Jam showcase and party!

Note that from 11th 6 PM to 13th 8 PM, the event space will be open 24 hours, so there's enough time to complete projects and have a blast!

Hopefully see you there!