We recently had access to a 3D-Printer and made a little 3D-Tiny. Here are photos from the first try:
Christian and Jones went to the Steam Developer Days last month and they brought home a special gift. Here are some photos of our awesome Steam Machine:
And here is Tiny & Big, running on our Steam Machine:
You can go over there and download the wallpaper or get it directly from this post. It’s drawn in Stamm’s unique comic style and shows his love for gaming and weird alien creatures.
It’s time for El Blogerino again!
After having worked with the Black Pants for a few months now and getting to know my fields of work in Kassel (which still get more complex and exciting) the time had finally arrived to visit the Berlin office. The university is still on winter break so this was the perfect moment to pack up my things and get onto a train.
For the duration of my visit I would stay with Stamm and his girlfriend Julia (whom I had been in one class with at school way back in 8th grade and who is still one of my closest friends). Visiting those two always fills my heart with joy, because it’s like watching an episode of a TV-show that could be called “The perfect life of Stamm and Julia” or something like that. They are that one couple in my circle of friends that I am secretly in love with for being such a great couple. Oh wait! They can read this. Dammit! Oh well…
So then: Berlin! I arrived near the office and Jones, Stamm and Julia picked me up and we went to get some Indian food. At the office we started planning what we wanted to tackle in the next two days and came up with rearranging the FTP server and some other office stuff like overhauling the calendar so everyone was able to see other member’s business dates and meetings etc. They had been a bit lazy with using the calendar so we need to get a strict regiment going.
Everyone went back to their desk and I just sat down with them one by one and they showed me what they were working on at the moment, to give me a better understanding of their workflow and what it actually means for them if I Skype in and tell them that I need assets for my blog or a Facebook post or whatever.
This lead to the best -work related- moment of my visit. I sat down with Tobi and played through all (more or less) finished of our next game. I am not yet allowed to tell you about the game but: holy shit! I can’t wait for the first teasers and trailers. It’s like knowing this big secret and waiting for the moment you can finally tell everyone about it. I already love the game!
After our day of hard labor we went for some drinks in a bar called the pony saloon and tried to come up with names for the game which ended in pure (drunk) laughter and nonsense. Right now it only has a working title and we are not sure yet what it will be actually called like. I guess “Call of BOLU” or “Rucksack Online” won’t be in the race for very long…
BOLU is actually a turkish supermarket right next to or office where the Berlin pants often go to buy food and snacks for their lunch break. Just to clarify where that name is from. The amount of utter nonsense that is produced on a daily basis in that office is amazing.
Day two started with a late breakfast at Stamm’s and then off to work again. I took some pictures of the office for the blog and we went over some contracts, because I am learning how to read them and understanding what key-words to look out for. Like “exclusive distribution rights vs non-exclusive distribution rights” and business stuff like that. Obviously we went to BOLU to get our food.
Interesting enough Berlin is full of people who lived in the near vicinity of my hometown once (about 300 km away from Berlin in North-East Bavaria) and so I went for drinks with a good old friend of mine called Flix and Stamm and Julia. We went over some awesome stories from our youth, like getting arrested for blocking the road to stop a demonstration of Nazis, or being at a party at a friend’s house and just speaking french with everyone, without either the right grammar or vocabulary for two hours. Good times! The bar was called “Vögelchen” which is German for “little bird” and I fell in love with the most beautiful, french bartender. That accent of hers! If reads this by any odd chance, she probably won’t remember who I am and maybe that’s even for the best ;) Maybe I’ll come back soon and will have the guts to talk to her.
Today I went to work again just to drink coffee, talk silly and have some fun and then I went to visit my relatives which I hadn’t seen for quite some time. Right now I am sitting in the train back to Kassel, writing this blog and having 90 minutes to go until I’ll be home. Then it’s off to bed and tomorrow I’m back on duty in my office.
I can’t wait for my next trip to Berlin! Great city, great people, beautiful women, great BOLU, great everything.
That’s enough for today! Thank you all for reading! I had some people talking to me about my blog over the winter break and everyone was super cool and made me want to write even more.
Happy new year everyone!
Since the holidays are over and a new year has begun I want to do a little recap of my first “year” (more like 3 months) in the world of indie-game developing.
First off I have to say, I was overwhelmed with the Black Pants. I have known Stamm for ages now, but I had only met some of the other guys (not even all of them because they had left for Berlin already) once before starting to work here. Stamm basically vouched for me to be OK, so after a brief talk with Christian I was in. Like a dream, right? Here I was, having played computer games since I was a teenager, always thinking : “Working in the games industry would be cool” but first: How to get into the game industry, and second: “Hey parents, I wanna do something with games…” – sure, son! Fast forward to 2013 and – not so fast forward – through all the crappy jobs I tried before: Kassel, here I am!
Everyone was super-friendly and I instantly felt welcome and at home. I did not really know what to expect but in my mind I was on top of the world. Finally the dream job! But is it really? Is working in the game industry really what a gamer expects it to be? Well, yes and no. The office work is pretty much like I knew it from before. Mostly boring stuff, that needs to be done, but nothing glorious. The hours are like heaven – at least so far (no crunch time yet). The coffee is great. The people are friendly, no stupid office wars or what have you. Everyone is here, because they want to be. No one feels threatened that their job is hanging from a thread, depending on how you can kiss someone’s ass.
I quickly noticed though, that working at an Indie-Dev is not the same as working in the machine that the gaming industry has definitely become. Majors and indies are as far away from each other as compared to the music industry. I really had to readjust my notion of being “successful” making a video game. Of course Black Pants has had great success with Tiny & Big and also with Love & Hate, but we measure success on a different scale as majors do. Success means, we can work for another year, because there is enough money so everyone gets paid a below-average salary. Of course, we had a steep climb from nothing to where we are now, and I guess (compared to people I have talked to), we are well off, so I am not complaining at all! I just want to realize people that we are not in some kind of dream universe where making games makes you rich. It’s hard work and sometimes you have to burn the candle from both ends (see what I did there, Christian ;) ).
Splitting up the company into two offices (Kassel and Berlin) was not easy for everyone, but the first premiss of Black Pants is: Everyone gets to be happy. If some guys want to live and work in Berlin, we will find a way to make it work. That being said, coming in at a point where the “veterans” had to cope with not being in the same room all of the time was a piece of work for me. Sometimes I felt a little lost because they were just figuring out how to make the information-flow work between the offices and there I was, not knowing much about anything, not always knowing who knew what and when to ask. It took us some time and we came to the conclusion that I would have to visit Berlin and work with them for a few days so I would know exactly what is going on. So I am very happy to tell you, I will go to Berlin next week. Yeeeehaw!
The people I have met while working here are just amazing. My highlight so far definitely was the Spielsalon. It reminded me a bit of going to a music festival. People bonded instantly, people had fun together, talking about a common interest, people played together and it felt like going on gaming vacation. I can’t wait for A Maze. in Berlin this year and hopefully more festivals and conventions when we get close to releasing our next game. Expect news on that topic this year. We are working on our next awesome game, and we are not far away from releasing the first information!
So: conclusion. Have I found my dream job? Hell yeah! Moving to Kassel and joining the Black Pants was the best decision of my life! I am so excited for what will happen next and I am so grateful to have the chance to explore this word of endless wonders and opportunities! (OK, that sounded cheesy, but writing about my job makes me really feel those emotions!)
One last special shout out goes to a fan I met on a Christmas party near my hometown. I was wearing a Black Pants shirt and he came over to me and said: “Cool shirt man, I love their games!” and I was like:”You have no idea!” – So big shout out to Chris (I hope it’s spelled like that, I was so wasted!)
HAVE A GREAT YEAR 2014 FROM ALL OF THE BLACK PANTS!
This son of a gun did it again! Mr. Stamm got some love and praise for his work.
Leschek’s Flug (Leschek’s Flight soon to be released as English E-Book version!) got mentioned in this review (German), and also in the German newspaper “Die Welt” in a piece that speaks about the publishing house Rotopol out of Kassel. They publish many great artists, go check them out!
If you’re interested in comics or Stamm’s work, we suggest you check them out.
Hey there chocolate lovers of the world!
Look what a nice promotional gift reached the Black Pants HQ this week:
I bet it won’t stay in the nice packing for very long, so look at it while you have a chance.
Hello folks, this is Murmel, live from the Pantalones Negros HQ,
Some famous person once said: everything is better with laser…or was it bacon? Never mind! The point is: we have a cool tool out that let’s you build your own Tiny & Big levels and build in your own stuff! So you can literally laser anything! Little brother is annoying? Laser! Teacher gave you a bad mark? Laser! Got into a mob fight? Laser! You see where this is going. As long as you can find a 3-D model of the things or people you want to laser, you can load them into the mod kit and laser away.
A fair warning: Mobsters don’t like to be lasered! Seriously though: The mod kit is a fun tool, but it is not the easiest to use. Think of the great looking levels of Tiny & Big and now think, that you can basically build them yourself. Our game has pretty complex graphics and the tool is not made for clicking together a level with 3 mouse clicks. It takes a bit of tinkering and WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GIVE ANY SUPPORT FOR THE MOD KIT, because we are tied up in other projects. We just wanted the people who really want to spend their time with this to get the chance.
Here are some screenshots from the mod kit and the download link below. Have fun!
As you can read in my blog, all of the Pants were at the Spielsalon Kassel last week. But not all of them were just there to have fun. Some had to work and here is what they did:
Christian was part of a panel about funding small businesses and start-ups through crowd-funding. It was an interesting topic, since there are more and more indie studios trying to get their games noticed and many of them struggle with funding.
Daniel had Symmetrain in the expo, and many people enjoyed playing it. He also held a workshop on making games with a tool called Stencyl. It is a multi-platform game developing tool for mobile devices and here you can see some screenshots of it.
Last but not least, Tobi did a workshop on paper prototypes for designing games. He showed people to bring their ideas to life without having to know the first thing about programming.
Hello my dear readers,
Disclaimer: This might be a long one, it was an awesome time!
I am back with a blog and it has a theme: Spielsalon Kassel 2013. The Spielsalon is an expo/festival/party for games (PC, console, even board games) which takes place in Kassel every two years and which is being put together by the Kunsthochschule Kassel, the animation class in particular. I was there between the 27th of November and the 1st of December, mainly partying but also to see the games and meet awesome people. Games shown at Spielsalon included Surgeon Simulator, Space Team, TRI and The perfect woman. The latter ones by our friends Rat King Entertainment and Lea Schönfelder.
First off all the Black Pants (including the Berlin ones) came to Kassel to take part in this event. That alone makes for an awesome time! Christian did a panel in which he talked about funding small businesses and Tobi did a workshop on paper prototypes for games. Both were very interesting and fun and I learned about what other people think about the indie scene and their businesses.
Among the people who were at Spielsalon were a few very special guys. Number one was Sos Sosowski, whom you might know because he made McPixel, which is on Steam. I don’t even know where to start with this guy. He did a talk on seriousness in video games and how some series became less fun to play because the seriousness took over, and he did it from floppies (you know, those things that were there before CDs, although these days even CDs might have to be explained to the cloud- youngsters…). He also took part in the 48h Game Jam which I will tell you about a bit later, and he found some other very cool people which are up next.
They call themselves Major Bueno and have a project to bring out one game every month of this year. Their last one, called Party Bueno was one of the main attractions of the festival, because they finished it over the course of the Spielsalon and everyone was able to put their own figure into the game by drawing it on a drawing pad. The game stands to be finished soon, they were not quite able to get it all done, but the alpha version was playable at the Spielsalon main party on Saturday. And Sos, hung out with them for most of the time to create the music for the game which can be heard online and even features some guy called Murmel. Ridiculous! Awesome game, awesome guys!
Over the course of the expo I found my two true callings: defending the honor of the Black Pants in a game called Drunk Quest and beating the high score at the Pong Invaders Reality machine. And I have to admit, I was only partly successful on my quest.
On Thursday night, Stefan from Spielsalon came to me to announce that he had just revealed the secret game of the Festival, which turned out to be Drunk Quest. The premiss is to get drunk in some sort of Magic the Gathering kind of card-RPG-thingy. He also told me I was the one to play for Black Pants. Lucky me! Free booze and playing for the glory of the Pants! Needless to say, I won the shit out of that one and beat Stefan for Spielsalon, Noddy for the Weinbergkrug (the bar team of the expo) and Mattias Ljungström for well… Mattias Ljungström. The Black Pants will prevail and stand champions of the Drunk Quest. Somehow over the next days no-one wanted to challenge me again, I wonder why that was?
The not-so-successful part was the pong machine. I include a video so you can see what that one is about. On Friday I was able to climb the top of the high score list for the first time. One guy from Spielsalon and Tobias, who built this awesome machine were right up there with me and Chrstian also almost took it away from me. Over the course the weekend a race between Tobias and me started, with live Twitter broadcasting of new high scores. On Sunday (the last day) I had the high score for all of the day and the festival doors were about to close, when suddenly a wild Filip appeared (he he Pokémone reference) and played a high score of 199 in the last round before they shut down the game. I was totally devastated and I had no chance to try and get it back. That really sucked but in the end I have to congratulate Filip on his victory. Some sweat and tears went into that game over the weekend. If you ever get to be in a place where that machine is, go try it, and tell Tobias hi from me.
My week concluded with jury duty. OBJECTION! Actually I was on the jury for the 48h Game Jam and I saw some cool ideas. A game jam is when people meet at some event to create games in a short amount of time. You can see all the games on the Spielsalon Kassel website (Sorry I can’t find them right now, maybe they will be uploaded later). We voted for “The Tower Of Babel” as the winning game and handed over their prize, which included a license for Unity, to further dabble in making games. Maybe the team will go on to become Kassels next great thing in gaming, I will keep an eye on them.
So long, people. So much talk. I apologize for that, but as I said, I had a wonderful time and I had to share it with you. I can’t wait for the next Spielsalon or for that matter for the next event I can go to with the Pants. Meeting and talking to other indie developers is so much fun and I have learned a great deal.
Until next time,