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,
My dear readers,
MARKETING – what a terrible word, isn’t it? One of my duties here at Black Pants is to find ways to make more people aware of our games, so our artists and programmers can live in their little sheltered worlds and be creative and don’t have to worry about their paychecks ;) – and apparently I am the devil for dealing with these things, at least if you ask the IT guys.
So here I am, researching ways to get in touch with the outside world. One thing I noticed is that our social media isn’t exactly world-famous. We really do cool things here at Black Pants, and we really love when people like our games and especially when we get feedback and interact with them. It is the most rewarding feeling to know that someone appreciates what you put out for all the world to see.
We also like to keep things easy and personal. We are a small indie developer, not a money making machine. The problem that comes with this is, that it’s hard to find time to engage in social media.
So from now on I will try to be more of a link between the Pants and you guys. So please don’t be shy to talk to me. These programmers only talk C++ or whatever and I need to talk to “normal” people :p
As first token of my appreciation I will give away a free Symmetrain-Code for the AppStore. Follow us on Twitter and make a tweet @Blackpantsgames using the hashtag: #Symmetrain. I will draw a random winner tomorrow evening (Nov. 20th). Don’t nail me on an exact time, but you will have at least 24 hours from when this post goes online.
Tweet away and good luck!
We are proud to tell you that Black Pants as only Studio won two Pädi Awards this year. The Pädi Awards have been around since 1997 and we stand in a long line of winners. Pädi awards games that are children-friendly and have a pedagogic component to it. Me and Stamm went to Munich to receive the awards at a great show, especially for the kids. They were able to test the games and had some cool stage appearances.
We want to thank SIN – Studio im Netz for hosting the awards and hope they will keep up the good work to make parents and children aware of good games. We would be proud to receive one of their awards again in the future.
As promised on Facebook, the awesome hand-made Pädi in Silver Award 2013:
Hello my dear readers,
Sorry for not writing sooner. It’s Monday morning and I am sitting in the Black Pants office all by myself, so I thought: Let’s write a little. First off there will be some slight changes to the blog. We decided to split my ramblings into different categories so it looks nicer and is more fun to read. So “Murmel’s Blog” will be purely me talking about stuff I want, mostly Black Pants related or about what I am doing. Other things like interviews or news for games etc. will get own posts.
What was I up to over the last weeks, you ask? Well, I had a bit of work with the release of Symmetrain. When a new game is being released, there are lots of people who have to know about it, so they can write reviews. So I had to do some research into who to contact and give a review code to. You see, Apple only gives you a limited amount of free keys to redeem for each release, so you have to make sure, you use them the best way possible. One of those ways, of course, is to give one key away to people you like, in my case that’s you. So I will give away one key to the first person who can tell me the names of the two developers of Symmetrain. Write them down in a comment, below this post. Good luck!
I also helped my friend Beatrix setting up her exhibition at the “Kulturbahnhof Kassel”. She studies at the “Kunsthochschule Kassel” and plans to become a curator. So for her final exam she planned this ridiculously huge (for a student) exhibition with numerous artists and some pretty cool exhibits. The opening will be on Wednesday and the address is: Franz-Ulrich-Straße 16, Kassel. Here are some photos from early stages of the rooms:
Tomorrow I will go on a mystery-trip with Stamm. Destination: Munich. That’s all I can tell you right now, more news will follow.
That’s it from me. Have a great week!
The Talk and Play event in Berlin was a cool experience for Tobi and Stamm, they sent me some pictures to upload, so here we go!
Tobi will talk about making games tonight at the OpenTechSchool event in Berlin. If you are interested in games and how they are made you can see him at Adalbertstr. 7-8, Berlin-Kreuzberg. The Event starts at 7.30 pm (19.30 Uhr). Tobi’s talk is scheduled for 8 pm (20.00 Uhr). After the talks there will be some playing as well.
Click on this link to their website for more information
Tobi would love to see you, so if you can make it, feel welcome to drop by!
Heyo, friends of the pants!
It’s Murmel again, live from the Black Pants HQ.
I recently visited Rotopolpress. They are a publishing house based in Kassel and they are the ones who publish Leschek’s Flug by our very own Stamm. Currently Leschek is available in German to pick up at Rotopolpress, or online if you prefer that or aren’t from around Kassel. If you are in the area though, I recommend visiting them, it’s a nice store with friendly people. The English translation “Leschek’s Flight” is in the works by yours truly and will be out as an ebook, hopefully later this year. As always, I will keep you updated.
Daniel and Philipp have finished Symmetrain and handed it in with Apple, we are now waiting for it to be released on the App Store. Currently Daniel is finishing up the trailer. You can see a teaser in this vine.
Here at Black Pants we are a pretty small team, but from time to time a new face shows up. That is the case with me and coincidentally around the same time another cool guy started working here. His name is Rico, he works in the Berlin office and I managed to steal some of his time for short interview. Take the stage, Rico!
Who are you, and why are you here?
My name is Rico and I found my way to Black Pants more or less by accident. I was working for another Gamecompany before and we finished a game we where working on called “Pudding Panic Reloaded” which will be released on the iOS app store soon. I finished my job and I was looking for something new. We transformed our office to some kind of coworking space and hosted several companies in our rooms and Black Pants was one of this companies. So I just went to the door, knocked and asked for a job. We sealed the deal over a beer.
What do you do at Black Pants?
I am a Programmer and working right now on things like cutscene scripting, 2D Camera and gamestate serialization. Basically I work on all the high level stuff so our engine guru can think about more important things :)
Tell me about you and video games. How long have you been playing? What is your favorite game or genre?
I got a NES when I was 6 years old. My parents where in dire need of an electronic baby sitter. My favorite game of that time was Mega Man 4!
Nowadays I prefer more serious games or games which have a slight phychological component, like Silent Hill or Killer7.
What are your plans for the future?
Quite frankly I can’t imagine to ever go back programming office software. Working with games is to much fun! I am very happy to be able to learn from people who have much more experience with game development and so I will stick around and learn from the others. I also would like to make my own games in the future.
A catchy statement for my readers please!
Never underestimate your abilities!
Thanks to Rico for his time! I will annoy other team members in the future, to get them to tell us more about them. Believe me, we have some interesting people working here.
As for me: My studies at Uni Kassel have started and I met my fellow students and visited some lectures and went to one or two parties. Kassel is not the world’s hugest city, but you can find some fun. My roommates Stefan (not Black Pants Stefan) and Tobi (not Black Pants Tobi), are really cool and relaxed guys and I can see myself living with them for the next years here in Kassel. You guys rock! Shout-out to my unofficial roommate Eleni, who lives one floor up, and brightens my days with dropping by for breakfast. You rock!
That’s it for today. As always: I am glad for feedback and you are welcome to ask questions. Maybe you want to know something I can ask in my upcoming interviews with members of Black Pants.
My name is Florian, but my friends have called me “Murmel” for as long as I can think. Murmel is the German word for marble and that’s all I can really tell you. I can’t remember, why exactly someone chose the name or even who started it. Well, the only important thing is, you can call me Murmel.
Why am I writing a blog, you might ask yourselves. And more importantly: why should you read it? First of all, because it would make me really happy to reach people with this, and because I would love feedback to this and future posts. Second: Today is my first day at Black Pants, and from now on part of my job here is to keep you guys informed about our work, our games, and our studio.
I am currently a freshman at Kassel University starting to study “English, American Culture and Business Studies”. Before I worked at a wholesaler for organic food and at an accountant’s office. At Black Pants I will mostly do boring office stuff which tends to pile up and annoy our programmers and designers, so I will try to make their lives easier. The fun part of the job will be you guys. I will snatch the login data for the company’s facebook and twitter accounts, as soon as no-one is looking and take over social media.
I myself enjoy video games (of course). I’ve been playing them for about 15 years now. My all-time favorite would be Grim Fandango, for those of you old enough to remember. Other games I (have) play(ed) range from shooters to RPG to strategy games. As much as I like playing a game alone, the best part of almost any activity is sharing it with friends and other people, so I am a sucker for multiplayer games, like League of Legends. That is also the reason why I like sharing what happens at Black Pants with the community.
My first day started off when I came to the office to find this nameplate on the door. Obviously I had found the right place.
When I looked around I noticed a weird affection for Unicorns and the Scorpions. I will have to start further investigations into that to see, where fate has led me.
After the obligatory coffee to get going, Christian (one of our two CEOs) showed me around the office and we went over my tasks for the near future. With an (evil) smile he told me: “I’ve kept the accounting stuff from the last 3 months piled up, so we can get to it together!” So we started our number crunching.
At 2 pm we had a video chat with our Berlin office. You have to know, Black Pants has started a branch in Berlin in July, and there are weekly meetings and video chats with them. I hope I will get around to visit Berlin very soon, so I can tell you what’s going on there, first-hand.
I knew about the many awards and praises our first games “Tiny and Big in Grandpa’s Leftovers” and “About Love, Hate and the other ones” had received, but seeing some of them standing before me, really made me want to work super-hard to add some more to the collection, with our upcoming games. I can tell you, that we are currently working on the next game for PC, Mac and Linux, and I will keep you updated as soon as there is something to share. Meanwhile our friends Daniel and Philipp will release their iOS game “Symmetrain” soon (I am told in October), on Black Pants. So for all of you Apple-People out there, you will have something to look forward to.
Now this is it so far from me for my first blog. I hope, you like hearing from me and you will come back to read my future posts. I am really hyped about working at Black Pants, and I hope I am able to take you along on my journey with the Black Pants and our games. I would love your feedback and questions, and am looking forward to staying in contact with you guys.