Posts tagged "Programming"

02 Nov 2009
Event Preview: Develop Liverpool

7820_146337498548_509638548_2857868_3796245_n Hello everyone, i thought i would insert some information about the Devlop event this Thursday which i will be attending along with some other members of the Onteca family. See blog for full event programme.

This Thursday sees the popular Develop conference make its debut appearance in Liverpool.

Set to bring together the best and brightest game developers from across the UK for a day of learning, sharing ideas and networking, Develop in Liverpool boasts an impressive range of sessions and panels. Below are details of the currently confirmed panels.

Highlights include the keynote by Michael Denny, senior vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Europe, and speakers from Bizarre Creations, Natural Motion, Team 17 and Jolt.

Those interested can still register here; tickets currently cost £265 plus VAT. The event takes place at Liverpool’s Arena and Convention Centre, and offers a unique opportunity in a city many consider the cultural capital of the north.

The sessions:

OPENING KEYNOTE: Quality, Relevance, Innovation
The talk will provide a visionary insight into what Sony Computer Entertainment First Party studios are looking for now and in the future when commissioning Original IPs from Independent developers.
Speaker: Michael Denny, senior vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Europe

EVOLVE: Turning Browsers into Gamers for Fun and Profit
The biggest platform with the most potential isn’t owned by a manufacturer or run out of Redmond. Web browsers and social networks host tens of millions of games a day, bring gameplay to new audiences, allow innovative new gameplay ideas, come with a diversity of business models, and are wide open to new entrants. But what can traditional games companies bring to the party, and where should you focus your efforts for maximum impact and reward?
Speaker: Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming

CODING & PRODUCTION: PlayStation: Cutting Edge Techniques
The talk will provide an overview of the current state of the PlayStation platforms and games from a technical perspective. There will be a coverage of several real-world examples of cutting techniques as used in recent and soon to be released PlayStation3 and PSP titles developed by Sony Computer Entertainment worldwide studios.
Speaker: Neil Brown, senior engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

ART & DESIGN: Blocking to Rocking! The art of LEGO Rock Band
Travellers’ Tales has won endless plaudits for the distinctive and humorous characters in its LEGO games. But having mastered a plastic fantastic take on much-loved cinematic heroes, how would its artists tackle real life musical legends for LEGO Rock Band? Matt Palmer, Head of Animation at TT Fusion, gives us a unique insight into capturing the essence of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and the game’s other rock gods in LEGO guise while operating within the constraints of the Rock Band format.
Speaker: Matt Palmer, head of animation, TT Fusion

EVOLVE: Five App Stores Under the Microscope:
iPhone, Blackberry, Android, DSiWare, PSP Minis
There’s plenty of excitement around digital distribution of mobile and handheld games, but it’s early days – the various stores are finding their feet, while developers figure out how best to approach them. This session will look at five key digital stores: iPhone’s App Store, BlackBerry App World and Android Market, as well as DSiWare and PSP Minis. What are the trends in terms of pricing and categorisation? Which games are doing well and why? And how are developers increasingly looking to release games across several or all of these stores?
Speaker: Stuart Dredge, online editor, Mobile Entertainment

CODING & PRODUCTION: Role of the Production House in Game Development and Marketing
Created during the early development stages of a video game, concept movies can often lay the foundation in the creation of new games. They can be used as an influential selling tool by developers to gain universal buy in from international publishers whilst also giving the development team a vision of what they’re working towards, helping lock down important factors such as the overall look, style and feel of the game. Some of these movies never see the light of day once the game is complete but others serve a multifaceted purpose and are used as a powerful internal and external marketing tool. Tony Prosser, Managing Director of Lancashire based CG Production House RealtimeUK, will be speaking about the role of concept movies in games development. He will also discuss how they created some of their most well known concept movies and marketing trailers including Motorstorm for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Split/Second for Disney Interactive Studios and Napoleon: Total War for Sega.
Speaker: Tony Prosser, managing director, RealtimeUK

EVOLVE: What the Music Industry Can Tell Us about Digital Distribution
The last few years have been turbulent for the music industry as it grapples with the transition from physical goods to digital distribution. What can the games industry learn from the music industry as the sales and delivery of interactive entertainment increasingly move online? Simon Watt of Universal Music reprises his very popular Brighton talk with an updated explanation of what the music industry has got right – and wrong – and what it means for games.
Speaker: Simon Watt, vice president technology, Universal Music Group

CODING & PRODUCTION: How to Get More From your Music and Audio Team (panel)
Harry Potter, Project Gotham Racing, Heavenly Sword, The Getaway, and Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix series are just a few of the titles covered by the careers of an illustrious panel of leaders in their field. Whilst managing hundreds of thousands of game audio production dollars, procuring music, dialogue and sound design services from both in-house and external game and movie sound resources, these senior players fully recognise the commercial imperative and inextricable link of what they do in audio provision with corporate goals, gameplay objectives and console technology. Drawing on their years of experience seeing the good, bad and downright ugly of audio in games, they will distil critical insights for producers, programmers, artists and designers about how to get the most from their audio team and thereby realise the maximum potential for sound, music and dialogue to rock their game production.
Chair: John Broomhall, independent audio director
Panelists: Dan Bardino, SCEE; Adele Cutting, EA; Nick Wiswell, Bizarre Creations

ART & DESIGN: Resurrecting the Alien Breed franchise
If you’re lucky enough to have a much-loved retro game to work with, how do you bring it up-to-date without damaging its DNA? Team 17’s design manager John Dennis outlines some of the challenges and opportunities the studio has faced in bringing its classic Amiga game Alien Breed back to life in the form of Alien Breed Evolution, which it is set to self-publish for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Speaker: John Dennis, Team 17

EVOLVE: Keeping Northern games development on the map (panel)
Game making has a long history in the North of England and much to be proud of, but there’s no denying recent years have been tough, with key studios closing and others fading from prominence. What can be done to ensure the region remains a hub of game development excellence, and what help is already available? Could local studios do more to support each other, or is it better every studio fights for itself? A panel of leading insiders debates the issues.
Chair: Toby Barnes, MD, Pixel Lab

CODING & PRODUCTION: A Bizarre Way to do Real-Time Lighting
The talk focuses on the techniques used in the real-time lighting implementation for Blur, but with a particular bias for how things were done for the Playstation3. Beginning with a high-level discussion of the problems at hand the swiftly talk moves into how these were initially solved in a cross-platform way, but then later optimised for Playstation3. Along the way the speakers share their thoughts on light pre-pass rendering and SPU programming techniques, and offer a helpful ten-step guide to migrating your lighting to the SPUs.
Speakers: Stephen McAuley and Steven Tovey, Bizarre Creations

ART & DESIGN: Why is Playing Games Fun?
Recent research in neurobiology reveals multiple ways in which the “pleasure centre” of the brain can be tripped, and thus multiple ways that players enjoy games. This research also dovetails with the latest player satisfaction models, which show that different players enjoy very different aspects of play. This session explores seven different ways in which the brain responds to play, each corresponding to a different play style, and thus different kinds of videogame. By understanding the variety of ways that a game can provide enjoyment, developers can learn why their games are fun – and how to make them more fun for a greater number of players.
Speaker: Chris Bateman, MD, Hobo International

EVOLVE: Digital Distribution: From Blue Sky to the Bottom Line (panel)
Signing a deal with Steam is no longer enough. From branding to social media marketing; from price discounts to community management, this panel will address what developers need to do to maximise revenue from their digital distribution strategy.
Chair: Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief
Panelists: Mark Morris, MD, Introversion Software; Tero Virtala, CEO, RedLynx; Oliver Birch, account director, PlayReplay

CODING & PRODUCTION: 6 Ways to Get More Bang for Your Buck
The bad news: budgets are tight and time is short, yet everyone still wants quality. The good news: there is no shortage of talent! Outsourcing, offshoring, contractors and freelancers – thousands of externals are ready to help you stay under budget and make better games, or, if handled badly, to wreck your project. From formal outsourcing to co-development and remote teams, Beriah’s Kevin Hassall reveals six tricks to get the very best from this wide world of talent.
Speaker: Kevin Hassall, Beriah

ART & DESIGN: Open Mic – Voice Control in SingStar the Method and the Madness
Applying cutting edge technology to casual games in a way that enriches the end user experience in a non disruptive way. Voice recognition technology is notoriously unreliable and most user experiences with existing technology have been poor. The voice recognition technology in SingStar was designed to allow users to select songs and navigate menu options. This presented its own set of unique challenges from both technological and usability standpoints. This presentation will cover the challenges and pitfalls of using voice recognition technology in SingStar.
Speaker: Charlie Hasdell, designer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

EVOLVE: We’re All Indies in This Together
Digital distribution, downloadable content, and casual and social games are fast re-writing our ideas about what a game can be. Leading this charge are a new wave of small, innovative and entrepreneurial developers with very different business models – and often different aspirations – to the conventional games industry. Enter indievision, a new trade body for a new breed of studio. For the first time in public, founder Robert Swan outlines why the new indie sector needs to work together, and what joining indievision can do for you.
Speaker: Robert Swan, co-founder, indievision

CLOSING ADDRESS: The Ups and Downs of Backing 60 Start-Ups
Richard Farleigh, High Tech Entrepreneur and Dragon (from Dragon’s Den)

Networking Party!
After the conference, you will have the opportunity to network with delegates from an event running alongside Develop – Software City – designed to showcase the region’s dynamic technology sector. Now running in its third year Software City attracts an international audience and is an opportunity for businesses and investors to make valuable connections, share ideas and hear from world-class entrepreneurs.

Develop in Liverpool and Software City have teamed up to host a joint post-conference networking party for all their delegates. The party will be held in PanAm on the Albert Dock.

Your Develop pass will allow you free access to the party where you will have the chance to meet attendees and speakers from both events, including Software City’s star speakers Richard Farleigh of Dragon’s Den fame and Julie Meyer co-founder of First Tuesday, CEO of Ariadne Capital and one of the recently announced ‘online dragons’.

Information supplied by event article

30 Oct 2009
Development 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

22 Sep 2009
Monsteca Corral




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 or reply here . I’ll be grateful for your feedback, suggestions, insults and what have you.

14 May 2009

There is a programming language that obeys some of the structural impulses of the infamous LOLCats invented dialect, or something like that. Dan and Ben suggested that I didn’t blog about it, as it takes a coder to truly get the joke (or explain it).

Well, this will persuade Dan or Ben to add their own comments.

In the meantime, there is something very dizzying about a comedy Internet meme involving fluffi kittehs transforming into an example of post-scarcity, ludic, agalmic potlatch.


29 Jan 2009
Performance in MMO Engines

Generally i can’t find any information about the way in which World of Warcraft is put together, but through some lightweight spying, looking at their jobs page you can see that the whole thing is coded in C++ which must have been a hell of an engineering effort, hence their enormous budget for production.  Obviously C++ is the fastest possible code for raw speed but i don’t fancy we have the budget to go that way.

We are currently using the Tmmokit which will max out at around 200 players per server.  I am keen to move forward incrementally and come upon an interesting article about Eve online (which claims players in the thousands on individual shards).  Eve uses Stackless Python.