Posts added by sophie
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 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 email@example.com
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.
02 Nov 2009Indie Game Developers shouldn’t forget the benefits of PR
Sophie here once again, today i thought i would look at how the internet can be utilized as a PR tool to help Indie Game Developers promote their games. I am not a gamer but have been surrounded by most of them all my life. They send me a few links and ask me to visit website regarding games like Diablo ll and how I can get quest item like Horadric Cube to prepare new things. It has got me to play the game and not get addicted to it.
Public Relations in a nutshell: PR is defined as the art of controlling information flow between a company and the outside world. When you are an independent games developer producing a game using your own IP, it is easy for your indie roars to be rendered to a pitiful whisper in the noisy and crowded sea of the internet.
This means the Indies have to swallow their pride and remember they are not an EA or Activision and cannot use the same sort of PR methods they use, therefore they need to maximise their flow of information and utilize the web as much as possible.
The big guys tend to guard their updates carefully, rarely leaking new information about their game. When they do, it’s very controlled and polished. This strategy may make sense when you are so big that even a small leak of information means multiple Digg front-page stories and coverage by news sites everywhere. For Indies though, your carefully packaged press release would likely fall into obscurity.
This means that you need to get creative, experiment, and make noise often. Since it’s hard to predict what will blow up and what won’t, the more insights you share the better your chances are of getting people’s attention.
Remember that the upside is huge and the downside is small. The only thing you stand to lose is your time if you sink hours into a post that doesn’t earn you any recognition.
The good news is that if a PR attempt fails, no one will see it so you don’t have to feel embarrassed (EA doesn’t have this luxury). Since almost everything applies to games, there are lots of different things you can share.
An important part of open development is reaching out to other people in the industry. Contact other Indies, they are your allies not your rivals. You also want to reach out to press contacts and distributors.
Cold emails are always tough, so don’t get discouraged. Meeting people in person is extremely valuable. No matter where you are, you should try to get involved in your local game developer scene. Raiding conferences is also a great way to meet people. I recommend having a box of business cards, an iPod touch with some videos of your game on it.
To a certain extent indie games represent a chance to find out about the next big thing before it hits mainstream so don’t be bashful, say hello. You never know who you’ll meet and meeting people in person turns cold emails into warmer ones.
Building a community
The best way to build a community is to facilitate communication. Create ways for you to talk to fans, for fans to talk to fans and also for fans to talk to you.
It’s easy to think that you might be overwhelmed by visitors to your site if you allow everyone to contact you directly, however this is a great problem to have and most Indies that are just starting out are not lucky enough to have this problem.
Start early. Starting from zero is tough, so get it out of the way now. The earlier you start the more seeds you can plant by launch.
Onsite PR implementation
The blog is your rock and your most effective tool for sharing your development process with the world. It is extremely versatile and all the original content you produce for your blog can be echoed out to your other pages.
Tips: Use pictures/videos, keep it short, encourage discussion, make blog posts often
The forums offer a place for visitors to share their thoughts. Unlike the blog which you have to power yourself, the forums are largely fan-run. They provide a great medium to share information and solutions to problems that may arise. They also allow for the sharing of creative ideas and mods.
Tips: Seed the forums with appropriate topics. Try not to crack down to hard on anyone or you may find yourself in the middle of a flame war.
Offsite PR Implementation
ModDB is a very indie friendly collection of all video games and their mods. It’s a great place to add your game and keep people updated on its status. If the ModDB staff like your news update, they will promote it to the front page. Many people use it as a news site and keep track of gaming news. It is a surprisingly large site and the community is awesome. Some ModDB visitors have already started modding Overgrowth before it is even released.
Tips: Decorate your page to draw attention to it, update often with high quality content to attract people
YouTube is the best place to host your videos. YouTube has HD now and an absurd number of useful features these days. The most valuable thing about YouTube is that people can easily subscribe to your channel and YouTube will funnel more viewers onto your pages by cross-pollinating your video with other related videos.
Tips: Add a link to your YouTube channel in your videos so people can subscribe to you
A Facebook page gives you a secondary location to host your blog posts, pictures and HD videos. Facebook is the biggest social network and is designed to be as viral as possible. Whenever someone interacts with your page, the activity is splashed around to his or her friends. This helps people spread the word organically and can cause pretty substantial chain reactions.
However, a Facebook page needs nurturing.
Tips: Feed your blog onto your page’s notes, upload videos and photos individually to the wall so that they are more conspicuous
Twitter seemed pretty dubious at first. However Twitter is unique from other pages because it offers a good medium for you to meet your peers in the industry in addition to accumulating fans. Twitter is at worst an alternative to your blog’s RSS feed, but at best, it’s a great way to keep people up to date more rapidly and lets you communicate with tons of other game developers.
Tips: Don’t just link to yourself like an RSS bot, use Twitter to communicate with people
Your Steam group offers a great way to introduce your game to the Steam community. Groups have amenities like screenshots and avatars that you can upload to add some flair to your page.
However, the main asset of Steam groups is the chat room that acts like a public IRC channel tied directly to your game. Because most people on Steam are active gamers looking to purchase games, this PR is extremely well targeted.
Tips: Idle in your Steam group’s chat room so you can meet visitors and answer their questions, offer visitors avatars, you can post important blog posts as announcements
Games Press helps us auto feed our content onto certain sites. It has been great for getting our videos onto IGN, Gamespot, Game Trailers and G4. Even if you upload pictures of a pumpkin with the company logo carved in it getting set on fire with a propane torch, Games Press will get it streamed to a few sites.
Tips: just post it; you never know whose attention you’ll get
Game Trailers is the biggest game video site out there. It’s a constant stream of videos that people watch like TV, so when they post your video, it will immediately get thousands of views.
Tips: Upload videos often, don’t get discouraged if people mistake your early work for the final product, they’ll catch on eventually as they see more videos.
What’s more interesting: a finished asset or an entire time-lapse showing you everything from the initial strokes to the final product? If you can see the appeal of a time-lapse, you should also be able to see the appeal of open development.
There is often a PR quiet period for a game between when it is announced and when it is ready for preview. It makes sense that news sites probably can’t entertain their readers with your latest updates. However, such updates are interesting news to your community, so don’t sit on your hands, and keep showing what you’ve got.
Finally remember to stay agile. The gaming industry is already moving quiet steadily and web based PR tools seem to be moving faster than that. As a small agile company you’ll have the chance to be a first adopter on the next big thing
30 Oct 2009Development Blog – Normal day at Onteca
Every office has its own personalised methodology when approaching their day to day work load. Many arrive at the office armed with their double espresso venti cappuccino, set in the zone of hammering out a perfected PowerPoint presentation to the corporate big wigs. Some people even knowingly glue themselves to their poorly manufactured and terribly uncomfortable office chairs from the hours of 9-5, unbeknown to them that they are haven’t seen daylight for over a year. This I am happy to report is NOT the working structure of the Onteca office.
With any job that involves an individual to exert their creativity within their work, environment and habitual comforts are essential. At Onteca it is apparent that the company nurtures a freeform style and its colleague’s creative composition through its relaxed approach to business. The Onteca cluster consists of individuals who specialise in various areas, ranging from graphic designers, computer programmers, visual artists and music composer. All of which make Onteca what it is today, a compressed source of enthusiasm and creativity for the world of innovative technology.
Onteca is defiantly independent and want to make their games with as little external interference as possible. They have grown to their size through doing a variety of different projects but our core passion is the production of Computer games. Emerging more as a games developer, Onteca are happy to stay in the shadows of such a commercially run industry and let their work speak for itself. Their work with new emerging technology screams exuberance, modernisation and eccentricity. Components needed in such a conditioned culture where individuals are becoming harder to entertain, and as a result succumbing to the customs of replication.
Onteca to this day
Multitasking is what Onteca does best; here is a little glimpse into what the company is up to.
Bluecoat project – Bluecoat’s is an award-winning art gallery best known for their continuous programme of innovative exhibitions. Dan, Onteca’s own software and computer programming connoisseur is currently working on the Bluecoat project. Bluecoat are looking to improve visitor engagement on their website, this will be done by developing a 3d map. This may sound simple to us techno proletarians; however this requires precise architecture programming in action script 3.
14-19 Diploma – I am sure you have noticed my last blog covering Onteca’s educatory work with students in Wirral. Max is Onteca’s very own film director and interactive media tutor, is currently working with the on the training programme of the 14-19 diploma. The Diploma is an alternative curriculum that combines theoretical and practical study, providing a different style of learning that will offer young people an alternative route into higher education, apprenticeships or employment with training. Onteca provide training in such up-to-date industry standard software packages such as MAYA 3d modelling, Flash, Photoshop, Web Design and Video After Effects.
Onteca Training Programmes – Onteca believes in educating individuals in the different emerging technologies, consequently the company has proposed a new line of 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 will provide a training course tailored to your development needs. Course materials consists of Programming courses e.g. Introduction to C++, iphone 2d and 3d development and intro to CSS. Digital arts courses e.g. Intro to Photoshop, Flash, Autodesk Maya, 3d modelling and intro to web design. And Leadership courses e.g. Thinking the future.
Monsteca Corral– This is a project that is growing ever so close to my heart. Everyone at Onteca has a role to play with the development of the Monsteca Corral game, whether it is creating sounds for the Sdompe’ (Jo), perfecting the artwork of new characters (Rich), working on the architecture of the game (Simon), developing the game as a whole (the maker Ben) or my role of marketing the game to the public.
(Ben: The maker) (Rich: Creator)
Day by day the tick boxes are being crossed off and we are getting closer and closer to the finish line. At the moment Jo is currently making sounds for the game and the characters, this is a very peculiar process to watch first hand when it involves banging chairs against the floor to see the types of sound effects they can make. It is however very interesting to see how different sounds can be manipulated and constructed with such programs as Sound Forge SoundLab. I can’t wait to finally hear how the Sdompe is going to sound.
We now have two months to finish the game so to keep you guys updated I am going to try and keep an up-to-date development diary. Watch firsthand the Monsteca Corral game come together.
See you soon