Soma Games winds up in the news here and there, now and again. Keep an eye out here for the reviews, interviews, and chatter that cover what we’re doing.

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The Lost Legends of Redwall : The Scout -Press Kit

Welcome to the The Lost Legends of Redwall : The Scout – Press Kit Page! Download our full Press Kit here. If you need more info or if you would like to request a game key, let us know.   Quick Info Developer:  Soma Games from Newberg, Oregon Release Dates:   September 14th,  2018 Future DLC Content: Updates, new…

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Windup Robots Game

At Christmas 2011 Soma published Windup Robots for iPad, iPhone, and Android Tablets. This was the second game for Soma with the first being G: Into the Rain for iPhone in 2009. While Windup Robots is no longer available for purchase (although we plan someday to give it an update) we did want to chronicle…

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Christian Games and Grown Ups

There are a number of unspoken assumptions in the burgeoning sphere of Christian gaming and most of them are both harmful (to the effort) and inaccurate. One of them is that the only way games and Christ could be in the same room would be in didactic and preachy games, a kind of specialized edutainment…

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Liz Vice now singing soul in G Prime

I’ve always imagined Soma Games as a transmedia company. In fact I have a version of our logo that says Soma Media. While we’ve spent the majority of our time making games we’ve also dabbled in comics, fiction and video all along the way. For example have you seen the G inspired music video and…

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Soma Games GDC 2016 Wrap-up

  Recently we sat down as a team to look back on our experiences at GDC 2016. Our immersive G Prime booth was a big hit at the conference, though being non-immersive, our booth stood in stark contrast to the almost inescapable promotion of VR (make sure to check out our micro-documentary, “People Wearing Headsets“!) For…

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My Unity Android Building Problem

    I was tasked with making an Android build of a project I worked on.  During the ‘Repackaging Resources’ step, a dialog box appeared with an error message: “CommandInvokationFailure: Failed to re-package resources. See the Console for details.” In the console were two errors, which were identical except one had a Unity error prefix…

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Flurry Friday Ep. 41 Soma goes to GDC

This week on Flurry Friday… What did we see at The Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2016? VR headsets, tons of foot traffic, VR headsets, overwhelmingly positive feedback on our immersive G Prime booth, and headsets for VR! We also added in a dash of our micro-documentary: “People Wearing Headsets”. 0:20 – Set up 1:30 –…

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Flurry Friday Ep. 40: Ballot Barrage on iOS

This week on Flurry Friday… “In Redwall, will you be able to choose the gender and species?” Come find out. Come take a walk in Erin the Art Director’s undoubtedly stylish shoes – this is what it’s like to see your work at last up on the iOS store. Chris explains why intentionally trying to…

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Flurry Friday Ep. 39: G Prime Booth for GDC

This week on Flurry Friday…short and sweet. Can you make everything out of anything? Our friend Elizabeth Hudec can. Cat food tins, cinnamon, and hot glue coalesce to create this year’s Soma Games booth for GDC (Game Developers Conference 2016)! So who’s going to be there? Come check it out and meet us. We will…

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Flurry Friday Ep. template

This week on Flurry Friday…short and sweet. Can you make everything out of anything? Our friend Elizabeth Hudec can. Cat food tins, cinnamon, and hot glue coalesce to create this year’s Soma Games booth for GDC (Game Developers Conference 2016)! So who’s going to be there? Come check it out and meet us. We will…

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The Official Soma Games 2015 Gift Guide for Gavin

It’s Christmas time and as it our custom, it’s time to pool all of our cash we made from selling video games all year to fulfill our sole purpose — lavishing a suffocating mountain of gifts on Gavin for Christmas. Below are a few titles Gavin has been drooling over, as well as some real-world…

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G Prime Press Kit

    Welcome to the G Prime Press Kit Page! Download our full Press Kit here. If you need more info or if you would like to request a game key, let us know.         Quick Info Developer:  Soma Games from Newberg, Oregon Release Dates:  November 12th 2015 (Windows and Mac), November 20th 2015…

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Flurry Friday 33: Redwall Food and Intel Real Sense

This week on Flurry Friday… Luke Pilalas asks a great question: Do you think there will ever be a Redwall MMORPG? Also how involved will food be in the current game? Answer: The first question is a lot easier to answer, which is no. MMORPGs are huge undertakings taking massive teams and gazillions of dollars.…

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Flurry Friday 32: Halloween – It’s All About Story

This week on Flurry Friday… Happy Halloween! Chris answers a great question about The Redwall game asked by Thomas Moloney on Facebook. Thomas:”I think adventure style would be a good way to gamify the individual books. Are we talking original content here or the gamification of books here?” Chris: The answer is both. We felt…

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The G We Always Wanted To Make

There’s an old saying that you never really finish a poem, you just give up on it. At the risk of getting ahead of myself, sometime this month we expect to submit G Prime to Microsoft and call it “done.”  – I’m practically giddy. When we started our first game, G: Into The Rain, we…

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Harvest Moon and Redwall

As the recent news about our progress on funding makes the circuit and…some other news (ahem) looms nearer and nearer, we are understandably being asked questions about the game’s scope, mechanics and genre. We’ve been deliberately coy on specifics and the biggest reason has been to minimize the misery for the fans if things never…

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Monetization, Marketing and MST3K

Or Our Attempts at Innovation in Magic & Magnums In a recent post I described the long and winding road that got us to the launch of Magic & Magnums and how its weird development path allowed us some atypical freedoms than if we were concerned with things like…oh, say…making money. The biggest effect on gameplay came from…

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Peripheral-Free ASCII Input Using Intel® RealSense™ Technology

(This white paper is also published in Intel Developer Zone here) If the goal of virtual input devices like those that can be created with Intel® RealSense™ technology merged with an appropriate Natural User Interface (NUI), is to be competitive with, or a replacement for, established physical inputs like mouse and keyboard, they must address…

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The Long and Tortured Road to Magic & Magnums

This week we wrapped up V 1.0 of a new game and soon, Lord willing, Code-Monkeys will launch Magic & Magnums. (Dec 5 update: we locked up beta late last night and submitted to iOS. Now we’ll get various other builds wrapped up and submitted in the following days…just in time for Christmas..yippee!) It’s a…

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RealSense And The Uncanny Valley

IDF 2014 was not the first time we’ve been honored to have a tech demo on the floor. And as we’ve been to the rodeo we’ve learned a thing or two about floor demos. First among those things: Keep It Simple Sherlock. So with that lesson in mind we created Cloak&Badger – a very simple…

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Mobile is Dead. Long Live the PC!

Soma Games wrote our first line of game code at the tail end of 2008, just as the iPhone was really blowing up and as it happened, we were in the right place at the right time. It wasn’t on purpose, it was partly opportunistic, but it worked out. We rode that mobile wave for…

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IDF and My Wireless Dream

IDF is always a great place to get a glimpse of upcoming technology and while some portion of what you see there never quite makes it to the real market a trained eye can start to sense what ideas really have legs and are likely to keep going. This year, the stars that caught my…

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That Long-Overdue Redwall Update…

It was sixteen months ago that we posted our first blog regarding Redwall, or Project Mouseworks. Shortly thereafter we launched our AbbeyCraft kickstarter, it funded, and then roughly a year ago this month AbbeyCraft was released. All going well so far. The plan at that point, as far as we could see it, though shrouded…

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RealSense Gestures: Reality and Wish Lists

As part of the continuing series covering our experience with the RealSense technology from Intel, I’ve been thinking about gestures… I’ve been saying for a long time that one of the keys to Apple’s success in getting developer buy-in for iOS was the very approachable and well designed tool kit they provided in X-Code. It…

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Expression or Outreach

Coming back recently from CGDC has me thinking again about something I always think about at CGDC – whether or not we’re the “black sheep” of that group…and if we are, is that a good thing or a bad thing. Last year at the end-of-conference Town-Hall part, where everybody can basically bring up anything they…

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RealSense Rubber Meets the Road

Continuing our series on Intel’s new/upcoming RealSense technology we recently got the alpha build of their Unity3D enabled SDK and a much improved version of the camera. While the package is cool and opens up a lot of interesting theoretical possibilities it got us thinking about the practical question surrounding this tech. RealSense is, at…

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Redwall at GDC

I should have written this months ago, while all the memories were fresh, but sometimes you need a little time for an idea to find its place in your mind and sort itself out – perhaps this is one of those times. A few months back we were at GDC in San Francisco. For the…

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Realsense & Unity3d : A First Look

(by Jon Collins, on behlaf of Soma Games and Code-Monkeys) This article is part of a series that documents our ‘Everyman’ experience with the new RealSense hardware and software being developed by Intel. Full disclosure, Intel does pay us for some of this stuff but one of my favorite aspects of working with them is…

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Getting Rolling with the RealSense SDK

(by Jon Hogins, on behlaf of Soma Games and Code-Monkeys) This article is part of a series that documents our ‘Everyman’ experience with the new RealSense hardware and software being developed by Intel. Full disclosure, Intel does pay us for some of this stuff but one of my favorite aspects of working with them is…

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Gaming and Intel’s RealSense

If you were watching at CES you may have seen Intel unveil their RealSense initiative. This is really an evolution of the Perceptual Computing initiative they pushed a year earlier but now with (vastly) improved hardware and software. We’ve been involved with this program for a while now, but wearing our Code-Monkeys hats, and we’ve…

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Redwall Step 2: Ship It

Redwall AbbeyCraft : The Corsair’s Last Treasure is live. In case the point of that is lost, that means that the very first officially licensed Redwall video-gamish-thing is now out there in the wild. Bam! If step one of our journey was to Shout It then step 2 was clearly to Ship It. In other…

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Iliad House and an interview with Phil Lollar

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ Phill Lollar via a quick phone interview. We don’t typically review games or upcoming projects here but this one seemed like a special case and I reached out to see if I could chat with the the gentleman. If you don’t know him, Phil…

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Soma Games Selected by Praxis Labs

We just got some great news: Praxis Labs (FB/TW) has selected Soma Games as one of their 2014 ‘not-just-for-profit’ Fellows – and we’re… Well, we’re a lot of things. We’re humbled. We’re jazzed. We’re honored. We’re incredulous. We’re proud. We’re scared. Praxis Labs was launched in 2012 during Q Idea’s annual conference when it was in…

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One Million Downloads! Now what?

One Million downloads… When Soma Games was started I don’t think we had any idea that such a number was even a possibility. At other times, as we saw certain titles explode onto the scene with huge download numbers, a mere 7 figures seemed like a gimmie. Today, with both extremes more tempered by poise,…

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Redwall AbbeyCraft

Sometime in the next 72 hours, unless something unforeseen slows us down, we’ll pull the trigger on a small kickstarter campaign. The immediate goal, and the actual deliverable, is something we’re calling AbbeyCraft – a build of Redwall Abbey inside Minecraft and, at the lowest funding goal, distributed as an adventure map. To be crystal…

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Redwall and Some Ground Rules

Last week’s announcement took me by surprise – or rather, the overwhelming response to that post took me by surprise. I knew the Redwall community was big…really big. What I hadn’t accounted for is how active you are, how connected, how ENGAGED!  And of course many of you are asking questions that I can start…

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Project Mouseworks

For several months we’ve been hinting, being coy, posting images here-and-there but not really saying anything concrete about what we’ve been working on. There’s good reason for that and no small part is simply the legal things where any cart-before-horse announcements would earn us some well-deserved hot water, but all of that is over now.…

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Getting Technical: Best Practices for UV Unwrapping

This post was originally created by Nat Iwata for another site but never got posted. Today we’re sharing some “master’s secrets.” The examples shown are all from Wind Up Robots. 1: Use a good UV grid texture A good UV texture can easily be found online. Using a texture with multiple colors and numbers, as…

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Marketing Here and Now

Introducing Troy Parker. Troy is our current development intern at Soma. We feel like the fortunate ones to have Troy around. When it comes to learning the ropes of the video game business, Troy is like a sponge. Beyond that he is a tremendous addition to our team. Troy one day plans to have his…

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The Seam Between Hoorah! and Amen!

JB and I were recently interviewed for an upcoming article. As usual, there were the typical WhoWhatWhenHow questions, but it isn’t every writer who asks the more important question: Why? Once that question hits the table, I get riled up. I start talking faster and louder, and my hands start gesturing widely like my Italian grandfather’s. It gets me talking about…

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Seasons and Lifespans

In 2011, the folks behind the CGDC were gracious enough to allow us to put that year’s conference together. Of many great things to come from that experience, one of my favorite was the BarlowGirl concert. For one thing, I’ve been a shameless fan for years. Second, it was such fun to put on a…

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The Loss of Beauty

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot Few things pierce my soul like the glorious beauty of autumn. Driving up Rex Hill on a day like today when it’s aflame with a glistening golden fire…it…

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Telling a Deep Story in a Casual Game

When we first set out in creating Soma as a company we had console games as our target. What we did not expect was that we would start telling our grander stories with casual games. G Into the Rain launched our journey into telling the Arc saga. Wind Up Robots and now the even more…

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Soma Culture :: Friends are Better Than Money

We had a post a while back where I was reflecting on something Seth Godin (allegedly) said,

…it’s pointless to have 1000 people ‘following’ you if you can’t call any of em to crash on their couch when you’re in town.

The week of the cruise there were lots of reasons to do it differently. We had deadlines, we were busy, it was  long drive. So really the logical thing to do would be to grab a quick flight, stay in a hotel, and jet home the next morning – easy peasy. But instead we decided to take the road less travelled, all 636 miles of it. Bill Johnson has this great bit about how most of the really good things we want out of life, especially in the Kingdom, are just beyond the veil of inconvenience.

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Ultimate Coder: Ultrabook Challenge Week 3

Here we are in week 3 of the Ultimate Coder: Ultrabook Challenge and things are heating up. (To catch up you can see the other updates for week 1 and week 2.) Game development is challenging on its own. This time we are throwing in brand new technology into the mix. It has given us…

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Flurry Friday 29

This past week we were invited by GREE to attend the Pirates of Silicon Valley Cruise in San Francisco. On the trip we were once again treated like kings by friends. Lana and Matt Vaughn hosted us and we got to do a bit of exploring at Pixar. Chris recaps the trip and the hospitality…

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Ultimate Coder: Ultrabook Challenge Post #1 Wind Up Football

Soma Games along with five other developers have been chosen to participate in the Ultimate Coder: Ultrabook Challenge being held by Intel. For the contest, we are building Wind Up Football for the new Ultrabook with Ivy Bridge technology, touch screen, and accelerometer. We have been enjoying the first generation Ultrabook coolness through an Asus…

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I Suddenly Love Street View

This will be quick, but I just had one of those magical experiences where a technology  gobsmacks you and moves you to the Happy Dance. I was in Seattle Wednesday and Thursday for Casual Connect and I was talking with Tony from GREE about the Pacific Northwest. Long story -> short, as I was walking…

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Flurry Friday 27: Kickstarter Film Shoot

This week we had a blast shooting our first Kickstarter film for a game we are publishing through Code-Monkeys.com soon. On the set we had John Bergquist (Flurry) as the director, Cinematography Sean Brown of www.seandbrown.com as the director of photography and Red Camera operator, Amy Hunter as sound engineer, Nat Iwata as art director…

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An Open Letter To Kris Vallotton (et al.)

(This was originally written as an email to the above mentioned addressee. But then I thought, “I wonder if that busy guy would ever have the chance to actually read mail from a stranger?” Then I thought that except for a few details, it’s really a letter I should write to a bunch of leaders,…

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Education Negatively Correlated to Income

There have been several times where we’ve been asked to talk to students about job opportunities in the gaming industry. In most cases, these conversations are hosted by a teacher or administrator who has a vested interest in Academia as a pursuit in and of itself. I think in most cases those folks wish we…

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Flurry Friday Episode 23 May 25th 2012: Game Sound

This Friday JB gives a glimpse at the sound creation and process at Soma for game development. We use a lot of fancy equipment but often find some interesting everyday solutions for game sound assets. This is just a taste of the world of soma game sound engineering. Have a great weekend. The tools we…

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Flurry Friday Episode 22 May 18th 2012: Job Shadow

Today Flurry Friday is about a great group of young men who came to our shop for a job shadow. Eight guys from four local high schools spent the morning with us and we showed them basically every aspect of our work around here, from art and code to making a video. We laughed, we…

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The Thin Line Between Faith and Stupid

One of my favorite lines to (mis)quote is from This is Spinal Tap: “there’s a fine line between clever and stupid.” Today I’m thinking about the fine line between faithful and stubborn. We had a dismal Q1 around here and when I say “dismal” I mean something like the “Oh wow. There’s a good chance…

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Flurry Friday Episode 21 May 10th 2012: Ultrabooks

We have been using an Asus ZenBook Ultrabook thanks to our friends at Intel like Bob Duffy for about a month now and wanted to share what we think of this new category of mobile computers. Intel has categorized these as ultrasleek, ultralight and ultrapowerful. They really stand up to that in our workflow test…

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Gaming for Good

One of the best streams we’ve been able to swim in over the last year has been the growing conversation called “Gaming for Good” or “Serious Play.” in that vein I had the honor of speaking at Serious Play in Seattle, the NRB conference in Nashville and now we’re scheduled to speak at Casual Connect…

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Soma Games at the LA Games Conference

We’re just wrapping up the LA Games Conference here at the Hollywood Roosevelt and I thought I’d share some snap observations. 1. This hotel is SO cool! Ultra groovy, old Spanish mission architecture updated with modern awesome – just beautiful. 🙂 2. On the still growling desire to see an effective bridge between Hollywood and…

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Flurry Friday Episode 19 April 13th 2012: G Prime

In 2008 we released G: Into the rain as our first installment of the Arc game series. Now we are revisiting it with new art, new technology and a new look. In this weeks Flurry Friday Chris Skaggs talks with our art director Nat Iwata and our technical artist Gavin Nichols about the early stages…

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Mobile Game Developers No Longer Pining for Console Love

by Chris Skaggs I’ve been going to the annual GDC in San Francisco every year since Soma Games launched the first title in 2009 while the world of mobile gaming exploded into existence virtually overnight. Every year those of us who make mobile games have seen ourselves (and have been treated) as the younger upstart…

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Flurry Friday Episode 14- February 10th 2012

Are you dreaming. If not why? Last week the Soma team explored yet another possible new office space or as many of us would call it a play space since, well our work is play. We have been confined within what we have come to call a box that is now too small. In nature…

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Flurry Friday 12 – From a whisper to a scream

I try to make a semi-regular habit of getting away from any and all technology, usually in the wilderness somewhere, and spending a day alone with The Spirit. We call it a DAWG day – A Day Alone With God. Two years ago I came back from that bonfire with a strong sense that the…

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Flurry Friday 11 – WUR featured by Kotaku

No video today.  A few weeks have gone by since our last update. We took some much needed time away over Christmas and New Years. Wind Up Robots and Santa’s Giftship was featured for the third week in a row on iTunes as New and Noteworthy.  Today we were pleased to see that Wind Up…

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Flurry Friday Episode 10 – Double Feature…and rest

Today was just a great day to set us off on a long needed period of rest. Wind Up Robots launched last week and today it was featured on Apple’s New and Noteworthy section of iTunes. On Tuesday we launched Santa’s Giftship (under our Code-Monkeys label) and it too was featured. That’s two featured apps…

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Keys To Your Calling

This Saturday I had the great honor of being the commencement speaker for the mid-year graduation at George Fox University (my alma mater BTW). It was very uncharacteristic of me but I wound up writing the whole thing out whee I always just go on outline notes. For some reason this one didn’t come out…

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Flurry Friday Episode 8- Dec 9th: WUR Approved!

We are excited to announce that Wind Up Robots has been approved by Apple and will be available in iTunes for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch December 15th (next Thursday). We also are about to release our Christmas Game Santa’s Gun Ship through our sister company, Code-Monkeys. For more details on both, please watch…

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Just Saw the Kindle Fire and I’m Impressed

So we’re all hard at work getting Wind Up Robots ready for the store and as we were doing that I was thinking we ought to look at the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets as additional platforms. So I hurried on over to Best Buy and picked up the hardware so we could test it…

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Meaningful Social Media

There was a video clip I watched over a year ago now where Seth Godin was saying something like “it’s pointless to have 1000 people ‘following’ you if you can’t call any of em to crash on their couch when you’re in town.” Of course he was speaking to the strangeness of having all these…

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A Return to Beauty

As I was driving to work this morning I looked out and saw a wetland. The rising sun was reflecting off the surface and little islands and peninsulas of reeds broke the water up into seas, rivers and tributaries. As I watched, a massive flock of birds took to the air, leaving the earth in…

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God Games Never Sell – NOT!

The last session of CGDC this year was a roundtable discussion that opened with Mark Soderwall’s observation that where faith-laden works had made real headway in movies and books, when it came to games Christian content had scored a “big Goose Egg.” Now to be fair, Mark’s assertion was not accepted by all the members…

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Flurry Friday Episode 3- Oct 28th: What WUR playing

This has been a week of rediscovering some of the games we love to play. We would like to say that we are regularly involved in all of the game communities we love. Busyness sets in though and many of those interactions fall to the side. These past two weeks we have been revisiting forums…

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Flurry Friday – Oct 28th: WUR Bestiary

So every good tale has a bestiary highlighting the monsters and critters of the tales told. So as we near (only days away) the launch of Wind Up Robots (WUR) we wanted to supply you with all you need to get to know the monster that invade Zach’s dreams. In the game it is your…

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Minecraft Moodiness

I was playing Minecraft with my son the other day and we were exploring a cave. As always there is the anxious advance-n-light process of posting torches around vacant spaces while you try to be prepared for a lurking creeper or skely. But at one point we turned a corner and found our first abandoned…

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Who Says Apps Are Short Lived

We’re in the middle of a fantastic but unexpected experience. We were planning on running a promo for our iOS version of Bok Choy Boy with OpenFeint this week but due to some unforeseen complications we had to change horses at he last minute and we swapped G:Into The Rain into the slot. Even though…

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MeeGo5 is what you meant to say Intel

I have about eight blog posts I wan to make coming out of the Intel Elements 2011 Conference, most of them positive. BUt one of these seems pretty time sensitive and I want to be part of the conversation out here so I’m going to do this now even if it’s only half baked. Whoever…

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On The Future of Game Publishing

by Gavin Nichols The other day, Soren Johnsen posted a tweet that really caught my interest. He said “The next console generation will be won by whoever understands why the Xbox Indie Games Channel did not become the iOS App Store.’ This is true in so many ways. The iOS App store has enjoyed an…

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AppUp – A Big Idea That Takes Time

We’re here at Intel Elements 2011, a “one year later” event from where we first heard Peter Biddle lay out a rather large vision for the Intel AppUp Center. Without going back into the history and our previous thoughts on AppUp I find myself feeling increasingly invested in this thing. Far more than getting tied…

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Developing AppUp Games Using Unity 3D

One of the most exciting and powerful tools available to the indie developer today is Unity 3D (http://www.unity3D.com), a wildly popular game engine that exploded in popularity when the iPhone app store roared into public prominence. The Unity 3D engine has become so popular in part because of its ease of use, powerful tools, and…

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Imagine a World Without Advertising

I find myself (Chris) dealing with an ethical dilemma here at Soma Games as we get ready to launch Wind Up Robots. Should we include ads in the game as a way to help pay for the development costs – and hopefully keep Soma Games in business long enough to make another game or two?…

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Celebrate good times, come on!

We are used to planning for disaster, disappointment, failure or bad news. How often do we prepare to celebrate? Celebration is such a critical part of business and company culture. Today we are celebrating our Code-Monkey’s title Bok Choy Boys game we made with A&A Global being featured by Apple’s New and Noteworthy section on the…

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Morsels Of Memory Management

So if there’s one thing I’m learning in my career shift to “mobile developer,” it’s that computer programming is a science and that I’m not a scientist.

Previous thesis statement: memory is a magical unlimited resource.  200 mb webapp?  No big deal – my desktop has plenty to spare.  Zombie objects?  Let ’em be, they’re not hurting any one.

New thesis statement: memory management stinks. Texture memory?  Draw calls? GPU? Power of 2 Textures?  This is starting to smell a lot like the low lands of computer science and less like the flowered fields of Scriptable Mesa in the land of GigaBytes O’Ram.

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They Don’t Call Him The “Creator” For Nothing

The premier entertainment electronics show in the world is going on as I write this and one of the feelings coming out of this year’s E3 is that it’s decidedly underwhelming. Dig this quote from a Wired article: “As the E3 Expo, the videogame industry’s annual bombastic show of force, begins anew Tuesday, it’s getting…

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MeeGo + Photon = Genuine Game Platform

So were just wrapping up the 2011 MeeGo conference (#meegoconf) down here in San Francisco and we’ve seen some really cool stuff, heard some interesting news, and met some awesome people – but the first thing I want to write about is a bit of news I just heard from Tom Sperry of Exit Games.…

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Dear Blackberry, Welcome to the tablet space

If you have hung around with us at any trade shows in the last year you probably would have heard one of us, at some point, as “Where is BlackBerry?” Ever since the iPhone started to eat into the smartphone space like one my famished coffee-bean-headed farm zombies we kept waiting for RIM to respond…

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Hunger and the Video Game Cheeseburger

by Ryan Green “So, what is it that you do with computers?” “I make video games.” “Oh! … cool!” “Yeah, I think so…” This is why I got into computer programming.  To make games.  Any nerd worth their salt in high school wants to make video games.  It’s nerd currency.  You make games for a…

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The Seduction of Striving

Our own John Bergquist recently posted a great blog about his observations from our first night here at GDC where we attended an after-party hosted by Facebook. (BTW – thanks FB. Cool event…) His post and our time there got me thinking about the way we are all so powerfully tempted to “make it happen”…

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Which Way Gaming

I’m sitting here reading Jane McGonigal’s new book “Reality is Broken” and right in the front she says something like “…[a year after her 2008 GDC rant] everywhere I turned I saw evidence this movement to harness the power of games for good was already happening.” Right next to her book I’m looking at some…

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Dead Space 2 is the new Joe Camel

EA’s new ‘Your Mom Hates This‘ ad campaign for Dead Space 2 is one of the stupidest, most short sighted marketing moves I’ve ever seen. It will come back to bite EA almost without question, but more importantly it will come back to bite all of us who want to see the gaming business mature…

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Intel AppUp 1 Year Later

It was exactly 1 year ago that we got our first taste of Intel’s AppUp Center when they launched the beta store at CES 2010. It was received with mixed reviews and nobody really knew what to expect from it. What a difference a year makes. Today you look at the AppUp Center and right…

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Microsoft is in a Death Spiral

I saw this link on Fox today where it asks “Has Microsoft Lost Its Tech Edge?” and my only response is “You Just Noticed?” My personal realization of this started over a year ago but was then repeatedly reinforced over and over again at trade show after trade show lat year. MS was there at…

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Brotherhood

About once a year the core team at Soma try to get away on a kind of group DAWG day (day alone with God). We drive up the gray north woods where cell phones cease to chirp and the still, small voice seems at least a little louder. It’s fellowship, it’s prayer, it’s strategy…but it’s…

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TRON: Legacy – What’s in a worldview?

by Ryan Green heckling by Chris Skaggs This last weekend, some of the guys at Soma took a field trip to the theater to experience TRON: Legacy in its full IMAX 3D glory. (I have it on good authority that for true awesomeness and full rumble effect, rows 4-7 front and center is the sweet…

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The Myth Of Multitasking

Multitasking and iOs 4.0 – What it is and what it is not. For a while there it seemed Android phones really had the iPhone beat with a certain feature known as Multi-tasking. It was all over the news and yadda yadda yada. Then Apple announced an upgrade that now includes – wait for it…

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An Open Letter to Intel on The AppUp Center

The app store concept is not a product or a service. It’s a complete reset of the way ALL intellectual property will be sold, shared and distributed. It will completely reshape the world of books, music and software.

How can Intel’s ApUp Center thrive and dominate?
1. Make it Cheap
2. Make it Easy – More importantly, make it LOOK easy.
3. Improve on What Apple has Already Done Well
4. Never Mention MeeGo
5. (After you never mention it) Make MeeGo Beautiful and Bulletproof
6. Apple is Not Your Enemy – Google Is
7. Show Us The Money – But In Secret
8. Support MeeGo and Air. Drop Everything Else
9. Leverage and Cooperate With Existing Services
10. Encourage Other Forms of IP

And 11 – Embrace and celebrate the huddled masses of
disempowered Flash developers – they are your future.

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When and How Backgrounding Is Stupid

We generally like Apple and the iThings. Shoot – that’s been our bread and butter for about two years now. But a recent update is just lame. In all their glorious confidence, Apple believed that the new multitasking benefit would be happiness for all. Well guess what? We hates it – for the most part.…

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Sound Design in AppUp Games and Apps

by Matt Fox When we set out to make G: Into The Rain, we came to understand that sound design was an area we did not want to neglect. This is not to say that we were immediately aware of the importance of having good sound. In fact, to be honest, we knew that G…

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Rubber Meeting Road

So it falls to me to break the bad news to you all – after much ballyhoo we will NOT be at Creation 2010…at least not in any ‘official’ capacity. And while that might be news worth posting to Twitter and Facebook, why does it rate a blog post? Well it’s like this: We first…

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CGDC 2010 – A Pleasure As Always

It’s midnight on Saturday and we’ve spent the last three days at the 2010 Christian Game Developer’s Conference in Portland, OR. Once again I come home with a lot of things in my head that really span the gamut of available emotions. In many ways, Soma Games was born at the 2005 CGDC. And I’ve…

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The Mouse is Dead! Long Live Touch!

I’l never forget the moment I first understood that the iPhone was something magic though at the time I wasn’t sure what it was I was observing. My pastor, who is one of the most dedicated MacHeads I know, had an iPhone without 38 seconds of them being released. A few days later he was…

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Computex: The Buzz, The Bombs, and the Booth Babes

“I just flew in from Taipei and boy are my arms tired…” I wrote that line a month ago when it was hoped to be at least slightly true…So the “just” has now become a distant memory and I’m only now getting to this blog, but better late than never right? The whole point of…

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The Lament of a Flex Developer

or “Why Apple broke my heart and Adobe is holding the pieces” by our very own Ryan Green April 8, 2010 was the day the first salvo was fired, all out war declared, and the following day an Adobe employee named Lee Brimelow had his emotions get the better of him. His blog post told…

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Pride Comes Before A Fall

I just read an article in Bloomberg Businessweek called ‘Apple’s Endlessly Expanding (App) Universe‘ in which Steve Jobs is quoted as saying “We only shipped [the iPad] on Saturday, and on Sunday we rested.” …Selah

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Coming Down Off The Flash Fence

For the last several weeks (or has it been months now?) I’ve watched the Flash wars from a distance. Not for lack of interest but for lack of time. It’s been a busy season around here and for all the rhetoric I think I sensed that for all the headlines I really didn’t have the…

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App Development and The Fuzzy-Wuzzy Fallacy

In wargaming there is a principle known as “The Fuzzy-Wuzzy Fallacy” and without going into excruciating mathematical detail it’s premise is that quantity relates to quality at a better ratio than you might think…specifically a unit with 2X firepower is not worth 2 opposing 1X units but rather the square root of two because the…

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Can they share?

So you have built a community or tribe around your games. You’ve uploaded some great trailers and teasers as well as some funny clips from your trip to PAX last year. You even have a blog with readers. With that alone you are way ahead of some in this industry in that you are creating…

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Legion Goes Way Beyond Heavenly But Kicking

So I ducked out out of house way late the other night to see the new movie Legion. I’m a big fan of Paul Bettany but to be perfectly honest I didn’t go in with very high expectations. I knew there was some mix of angels and demons and guns and you know, that sounded…

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The Book of Eli Pulls No Punches

I slipped out late on Sunday night to catch this new Denzel Wasington movie The Book of Eli. I didn’t really know what to expect but walked away really impressed with a movie that shot unerringly straight at deep divide between faith and religion. And I hope this aint news to you – but the two have nothing…

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Where the Intel App Store Fits In

Soma Games was in Las Vegas this last week to attend CES whereIntel announced the beta launch of their new app store aimed at netbooks. (Check it out here) For Soma Games, this was a singular opportunity but I’m seeing a lot of ink out there this week by folks who don’t get it. The refrain…

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What Happened to the Wild Things?

When my son was born a little over three years ago my good friend Mark brought over a selection of books he thought to be essential “must read” tomes for any little boy. Where The Wild Things Are was in there and I’ve read those 200 or so words to Odin  probably a thousand times.…

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Arkham Asylum Nearly Flawless

Batman: Arkham Asylum is far and away the best super-hero game I’ve ever played and one of the ten best games overall. This game is what I have always wanted a super hero game to be with a little Tomb Raider, a little Zelda, a little Splinter Cell – these folks did everything right. I’ve…

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Manifold Publishing

There is no way that any video game or series of video games can possibly tell the stories we want to tell at Soma Games. Neither could a graphic novel, …or a book, …or a movie. If ‘the medium is the message’ then we will only have told our stories properly when they are told…

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Keep Raising The Bar

Christian game developers have toiled in obscurity for all these years largely because we’re broke and making a video game is an expensive proposition. With little access to capital games have struggled with older technology that doesn’t compete with current expectations and anemic (…or totally absent…) marketing budgets. The two factors make the whole enterprise…

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Serialized Gaming Requires Rapid Distribution

When Soma was first looking at the video game business about four years ago the biggest barrier to entry was cost and distribution. That may look like a subject-verb-mismatch but the two things are so intricately related that they might as well be seen as a single issue. Indie games cost less to make but…

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The Centrality of Beauty

Herman Melville once said “The reason the mass of men fear God, and at bottom dislike him, is because they rather distrust His heart and fancy him all brain, like a watch.” Alas – how true this is that so many folks have really only heard about God’s seemingly insensitive expectations, his rules, and they…

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Why Video Games are Important

If you’ve ever received the dismissive glare of your mother-in-law as you talk about the mad exploits of Master Chief or Marcus Fenix the you know that there is a major awareness gap in America that lies somewhere between 40 and 50 years of age. On one side of that line are folks for whom…

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Mass Effect Does ‘Epic’ Right

Trying to learn what we can from such an excellent game I found their execution of the Hero’s Journey tale brilliant. It also hit all the themes John Eldredge would appreciate: A battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. Except here the beauty is a space marine who’d just as well deck you as kiss you. (Never mind Liara, she’s odd) ME was able to hit all the points of the classic hero formula without ever feeling formulaic and that is hard to do. As I was playing through the game I found myself watching cut scenes that were so classic in their direction that it reminded me of some old hero movie like Sparticus or something, and BioWare wrote this borderline melodramatic tale without any hint of the self-aware post-modern junk I see so often these days.

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Newberg Game-Makers Get Positive Reviews

(The Following is a reprint of a story from the October issue of Christian News Northwest) By EDWIN OUELLETTE – CNNW intern reporter NEWBERG — After releasing its first iPhone app game G in April to rave reviews, local indie game development company Soma Games is working on a sequel. The thinker-puzzle game G is set in a futuristic,…

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Heaven: The Game

This post is gonna be a little tricky. I just finished playing a new release called “Heaven” by Genesis Works. It’s a puzzle type game in the style of Myst that lets the  player explore the Throne Room city described in Revelation. Here’s why this is gonna be hard, Heaven sits firmly in the class…

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Shades of Gray

Dark Glass will lean toward the darker and morally ambiguous aspects of life as it examines grittier subjects than Soma’s previous games. Will our audience accept this state or will we be criticized for ‘loving the darkness’ too much?

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Portraying Good and Evil

I ran into an interesting post the other day that asks whether or not the Nazi’s are forgivable. The post is up and over too quickly to really chew on the question but it raises some thoughts to mind about how a story portrays good and evil. It sure seems to me that growing up…

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Publishers Are Missing What Gaming Is About

There is a natural and obvious place where book publishing and video games should overlap. But for this connection to thrive, publishers will need to break out of some old patterns to see what gaming really brings to the table instead of seeing this bigger-than-hollywood business as just a marketing add-on to books and magazines.

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Nite Beat Interview with Portland Helmich

This interview was held in the immediate shadow of the Hot Coffee controversy surrounding Grand Theft Auto. The other guest on the show has a book called ‘Everything that’s bad is Good for You’ and it was clear that the interview was designed to provoke the ignorant bible-thumping Christian…it really didn’t work out that way.