Posts in November, 2009
26 Nov 2009Latest news on Monsteca Corral
Indie wiiware™ game ‘Monsteca Corral’ encounters Pikmin comparisons
Liverpool, November 25, 2009 – The much anticipated Wiiware™ title, Monsteca Corral will soon make its gaming debut this coming January 2010 after almost 18 months of development. The British indie game developer Onteca, only recently announced the launch of their first game this month which sparked off debates as to whether or not an indie company could bet all the odds and become another ‘World of Goo’ story.
The casual game that could only best be categorised as being in the same genre as Pikmin and Flower, has fought the immediate comparisons made when such prominent titles were mentioned. The developers at Onteca have taken everything with a pinch of salt, and are confident that once players delve into the surreal ambient levels of Monsteca Corral that previous misconceptions will be amiss.
Monsteca Corral is an independently developed title focusing on fast paced fun-puzzle gameplay, targeted at anyone and everyone who enjoys pick up and play games with no hidden agenda to subliminally take over their life. You play on your terms and you the player control a herd of peculiar named orange creators, formally known as Sdompes’. The cute and not so bright Monsters, who once activated, need help to avoid being dismembered by invading robots. So instead of watching the poor creators run dim-witted riot, it is your job to accumulate and guide them successfully through each level.
You take the role of a Monster Herder, flying above them and saving them from the dangers of their changing environment and the ever growing ominous robot population. As your Sdompes’ run through each level, you guide them towards ‘Energy orb’ bonuses that are scattered throughout the habitat; these will increase the communal power of the herd.
As Herder, you can:
• Use Wiimote to create deviation paths that block off dangerous routes for Sdompes’.
• Use Wiimote to allow Sdompes’ to follow a route.
• Use Wiimote to allow Sdompes’ to split and form a sub group.
• Use Wiimote to help Sdompes’ damage the robot environment.
• Use Wiimote to make your Sdompes’ jump and shake and sing.
As additional levels arise, the game emerges as a cross-country running game with Sdompe migrating through the different and ever changing environments of the Monsteca World: Stomping through Desert, Open Plains, Wooded Highlands, Forest, Wetlands and City in their bid to make it home safely.
Monsteca Corral is set to be released through the Wii Shop Channel in 2010, venturing into a new family of games for the Wii™ console. Monsteca Corral will invite people to experience a totally new and innovative method of gameplay with a fresh perspective on a classic genre.
25 Nov 2009Latest screen shots of our wiiware game 'Monsteca Corral'
16 Nov 2009Social Media
Hello all apologies for my lack bloggage, things have been terribly busy here at Onteca on my part and the development team with the preparation for the Monsteca Corral release.
For todays blogging insert i just wanted to talk about the Internet and the effects of using it to promote ones products or services. This method of using the internet for self promotion relates to Social Media.
For those unaware what exactly Social Media is, it is a media designed to be disseminated through social interaction. It is created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques e.g. Blogging, News Feeds, Forums.
Social Media supports the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). That is basically the wiki version of what Social Media is.
I am sure those who have followed my blogs you will be aware that i have come to Onteca to help promote their new Wiiware game ‘Monsteca Corral’. Whilst keeping in mind the mass amount of online interaction going down on the web, Social Media engagement is the best promotional tool (and lets not forget its FREE) to use when promoting the game.
Even though the Internet opens up numerous portals when communicating with your audience, it also allows the company to be susceptible to negativity. So rule one (and this one is important), before you chose to publicise your company and their product/s within the all mighty powerful tech channel you must be aware and prepare yourself for the likelihood of negative response.
When you release information/images or even footage about your product what you are doing is displaying a nice big sign post saying “Free for all, come and pass judgement”. And what this means is, you are inviting everyone to display to all their own personal opinion.
A huge gamble you might say but there is nothing wrong with laying some of your cards out on the table.
I have included in the post a small section something i wrote about Social Media and PR, reeking the rewards the Internet can bring whilst baring in mind that lack of control you will have once you message is out there. Enjoy
Social Media – Losing Control of the message
The emergence of Social Media first materialised after the introduction of Web 1.0. The difficulty the PR industry faces today is the adaptation to Social Media practices, this is demonstrated through practitioners’ unawareness that the media and networking have always been social, however the internet has not.
Hence, the internet is catching up with reality, through new capabilities which has come to be recognised as Web 2.0.
In today’s online society the internet plays a primary role in accommodating PR professionals with a market place of conversations, this however interrupts traditional PR Communication models. Cathy Ace, of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, discusses the problematic affects Social Media has on the original communication model,
“Faced with new communication models today, it now has to adapt to new ways of reaching new groups of people. One of the most complicated problems faced by the PR practitioner today is not to get the message out there – but to monitor what messages are appearing where, and what their impact might be”. (Ace, 2002)
The approach PR practitioners take with digital media relations is somewhat different from the approach used in traditional PR; the digital channel is to some extent, eliminating the middleman with online spheres of influence.
The best PR efforts are not only two-way but also symmetrical, allowing the company and the strategic audience equal opportunities to participate in the discussion. (Holtz, 2002)
The Web offers the perfect place of solace for audiences to access and engage with a company directly, this can be done through the means of web sites, blogs, discussion rooms and web forums. However with the beneficial means an online society can provide for a client, it can also present the problematic matters of losing control of the fundamental objectives the company’s PR campaign originally set out to achieve.
Simon Collister (In Green, 2009), leading experts in Social Media, feels professional communicators are facing a loss of control over brand and messages:
“They are no longer the only voice articulating the company/clients message. In fact, passive consumers no longer exist. Individuals are proactively involved in reading or watching media; creating their own content; sharing and criticising your brand or product.”
Millions of network subsets contain relationship webs built from communities in which largely anonymous individuals have shared interests. Within these subsets, individuals and organisations have one or more reputations – some isolated and others exposed, some helpful and some harmful.
Reputations of large companies and well-known individuals transfer from other environments to online because of longevity and branding communications. Reputations of smaller known firms or individuals are built on the internet by what others say about them online.
As the internet moves toward the centre of communication, risks to reputation are greater, even for well established individuals and organizations. Hence, Social Media outlets do not hold the guarantee of a safer reputational haven that the print industry can offer.
Jim Horton, internet and online PR practitioner, considers that reliability over audience impairment cannot overcome human behaviour. “Humans defeat any process when it is in their interest to do so. As a result, reputation systems are never perfect: they work more or less well.” (Horton, 2008: 1)
A recent case study that demonstrates the possible side effects that the internet can have on an organisations reputation, when Social Media tools are not used effectively and monitored is that of British Airways.
The company British Airways learned why online reputation management should be a top priority to their company’s infrastructure, when it appeared a group of employees in London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 create a chat forum protesting their annoyance with the company on the social networking site Facebook.
“Thanks to the power of social networking, the workers’ rude comments about passengers caught the attention of the press.” (O’Hern, 2008) Watson (2009) discusses his experience with regards to the management of online facilities within Rainier PR.
“There is always a risk that people might make negative comments or remarks, but this risk is lessened if the company is offering a good product or service. The internet simply takes the conversations that customers have always been having and broadcasts. If the company had a bad product or service, then those conversations will be negative. Therefore the conversations will be negative online too.”
Social Media tools present organisations with a transparent analysis of their brand, therefore facilitating them with immeasurable exposure through conversations generated by the public on social networking sites. Rather than a company having only one voice, Social Media incorporates the traditional method of publicity through word of mouth, however working via Social Media means.
Further comprehension of the PR industry adapting to the changing towards the Social Media phenomenon was established throughout my placement with PR and Social Media Company, GREEN Communications.
The company demonstrated a clear understanding of the changing communicative market structure and embraced new forms of technological Social Media tools. GREEN interrelated with their clients’ active audiences by association of online conversations – through blogs and social networks. The company showed a clear understand of the problematic areas involved in Web 2.0 technologies, however took the stance of engaging with them and shaping them to accurately reflect their clients brands.
09 Nov 2009Some Thoughts From Develop in Liverpool
It was just great to have Develop in our home town, hopefully they will come again. My feeling about this year’s Develop was that it was ‘Two Tribes Go to War’ to stretch the Scouse analogy. Developers seem to fall into two camps, those working for large console game developers or ‘Dinosaurs’ as we might call them and the Indie App Store gang ‘Mammals’. The Dinosaurs are in recession, general game revenues are dropping (sales down 16% in UK according to MCV) and traditional publishers finding it really hard to raise debt funding. The Mammals are in a whole different boat, low overheads, ownership of IP and decent revenues for some on mainly their iPhone titles. Don’t get me wrong most of the skill still sits with the big developers but 2009 will mark the start of a new console cycle ‘the App Store’.
One of the speakers really summed it up, when someone in the audience tried to draw an analogy to previous console booms and slumps he started very clearly that this is like ‘nothing we have seen before’. I feel that this is spot on, the industry has changed and there is no going back.
Stuart Dredge’s talk focused on the 5 app stores, iPhone, Android, PSP, Blackberry and DSi sales figures are hard to find but we can all see that the model works well for both consumer and producer. As he himself said there are many other app stores, off the top of my head Orange App Store, Windows Mobile, Wii Store channel (Wiiware), PSN for PS3, XBLA, Intel for Atom PCs, Ovi from Nokia and I am sure many others. Other the next few weeks we will look at each in detail from both a business and technical veiwpoint and try and think about their pros and cons.
09 Nov 2009
09 Nov 2009New Onteca game – WiiWare "Monsteca Corral"
09 Nov 2009Onteca Training Programmes
Whether you’re just starting out along the path to be a games developer, or you want to learn how create a custom smartphone application for your business. Onteca has the right training course for you, at a price you can afford.
Based in our central Liverpool offices, our fully qualified and experienced trainers will lead you. Step-by-step through our programme, giving the skills you need and advice that can only come from a wealth of experience of game and business application development.
For more information please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
09 Nov 2009New Onteca Training Programmes – C++, Objective C, 3D Modelling
If you own an iPhone, chances are you haven’t come close to unlocking its full potential. Want to find out what the world’s most revolutionary pocket-sized communications and entertainments device can really do?
Developing iPhone Applications is one of Onteca’s brand new Introductory courses that is offering people who are just starting out along the path to be a games developer, or just those want to satisfy their curiosity and learn something new.
There are literally thousands of applications specifically designed for the iPhone to enhance its functionality and course participants will learn how to develop their own Apps so they can later on be released to the Apps store.
Participants will learn about XCode and Introduction to Objective-C, the tools used to build every iPhone application and how to build a simple application which can run on Simulator, iPhone or iPod Touch.
At Onteca we aim to ensure this fast growing digital content industry is recognised as an important component of the economy and the Onteca Training Programmes are a great way to make this training accessible to a mass audience.
Developing iPhone Apps is just one of many Short Courses at Onteca. Other Short Courses include Introduction to C++, 2D/3D Modelling for iPhone Games, Introduction to CSS and many more courses that will put your technical abilities to the test.
These courses represent Onteca’s desire to always be looking for new ways to train people in innovative technologies and unconventional career paths. Whether trying something entirely new or re-training in the latest advances in your chosen field you won’t have to take a week off work to do these courses.
Onteca’s short courses run from one to two days to act as a taster session or for those who do not have the time for a full course.
Onteca based in Liverpool is the only place where participants receive vocational training across a wide range of creative industry-based courses from practising professionals.
03 Nov 2009The Mystery of Finance
Having attended an Investment Event last night I started to wonder about how and why people invest. I am currently reading Quicksilver by Neil Stevenson which is set in the 17th/18th century which is a period which marks the invention of finance, paper money, short selling and many other wonderful things. Almost as soon as money was invented so was fraud, bubbles and bankruptcy. At one point in Quicksilver everyone discovers that the Goldsmiths kind of early bankers have empty vaults and all their money has gone.
Surely we have learnt something from these kinds of shocks, well clearly not as the recent history of banking shows. So thats great but what does it teach us about now. Well it is clear that within 5 years there will be more online revenue in the games industry than through retail. When you go for lunch everyone has an idea for an iPhone app (always a good sign of a boom) 10 years ago it was ideas for websites or was it tulip bulbs I forget.
We all like to follow the crowd and investors more than most, this is generally good if you can get in early enough but strangely investors are running scared of iPhone and haven’t even really noticed that download games change the rules. There have been a couple of big investments I think Glu mobile got a fair amount of money but most UK investors have a strange disconnect they know iPhone is successful but don’t seem able to unpin the risks.