News


22 Sep 2009
Monsteca Corral

Greetings

me

me

This Blog documents the development of Onteca’s current project, a game called “Monsteca Corral” for the Nintendo Wii.
A bit of housekeeping first though.

My Name is Phill Hetherington
I’m a 29 year old junior 3d artist on a 3 month work placement here at Onteca.
Being the office junior, I have something of a unique perspective on the new game, since I know almost nothing about programming, not a massive amount about 3d graphics in games. And until recently nothing about the new game, and the world of Monsteca.
The team are 24 months into the development, and so are nearing the end. It’s a shame that I wasn’t here to document the project from start to finish, but I’ll do my level best to get you up to speed. I have to confess, I’m not sure what I’m going to talk about, but I suspect it’ll be a mix of technical stuff, as I learn about it, as well as some of the marketing stuff, and most likely some completely unrelated stuff.
I hope (whoever you are)that you enjoy reading it, and perhaps find it a useful or interesting source of info.
You can get in touch with me via phill@onteca.com or reply here . I’ll be grateful for your feedback, suggestions, insults and what have you.

26 May 2009
Onteca Blog

Onteca has been blogging for some months now, with lots of insight into games and new media production. With two games in production, and a constant process of research and development backing up our future activity, it might be worth a look. Only solid ‘news’ will make it onto the front page from now on, still the ephemera of creativty and ongoing business may amuse.

25 Feb 2009
Liberatis – an early alpha version of an MMO produced by a group of Young People

Onteca is proud to announce the unveiling of a playable Alpha of our Mediabox Project, ‘Liberatis’ (a name thought of by a young person working on the project). This is an MMO created by young people, for young people. It involves some violence, within a Tolkienesque ‘fantasy’ setting, because that is what the young people called for. It is still at an early test stage, but is playable.

Given the theme ‘Freedom’ this is what a group of 14-19 year olds came up with

A screenshot from liberatis

A screenshot from liberatis

Over 50 young people worked for four months to make this game. First the young people planned out an overall story, a premise, a series of characters and detailed paper-based maps and Level Design Documents for each section . Next they had to painstakingly learn the skills they would need: Maya to create the 3D assets; Photoshop to create the mood-boards and textures; the Torque level editor to create landscapes full of trees, mountains, valleys and towns in which the game could be played. Onteca provided support and training at every step.

Onteca then worked on integrating all these elements into a playable game, to the design of the young people and under the direction of their representatives.

Some of the most academically inclined young people on Merseyside worked alongside young people from a local Special School who had learning disabilities. Everyone addressed themselves to the same tasks and were expected to prodice the same results. Sometimes the young people would work alongside each other, sometimes they would split into school and project based groups. Standards were high across the range of schools, with genuine talent and IT ability coming from all groups involved.

Areas worked in were amonst the most economically disadvantaged in the country. That said, the young people who involved themselves in this project were eager, polite and creative. Hopefully, they will learn from being part of the making of Liberatis, and consider a career in the North West’s still healthy Games Industry.

Thanks to all the young people involved, and Onteca hopes you like the game you helped create.

An alpha version of the game is available to download here to install it, just download and run.

if you get an error message mentioning python when running the game on certain versions of vista you will need to run the game as an administrator

24 Feb 2009
Of noobs and leets and crossing over…

Alison’s Blog.

alis
Being the noob amongst the leet at Onteca has its pros(everyone assumes you know nothing about their stuff)and its cons (normally because you erm don’t).Working with Onteca this year, attending Crossover Kids and working on an MMO created by young people, has been great. Challenging what I know as a writer and pushing me to think about what I need to. This blog is about ‘Crossover.’


So, ‘Crossover’ is:


‘…an extraordinary series of ‘innovation labs’ for creative professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds: game developers, tv and film producers, web designers, animators, theatre practitioners and others. Each Crossover lab is an immersive, five day incubator fostering new collaborations and original ideas for cross platform media content and services.’

Jon and Max put me forward for: Crossover Kids (Dec 1 – 5).‘Crossover Kids’ said it would:


explore the future of children’s media and develop original ideas for cross-platform projects. Based on the knowledge that:


‘Children have always loved TV, but the days when passive viewing was their only option are well and truly over. They’re media literate and demanding more sophisticated, interactive content which is fragmenting the market. So what does this mean for content creators? A decline in traditional TV commissioning and falling budgets? Or a framework for innovation and collaboration?’


I wasn’t sure on the idea of being incubated with a load of content creators. But, on the promise of a paid trip down south,(Thank you North West Vision and Media) a hotel spa and a country walk, I bought myself a nice new networking cardigan, packed my bestest walking boots and swimming cossie and set off to deepest, smartest Sussex to find:


non-stop work and no time for a sauna, or even a stroll around the grounds. But it was jolly good work, planning, pitching and thinking a lot about how multi platforms can be used with a young audience. I spent time thinking about how creative ideas can be best delivered to an audience of children who probably don’t even think about the word ‘virtual’ because to them it just is.

‘Crossover Kids’ comes highly recommended. Over the five days I worked on ideas involving Bluetooth mapping, MMO worlds and erm robot alien ponies. Obviously it was the alien ponies idea that I chose to develop. (See Recon Ponies Blog to follow.) It was constantly relentless, equally rewarding and hugely funny. Mentors were excellent and networking opportunities allowed for me to make some good contacts with lovely folk, specifically:


Childs Eye
Mustard Corporation
Unexpected Media
Red Bedlam
Tuna Technologies
Grierson Awards
Wak Studio
Poddington Peas
Milky Tea
and Capsule films


Friendship and creative seeds were planted in December and as we turn into spring I’m pleased to say they are growing.


Following the Crossover week, I also attended the first Crossover Kids pitching event, which was held at the Princess Anne Theatre, BAFTA, London on Thursday 11 December. We saw a couple of new CBeebies ideas including a great news programme aimed at 4 year olds ‘What’s your news?’ I pitched along -side virtual world creator Kerry Fraser Robinson(Red Bedlam), producer Emma Hindley (Grierson Awards) and animator Sara Quick (Tuna Technology) our multi platform animated cartoon/ website/robot: ‘Recon Ponies’. We’re still looking at developing this idea. Interest and funding most welcome. We thinks it’s got legs (and a nosebag.)


Crossover enabled me to extend the thinking that I had already been doing on my work with Onteca, specifically working story narrative in MMO and developing cross platform ideas. I am still very much a noob but with leet aspirations.

05 Feb 2009
A Sleeper Hit

In 2005 we made a film with Disabled Film Maker Luke McDonnell.  This is a unique and quirky insight into a train journey in the Uk.  We hosted the film on a now obsolete corner of our web site.  We have recently noticed that it has become a sleeper hit and has been watched over 7000 times in the last couple of years.  To put this in context it is not on YouTube, it is not linked to from our site and has never been promoted.

Journey to Crewe

04 Feb 2009
Tales (from Next Door and Far Away)

Stories from the past. Technology from the present. A whole new world!
‘Tales’ was a cross platform event for young people combining animation, drama, dance and film. Together with Toxteth Tv and a whole load of Merseyside schools, we created and modelled the world of ‘Tales’ and it rocked St Georges!

Here for the first time online are the animations created by Onteca and the young people of Merseyside.

Tales Introduction

Tales Part 2

Tales Part 3

Tales Part 4

Tales Part 5

Tales Part 6

Tales Part 7

Tales_8

04 Feb 2009
Film Council Short Filmed by Onteca

Onteca was one of only four companies regionally to receive funding to make
a Digital Short film this year. Space Freaks: Dance or Die is a sci-fi comedy musical featuring a cast of dozens, song and dance numbers and some of Onteca’s innovative special effects.

Principal Photography was during September (which means we’ve already filmed all the scenes) and we are now in the middle of Post-Production; editing and compositing in the CGI. With excellent performances from our stars and solid, swift and talented work from the crew we have a lot of good footage to use. Mat Fraser, Lara Masters and Laurence Clark (stars of stage and screen) provide a backbone of glamour to the film.

Ken Campbell, creator of the Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool, actor, director and teacher, was to have appeared in the film. Following his untimely death, the film is now dedicated to the memory of his life and work.space