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, we recognize the milestone as significant…but we’ve only just begun.
As I write this, the ‘news’ o the number is at least a few months old and it was something I’ve been meaning to note ever since then. No matter what it’s an auspicious event and worth pointing out. But have you ever come to a place that you thought was a destination only to find it was simply a checkpoint?
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 clear: AbbeyCraft is NOT the adventure game we’ve been talking about. It’s just a small step along the way…but a way fun one.
As we mentioned in the previous post, the various descriptions of the abbey across 23 books cannot be reconciled in 3D space. One way or the other a few tweaks, bumps, and cuts will need to be made as we ramp up for an explorable space and we feel like Minecraft is an ideal tool for that work. Continue Reading…
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 to answer here, though for many of you this post wont tell you all the things you’re really looking for. Still – it’s a start. Continue Reading…
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 well-deserved hot water, but all of that is over now.
Soma Games has officially optioned the rights to make a Redwall video game – and now that my hyperventilation has begun to wear off I’m ready to start sharing some of the details. But before I get to anything technical I really want to tell a story, cause that’s just the kind of guy I am. Continue Reading…
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 opposed to a simple checker pattern, will help make it easier to keep track of where each UV shell is located on the UV space as it relates to the model.
2: Keep scale consistent
All of the individual UV shells should be scaled so that they show the same sized pixel density on the model. When using a UV grid texture, this will mean that the grid is the same size across the model.
The exception to this rule would come when certain parts of a model were never going to be close to the camera, in which case these UV’s could be scaled accordingly.
3: Minimize seams and stretching
It’s often a balancing act trying to minimize both the seams and stretching/distortion when laying out UV’s. Seams can be hidden by placing them at less visible parts of the model (e. g. under the arm of the character), or by placing them on hard edges.
While distortion can often be solved by splitting the shell up with more seams, this can make it very difficult for the texture artist to paint.
Something to always keep in mind is “What is the texture going to be?” Are there linear lines or patterns, or is it a more organic shape? A texture with straight lines, or geometric shapes will be much more obviously affected by distortion, as opposed to a more organic looking texture. Especially in low poly modeling, different methods of stacking and folding UV’s can help with seams. Choose wisely and be creative.
4: Consistent Orientation
Although it can sometimes interfere with laying out your UV’s with the least amount of wasted space, orienting UV shells in a consistent manner will make it easier for the texture artist to visualize how things are going to look on the model.
Especially when painting any lighting or highlights, orienting UV’s so that up is positive Y on the model is a good idea. Again, this practice needs to be balanced with good tight UV layout. Making things a little easier on the texture artist is not worth losing a lot of pixel resolution because of wasted space on the sheet.
5: Don’t Waste Space!
Less wasted space on your UV sheet directly translates into greater pixel density for the texture on your model. Not to completely conflict with the previous practices, things can be rotated or seams added if it means being able to utilize more space. Again, you may have a lot more creative freedom with this if you are working on low poly game models. Multiple parts with the same texture, or even very similar texture, can often be stacked and share the same UV space. Sometimes splitting a mesh down the center so that it’s texture can be mirrored is worth more in gained UV space than it is to have unique textures on each side.
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 own game company. In that pursuit we have been giving him the full amount of what is needed to succeed today, from marketing to writing elegant code.
This post was the result of an assignment Troy was given. The assignment was to read Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin and then apply what was learned to the video game business. Feel free to ask Troy some questions, challenge his approach or comment on your agreement.
By: Troy W. Parker
Have you ever owned a business? Have you given it much thought? I used to believe that there was a special formula to running a successful business, but recently I read a book called “Meatball Sundae” by Seth Godin that totally tipped my perspective. Now I believe it is an equation that is ever changing and this article will help explain why.
I work at Soma Games as an intern and have come across many questions that I’m sure most companies are faced with. Here is a list of those questions and a formulated answer. I hope you will enjoy this information and that it will inspire and motivate you deeply.
How can the business communicate best with the customer?
Again He said, “What can I compare the kingdom of God to? It’s like yeast that a woman took and mixed into 50 pounds of flour until it spread through the entire mixture.” (Luke 13:20, 21 HCSB)
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:
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 ‘calling’ and ‘inspiration’ and ’The Kingdom.’ If you let me ramble, and this gentleman did, I’ll start using military metaphors and words like ‘infiltrate’ and ‘mission.’ Whatever else the listener has gleaned at this point, they certainly have an answer…and an insight into Soma Games that they probably didn’t expect.
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 concert so it was a win in my book from jump street. But then there was so much more. We told them at a pre-set meeting that that our hope was something at least as worshipful as entertaining that seemed to change their expectation a little. When we told them that we really didn’t have any guidelines or boundaries but rather that we just trusted them to do what they were really good at – well let’s just say they took that invitation and ran with it. Continue Reading…
“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 makes me cry for the glory of it all.
The other day I was taking a contemplative walk around the neighborhood with JB and we both stopped as we turned a corner and stared. The maples, elms and oaks we screaming in colors so vibrant and varied that every attempt to capture it with a camera was thwarted. The whole scene was like a living Parish painting. I felt so ALIVE to simply stand there and breathe it all in.
Two days earlier, I’d walked that same street – and didn’t notice a thing.
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 casual Wind Up Football introduced the story of GRoG (That Giant Robot Game You Have). Some may argue that you can’t tell a deep story in a casual game. We obviously disagree. This summer our CTO Chris Skaggs had the opportunity to speak to a great audience at Casual Connect in Seattle. Here is Chris’ talk in whole. We know you will enjoy it.