Promit's Ventspace

April 11, 2013

The Scandalous Yetizen Costume

Filed under: Games,Non-technical — Promit @ 12:18 am
Tags: , , ,

There’s been a lot of chatter on the various blogs and news sites about the IGDA and Yetizen party incident. I’m not going to rehash that. See these articles if you’re not up to date on the whole controversy:

I will comment that I thought that the controversy was a wholly pointless manufactured thing and Brenda Romero’s resignation did not help anybody. That said, I was a little surprised to discover that the scandalous, allegedly inappropriate outfits that created all this trouble aren’t actually shown anywhere, in any of the news about the incident. At all. Not on Joystiq, not on the Gawker owned Kotaku, nowhere. I thought that was strange. Luckily I have photos of the Yetizen models from the previous year, so… here it is. This is the outfit that forced two IGDA members to resign.
Yetizen Outfits
Now you know.

September 29, 2009

Oh hell yes.

Filed under: Games — Promit @ 7:57 am
Tags: , , ,

Remember our iPhone game, Aves?

We're new and noteworthy on iTunes!

We're new and noteworthy on iTunes!

September 24, 2009

Revolution, Part 2: BioReplicant Animation

Filed under: Games — Promit @ 11:02 pm

I promised this a long time ago, and here it is. I prefer to let the video speak for itself. This is a demo from January, so it’s actually a much older iteration of what we’ve got now.
P.S. Of course I delete negative comments. It’s my damn blog!

UPDATE: The video has been pulled for a while until we get a new one that better reflects the state of the technology.

September 18, 2009

Our iPhone/iPod Touch game is out!

Filed under: Games — Promit @ 4:51 pm


I’ll concede it doesn’t look like much, but honestly, the game is really addictive and fun. And it’s a dollar.

One of the technologies in this is the binaural audio system that I discussed earlier. On the above page, there’s a linked video — put on headphones and watch it. You’ll get the point very quickly. It’s even better in-game than in the video, was my experience.

There’s also the animation system, which is not really shown off that well here, but it’s procedurally constructed, like NaturalMotion (but better, we believe). At no point were any animations build in a modeler. It’s all done dynamically using relatively simple rules. The future games will leverage this tech more heavily, but at least as developers I think you can appreciate how awesome that is. The flying, the hits — it’s all physics based.

Did I mention it’s a dollar? Try it out. And if you do try it out, please take the time to write an honest (and hopefully positive!) review. It’ll go a long way for us if you do.

June 26, 2009

Binaural Audio Follow-up

Filed under: Games — Promit @ 12:53 pm

When I last posted, the demo video was the Barbershop recording. Although it’s an excellent video, it’s not ours and the only media I had to show that was actually by us was an eight second clip that was not terribly impressive. That is no longer the case!

Grab headphones and listen!

The game is previewed, with the real in game sound, near the end. But listen to the whole thing, and remember that it works in real time on pretty much any current platform. With any luck, we’ll have an SDK ready for Q1 2010, maybe even earlier.

Oh, and that’s still part 1. If you’re interested in animation and if you think that what NaturalMotion did was pretty cool, you’ll be in for a big treat later on.

P.S. I answer all comments, generally speaking, although it might be a bit delayed at times. So don’t think I’m not noticing.

June 23, 2009

Revolution, Part 1: Audio

Filed under: Games — Promit @ 10:00 am

A friend of mine has been working very hard on a project which involves two revolutionary technical innovations. I am not usually the kind to care for revolutions, but I honestly believe that both of these are really, really significant. I’m actually hoping to join up and help make these things into a proper product, in fact. These are things you have not seen in games, and he has it working in prototype form on a mobile platform. That’s unusual in this industry.

Here, listen to this Youtube video while reading. You need headphones for this, which is why the tech is launching on the iPhone first. The video is not ours, but it is a very good demonstration. Just listen and read. Remember, it doesn’t work without headphones — if you don’t have any, it might actually be worth reading this only after you’ve found some.

The underlying principal is binaural recording. (This is not the revolutionary bit, and has been around for quite a long time.) Games have had 3D audio for ages, so that is in itself nothing to get excited about. Current 3D audio basically works by modifying channel volumes for playback of a mono sound in order to simulate a 3D space. It works alright if you have a 5.1 setup, but it’s not terribly effective in stereo and in general the effect is a bit weak. Binaural recording, however, is a method of recording sounds with a pair of microphones and an actual head model that attempts to produce a stereo sound that simulates what our ears hear. You need headphones because of the recording methodology, and if you’re listening to the video I linked, you’re probably spazzing out right now.

There is a catch to all this, which is that nobody can synthesize it. The sound is recorded by physically placing it relative to the head, so you can’t go back later and place it at an arbitrary location. (Some people have pointed out that there are processors and algorithms that try, but they are expensive and don’t really work well.) That’s essentially why it’s never showed up in games –although headphones-only isn’t a thrilling restriction, either. Still enjoying the barber?

Here is his binaural recording. (It’s 8 seconds, just pause the barber.) There’s one key difference, though. That’s not a binaural recording of a sound being moved in front of a recording head. It is done in real-time. (This is the revolutionary bit.) This friend of mine has figured out how to do it. The original implementation worked very well but required a lot of memory and processing power. But the current system is efficient enough to fit on the iPhone. I’ve seen and heard the demo, working in real time off an iPod Touch. It works well enough to make your skin crawl, like those scissors are probably doing right now if you’re still listening to the barber.

I can’t really say too much about how he’s pulled it off, because we think it’s kind of a big deal. You’ll see iPhone game releases with the technology later this year, and hopefully by early to mid next year we’ll be licensing an actual SDK for whatever platform you might care to use. We’re fairly confident this is technology people will want, and hey, it wouldn’t hurt to forward this post around the office.

June 15, 2009

Highlight: AI War

Filed under: Games,SlimDX — Promit @ 10:00 am

Arcen Games recently released their first game, AI War. It’s available directly from them, along with a demo version You can also download it via Impulse, which is Stardock’s equivalent to Steam. (“Steam Powered”, “Impulse Driven”. I see what they did there!)

I am highlighting (not reviewing) this game mainly because it’s the first selling game, indie or otherwise, that is actually built on top of SlimDX. It’s been out for some time, and we’ve been aware of it, but for some reason we only just noticed that it’s an actual title rather than just another hobbyist pseudo-game. Visually it’s not terribly sophisticated, but that’s simply not the point. The UK Gamer blog has a review, for some more discussion of the actual gameplay.

What is interesting about AI War is, well, the AI. Since I haven’t actually played the game yet, I can’t actually tell you how effective it is. But as a strictly technical piece of work, it’s really quite impressive. The guy behind the game is Chris Park, who has his own blog. He’s written two entries about the AI so far (One, two), and more are coming. There’s lots more tech information over there though (and also discussion of game design), so I’d recommend skimming the blog. It’s similar to a post-mortem, except he’s only talking about the positives so far. That’s a hint, Chris!

I’m hoping to see more games rolling out on top of SlimDX. XNA’s done a lot to further the case for managed games in general, but with support for the new 10 and 11 APIs, 64 bit, and all sorts of other things, I’m eager to see what people can do with our tools as well.

The Rubric Theme. Blog at


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