New COO Alert! Ryan DeSanto becomes a Klanger

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We're incredibility happy to announce that Ryan DeSanto, business-master and bass player, has joined the Klang Gang as Chief Operating Officer.

Ryan will be steering the Klang train down the proverbial track to world domination. Or virtual world domination, depending on how you look at it. Basically, he'll be overseeing Klang's business procedures.

Ryan's experience is second to none and was previously the Head of Games at Improbable, as well as the Director of Business Development for North America at NetEase. Not only that, Ryan was the Founder of TinySpark and the Founder of Playhem. He also likes to slap the bass.

In his own words, “During my time at Improbable, I was fortunate to work with many amazing teams producing the next generation of multiplayer game content on SpatialOS. Out of them all, I was blown away by Klang's team and vision for Seed and am extremely proud to be a part of the gang.”

Welcome to the Gang, Ryan.

Improbable brings Unreal gaming Unity with its SpatialOS GDKs

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Our hardworking friends over at Improbable are continuing to knock down the technical limitations facing smaller studios with the recent launch of the SpatialOS GDKs for Unity and Unreal. This means smaller studios can now easily build epic MMOs without the overwhelming network requirements.

For Klang, SpatialOS allows Seed to be this vast, continuously running simulation without the headaches of server limitations, as all of the game logic is living on SpatialOS. Plus, we were a part of the process of making the Unity GDK package, so we're fully behind this initiative!

Improbable's SpatialOS GDK package follows four different development philosophies to help build amazing projects. Check 'em out:

1. Faster iterations, boom!

2. Familiar workflows, boom!

3. Fast and high performance, boom!

4. Open development and customizability, boom!

By now you’re probably interested in finding out more about these GDKs, huh? Make sure to head on over to the SpatialOS website and check out more info to see if this is something for you. To be honest, it will be.

Congrats, Improbable!

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.

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.

Watch: An insight into Seed and SpatialOS

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As we've previously mentioned (here and here), we premiered our latest project, Seed, to the world during GDC '17 in March. But for those of you who couldn't attend, you can watch Mundi's talk in full, courtesy of Improbable's YouTube channel.

The session, Building Worlds with SpatialOS: Developers Discuss Next-Generation Online Gaming, delves into the latest projects from Bossa Studios, NINPO, Spilt Milk Studios, Soulbound Studios, and of course, Klang.

Each studio is doing amazing things with SpatialOS, so it's certainly a worthwhile watch. Seed begins at 20:15:

You can also watch an edited version focusing specifically on Seed via our Facebook page.

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