I haven't updated my website for almost a year and obviously many things have happened in the meanwhile.
I'm planning to renew the website soon, probably using a Wordpress blog, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen before next month, so here a quick overview of two of my latest web projects.
The first one is IndieDevMap, a map of indie and independent game developers. The main idea behind it is to help people to find developers in a specific area, but that's just the beginning. In the next few weeks more content will come: interviews with game developers, game promotions, jobs board and much more.
The second one is People Of London, a photography project which aims to capture portraits of people living, working or just spending a holiday in London.
Check them out!
I've been very busy in the last few months with the development of Blowing Pixels Planet Defender, my first iOS game, so I had no time to update my homepage until tonight, but now I'm not going to talk about it in this post.
This post is about my new Google+ account.
I've been an early adopter thanks to a friend who invited me after a couple of weeks the website started and I loved it since the first moment. I think that Google+ is better than Facebook and Twitter together, so I decided to ditch both of them and to focus my social web-life on it.
I'm not writing this post to convince you of doing the same of course (even if this picture could help...), but I'd highly suggest you to try it and maybe add me to some of your circles ;-)
I'm proud to announce my new project as Lowpoly Studios: AskFlashGames.com - a website collecting quality flash games carefully selected by us.
At the moment AskFlashGames features 180 games grouped in 11 categories, but we'll keep adding new games every day so this number is going to grow rapidly. If you like flash games and want to get notified when a new game is published, you can follow AsfFlashGames on Facebook and Twitter. Finally, if you are a game developer and you want to submit your flash games to AskFlashGames, you can use this submission form.
We decided to start AskFlashGames to fund our game development, even if this is probably an unusual way in the indie scene. Nevertheless we hope people will appreciate our effort to remain independent without asking for donations, but still offering a product related to what we do and love: games.
If you really want to help us and support our game development, please spread the word about AskFlashGames.com and check the website every day for new games.
Exactly one month after the release of the first flash game, I published a new one: Network Defender
Network Defender mixes puzzle and action genres in a fast paced gameplay that will test your skills level by level. In this game you are a system administrator and your job is to protect networks from malicious files.
The game features 30 levels, 8 powerups, 3 difficulty modes and an original background track by the 93Steps.
Have fun :-)
Last week I decide to take a break from The Undergrounder and try something new, so I learned ActionScript 3 and made a simple flash game: Round And Rolling.
The game is pretty simple and short (30 levels for 10 minutes of gameplay), but it comes with some nice features like the Mochi-Leaderboard. Nevertheless it was a good training and it allowed me to learn a lot about AS3 and flash game distribution so I decided to go further and use flash games as "public prototypes" for my next games as Lowpoly Studios.
So wait a new game around next month, in the meanwhile play Round And Rolling and let me know what you think about it ;-)
Since I left my job at Curve and moved back to Italy to work as full-time indie developer, I've been totally focused on the development of my first indie game: The Undergrounder. That's why the lack of news on my personal website. :)
But... few days ago I published the official game website and, on the same day, the debut trailer of the game that you can find embedded in the front page of the website or directly available on youtube and vimeo.
Any comment/feedback is always welcome, so don't hesitate to contact me!
I really dislike Facebook, I think the user interface is terrible and inconsistent, but... at the moment it seems to be the best way to connect with people online (please Google, do something better than Wave...), so I've created a new profile I'm going to use as blog and to connect with people who shares my same interests.
It's been a very tough decision, but after a long thinking, last month I've resigned from Curve Studios, so Friday 19th of Februay was my last day working with the Curve guys. I've been working there for 19 months, and I had a great time, I'm really going to miss a lot of people, but I wanted to change my life, and now it's the right time for doing it.
I had a lot of reasons for leaving my day-job, but the main one was I wanted to work full-time as indie developer, so starting from today I'll be working full-time as Lowpoly Studios. If interested, you can check my development progress/rants on twitter following my personal account @vivaladav or @LowpolyStudios for updates on our games and the indie scene.
For "celebrating" my resignation I realized a very simple game called iQuit:
Well, iQuit is not a real game, but it represents the choice I had to take last month and it's been a good excuse to try the latest release of the awesome QT framework on Windows (plus, I liked the joke in the name and the title of the window is a quote from my favorite sit-com "How I met your mother" :-)).
If you have a bit of sense of humor, some bandwidth to waste and want to "play" it, you can download it from this website: iQuit.rar (3.9M).
Well, if you are still reading, I hope you wish me good luck, I guess I'll need it... ;-)
During the last weekend I've restarted to use IRC after more than one year, and it took me just few minutes to figure out how I missed it and how much fun it can be :-)
At the moment I'm hanging around the Freenode.net network, mostly in a new chan I've founded: #lowpoly-studios where I've gathered the old fellows from #marsnomercy and some new guys I met on Twitter.
So, if you're interested in (indie) video games, game development, tech news and if you can enjoy crazy chats, you should join us on freenode, maybe using the webchat I set up. See you online!
Yesterday I've annunced my first indie game: Evolution War.
Evolution War is a turn based strategy game with strong RPG overtones. The game is set in a virtual universe in which AI bots have evolved to become independent beings in cyberspace. The bots fight for dominance in their environment to conquer their own cyber arenas and struggle to survive.
After thinking for a long time I've decided to sign up a Twitter account, unfortunately m3xican was already taken by some random guy that's not even using it, but Twitter doesn't accept take-over requests, so I had to register my "fallback" nick: vivaladav.
Feel free to add me if you are interested in reading news about my games, programs and projects or if you just want to keep in touch ;-)
I've been following this interesting project since its first release (about a month ago), and a week ago I've decided to give it a try and to start to make some simple demo/tutorial to understand it better.
Today, after some code polishing, I've decided to publish the first four examples I made, they are all available in the new O3D section of my website.
The second half of April and the first days of May have been a period full of gigs, 3 in 3 weeks.
As usual, all the pics of these gigs are on my picasa web album.
The 2009 edition of the Independent Games Festival has recently concluded showing some very interesting games from the indie scene, but besides the finalists running for the Grand Prize there are a lot of original/funny/weird entries that definitely deserve a look.
So I've wrote an article where I've collected 10 of the weirdest games I've found digging all the entries of the year, enjoy!
I'm still working on GPU Painting and the hard work is definitely paying back!
In the last version of the program I've introduced two main new features: drawing ellipses instead of circles and using vertex arrays + VBOs + PBOs. The former is improving the visual quality of the images a lot, and the latter is reducing the execution times of about 16% on my laptop, not too bad!
As usual, I know a picture can explain the results better than all my words, so below you can see a comparison between the result of the previous version of the program (left) and the current one (right).
The image on the left has been generated by the previous version of the program using 500 genes and taking about 740 seconds, instead the image on the right has been generated by the new version using 500 genes and taking about 692 seconds (times on my laptop, powered by a Nvidia 8600M GT and an Intel Core2 Duo 2.0GHz).
Also this time I've updated the project page with the latest images and a better description of the technology. Furthermore, in order to show the mutation process, I've put online some videos on vimeo, enjoy!
The Christmas holidays didn't help my project, I've been inactive for several weeks, but at the end of January I've restarted to work on GPU Painting and the latest results are amazing!
Now the program uses a different tecnology for drawing the circles, so it's about 85% faster than the old version and this allows to use much more genes without increasing the computation time too much.
I know a picture is worth a thousands words, so below you can see a comparison between the result of the old version of the program (left) and the new one (right).
The image on the left has been generated by the old program using 250 genes and requiring about 1845 seconds, instead the image on the right has been generated by the new version of the program using 500 genes and requiring about 740 seconds (I've taken both the times on my laptop, powered by a Nvidia 8600M GT and an Intel Core2 Duo 2.0GHz).
Now the next move will be to complete the planned optimizations and then I'll move on some new experimental features. Both the category of changes should give the project a big improvement, hopefully...
I've also updated the project page with the latest images, I think they deserve a look ;-)
After I read the interesting article of Roger Alsing titled: "Genetic Programming: Evolution of Mona Lisa", I had the idea to try to use the GPU for a genetic programming project. After the first week of development and tests I've decide to turn a quick hack made just for fun in a real project and so to go on with the development.
It's possible to find all the details about the project in the proper page of the website.
Well, it seems I'm back to work... :-)
I've added three new gigs to my "collection":
The Army of Freshmen are always amazing live, the New Found Glory are not so punk like few years ago ("kiss me"??? are you serious???), but finishing the show with "My friends over you" made my day! The Simple Plan are always good, even if the show was not too different from another one I went few years ago in Italy.
I've taken some pics at the Army of Freshmen and at the Simple Plan shows, unfortunately I've not been able to get pictures at the New found Glory show because I was too far from the stage. The new photographs are available on my picasa web album.
I'm working hard in London, but when there's some interesting gig I can't miss it!
The last week, on Wednesday 17th, I went to see the We The Kings playing as support band for The Academy Is together with The Maine. It's been a good show, even if the We the Kings played for just half an hour as support band, but it was fun, and the beers made everything better :-) And... this time I got a guitar plectrum from the We the Kings' guitarist, my souvenir collection is growing... :-)
I've taken some pics this time too, they are available on my picasa web album as usual, enjoy!
One of the thing I prefer about London is that almost every day there's a different gig.
The last week I went to two gigs in a row! On Friday 29th I went to see the Goldfinger, great gig, even if the support bands were not the one announced. I also got a drumstick from the Goldfinger's drummer, that's a very cool souvenir :-) On Saturday 30th I went to see the Clutch, they are not one of my favourite bands. but I've to admit that they are amazing live!
I've taken some pics during both the gigs, the "best" ones (I should buy a better camera...) are available on my picasa web album, enjoy :-)
I had no time to update my website during the last 2 months, mostly because I've been very, very busy...
In July I've spent more than 2 weeks in the UK having 6 job interviews. I've been in Brighton (Blackrock Studios), in Leamington Spa (Blitz Games), in Cambridge (Frontier), in London (Curve Studios), in Burford, say near to Oxford, (Fuse Games) and finally in Dundee, Scotland, (Realtime Worlds). So it's definitely been a busy period, but it's also been so exciting! I've visited a lot of different places (my picasa web albums are the proof ;-)) and met a lot of different people.
Anyway, at the end of my job-hunting trip, I've accepted a job at the Curve Studios in London, mostly because they offered me so many beers I was too drunk to say no :-) Speaking seriously, Curve Studios is definitely the coolest and the most friendly company I've ever seen. You can't see the sea from the office like in Portsmouth... but, who cares? I'm not a gal :-)
I want to conclude this long post with some thanks... First I want to thank Grant Mark from the Specialmove (the only good recruiting company in the UK), even if he didn't find me a job (not his fault of course), he was always available to give me some help and to support me, he's been more a friend than a consultant and I really appreciated that. Then I want to thank my friend Steve, without him and his advice (and his flat :-)), probably I would stay still in Italy now! Finally I want to thank my parents, for the economic and moral support they gave me.
So, from Monday the 11th of August, I'm a Junior Enginner at the Curve Studios, my dream has come true, I'm in the game industry! :-)
Last week I've had my first job interview in the game industry with the Climax at their wonderful studio in Portsmouth.
I don't have any news from them at the moment, anyway, it's been a great experience, and I'm really optimistic for my future carreer.
I've also taken several photos during my trip, so I've registered an account on Picasa to keep them online, some of them are amazing, so I definitely suggest you to have a look ;-)
Last week I've tried several different CMS for my website, but at the end I drew a sad conclusion... they all suck!
Actually, Drupal and Joomla are not that bad, but they miss some features I need, and it's almost impossible try to modify them without understanding the whole plugin and themes framework, so I've decided to make a brand new website from scratch!
At the moment the website is still under construction, and it's mostly a static website, but I hope to add some dynamic feature (in CMS style) soon.
The template is inspired by the interactive media template for Drupal, but it's totally made by me from scratch, but the icons from the crystal project icon set.
This is the first time I make a table-less website totally based on CSS, so it could come with some bugs/errors, if you find any problem, please contact me.
I've registered the domain m3xbox.com about 6 months ago... but all this time I've used the web space just for the GPU Terrains blog and to store some stuff online.
I've set up a real website at last, powered by drupal CMS, it's still under construction, but I hope to finish it as soon as possible, so to show and share my stuff and keep online whatever I want.