Who's this Klanger? An interview with Ívar Emilsson

For the third instalment of our Who's this Klanger? series, I sat down with Klang's Game Design Mastermind and Co-Founder Ívar Emilsson. He's the man of many roles - anything and everything from product to management. He's also a multiplayer game design veteran, which is why ReRunners is pretty, pretty, pretty awesome.

So,  Ívar, tell the readers about your gaming background.

“I've been a huge gamer ever since I can remember; it started off innocently, but gaming quickly became a bit of an obsession of mine. 

I always knew I wanted to create games when I grew up, that or become an astronaut, haha. My first opportunity into the industry came in 2005 when I saw an advert on an Icelandic forum where CCP was looking to hire, so I applied and got accepted. I was 21 at the time and the youngest employee at CCP. I then stayed there for almost eight years working on EVE Online, and then later DUST 514, watching the company grow from a few dozen to several hundred employees.”

During your time at CCP you worked on the MMO, EVE Online, then on to the MMOFPS, EVE: DUST 514. What was that shift like?

“I moved to CCP's office in Shanghai to introduce more MMO-focused mechanics into DUST 514, during the later phase of the game's production. It was great experience to take on the various challenges when catering towards a totally different type of gamer, on a totally different platform.

The DUST 514 vision was truly amazing and what we were trying to achieve both technologically and game design wise was really ambitious, that’s what made it a really exciting and fun project to work on… I’m still a bit bummed the vision was never fully realised.”

Why make the move to creating mobile games?

“I love multiplayer games, especially MMOs. Playing with or against someone creates this unique intense feeling, that you can’t really get from single player games. But, these games often have a really high barrier of entry, so most people don’t get to experience that feeling.

Our goal was to lower the barrier of entry into multiplayer games, and to bring that feeling to a larger audience, and we felt the best way to achieve that was through mobile.“

What's your favourite game ever and why?

“It’s impossible for me to choose a single favourite, there are so many great games that have influenced me in some way. Among my favourites are Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, Minecraft, Shadow of the Colossus, Super Mario World, Dark Souls, EVE Online, Grim Fandango, Final Fantasy VII, Dwarfs Fortress,  DOTA2, Half-Life, Fallout 2, and … yeah.”

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

Who's this Klanger? An interview with Oddur Magnússon

For the second part of our Who's this Klanger? series, I sat down with Klang's “Code Janitor” and Co-Founder. In a nutshell, he's the guy who makes sure that there are no technical bugs in ReRunners and that the crazy designs we come up with are actually doable in the game.

So, Oddur, tell the readers about your background as a programmer.

“As a teenager, I started programming and constructing web pages and building various games. I ended up being dragged into working as a professional programmer during the dot-com bubble.

From there, I ended delving further and further into it, then into working with large scale systems and server farms. To be honest, it was never my plan to work specifically as a games programmer, but I ended up being hired by CCP Games to build the billing system for EVE Online. I got really interested in all the technical challenges of game development, specifically for MMO games – I realized that this is what I wanted to be doing all along, working on large scale systems for games. I threw myself into learning about all the technical elements of game engines, as well as game development processes.”

EVE Online is one of the biggest games in the MMO genre, what did working on it teach you?

“It taught me a lot about game development and how to approach it. I really grew as a programmer working on live production systems with customers; I learned how to prioritize, how to throw out bad ideas, and how to focus on the things that really deliver value.”

Why make the move to creating mobile games?

“Before Klang Games, I had the feeling that mobile was emerging as a leading gaming platform. I started seeing PCs as tools to do something professional, like for designing an AutoCAD, rather than being the go-to device for gaming.

For leisure and personal use, I saw mobile and tablet games as an obvious choice to become the leading platform – something that is more approachable and easier to use; it's integrated into people's lives. I still think that mobile has a lot of potential ahead of it.”

What's your favourite game ever and why?

    “Command & Conquer: Red Alert, because it was the first game I started playing socially. I would meet up with friends, lugging around my bulky PC and monitor to a bunch of LAN parties. That's when gaming turned from being an introverted getaway for me to a social activity. Instead of locking myself away in my bedroom for days playing MYST, I'd meet up with friends to play – that made it a whole different experience!”

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

      VR and Loathing in Las Cologne: Klang goes to Gamescom 2015

      “We were somewhere around the Just Dance 2016 stand when the coffee began to take hold.”

      Mixing business with pleasure can be dangerous, well at least that’s what they say. But, like any PRO-GAMING STUDIO, we went to Gamescom and did exactly that. Admittedly, we weren’t there to exhibit officially; our operation was a bit more guerilla.

      Devices in hand, we took to the halls to spread the good word of ReRunners in order to show these Europeans this wonderful world we have created. Along the way we met some great people - old friends, new friends, business friends, and lots of gaming fiends.

      One of these (you can guess which category they fall into) included Klonk Games from Munich, who was showcasing their incredible mobile game Shift Happens. Unfortunately, we only managed to talk to them for about five minutes as they were in the process of closing their booth, but at least we managed to get a few stickers to represent! Go check out Shift Happens, though.

      Next up we checked out our old friends and ex-colleagues at CCP, who were demoing their upcoming Samsung Gear VR arcade shooter, Gunjack.

      Both Ívar and I worked on EVE for seven years and thought we had seen everything that the EVE Universe had to offer, but boy were we wrong! Gunjack gives you the opportunity of becoming a turret operator where you have to gun down pirates and other various ‘bad dudes’ to keep from messing with your stuff. While the concept may not be too original, its fully immersive gameplay is stunning and hella fun to play! 

      The strangest thing we saw the whole weekend was the Cosplay Village, and we mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s a beautiful thing seeing people express themselves by creating these crazy and elaborate costumes, wondering what drugs they have been taking. Maybe it’s just pure cosplay passion?

      All in all, Gamescom was great fun. We could go on and on about all the awesome things we saw, the amount of exclusive parties we didn’t attend, and the early access Fallout 4 footage we drooled over, but you might as well watch IGN’s video coverage instead.

      See you next year, Gamescom!