Members Area

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

The game is almost done so I’m moving once again to trailer #2. I decided to create a members’ area for those who preordered the game, and I’ll be releasing the “making of” stuff (videos, screenshots, tests/gameplay footage, audio/music bits, etc.) from both the new trailer and the game. Hope you folks like what you see in there in the upcoming days. It’ll be updated every 10 days or so until the release.

So what about the release date? I hear some of you (OK, all of you) asking. Answer: I’m done giving release dates. During the production, I’ve managed to fail epically (many times) on estimating how long stuff’s going to take, so I’m not doing that anymore. It’ll be sooner rather than later, plus now you’ll see what the game looks like in the members’ area in the upcoming days.

You should get an email from me to your PayPal email address with your password soon. If you don’t, please check your spam folder. If it’s not there, use the contact page to get in touch with me. I’m working on adding a “notify me of new posts” feature so you’ll be notified of new updates.

Edit: That feature is done. Please check your member panel for subscription settings.

Why Stephen? WHY!!!

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen…. What have you done? You’ve wasted god knows how many hours of my life…

I think one of the first (if not the first) books that I bought by myself was Stephen King’s It. I was something like 10 years old. I wasn’t very interested in reading books but I’d heard of Stephen King and I knew that he wrote horror books. So I grabbed myself a copy of It and began reading. It was the first book that I started reading for fun, unlike the books I had to read for school assignments. Anyway, I started reading and this little kid in the book got his arm torn off in the first few pages. I remember being very surprised when it happened because the books I’d been reading till then (courtesy of the Turkish education system) were extremely lame. However, despite the initial excitement, I got bored with the book and stopped reading at somewhere around page twenty. I was addicted to arcade games back then and the book wasn’t stimulating enough for a 10-year-old I guess. I was spending ungodly amounts of time playing Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 and I soon forgot all about It. But it had planted an idea in my mind; the idea that books could be somewhat fun… Anyway, when I was eleven or twelve, I came across the movie version of It. I remember liking the movie but I don’t remember anything that happened in it.

So, a couple of months ago, looking for some horror books to read, I came across It on Amazon, ordered it, and finished reading it a couple of days ago. I know that Stephen King won’t be reading this but I still want to say:

WHAT THE FUCK! WHAT THE FUCK! WHAT THE FUUUUUCCCCKKKKKK STEPHEEENNNNNNNNN

Let me say just say this: “Don’t read that book.” Why? I’ll tell you why in a moment but here’s what the book It is about (taken from Amazon):

stephen_king_it_cover

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name. What was it?

The book is about 1100 pages long and on page 1050 (approximately) something happened that made me say “WHAT THE FUCK?” and punch the wall. That something (which I’m going to reveal in a second) totally sucked away my whole enjoyment of the book. I felt like I’d been lied to…

Imagine yourself watching your favorite TV show and at the very end of the final episode the character that you like the most comes out with a startling revelation about himself that goes something like this:

“During my teenage years, I fucked both my mom and dad. It made me feel closer to them…”

How would you feel then? Could you ever watch a re-run of that TV show without thinking about that line? That’s more or less what happened with me when I read that page.

Very mild spoiler alert.

So some stuff happens and our heroes, six teenage boys and one ten-or-eleven-year-old girl, wind up in a sewer unable to find their way out. They’re afraid that they’re going to die and they start to panic. For no apparent reason, the girl decides to – wait for it – have sex with all of the boys. To… you know… relieve the stress, to bond, to keep the group together. What then follows is a couple of pages of the said underage ten-or-eleven-year-old girl having sex with each of the boys, in great detail. Now, at 1050 pages into the book, I couldn’t believe what I was reading and it made me go bat-shit crazy.

I don’t know what the fuck Stephen King was thinking, and I don’t know what the fuck all those people who gave the book glowing reviews at Amazon were thinking, but if you found the idea extremely distasteful, to say the least, we’re on the same page. If not, let’s agree to disagree.

When I read or see stuff like this, the first thing (in this case a sentence) that comes to my mind is just this: “You don’t go there.” Period. You don’t go there because there is no need to go there. It’s maybe an unstated rule among people, or more like an understanding. When I read those pages I immediately thought of two other examples of “You don’t go there.”

The first is a short story by Clive Barker – an author I quite like. I’ve read two of his books Galilee and Books of Blood. I forget the name of this particular story, but it’s in a horror story compilation called Dark Delicacies, which by the way I don’t recommend.

Barker creates this great atmosphere and mood in his story. It’s about a husband and wife, if I remember correctly. They live in a wood in ancient times or something like that. Again, that’s not the important part. The important part is that there is something going on with the wife and we don’t know what it is. At the end, however, the mystery of the wife is revealed. The wife goes out during the night to have group sex with zombies who rise from their graves. What the fuck! All that buildup for this? What the fuck!

The other thing that comes to my mind is the retarded movie called Splice (big spoilers ahead). In it, Adrian Broody and his girlfriend/wife (don’t remember which) are scientists.   They create a female thing that looks like a bald woman. This thing grows, and very quickly turns into a full blown female thing and finally succeeds in seducing the Adrian Broody character into having sex with her. Then she turns into a man thing and rapes Adrian Broody’s girlfriend/wife. What the fuck! Whole theater was filled with laughter at that point by the way. The creature dies and the woman ends up pregnant and decides to give birth to the baby! WHAT THE FUCK!

The basic idea is the same, you don’t go there. Why? Because, that’s not imagination and you won’t be creating an impact on your audience. At least not a positive one. Some people see this stuff as original. Original it may be. But crap it still is.

Anyway, when it comes to It, it was an okay book up until that point. Not really scary but interesting and I was liking it. But I still say, fuck It.

Here’s some other stuff I read in the previous months, with some really short reviews.

 Penpal

penpal

“In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you’ll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. “

This one was an interesting read. It was something like 230 pages long and 75-100 pages too long. But still, there were some creepy scenes in there. Can’t really recommend it though.

The Good House

good_house_tannarive

“The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint’s late grandmother is so beloved that townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington, call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors…and the Toussaint’s family history — and future — is dramatically transformed. Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to her hometown and go beyond the grave to unearth the truth about Corey’s death. Could it be related to a terrifying entity Angela’s grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless calamities that Sacajawea has seen in recent years? Has Angela’s grandmother, an African American woman reputed to have “powers,” put a curse on the entire community?

This one was an interesting read and although it was embarrassingly predictable and the characters were a bit annoying, it was well written. Not recommended.

Lightning

intensity_dean_koontz

“In the midst of a raging blizzard, lightning struck on the night Laura Shane was born. And a mysterious blond-haired stranger showed up just in time to save her from dying. Years later, in the wake of another storm, Laura will be saved again. For someone is watching over her. But just as lightning illuminates, darkness always follows close behind. “

I liked Lightning. I thought the premise was interesting. It wasn’t a horror book per se but rather a thriller. If you like that sort of stuff, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Life Expectancy

koon_9780345533388_cvr_all_r1.indd

 

“Before he died on a storm-wracked night, Jimmy Tock’s grandfather predicted that there would be five dark days in his grandson’s life—five dates whose terrible events Jimmy must prepare himself to face. The first is to occur in his twentieth year, the last in his thirtieth. What terrifying events await Jimmy on these five critical days? What challenges must he survive? The path he follows will defy every expectation and will take all the love, humor, and courage he possesses. For who Jimmy Tock is and what he must accomplish on the five days his world turns is a mystery both dangerous and wondrous.”

This was kind of a tongue-in-cheek thriller with a sprinkling of supernatural stuff thrown in. Still, the characters were nice. I feel like Koontz has two really likable characters (one male, one female) and he just changes their names from book to book. Can’t really recommend it.

Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel

odd_thomas_dean_koontz

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different. A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15. Today is August 14. In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares—and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

I really enjoyed reading this one. Still not a horror book but a supernatural thriller instead. I absolutely detested the ending though. Heard that they are making a movie. This is going to be a seven book series I think. It’s already on book 5 or 6. I can see myself reading the lot.

Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel

Heart-Shaped Box hardcover

 

As a lark, retired heavy metal star Judas Coyne buys a haunted suit online. The ghost turns out to be the very angry stepfather of an ex-groupie/lover of Coyne’s who killed herself after he sent her away. The relentless ghost is there to kill Judas and anyone who tries to help him.

I can recommend this one. This was a page-turner for me. It kind of loses its steam towards the last act but I think the first two thirds are worth it. Some nice creepy moments in there. And I learned afterwards that Joe Hill’s father is Stephen King. Like father like son.

Intensity

dean_koontz_intensity

Past midnight, Chyna Shepard, twenty-six, gazes out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend’s family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Foreman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse or limits, to live with intensity. Chyna is trapped in his deadly orbit.

I absolutely detested this book. Fuck this. Truly a piece of crap. Home invasion is not horror, it’s not thriller and it’s about as interesting as colon cancer. That’s all I’m going to say. After reading god knows how many Dean Koontz books, I came to the conclusion that I’m looking for the high that his Phantoms gave me. And it’s not going to happen. Man, I loved that book. It would’ve been great if he’d stuck to writing books like Phantoms, but I don’t think he’ll write another horror book. I’ve only one Koontz novel left to read in my library and it’s Watchers. I’m pretty sure that it’s not horror, unfortunately.

The Ghosts of Varner Creek

ghosts_of_varner_creek

 In the summer of 1909, in the small town of Varner Creek, Texas, twelve year old Solomon Mayfield awoke one morning to find his mother and sister had disappeared. Through a series of cover-ups and denials, some aimed at protecting Sol, others at hiding the worst of secrets, Sol lived the rest of his life in a fog of half-truths and shadowed lies, haunted by ghosts of the dead with whom he suddenly found himself sharing an inexplicable bond with that he could never fully understand. But when Sol passes away as an old man so many years later, the truth is waiting for him, as are the ghosts of his past. Sol finally discovers what really happened that summer and it is a truth that will change everything he thought he knew about the life he lived and the people he thought he knew. For as Sol is about to find out, even the dead have secrets.

Read this one in one sitting. A rather depressing but captivating book. Can’t really recommend it though.

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story

wait_till_helen_comes

Ghost story fans have a spooky treat in store with Hahn’s eerie new novel. Molly, the 12-year-old narrator, and her brother Michael dislike their bratty 5-year-old stepsister Heather and resent the family move to an isolated converted church in the country. The adjourning graveyard frightens Molly, but Heather seems drawn to it. Molly discovers that the ghost of a child (Helen) who died in a fire a century ago wants to lure Heather to her doom.

Read this one in one sitting also. The book is short and rather predictable. Still, the author manages to create a nice atmosphere. Again, can’t really recommend it.

The Terror: A Novel

the_terror_dan_simmons

Hugo-winner Simmons (Olympos) brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus, is an aging fool. Francis Crozier, his second in command and captain of the Terror, is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there’s the monstrous creature from the ice, the thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence.

This is a tough one. On the one hand, you’re reading a historical novel and on the other, there is some supernatural stuff at work. When I was reading it I had no idea that it was based on a real voyage, and I think I like books more if they stick to fiction. I would’ve probably enjoyed it less if I’d known that most of the stuff in the book happened in real life. I truly wanted this book’s villain to be gangbanged for the rest of his life by dudes with giant penises, so I felt like I was denied a great deal of catharsis. I wanted more pain. That’s all I can say without spoiling anything. Also, Dan Simmons drops the ball a little bit in the third act. I honestly can’t recommend it.

Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion

hyperion_books_combined

On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope–and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.

This is a science fiction classic and rightly so. It’s an amazing book. I’m on the second book, The Fall of Hyperion and it’s been a nice ride so far. One can clearly see its effects on the Mass Effect universe.

Now, onto games:

I prefer to read during my free-time rather than play games because so few games interest me these days. I’m still playing Starcraft 2 (and still breaking keyboards out of rage) and watching the SC2 tournaments like crazy (and screaming like a ten-year-old girl. Go Jaedong & Scarlett).

I’ve completed Deadspace 3. It’s one hell of a scary game. Hated every second of it in a good way. I mean the environments are just mind numbingly good works of art and the story is interesting.

I’ve played Crysis 2. I don’t want to disrespect my fellow Turkish developers but that’s one boring game. Couldn’t play it after a couple of hours. I felt like the first one was just better. Plus, I’m getting old, and blasting stuff is getting more and more boring. Won’t be playing the third one.

X-Com on the other hand was great. I really loved that game. The original XCOM was the first original game I bought. I remember playing it along with other games like SimCity, Syndicate, Tie Fighter and Doom – all in one summer. This one stayed true to the original. Loved it, and finished it twice.

On the Shadow of a Soul side, I’m working on god-damned 3d hair, and let me tell you, 3d hair sucks. It’s a pain to get it right. And it’s a pain to simulate. Nuff said.

Free Render Manager

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Please read this post if you are interested in the background of Free Render Manager.

Features:
Fast(Written in C++, uses less than 8MB RAM for Server and 2MB RAM for Client on Win7)
Stable(not there yet with Server, Client is pretty stable)
No third party applications to install like Python
Free

Application:
Download Server (Runs on Vista, Windows 7, possibly on Windows 8) Version 0.1
Download Client (Runs on XP, Vista, Windows 7, possibly on Windows 8) Version 0.1
Download Modo Plugin Version 0.1

Supported apps:
Modo 501/601/701

Modo Plugin install(Note, fullscreen icon is at the top right):

 

Roadmap:
Better logging facilities
Better crash/exception handling and reporting
Auto updater for Server and Client
Texture baking support for Vray and Modo
Maya 2011-2014 Arnold plugin
Maya 2011-2014 Vray plugin
Resizable GUI
Optional file compression for large scene files
Support cached illumination files
3DS Max 2011-2014 Vray plugin
Nuke plugin
Cinema4d plugin
Port Client to Linux

FRM – Coming Soon

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that perfectionism leads to procrastination. I was supposed to write more frequent blog posts but oh well… I’ve been working on this application called Free Render Manager and I decided that I’d post when it was done. Well it took me a month and a half to finish. During that time I re-wrote the app three times and learned quite a lot. I believe it’s something like 10,000 lines of C++ code now. It’s basically designed to manage a cluster of computers that we call a “render farm”. A render farm is a collection of computers that run 3d software like Maya, 3DS Max, Modo or Blender to compute (render) pretty images.

I see this app as my ultimate contribution to the 3d community. It has born from my desire to give something back and as a result it’s free.

There aren’t that many render managers out there. The ones that are free have one or more of the following properties: they are ugly, slow, unmaintained, and they depend on third party installation of apps (Python for example, yuck). Some of the decent commercial ones offer 1-2 free nodes, but that’s not enough and these free nodes have additional restrictions applied to them.
To be frank, the cost of commercial render managers is astronomical. I thought – quite wrongly as it turned out –– that render manager software was not complicated and would be easy to do. I assumed I would be able to write it in a week or two. How wrong I was!

Because programming is only one of the many things I do when I’m making the game, I’m not a world expert. Windows programming is definitely not my forte either – if it was, I would have known that when you try to read the registry entry of a 64 bit application from a 32 bit program, you get an error message telling you that no such entry exists. Having absolutely no idea that this could happen I wasted almost a day trying to figure out why my program was not reading an entry that was obviously there, and lost a shitload of hair in the process.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about the game and horror stuff (books, movies) in upcoming posts. I’ll upload the Free Render Manager here in a day or two. Among other last minute stuff, I need to build a release version and figure out how to create the installer.

Approaching Valve Time

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Hello folks,

I hate to say this but I’ve decided to postpone the release of the game once again. This time until the end of 2013, most likely December, hopefully earlier. I’ve set up a page for you to request your money back in the quickest and most painless way. Here’s the link. Just enter your PayPal email address, nothing more, and I’ll refund your money. No hard feeling whatsoever.

Myriads of things big and small led to the slip in the schedule. Most of the delay stemmed from the programming/technical side of things and the countless iterations that the second trailer is going through.

The answer I gave to a previously published interview question pretty much explains how I approach the development of this game:

Not wanting to sound too dramatic, I see this game as my only chance to “make it” in life. That’s why I’m willing to sacrifice everything I have to reach the point where I say: “OK this game is good”. If it’s no good I won’t release it, and I’ll continue working on it. That’s the bottom line for me.

Believe me, with no social life and no money – plus the fact that I have to make other sacrifices to get it finished – taking a sadistic delight in delaying the release of the game is the last thing on my mind…

So what’s next?

I’ll be posting the first 30 seconds of the second trailer here in three weeks. To me, this one looks way way better than the first. Hope you folks will enjoy it too.

Then I’ll revamp the SoaS page and release screenshots and a game-play teaser a couple of weeks after that.

I’m keeping this post short because I’ll be blogging regularly (although not daily) about the development in the upcoming days.

ps. Valve Time

Spillfeber interview

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Here’s another interview! I want to publicly thank Per Morten Mjølkeråen for interviewing me.

You can read the Norwegian version of the interview here.

Below is the English version.

1. A Short, but maybe difficult to answer question first: Where did the idea for Shadow of a Soul: Chapter One come from?

I honestly don’t know or can’t remember at this point. It was a gradual process I think and the story of the game has changed quite a bit over the years. Very early on, while I was still working as a freelance artist, the idea was to create a 2d pre-rendered game pretty much like 7th Guest or Myst because I knew how to do VFX and pre-rendered graphics.

Then over time that idea turned into making a 3d game. And while the technological aspect remained the same throughout the production, the story changed and matured quite a bit. Now, when I look back at my first couple of drafts, I can see that about 90% of the story has changed and gone into what I consider to be another deeper path.

2. Can you tell us anything more about the story and/or setting of the game that you haven’t already mentioned on your website?

Well, to be honest, I don’t think I have that much information about the story of the game on the website, and that’s because I’d rather keep that to myself until the release. Even my closest friends know nothing more than what’s on the website.

Basically, the story is about a guy named Jack whose job it is to get into an office complex and retrieve some information for someone. That’s how the game starts. And it’s not long before Jack figures out that he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. After that, it pretty much turns into an intense non-stop cat and mouse thing between Jack and a rather unattractive person.

At its core Chapter I lays the groundwork for what I deem to be a rather complex ghost story.

3. Was there a single game or person that inspired you to make this game?

I can say that Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth was an influence. At least, that’s what I think because I only played that game once, years ago. But the dark mood and intense action pieces kind of stayed with me. I didn’t want to revisit or study that particular game because I think the kind of emotions I got from it were enough, and I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining those fond memories by loading up and starting to analyse the game.

4. Can you tell us some personal story that has influenced/inspired the game design, if any? Have you taken anything from real life into the game with you?

I’m an agnostic. I don’t believe in any unnatural stuff, including ghosts, so no real-life stories or encounters inspired the game. And, personal taste wise, I’m not into zombies, werewolves, vampires and all that. However, I do find the idea of ghosts pretty creepy, and that’s what I like about them.

I’ve read countless short horror stories and books (I reviewed some of them on my blog) to inspire me over the years. While I don’t think I’ve taken a single idea from any of the books or stories, I do think they’ve helped me to remain in that state of mind, and made me think continuously about the story I want to tell.

5. It seems like you’ve had a tough ride – with studies, workplaces and so on – to get to Shadow of a Soul. How would you react if Shadow of a Soul became the next Amnesia/Slender? Or worse – if you didn’t sell a single copy?

Well, there’s a *chance* that it won’t sell a single copy, and there’s a *good chance* that it won’t sell enough. If the game fails to generate any revenue, I’ll probably throw myself off of a bridge since I’ve spent a great chuck of my life making it; seven days a week for the last couple of years, not to mention the fact that my personal pride and self-esteem is completely bound up in the success of the game. Throw in bank loans to be repaid and you’ll have someone who’s ready to commit suicide in the case of failure. To be honest, jumping off a bridge would be kind of dramatic. I’d far rather take a couple of dozen sleeping pills.

I’ve never heard of Slender but I like the fact that there’s a concept of “the next Amnesia” or “a game like Amnesia”. It gives people a frame of reference as to what to expect. You can focus on talking about other stuff that makes your game different.

6.There’s no doubt that the indie market is the best way to go for “classic horror” these days, but do you think there’s a chance that we’ll see a comeback in the genre in the larger studios? After all, it has gotten bigger and bigger with audiences again.

As I said, I really don’t know what’s out there. The last horror game I played was Deadspace 2 and I loved it. However, with horror games less is more. So you can always make a creepy horror game on budget. I think that’s the beauty of it.

I sure do hope to see more AAA horror titles in the future.

7. In terms of quality, passion and capitalism, how do you think independent developers compare to triple A developers these days?

In generic terms, I think the indie developers’ main asset is passion. And quality is a function of time.

As an indie developer, I don’t have the money but I do have the time and the expertise. What passion ultimately boils down to is this: How much of your life are you willing to invest in your game? Quality, although it’s a subjective concept, is related to the time you’re willing to devote to certain (or all) parts of the game, be they models, textures, physics, dynamics, or whatever.

As for the comparison part, I don’t think you can compare indie developers with AAA companies. For example, the other day I completed the Starcraft 2- Heart of the Swarm campaign. It took literally two or three minutes for the credits screen to end in fast forward mode. In my game, it’ll probably take one or two seconds. That’s the gap right there.

8. You’ve been working on this game for a long time now, and there have been a couple of delays. How do you decide that the game needs more time, rather than giving it out as it stands?

Not wanting to sound too dramatic, I see this game as my only chance to “make it” in life. That’s why I’m willing to sacrifice everything I have to reach the point where I say: “OK this game is good”. If it’s no good I won’t release it, and I’ll continue working on it. That’s the bottom line for me.

Believe me, with no social life and no money – plus the fact that I have to make other sacrifices to get it finished – taking a sadistic delight in delaying the release of the game is the last thing on my mind. On the bright side, not many people have the luxury of making sacrifices as a result of making their own decisions. Most of the time, you have to sacrifice things in your life for other people, to help them reach their goals.

People who buy indie games have a positive attitude towards indies. They know that indies don’t have the resources to make really epic AAA games. And they don’t expect you to deliver that kind of experience. However, as an indie, you must be 110% sure that you’re bringing your A game to the table and not capitalizing on the goodwill of gamers by delivering something mediocre.

With the boom in indie development companies and the market becoming more and more saturated with all kinds of not-so-good indie games, I expect to see that goodwill inevitably waning.

9. Another question about the release: I noticed it’s coming to PC, Mac and PlayStation. How did you decide which platforms to release it on, and why PlayStation but not the Xbox/Wii?

Well, I don’t know the first thing about Wii. But when it comes to Xbox, it’s an issue of graphics API. All the platforms supported by the game use OpenGL graphics API. Xbox uses DirectX, which is a different beast altogether.

10. You studied in Sweden for a while, and as a Norwegian I have to ask, would you ever come to the better country of the two?

Of course I would, in a heartbeat.

Honestly, I love the whole Scandinavian vibe; not just Sweden. I like death metal, so most of my favourite bands are Scandinavian. In my mind I see Scandinavian people as people who are well educated, who follow the rules (like stopping at a stop sign at two in the morning), who know how to have fun and who are, all in all, genuinely warm folks – especially after a drink or two.

I don’t want to come across as a pervert but the beauty of Scandinavian ladies is also a “tiny” positive factor for me, even though they hate me.

Egamer interview

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Hello folks,

Here’s a quote from my latest interview. I want to publicly thank Azhar and Egamer for interviewing me.

Creating puzzles that make sense both within themselves and in the environment of the game has been an ongoing challenge throughout the production, and I think it’ll continue to be like that until the very end. The game will be linear but there’s the possibility of a feature that I’m trying to implement whereby some environments and the puzzles within them will change if the player dies and has to restart from the last checkpoint. This is to prevent the player from memorizing the environment and the solutions to the puzzles. However, the environments will not be procedural, as in “created by an algorithm”. They’ll be handmade just like any other environment.

You can check the rest of the interview here

Trailer Screenshot

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Hello folks,

Everything’s going fine with the game, I’m not dead(yet). Just wanted to post this screenshot from the upcoming trailer real quick. It’s a bit dark but I like it that way.

Shadow of a Soul Trailer Screenshot

2013

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Silence! I kill you!!!

New Year’s resolution:

PUT ON SOME MUSCLE!!!

My old 3d showreel

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Here’s my old showreel. Good old days. I got way better at 3d stuff since then(2009). Must.Not.Tinker!!!!

Hope you folks like it. Don’t let me stop you if you want to tweet or like it.

And watch it full screen please(1280×720)..

Ferzan Showreel 2009

Creepy poems

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Today I’ve finalized about a third of the vegetation in the forest scene. I plan to finalize the remaining bits over the next few days (additional trees, grass and rocks). The polygon count for each tree is about 10k on average and they look really nice.

While working on the trees I was thinking about the gameplay teaser that I plan to make soon. I had this idea of using a voiceover of a creepy poem to go with the visuals. So I took a detour from working on the trees and went searching for some poems. I checked Edgar Allen Poe’s poems first (very original idea), then checked if there are copyright restrictions on them. Turns out they are public domain as I pretty much guessed. There is this really great site called Project Gutenberg that has 40.000 public domain ebooks. If you want to be 99% sure about copyright of something literary check that site out. If it’s in there you are pretty much good to go.

Unfortunately none of the Poe’s poems fit with what I’ve prepared so I moved on to other poets. After reading scary/horror themed poems for an hour I decided that it might be cheesy to do this kind unless I get Patrick Stewart to read the poem. However, I’ve found two poems that I like; hope you folks like them too.

Ghost in the Puddle by Richard Macwilliam


The ghost in the puddle looked out with dark eyes,
Its mouth shimmering, stretching, making small cries,
Faint, faint, like a sigh on a breeze
I heard its despair, its tormented pleas,
‘I’m trapped in this mirror, and only you see -
Dive in and help, won’t you please rescue me?’

Faint, faint, dark in its eyes,
I felt my feet fading,
Heard its thin cries,
Struggled to pull myself free from its grip,
Felt my mind shaking, felt my mind slip,
Faint, faint were the words in my head,
‘Do something now or your soul will be dead!’

Faint, faint, my mind in a whirl,
I heard in my head, ‘Get the water to swirl!’
But nothing would move, my limbs were like lead,
And I battled the ghost with my weak mind instead.

Faint, faint, the two of us fought,
My life in its grip, my feet in its court,
The splash of a puddle the ghost’s worldly domain,
A kingdom that neither of us wanted to gain.

Faint, faint, but the sun was now high,
My feet were transparent, the ground nearly dry,
Trapped! As the water shrank in to a dot -
I faded to nothing, right on the spot!

Darkness Comes by X.Athame.x


Crimson drops
A silver kiss
Darkness comes
Eternal bliss

Blood red rose
Thorns black
I am gone now
Not coming back

Death comes
On prancing steed
To take me away
As I slowly bleed

Galloping off
Into the night
Darkness comes
Erase my light

In sickness and in health

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Oh boy, it’s been a weird couple of weeks.

Shortly after my last post, I started my long overdue vacation. No emails, no internet, just cuddling up with a lot of novels for two weeks.

I’ve been reading a lot of novels because I’m more or less done with reading short horror stories. I think I’ve read 60 or 70 percent of the short horror story anthologies on the market and, according to their Amazon reviews, the remainder suck even worse than the ones I’ve read.

It’s a matter of personal taste but I feel like 80% of the short stories written after the 1950s are horrible. I’m a big fan of everything written from the 1880s to the 1930s. Those stories have great atmosphere, characterization and the kind of interesting plots that, in my opinion, contemporary stories lack most of the time.

Older stories are much more succinct when it comes to prose. The authors of those stories were clearly masters of their craft. In just a few words or sentences, they express the moods, thoughts and feelings of the characters, and the events of the story, to much greater effect than today’s authors with their wordy, almost deluded, writing.

I’ll talk more about the horror novels I read on my vacation at the end of this post. If you’re interested in reading horror novels check it out.

As my vacation neared its end, I started packing my things and getting ready to leave my parents summer home because I didn’t want to spend another cold winter shivering while working. Preparing all my food myself, living alone at the top of a tiny mountain all alone, experiencing occasional 16 -hour blackouts and paying $100 for 16GB 3G internet connection also affected my decision.

Amidst all the chaos caused by trying to box up shit loads of stuff(including 10 computers) I got sick. It wasn’t that bad at first but I got really tired from lifting/carrying stuff and then making the 8-9 hour drive; so I was pretty fucked up by the time I got back to Istanbul. As a result, I spent the next 10 days trying to get back on my feet. It was bad, but I caught up on a lot of TV shows that I’d missed this season. On a side note, I think the quality of the writing of many TV shows far surpasses that of feature films. A single episode of Dexter, Good Wife(seriously, nobody is watching this show but it’s awesome), and lately Walking Dead, gets me 10 times more excited than the $200 million blockbuster(*cough*Battleshit(p)*cough*).

Anyway, I decided to do something different for the first time in my life and got myself a tiny office(15 minutes’ drive from home). I’ve been working from home all these years; Never ever worked in any sort of office, punching in and punching out. This is new ground for me, and for the past couple of days I’ve been enjoying myself. However, I didn’t enjoy setting this place up. Problems with the phone and internet connection took almost two weeks to resolve. Nevertheless, I find the overall experience pleasing. It’s nice to have a physical separation from your workplace.

For reasons too numerous to mention, I was checking all my cell phone email from the past month. I had setup a Hotmail address and arranged for all my emails to be forwarded there. 8-9 days ago I got an email accusing me of running a scam site and threatening to tell the whole world of my fraudulent ways if I didn’t refund a pre-order. I was like, WTF! Turns out, Hotmail’s anti-spam filter is an overly excited piece of software. When I looked into the junk folder I found that there were 30 emails, 20 of them legit. After two very polite emails asking for a refund, this customer got rightfully angry and fired a third one which Hotmail, in its wisdom, thankfully decided not to block. Moral of the story: Hotmail’s spam filter sucks. At least for me. Gmail’s spam filter is much better(I’m sure most of you are saying DUH! at this point).

I’ve had a grand total of two refund requests – including the customer above – which I think is nice.

Ivy Generator 2012, my tiny contribution to the 3d community, was downloaded by 4000+ people and got very positive reactions from various 3d community forums. No bugs reported, which is nice, considering how tricky multi-core programming can be.

I’m working on another application in my spare time. This one’s for the gaming community. I’ve completed quite a bit of it but haven’t really glued all the parts together yet. It addresses a very specific problem that I’ve had playing various multiplayer games. It probably won’t be ready for another 3 months because I’m also working weekends(as usual) to catch up on time I lost while sick. Hopefully, some people will find it useful. No details yet as to what it is.

The thing I absolutely love about getting back to civilization? Not having to cook my own meals! It definitely saves a huge amount of time/energy for me. Nothing sucks more than getting hungry after working 4-5 hours straight only to find that the fridge is empty and you have to cook something. Not anymore. Yay! Ordering out rules.

On the game side, I’m testing to see if baking culling(occlusion, frustum, back-face and portal) data is worth the extra hassle on a forest scene that I have which, I suspect, contains way too many polygons. If you’re curious about occlusion culling – or graphics programming in general – you can read about it at this link.

I was going to write a lot more but this post is already at 1000+ words. So here are a few reviews of some of the books I read during my vacation.

Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons – The book centers around a small group of “mind vampires” who can subjugate other people to their wills, read their minds, and experience through their senses.

I read about 450+ pages of the 700 page book then gave up. Boring characters and boring events make for a boring novel. It would have been more interesting if Dan Simmons had edited the book down to 350 pages. Not recommended.

The Bad Place by Dean Koontz – I honestly don’t know what this book’s about. The Amazon page says: Frank Pollard is afraid to fall asleep. Every morning when he awakes, he discovers something strange–like blood on his hands–a bizarre mystery that tortures his soul. Two investigators have been hired to follow the haunted man. But only one person–a young man with Down’s Syndrome–can imagine where their journeys might end. That terrible place from which no one ever returns..

Didn’t quite make it there either. Gave up on page 50. This book is plain bad; One of the worst I’ve read actually. Stay away from this book. Definitely not recommended.

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons – It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic middle-childhood. But amid the sundrenched cornfields their loyalty will be pitilessly tested. When a long-silent bell peals in the middle of the night, the townsfolk know it marks the end of their carefree days…

This was a good read. Very interesting and creepy in places. No willpower used while reading. But honestly didn’t like the ending very much. Still recommended.

The Séance by John Harwood – Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside, has a sinister reputation. Once, a family disappeared there. And now Constance Langton has inherited this dark place as well as the mysteries surrounding it.

As I’ve said 100 times before, I’m a sucker for Victorian ghost stories. This was a great little book. Even the cover is great! The author captured the tone of those Victorian era stories 100%. Recommended.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub – For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.

Although I had great expectations for this book, it ultimately failed to deliver on every count. 1 or 2 characters are mildly interesting. Others are just plain boring. Very predictable. Waste of time. Not recommended.

Phantoms by Dean Koontz – They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing…

This was my first Koontz book. I read this book before the awful The Bad Place. I really, really liked this book. Why? Because this one has what most books, or even TV shows, don’t have: characters that actually talk to each other! 90% of all the fiction characters are über annoying like this:

Oh my god! I think I saw a 2 -meter -long monster with razor sharp claws, pointy teeth and black eyes smirking at me from the shadows. I’d better keep this to myself and not tell anyone!! I don’t want them to think that I’m insane after all. Yes, I should probably keep this to myself, unless of course 5 people from our group disappear. Then I’ll tell everyone that I saw a big ugly monster.

Not a second before that…

No such thing in this book. Highly recommended.

I’ve read a LOT of books over the past 15 years, and somewhere along the way I’ve abandoned the attitude of reading books from cover-to-cover. Life is short. There is no point in using willpower to read a work of fiction. It’s supposed to be entertainment after all, not torture.

3D Ivy Generator 2012

Hello folks,

I’ve been wanting to do something for the 3d community for a long time now. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough free time to create anything useful from scratch. I was working with Thomas Luft’s Ivy Generator for some scenes and even though it’s awesome, it was pretty slow to create ivies (it was using a single core). He was kind enough to provide the source of the program so I decided to take a shot at accelerating it.

Ivy generator is now fully multi-core optimized. It is 2.5X faster on a single core and an order of magnitude faster on 4 cores. As far as I can tell it is very stable. I’ve also updated the Qt and OpenGL libraries.

I want to thank Thomas Luft for creating this very useful tool, all the credit belongs to him. He has a donation page here. If you find the program useful, please consider donating.

Win32 Download

Notes:
There won’t be a Mac or Linux release
Triangulate meshes before importing them into the app

Image Copyright Grunio

Latest updates

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

It’s been a busy couple of days. Here’s a bullet-point list of the stuff I did:

- Re-encoded some of the videos. File sizes changed from 70MB to 20MB with no noticeable loss of quality with 3 pass encoding. It’s pretty easy to overdo quality and bitrate settings it seems. Needs lots of iterations. Videos on the blog should load much faster now.

- Updated the release date on the various documents and the trailer.

- Lost half a day of work when Windows 7 boot manager decided to corrupt itself. Lesson learned: keep a copy of Windows 7 on an USB stick.

-Researched into how other companies write release date postponement press releases (it seems games that are released on time are a rarity). Wrote my own. And sent it to various *free* press release sites. I won’t be spending $400-$500 on a single press release ever again. ereleases.com, go fuck yourself! If I wanted to be on Congo Times I could have send them an email myself!!!

- Caught up with my emails. I think I’ve answered all of them but if you didn’t receive a reply from me, please send your email again.

- Learned that raytracer based renderers are better at handling instanced geometry (more than a billion) with regard to memory (5GB vs 16+swapping) than a renderman complaint renderer that shall remain nameless. Although there is a great chance that raytracers fuck up pretty bad when it comes to enabling motion blur in the scene, which usually adds anywhere between 50% to 100% to both the render times and the memory requirements. Still 3d motion blur looks much better than post-production 2d motion blur.

- I’ll soon be releasing a multi-core ivy generator as a tiny contribution to the 3d community. More details follow soon.

- Added some new pictures of Bobo to this post and posted them to Reddit’s aww section.

- Learned a new English word: indelible.

- I’ve talked about myself in the third person and addressed myself as CEO. God I truly hate writing press releases.

- The only game I’m playing is Left 4 Dead 2. Some people turn into monsters when they’re driving. I turn into a despicable horrendous monster of a pitiful human being when I’m playing L4D2. “Fuckin noob”, “WTF!”, “Get the fuck out you noob”, “ffs fucking move!” are pretty much what I always write to other people on a daily basis. Can’t help myself. I got so mad at “noobs” that I got myself a VPS in Germany and opened my own dedicated server (a 512MB server is more than enough) just so that I can kick them without wasting any time. Turns out there are gazillion of empty L4D2 servers out there, mine included. So much for the ego boost.

Announcement

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Hello folks,

I’ve got a lot of stuff to say about both the game and other things. Here we go.

I decided to postpone the release of the game to May 2013. Why? Shortest answer is: the game’s not ready yet. There are levels left to be done, some character work still needs to be done, and I haven’t even touched the sound part, which is arguably one of the most important parts of a horror game. There were money problems that prevented me from outsourcing some of the work which would have really taken a great load off my shoulders. Those problems are solved now though. Everything’s fine. And, for the record, I’m not talking about your pre-orders solving the money problems. That money is in the PayPal account, and stays there, untouched.

I honestly feel really bad about delaying the game. I feel pretty bad for those people who pre-ordered the game months ago, trusting the release date, and for those who pre-ordered recently, believing they’d be playing the game in a month or two. I’m truly sorry. Because of this, I’ve set up a page for you to request your money back in the quickest and most painless way. Just enter your PayPal email address, nothing more, and I’ll refund your money. No hard feeling whatsoever. Here’s the link.

So, what have I been doing for the past couple of months? I’ve been working on the game pretty much 24/7. Software development is hard, things have a way of getting very complicated, leaving all the plans moot. Art stuff is no different. There are no hidden traps or unexpected complications on the art side (except for the goddamned buggy 3d software packages) but there’s always the problem of getting things just right. Not OK, not this’ll have to do, but just right. And that requires lots and lots of iterations. There is also the overhead of context switching. Working on the multi-threading, in memory databases, 3d math to do this and that on the code side, debugging and then all of a sudden switching to animation, texturing and UV mapping, creating/tweaking puzzles etc. is a little bit disorienting considering the fact that I’m not very bright.

There’s one thing I can honestly say about the game though, I love my story. And what I’ve done so far (in terms of assets and code) is good stuff. I just need more time to make more good stuff.

Another thing that really bothered me during these last couple of months is my “extreme* 1billion“ amount of procrastination. If it wasn’t 100% game-related, it didn’t get done. Whether it was shaving, showering, paying taxes, replying to wedding invitations, making or returning phone calls or answering emails, none of it got done. I was feeling so incredibly overwhelmed during this time by the sheer amount of work left to do, I couldn’t find any willpower to do anything besides working on the game – including the simplest things that would have taken me a minute or two to finish.

But most of all I’m extremely sorry about not answering your emails. There is no excuse for it.

So what happens now? First I need to answer all my emails, then write and send a press release about the game’s delayed release date, which I’ll also modify on the trailer and SoaS page in a day or two.

In terms of my well being, I’ve decided to take some time off, probably two or three weeks, and read some novels, workout and enjoy the last days of sunshine. I’m not remotely burned-out, working on both technical and art stuff is highly stimulating. I’m simply very tired that’s all. Nothing dramatic.

In terms of the game, I decided to stick with my gut and started working on the cancelled second trailer now that I’ve got money and some additional time on my hands. Just search for the keyword trailer if you want to know more about it. Here’s a WIP (work in progress) screenshot from the second trailer. If it’s too dark for your monitor, this one is a brightened version.

Here’s another screenshot from one of the game’s environments.

And here’s another screenshot taken straight from the game. What you are seeing is the woman who’ll haunt your dreams (hopefully!). I’ve just darkened and cropped the image in Photoshop in order not to reveal too much.

And on to the pet news. You can stop reading if you don’t like pets. I love pets and I post pictures/videos of our little ones on this blog all the time. These videos are 1280×720 so you can watch them full-screen. They have no sound; I couldn’t find any music that would go with them because most of my music library is death/heavy metal stuff.

I mentioned this little lady(I call her Rat) months ago in this blog post. She was found near the road in horrible condition. I’ve made a before and after extreme makeover video of her. She has a disease called Leishmania. It’s an ugly disease but we’ve got it under control now. No need to go into any more detail other than to say that she is probably healthier than I am (knock on wood).

And this little gentleman(Snotty) is the latest addition to our family.

Here’s a video of him and Bobo.

That’s about it! I’ll probably start blogging more often after my little vacation with more news from the development hell.

Cheers

105 Days to go

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Hello folks,

Sorry about the lack of updates. I’ve been away because of some sad stuff that happened in the family which I won’t go into in detail. I was unable to check my emails, the site, etc. I came back and resumed my no phone, no internet and no email life and I’ve been working 16-hour days for the past ten days or so. I want to thank all of you folks who got concerned about me. I’m officially back to the online world and I’m trying to catch up on my emails.

I’ve decided to end writing daily blog posts because it takes me a long time to write even the shortest of them, and lately I just don’t have the willpower to write these things before going to bed. Plus all the high level stuff, be it planning, designing, programming, marketing an indie game, is in the blog written in various levels of detail and lately all my daily activity is dedicated to the nitty-gritty of making the game, which is much less interesting even for this blog.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be posting updates about the game but I’d rather write them in an unscheduled manner.

I had promised a friend that worked as an editor for an indie gaming site that I’d send the first screenshots of the game to him but I don’t think he’ll mind if I release just one in this blog. Besides, not a lot of people read the blog. It’ll be our secret.

128 Days to go

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

I’ve struggled with rendering/network problems all day. I came across this article about VFX of Transformers 3 couple minutes ago, it put a smile on my face.

For a last push on the final weekend of work, ILM’s entire render farm was used for Transformers 3. ILM calculates that that added up to more than 200,000 rendering hours per day — or the equivalent of 22.8 years of render time in a 24-hour period.

129 Days to go

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Debuged code all day. Damn bugs. I think every programmer should read this quote by Dijkstra.

The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague. In the case of a well-known conversational programming language I have been told from various sides that as soon as a programming community is equipped with a terminal for it, a specific phenomenon occurs that even has a well-established name: it is called “the one-liners”. It takes one of two different forms: one programmer places a one-line program on the desk of another and either he proudly tells what it does and adds the question “Can you code this in less symbols?” —as if this were of any conceptual relevance!— or he just asks “Guess what it does!”. From this observation we must conclude that this language as a tool is an open invitation for clever tricks; and while exactly this may be the explanation for some of its appeal, viz. to those who like to show how clever they are, I am sorry, but I must regard this as one of the most damning things that can be said about a programming language.

130 Days to go

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

I was reading Programming Game AI by Example and found the following paragraphs really interesting, even though they don’t really apply to Shadow of a Soul.

But what is this mysterious thing we call artificial intelligence? With regard to game AI I am firmly of the opinion that if the player believes the agent he’s playing against is intelligent, then it is intelligent. It’s that simple. Our goal is to design agents that provide the illusion of intelligence, nothing more.

Because the illusion of intelligence is subjective, sometimes this takes very little effort at all. The designers of the AI for Halo, for instance, discovered their playtesters could be fooled into thinking the AI agents were more intelligent simply by increasing the number of hit points required to kill them. For one test session they allowed the agents to die really easily (low hit points); the result was that 36 percent of the testers thought the AI was too easy and 8 percent thought the AI were very intelligent. For the next test session the agents were made harder to kill (higher hit points). After just this small change 0 percent of the testers thought the AI was too easy and 43 percent thought the AI was very intelligent! This is an astonishing result and clearly shows the importance of playtesting throughout the game development cycle.

131 Days to go

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

Everything’s going great with the game, albeit a little bit slower than I’d like.

One of the things that I was working on today was laying down my own CAT5 network cables for changing the location of my tiny computing farm. I bought a 100 meter cable because readymade ones are a pain in the ass and expensive. Turns out, cutting your own cables is a pain in the ass too, but I think I got the hang of it after some Googling and testing (read: wasting cables).

Quite a few of the 2d and 3d applications that I’m proficient on make use of third party plug-ins. And sometimes plug-ins are almost as expensive as their host applications. Today I bought myself a $500 plug-in (after a LOT of deliberation) for one of the applications that I’m using. After the purchase I realized that I’d bought a 3d character animation and rendering program called Messiah two years ago for $450! A whole app with shitloads of features. What has the world come down to?

While on the subject of Messiah (and remotely connected to my rant about Diablo 3’s DRM), I’d like to say that Messiah uses a USB dongle protection which you won’t find in games and which I find very ugly and inconvenient because you have to insert the damned USB stick into your computer every time you want to use the app. Curiously, the cracked version has no dongle protection, thus no need for the USB stick. Guess which version I’m using!

Note: If you guessed the dongle protected one, you’re correct, because I looove inconvenient stuff and I’ve never used pirated software in my life. True story.