Showing posts from January, 2011

Protectorate Trooper Concept Art

Just a heads up, I am still casting the Mortis. I have been busy locating a contract caster and have had some success. I will post any available Mortis models here soooo, if you want one of the limited edition models keep your eyes peeled to this blog. Now on to some concept art. I wanted to make something for the Protectorate that was immediately identifiable as Soviet era military but with updates to make it sci-fi. The problem with today’s military, is that forces from around the world look strikingly similar when it comes to body armor. Their weapons and camouflage patterns are often the only real visual clue as to the country of origin. In the Iron-Core universe, the factions are separated and evolved distinctively from one another. I felt it was important to keep their visual roots intact while updating the equipment. In this concept I gave a big nod to the Soviet era by taking some distinctively Soviet traits and turning them into design cues. I turned the fir cap into a hard plat…

Physics and Heightmaps

When I thought that all problems with heightmaps was over, I stumbled upon something sort of tricky recently. The only thing I had left for heightmaps was to add physics to them. This seemed easy to do as it was basically just a matter of sending the raw heightmap data to the physics engine (newton game dynamics) However just as I had done this I realized that this was not enough: the terrain could have many different physical properties at different places (a spot with dirt, one with rock, etc).

The thing is that in physics simulations you give a material per shape, each material having certain properties (friction, etc) and special effects (sounds, etc). The heightmap is counted as a single shape, and thus it only has a single physics material. This was something I had totally forgotten. Luckily, the physics engine supports the assigning of special properties to each point in the heightmap. Once I found the proper info, it was pretty simple to add this (see here).

Now it was just a ma…

Tech Feature: Undergrowth

After a little break with updates on the rendering system, holidays and super secret stuff, I could finally get back to terrain rendering this week. This meant work on the final big part of the terrain system: Undergrowth. This is basically grass and any kind of small vegetation close to the ground.

As always, I started out doing a ton of research on the subject to at least have a chance of making proper decisions at the start. The problem with undergrowth/grass is that while I could find a lot of resources, most were quite specific, describing techniques that only worked in special cases. This is quite common when doing technical stuff for games; while there are a lot of nice information, only a very small part is usable in an actual game. This is especially true when dealing with any larger system (like terrain) and not just some localized special effect. In these cases reports from other developers are by far best, and writing these blog posts is partly a way to pay bac…

Why not release a game on Steam that has been ported to Mac?

As we have released all of our games for Windows, Mac and Linux and because we also release our games on Steam, this will be a quick reflection over the lack of games available for Mac that are not on Steam.

Looking at the Steam forums you can find a thread or two every now and then that brings up the topic "why are there many well known games, that are ported to Mac, but are not on Steam??".

The reason for this can be many: Perhaps there is a contractual limit or perhaps the company that did the Mac port have their own online store and only wants to sell the game in that store.

There has also been a mention here and there about SteamPlay, the feature on Steam that gives you a game for all platforms, even if you only bought it for Windows to begin with. This means that if you have a Mac as well, you get the game for Mac for free on Steam. Or the other way around of course. This might be viewed as a negative thing, because as the company porting the game, you have a lot of poten…

Four months after Amnesia's release

Frictional Games have now officially existed for almost exactly four years (4 years and 7 days to be exact), Amnesia: The Dark Descent is our fourth game and it is now four month since we released it. Because of this we thought it was time for another round-up of sales and other stuff that has happened.

Those who have read our two previous reports might have noticed a small trend of the later being a little bit more positive than the earlier. This post will not be an exception and we can happily announce that things are looking better than ever for us. Summarizing all sales since release actually puts us in a state that we never imagined being in.

Let's start with what I guess people are most interested in - sales. When counting all online sales as well a the Russian retail copies, we have now sold almost 200, 000 units! This is a tremendous amount and more than we ever thought we would. Our "dream estimates" before release was something around 100k, and t…

#2 Limited Edition Leviathan Mortis has been listed on eBay

Here is your link to the auction

This is #2 of 5
Item number: 230570755667 The auction starts Friday the 7th.
Kit comes with all components required to build one Leviathan Mortis. (1) Main body legs and upper arms. (1) Right hand Mauler Claw (1) Left hand Reaper Scythe. (Limited Edition Release Includes (1) Crusader Head (1) Right Hand Vulkan Cannon) Suitable for a display model or table top gaming.
The limited Edition Mortis will only be available for a short time, likely five kits. After that the Vulkan and Crusader head will be available separately.

Total Package Value: $400.00  ($350.00 Mortis/ $45.00 Vulkan/ $5.00 Crusader head)
Limited Edition Suggested Retail Price: $375.00 Happy bidding and good luck!

Embracing Hardness

I am not very fond of new year's resolutions, but I will make one anyway: From here on, I promise myself to never take the simple way, but always take the hard one, when making game.

This might seem a bit weird, so let me explain myself.

When creating games in the past we have sometimes tried to take the easy way out, hoping to create a lot of "playtime" for little effort. This kind of thinking have always ended up being the worst parts of the game or the worst ideas. For example, in Penumbra Overture, I designed some of the maps to be maze-like and have roaming enemies, thinking it would be an easy way of adding engaging parts to the game. These levels turned out to be tedious and easily my least favorite parts of the game. Another example is from Amnesia: When coming up with the basic gameplay design we were set on creating some easy way of making levels. This ended up being a bad way to go about it and we pretty much discarded all of these features in the final game. I…