Notgames is an initiative that we started in the wake of my New Years Resolutions. It has been growing behind the scenes and is already a nice place where developers can meet and share experiences. The purpose of the Notgames initiative is to encourage and support the development of digital entertainment and art that is not games. You can read more about our intentions here.
The most active area of the initiative is the web forum where we discuss development and theory, each other’s work and that of others. There’s also a Tumblr feed which acts as a kind of collective stream of consciousness in images and words. And we recently started a blog and a Facebook page.
The initiative is open to anyone with an interest in the creation of leisure software outside of the confines of games. It’s a supportive environment for the exploration of this vast new terrain. Register for the forum if you would like to participate in the discussions, the Tumblr feed or the blog. Or simply become a fan on Facebook to stay in the loop.
Thus ends our celebration of The Path’s one year anniversary and 11 years of collaboration. Here’s a summary, in case you missed something.
We published The Path postmortem chronicling the making of the game. This was a great way for us to look back on the history of the project, even if it is impossible to describe 3 years of development in a summary fashion!
On The Path blog there were 10 days of posts written from a very personal perspective to supplement the grand postmortem essay. These stories were full of insights about the Red Girls and their Wolves. And we uploaded tons of work in progress imagery, drawings and screenshots covering the entire development, on Flickr on The Path Archive. So if you are curious about the making of the game, have a look at all the Anniversary posts listed there.
We had a very fine sale where all our games were available at 50% off. Even if you missed it you will find everything we’ve made reasonably priced for download.
The life of a working musician is even busier and crazier than that of a game developer! (^_^) Jarboe and Kris Force have been working on extended versions of songs that they made for The Path off and on for a year. All the while Jarboe has been touring practically non-stop and Kris has been balancing sound design for commercial productions and playing in her band and other collaborations.
All their work and all your waiting will pay off next month when the waiting will be -over! We are finalizing things so we don’t want to say too much… BUT What we can say is that The Path original soundtrack album will be published by UK label Paradigms Recordings in April 2010. There will be a specially packaged CD and t-shirt to be had. And we will figure out the best way to sell the album digitally, because we know a lot of you want that.
The tracks are named after the Wolves. This will not be your typical game soundtrack album. And it will blow your mind + possibly your speakers.
Needless to say, more details coming soon!
Instead, we are at home, working on a new project. A project that doesn’t have a name yet. You can follow what we’re doing on Tumblr where we post some of the reference material that we’re collecting to inspire and inform the design.
We can’t say much about this project yet. Because we don’t know what it will become yet. We have a basic idea but that can still change. It has something to do with flowers, and with locks, and with diagrams of the universe, and with sex. It’s very different from any game we’ve made so far. There’s no story at its basis. There’s no characters. And it might even feel like an actual game -though we’re definitely applying the notgames dogma to this one.
We’ve also done something unusual with the design method. Auriea and I have split up. The new project consists of two very different parts. Auriea is designing one and I am designing the other. And then we’ll bring the two together.
Now on the App Store: The Graveyard for iPhone and iPod touch. Only 1.99 US Dollars. A free Lite version will be available as soon as Apple approves it (release has been stalled a bit because they disapproved of your use of the word “Trial” and the reference to the full version in the description of the “Lite” one).
From the press release:
The Graveyard offers a player the opportunity to imagine themselves in a certain situation. It’s not a game in the sense that there is a way to win or lose or a puzzle to solve, or even a story to uncover. But the interaction does immerse you in a virtual world filled with narrative, an equally powerful feature of the medium of videogames. The iPhone version of The Graveyard is the same as the PC version. Only a few elements have been removed or simplified to allow it to run on the iPhone hardware. But the fact that you hold the game in your hand and touch it with your finger, adds to the sensation of fragility and preciousness.
We’re embarking on a new project today. Two new projects, actually. It’s an experiment. Instead of working on them in sequence, we’ll work on one one month, then on the other the next. The idea is to increase the development time of both. Because we’ve experienced that not working on something and just allowing it to grow over time, makes it a big difference.
Over the next 18 months, we will be prototyping two new largish games. None of this work will be published. And even after the prototyping phase, it will take some time before we bring the projects to production and release. So it’s going to be quiet around here for quite a while.
That doesn’t mean we will disappear completely. While working on the prototypes, we will be doing a few small projects too, and we may release some things related to the old projects.
For various reasons, up til now Vanitas was not downloadable by users of the 1st generation iPod Touch. At first, because we didn’t get a chance to test it on this older hardware. Then after we did, when we tried to update to allow for it, Apple had suddenly, inexplicably, changed their policy on how to specify hardware restrictions. This left many developers scratching their heads how to allow or restrict what hardware their apps can run on. Apple had to fix our AppStore listing by hand to get things straight. Needless to say we are happy to now announce that Vanitas will run on any version of the iThings! iPod or iPhone, regardless of age.
Also, a few helpful tips for things that may not have been so obvious.
– Use multitouch to levitate up to 3 objects at once.
– Find the authors of the quotes by clicking the url at the top of the info screen.
– It is easier to get a gold star at lower levels so, try your luck with the reset button on the 3rd info screen.
So we took The Very Broken iPhone. (It was broken when we received it. a gift. made sure it was *really* broken myself, with a very big hammer.)
there was made an octagonal table. Michael spent quite some time making the matching octagonal radiation on the floor.
We created within a physical representation of the contents of the game. A little bird skull, dice, a tarot card, a twig from a tree, a key, dead leaves, a tooth, a shell, etc., and lots and lots of ladybugs. All under glass.
Vanitas is a memento mori in your iPhone. A meditative app without rules or rewards with Zoë Keating on solo cello.
“Despite using contemporary technology, we are artistically inspired mostly by pre-modern art,” admit creators Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn. “In the 16th and 17th centuries, many Dutch and Flemish painters created still lives with symbols that referred to man’s mortality. They were named after a famous quotation from the Bible by Ecclesiastes: “Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas”. Or “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”, implying that everything we do in life is without meaning. Creating a “Vanitas” painting for the iPhone felt like the appropriate response to the commission by Ian Bogost and John Sharp.”
Vanitas was commissioned for the Art History of Games symposium and exhibition by the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Georgia Institute of Technology Program in Digital Media. The symposium opens tonight.
Our first iPhone app Vanitas will be launched on February 4 at the opening of the Art History of Games symposium for which it was commissioned. Vanitas will be exhibited in a special installation (including live ladybugs!), next to games commissioned from Jason Rohrer and Nathalie Pozzi & Eric Zimmerman, at the Kai Lin Art gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, from Thursday, February 4 until Tuesday, March 2. The opening reception will take place Friday, February 5 from 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm. More information here.
There’s still some tickets for the symposium and exhibition.Register here!
And don’t forget to check the App Store as of 4 February!