Seed and The Golden City: A GDC 17 Retrospective with Mundi Vondi

GDC is kind of a big deal, to say the least. What's more of a big deal is that this was Klang's first ever trip to GDC. What's even more of a bigger deal is that we were there to premiere our latest project, Seed! Cue the air horn sound effects.

Now that the jet lag and euphoric haze has finally worn off, I caught up with Klang's CEO, Mundi Vondi, to find out what went down in The Golden City.

Wow, you've been to San Francisco twice in the space of 10 months. Was is good to be back?

“Totally! Even though we had fun last time, it was nice to be there for an extended period rather than a few days feeling jet-lagged. No offence, though. We had a blast last time!”

(Mundi and I went to San Francisco last June for a ReRunners trip; he's trying his best not to offend me.)

“This time around, it was so good to stay longer, especially with GDC taking place. Let's just say that we took FULL ADVANTAGE of all the parties going on. It was good to be back!”

So, tell our readers why you Klangers were there.

“We were in SF for GDC and to announce Seed, our brand-spanking new project in partnership with Improbable. It was borderline overwhelming to get so much great feedback.

Side note, Seed is the reason we started Klang in the first place.”

How does it feel to finally show off Seed to the world?

“It's like lifting a heavy, yet-rewarding, boulder off from my shoulders. We've been working on this project for so long that it's great to be pushing this amazing boulder forward.”

How many years in the making?

“Hmm...probably around 10 years or so now. We started planning this project when I was still at art school, when I was about 19. Nothing really materialised until a couple of years later. Seed has been a long time coming.”

Maybe you could say it's like being in a simulation? Sorry, terrible Seed-related joke.

“Yeah, that was a terrible joke.”

Moving on. How did Klang end up working with Improbable?

“Roughly a year ago, Improbable had just landed a big funding round and were doing some hot things. While at Slush, I met up with them and introduced them to the blueprints of Seed. Now, we've started a partnership...and the rest is history.”

What does joining the Games Innovation Program mean to you?

“It's awesome! We basically get a bunch of free services from Google, which will make development a lot easier.”

On the scale of 1 to holy moly, how excited are you right now?

“Is there something above holy moly?”

Back to the topic of GDC. How was your first time?

“It was super nice. To be honest, I wish I would have had more time to have been able to attend some of the talks. Instead, I was running from meeting-to-meeting. But, at least I got to work on my cardio.

But, all in all, it was a really nice event, with lots of nice people. In fact, this was probably my favourite gaming event so far. It has a great vibe, plus, I met so many familiar faces there. GDC is more industry/B2B-focused, with various niche studios showcasing their unique ideas, which makes a nice change from AAA studios blasting our their trailers.”

What else did you see at GDC that gave you a nerdgasm?

“Like I mentioned, there was a lot of running between meetings. But, I did see a lot of interesting VR stuff. Personally, I think that VR is still in its early stages, but there's a lot of very exciting projects going on at the moment.

Oh, the Star Citizen flight demo at the Unity booth was really exciting...but, I wonder what kind of multiplayer it's supposed to be.”

What other cool stuff did you and Klang get up to in SF?

“There's too much to recall at this exact moment. We did check out a bunch of the city and ate some really great, uber American food. One thing that sticks in my mind was exploring the Castro District; we found a manicure salon called Hand Job. I wonder how I remember that.

We did have the opportunity to visit (and have a bunch of cocktails at) the very, very impressive Supercell office located at the top of the 555 California Street skyscraper. The view there, overlooking the city, was mind-blowing. Give it a Google.”

Anyone you'd like to give a shout out to?

“Yeah, to all of my friends that I didn't have time to meet up with. I'll make it up to you, I promise.

Shout out to Improbable for making the booth at GDC look amazing and for inviting us over!”

It's Official! We've Joined Improbable's SpatialOS Games Innovation Program

Improbable has recently announced the first round of partners for its SpatialOS Games Innovation Program...and, we're one of them! Oh, this is probably a good point to introduce you to our next project, Seed.

The news was officially announced a few days ago at GDC, but, seeing as Mundi has just finished up discussing SpatialOS as part of the session, Building Worlds with SpatialOS, this would be a great time to let ya'll know here, too.

What is SpatialOS?

SpatialOS is a platform that allows Devs to create seamless-yet-vast simulated worlds that are able to host thousands of users at the same time, without compromising performance. This allows studios to build worlds with permanent consequences for the player, and allows for interaction with AI entities even when the player is offline.

What is the Games Innovation Program?

The program will allow us to use SpatialOS to create and test Seed up until launch, with reduced cloud computing costs. Or as we call it, “mates' rates”.

Furthermore, we'll be joining the roster with a bunch of other awesome projects, including Lazarus by Spilt Milk Studios, Chronicles of Elyria by Soulbound Studios, and Vanishing Stars: Colony Wars by Ninpo Game Studio.

What is Seed?

In a nutshell: Seed is a continuous persistent simulation where the player's goal is to take over a vast planet to ensure the survival of humanity. Using unique gameplay based on managing multiple characters, players collaborate to create a world driven by real emotion and ambition.

Watch this space!

GDC 2017: Klang Gang Does San Fran Part II

We're finally going to pop our GDC cherry next week and we can't wait! In fact, not only will it be our first time at the event, it'll be the first time that we show off our latest project outside of the confinements of our studio in Berlin!

For those who don't know, GDC is the world's largest professional game industry event. Normal attendance of the event is around 30,000 people; that's basically a tenth of the population of Iceland. Imagine that many professional nerds in one place.

So, why will we be there, again? Oh yeah, we're going to be exclusively demoing the latest prototype of our new, upcoming project! Without giving too much info away just yet, it's a MMO simulation that will knock your socks off. But, that'll come in due course, dear friend.

On top of that, Mundi will be speaking during the session, Building Worlds with SpatialOS: Developers Discuss Next-Generation Online Gaming, hosted by Improbable. He'll join a bunch of great speakers to talk about Improbable's SpatialOS, the platform we're utilising to run this ambitious project. It's going to be a good one!

To see the world exclusive demo of our MMO simulation, make sure to be at Room 2014 in the West Hall at 10am on Thursday, 2nd March.

If that's not all, we'll be offering an exclusive, press-only, demo to play the game for yourself. Be sure to reach out to me, jonathan@klang-games.com, to arrange meeting times.

See you there!

#KlangOnTour

Party Time at Casual Connect Berlin

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Casual Connect Berlin will be taking place next week, and seeing as we had such a great time at Casual Connect Tel Aviv, we thought we should give a little bit back and hold the best party that the event has ever had.

So, here are the details:

The party will be taking place at our office, which is at Oranienstraße 164 near U-Bahn Moritzplatz, on Thursday 9th February and will be starting at 8PM until late...or until you're too drunk and should get some rest.

There will be free booze and live DJs because we're really cool, but no food because we're too cool for food.

You'll need a pass for Casual Connect to get in, but if you want to hang out, email jonathan@klang-games.com and we'll sort something out.

Be sure to RSVP here → http://bit.ly/klangparty

Be sure to join the Facebook event here → https://www.facebook.com/events/1633309910019447/

We Won!! Klang does Casual Connect Tel Aviv

Last week, Mundi and I got back from our trip, after the most insane airport security checks, to cold and gloomy Berlin. But, we're still walking on Tel Aviv's sunshine as we won not one, but two awards for ReRunners at this year's Indie Prize Awards ceremony, as part of Casual Connect Tel Aviv!

I'm not going to lie, we were both pretty, pretty hungover during the awards ceremony, which amplified the shock of being awarded the trophy for 'Best Game Design'. It's incredible to be nominated for an award, let alone win won! There were so many great games nominated (I've listed some of my favourites below); it was really inspiring to see them all on a big screen during the nominations.

As our disbelieve was wearing off, ReRunners won its second award, this time for 'Best Multiplayer Game'. At this point, our acceptance speeches were rather brain-dead, borderline absurd – blame the three nights of partying. But, we're super grateful for winning a second award, repeat, second award. In fact, we won so many goodies that the staff at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport weren't too happy about it.

Casual Connect was a blast! Three days of indie showcases, partying, exciting new games to play, good people to meet, nice food, and a free bar (which was too good). If you've never been before, or want an event to make connections and expand your gaming business, I really recommend Casual Connect. The next event will be taking place in February 2016 in our neck of the woods, Berlin, so don't miss out.

I also want to mention how beautiful Tel Aviv is! It would have been wonderful to have stayed longer and seen more of the sights, but unfortunately, we had to get back to the office. I'd also like to give a shout out to the best falafel and hummus sandwich ever! I can't remember the name of the street food stall, but, I really do miss you.

Mundi and I would like to thank all the awesome people we met during the event and those we had drinks with. Especially, the following people: Alexander and Marek at Gamajun Games, Daniel at Craneballs Studio, Marat at Wargaming, and Anders at Priori Data. A huge thank you goes out to Yulia and Sasha at Casual Connect; thanks so much for inviting us and for your hospitality.

Be sure to check out the following games, too: Take Cover (iOS and Android), Disco Dave (iOS and Android), Heroes Rage (iOS and Android), Planet Nomads (Windows, Mac, Linux), and Notes of Obsession (Windows).

See you in Berlin!

Klang's Tales from San Francisco

A week ago, Mundi and I finally got back from San Francisco after 14-hours of travelling. I'm not complaining, though, it was an awesome trip; I just hate flying. Watching The Martian during an 11-hour flight and being 33,000ft in the air isn't a good idea, trust me. Anyway, I digress...

We travelled to the good ol' US of A for business and pleasure. And lucky for us, business was also pleasure. Some things I can talk about, others I can't. But, here's a short tour diary of what Mundi and I got up to.

Day One:

We landed in San Francisco a bit blurry-eyed, greeted by a welcoming video from Obama himself, and a TSA agent who loved, yet hated his job very much. After jumping on the BART, we managed to find our hotel and dropped off our luggage. Then, STRAIGHT TO A BAR we went. I ate tater tots for the first time. I felt like Napoleon Dynamite. Mundi ate pizza. He felt like trash.

Day Two:

Tuesday morning we woke up at about 6 AM, and stupidly watched the horrors of Fox News. We made our way to Mel's Drive-In to console ourselves with bottomless coffee, eggs, and FREEDOM. 

Mundi and I were invited to the Zynga headquarters in the SoMA district to check out the building and say hi to the fam. All I can say is "CHRIST ON A BIKE" that building is insane; is like the UN. They had a huge TV, made up of about twenty TVs. I mean, that was not the only impressive thing about our visit, but it was certainly up there. We then went to drink a few beers and get out of the SF sun. This was around noon.

That evening, we met up with friends for beer and tacos...or should I say tacos, beer, then multiple gin and tonics. However, the switch in time zones was getting the better of me, so I had to flee back to the hotel. 

Day Three:

Wednesday started with omelettes and hash browns, with Mundi going for the all-American pancakes, eggs, and bacon. I realise that I've spoken a bunch about food, but, so what; if you want the good stuff, read some Shakespeare.

We spent the majority of the day doing business-type stuff, spreading the good word of ReRunners and Klang, until we had to check in to our second hotel of the trip.

Shout out to the Handlery Union Square Hotel for having the most beautiful hotel rooms. This is not a sponsored post, by the way.

In the evening, we met up with friends for more drinks and Mexican food (surprise, surprise). We were graced with the presence of Maria Essig, Google's Indie Dev guardian angel, and all-around wonderful person. It was great to meet up with her, discuss ReRunners, music, Belarus, and VR. Admittedly, I don't know jack about VR, I just watched Mundi and Maria get deep about it and I nodded occasionally.

I blame you for my blinding hangover, Maria.

Day Four:

Okay, so Thursday was TOP SECRET. I wish I could tell ya'll more, but I don't want to get into trouble. Thursday was make it or break it day. All I can say is that it was a great day, with some great people...and I was a bit too hungover. 

Day Five:

Friday was flight home day, but before that, we visited the Double Fine studio, hosted by the fabulous Anna Kipnis. Double Fine's studio was such an inspiration; we desperately need to upgrade the Klang studio and give it some more flair, Office Space-style.

We had the amazing opportunity to check out the post-E3 build of Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, which looks incredible. Plus, it was inspiring to watch the Double Fine guys and gals work, as well as see all the behind-the-scenes action. Oh, and thanks for the swag!

On that note, big thanks to Anna Kipnis, Maria Essig, Greg Essig, Flour + Water, Drew Smith, and the Tilting Point crew: David Hague, Jerome Sudan, Samir El Agili, Dan Sherman.

It was a mind-blowing trip, let's do it again sometime! 

 

 

 

 

Klang Gang Does San Fran

Great news, everybody! Well, it's great news for us anyhow. Next week, Mundi and I will be travelling to San Francisco to do some TOP SECRET, HIGHLY IMPORTANT OPS in the West Coast of the good ol' U S OF A.

During the trip, we'll be meeting a bunch of cool people and hanging out with some good friends (who are also cool, obviously). But, we also have time in our schedule to meet up with ya'll!

So, if you're interested in hanging out and seeing a demo of the latest build of ReRunners, maybe conducting an interview with us, and just saying hi, then drop me an email: jonathan@klang-games.com – we'll be free between 20th and 23rd June!

See you in SF!

#KlangOnTour