Who's this Klanger? An interview with Samet Kuru

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Samet Kuru, Klang's multifaceted visual designer and video editor, is here to talk about his background, Seed and Max Payne in the latest episode of Who's this Klanger?

So Samet, why don’t you start by telling our readers a little about your working background and experience?

Before moving to Berlin, I was living in Istanbul, Turkey, and working for several digital agencies on a variety of design projects. I actually don't have any educational background in design, I'm all self-taught and focused on learning as many design tools as I can. What I love is being curious about all aspects of design! I never really wanted to be a specialist in only one thing, say just web design or video production, because I love doing all of it! I just try to learn as much as I can and have fun with it. And what’s more, it’s helping me to make money!

So, how'd you end up becoming a member of the Klang Gang?

My girlfriend has been living in Berlin for a while, and I decided to join her. After a relatively long period of job searching, I found an ad on Glassdoor for a designer position at Klang. I checked out more about Klang and Seed and loved everything I saw, so I applied right away. And now, here I am!

What excites you most about Seed?

Everything about Seed is cool, from its premise to its design. I love the idea of being able to shape a new planet from scratch – providing players with a way to restart civilization and seeing how they affect this world, both the good and the bad. It's very exciting; there will be so many things to explore.

Which designers or games have inspired you throughout the years?

As a designer, I always try to get inspired by everything - from stuff I see on the Internet to found, real-life objects and nature. But, if I had to name one designer, I'd say Dieter Rams is a big inspiration. He believes in simplicity and ergonomic design, which I really identify with.

When it comes to games, I wouldn't say I'm much of a gamer. But, throughout my gaming years, I've been inspired by a lot of strategy games, like Starcraft and Age of Empires. Actually, Max Payne is one of my favourites. I've forgotten how many times I've played it through from start to finish.

What's your favourite thing about living in Berlin?

Berlin is a way greener city than Istanbul. I know that Berlin is very urban, but there are trees everywhere, beautiful parks and lakes to visit just outside of the city. There's so much to see and do. Visually, it's very dynamic. There's always something new to explore. Oh, and Berlin has cheap beer. Cheap, tasty beer!

If you want to make your mark on Klang, visit our Careers page and see if there's a position for you: www.klang-games.com/careers

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.

Happy Holidays & Thanks for 2018!

I know it's not nice to brag about your achievements, but it's our blog, so we'll do what we want!

We've put together a short video with a rundown of Klang's milestones throughout 2018 as a self-reminder of how far we've come, and that we couldn't have done it without your support!
Thank you so much!

See you in 2019!

- The Klang Gang

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.

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

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?

Who's this Klanger? An interview with Svenni Davíðsson

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After a long break, we're back with the seventh instalment of our Who's this Klanger? series! This time, I sat down with Klang's Lead Designer for Seed, Svenni, about QuizUp, typography, and how he joined the Klang Gang...

Svenni, tell our readers about your background in graphic design and your affection for typography.

“During my time studying at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, I got really into typography. In fact, my graduation project was a typeface.

There's something about only using text that I find fascinating; it's the restrictions that it brings to design, I think. Plus, it's also about the hierarchy of the information. How will other people read it? Will the placement of the text affect the message? It's really interesting stuff!

But, to be honest, I enjoy exploring the whole scope of graphic design. There's always something new that takes my interest.”

Before Klang, you were the CDO for QuizUp. How did you end up working at Plain Vanilla?

“During the early stages of QuizUp, when Plain Vanilla was still operating out of San Francisco, I was working as a designer for the advertising agency, Jónsson and Le'Macks. At the time, Plain Vanilla was a client of ours and, seeing as I was really interested in the digital side of design rather than print, I took the lead on the QuizUp project. I eventually ended up joining Plain Vanilla not that long after.”

How did you end up working with Klang?

“I've known Mundi and Ívar for a looonnngg time; they've been nagging me to join Klang ever since they relocated to Berlin, but, the QuizUp project was too good of an opportunity to give up at the time. Once the QuizUp team disbanded, the Klang guys snapped me up! Plus, I've previously lived in Berlin, so it was an easy move.

I remember them spending endless hours throwing ideas around for a concept that could be game-changing, if you pardon the pun. It seemed like a cool idea at the time – this was about 10 years ago – and now it's becoming a reality as Seed!”

So, you've had your ears chewed off about Seed for a while. What's it like to now be a part of the project since you've known of it for about a decade?

“Well, previously, the project was very complex, with lots of different UI ideas and references. But, at some point, everything just clicked and seemed very doable, although I had no clue how to realise some of their ideas.

It wasn't until I delved into colonization simulation games like RimWorld and Prison Architect that I could envision the concepts laid out by Mundi and Ívar.”

Who or what would you say is your biggest design inspiration?

“I'd say, Paul Rand, because he's such a bad ass. Take the story behind the NeXT logo, for example. His confidence in and the passion behind his work is super admirable.”

What's your favourite game ever?

It's a hard choice between Super Mario World for the SNES or Quake 3. Both are quite different, but I certainly spent many hours playing both!”

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