Beautifun Games

Monday, September 29, 2014

Goodbye Kevin

Last Friday our game designer Kevin Cerdà decided to quit his job at BeautiFun Games. As some of you might know he was working on Megamagic, our current project. Megamagic continues in development and its expected release date is the second half of 2015. From this point on, the rest of the team will finish the project's game design.

Kevin wrote a letter to share with all of you:

The BeautiFun team wishes you the best luck in your new adventures!

English translation:

"Last week I quit as a Game Designer at BeautiFun Games.
As some of you may know, despite always introducing myself as a game designer, I had a broader set of jobs. You've probably seen me giving speeches about Nihilumbra, doing public relationships and taking care of marketing stuff. I've also done a bunch of other stuff that you probably haven't seen such as audio effects, trailer creation, human resources when we had to hire new people for the studio... a lot of really different jobs that are quite usual when you've cofounded an indie company.

You'll probably imagine that, quitting a company, a team, a project of this magnitude, when you're the one who named it and you've been nearly four years working on it, taking care of it and making it grow, it's not an easy decision to make.

And I believe that, as the responsible of communication, public face, but most of all, as a developer, it's my duty to give an explanation and answer some of the questions that might arise with me leaving.

To begin with, I must say that this is a personal decision. I haven't been forced by anybody from outside or inside the company. I made the decision last week; ironically it was more or less at the same time that Notch left his company and, just like him, it was a decision that was slowly settling in my mind during months, maybe years. "It's about my sanity", he said, and I couldn't help feeling just the same.
I decided to walk this path because I felt bad. Really bad. Actually, I wouldn't say that I decided to leave, it was more like I just couldn't stay any longer. Logically, the reasons that made me hit rock bottom fall into the category of personal, subjective and emotional matters and It's not necessary to discuss them or expose them because they could be easily misunderstood. I already talked about my reasons with the team, they understood them and we wished good luck to each other.

But let's stop talking about the past. What about the future?
Megamagic is still in the oven. It progresses slowly, but it keeps progressing. It's a really promising project that may become a great game and I really hope it does. On my behalf, before leaving it, I made sure that they had enough stuff to finish it. I finished the main story, the characters and their own personal backgrounds, the basic game mechanics, examples of spells and enemies, description of localizations and all the events in the main story, information about world's folklore, history, factions... Even plots and characters for sequels. The part of game design that still needs to be done is mainly level design, dialogs, sidequests and adding spells and abilities. With this paragraph I just try to tell that, even when the author of the original idea is not going to be in the team anymore, the essence of this idea is documented and will be preserved in the final game. The team will do their best to keep the original vision and I've offered myself to help in case it's needed. Soon you'll start seeing things about Megamagic and I really wish you like and enjoy them.

The future for me, on the other hand, is uncertain. Right now I'm a Ronin Game Designer looking for a motivating project. I still have energy, will, and I'll keep my way of thinking. I do not intend to stop riding on sharks or disappearing from the map. You'll keep hearing about me and I look forward to create great games that you can enjoy in the future.

Before ending, I'd like to thank all of you for your interest in BeautiFun Games and my own career, which brought you here to read these lines.
During all these years of adventure I've received the support, the gratitude and the appreciation of many people. That always meant a lot to me, it gave me strength and it will keep doing it.

As a storyteller, designer, indie developer, but mainly as a geek videogame lover that one day decided to try to make a living out of it, I thank you for all these years and I invite you to share with me the ones to come.

Best wishes,

Kevin Cerdà"

Spanish translation:

"La semana pasada dimití como Game Designer en BeautiFun Games.
Como muchos sabréis, a pesar de que siempre me presento como diseñador, mi trabajo era bastante más amplio. Me habréis visto hablando de Nihilumbra, haciendo de relaciones públicas y llevando el márketing. También me he encargado de otras cosas que no habréis visto como los efectos de audio, la creación de tráilers, los procesos de selección de gente nueva para el estudio... Una gran cantidad de tareas muy diversas, propias de quien ha cofundado una empresa indie.

Ya os podréis imaginar que, abandonar una compañía, un equipo, un proyecto de esta envergadura, cuando le has puesto nombre y has estado prácticamente cuatro años trabajando en ella, cuidándola y haciéndola crecer, no es una decisión nada fácil.

Y creo que, como responsable de la comunicación, como cara pública y sobretodo como desarrollador es mi deber dar una explicación y responder a algunas de las preguntas que se formarán con mi marcha.

Para empezar, debo decir que se trata de una decisión mía y que no me he visto forzado a tomarla por ningún agente externo ni interno a la compañía. Tomé la decisión la semana pasada, irónicamente fue más o menos cuando Notch dejó su empresa y, al igual que él, fue una decisión que se ha ido fraguando lentamente a lo largo de meses, quizás años. "It's about my sanity", decía, y yo no podía sino identificarme con esas palabras.
Decidí tomar este camino porque me sentía mal. Realmente mal. De hecho no decidí marcharme, decidí que no podía quedarme. Lógicamente, las razones que me llevaron a tocar fondo pertenecen en su mayoría al terreno de lo personal, lo subjetivo y lo emocional y no merece la pena discutirlas ni exponerlas porque se podrían interpretar de demasiadas formas. Ya las hablé con el equipo, las comprendieron y nos deseamos suerte los unos a los otros.

Pero ya basta de hablar del pasado. Ahora que ocurrirá con el futuro?
Megamagic sigue en el horno. Avanza lentamente pero sigue avanzando. Es un proyecto realmente prometedor que puede llegar a convertirse en un gran juego y realmente espero que sea así. Por mi parte, aunque lo haya dejado, puedo garantizar que antes de irme he dejado listas la historia general, los personajes y sus historias particulares, la mecánica de juego básica, ejemplos de hechizos y enemigos, descripción de localizaciones y de todos los eventos de la trama principal, información sobre el folclore del mundo, su historia, sus facciones... Incluso planteamientos y tramas para secuelas. La parte de diseño que falta por hacer es principalmente diseño de niveles, diálogos, sidequests y añadir hechizos y habilidades. Con este párrafo intento aclarar simplemente que, aunque el autor de la idea original se haya ido, la esencia está recogida y documentada. El equipo se esforzará por mantenerla y yo me he ofrecido a asesorar o colaborar en caso de necesidad. Pronto se empezará a ver algo de Megamagic y espero de corazón que os guste y os motive.

El futuro para mí de momento es incierto. Ahora soy un Game Designer Ronin en busca de un proyecto que me motive. Sigo manteniendo mi energía y mi forma de pensar y no pienso dejar de montar en tiburón ni desaparecer del mapa en absoluto. Seguiréis oyendo hablar de mí y espero crear grandes juegos que podáis disfrutar en el futuro.

Para terminar me gustaría agradeceros el interés por BeautiFun games y por mi propia carrera, que os ha llevado a leer estas líneas. Durante los años que ha durado esta aventura he recibido el apoyo, el agradecimiento y el aprecio de muchas personas. Eso siempre ha significado muchísimo para mí, me ha dado fuerzas y me las seguirá dando. 
Como contador de historias, diseñador, desarrollador indie, pero sobretodo como flipado amante de los videojuegos que un día decidió lanzarse a ver si podía vivir de hacerlos os doy las gracias por todos estos años y os invito a compartir los que vienen.

Un abrazo,

Kevin Cerdà"




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The BeautiFun Team Stories - Dani Navarro - Graphic Designer - Part II


In this second part of the interview, Dani details some of his inspirations as an artist and the most relevant projects he did during his career.

Since I was a child I loved to do creative stuff with music, plasticine, painting... when I finished primary school I found that I wanted to continue my studies on graphic design. I wanted to learn about the different artistic needs that a video game can have. A comic, or any other cultural medium in which visual design is important. I've always tried to do a bit of everything and learn as much as possible, that way I could find as many solutions to all the potential problems I could encounter.


I see you have so many different stuff in your portfolio. Could you explain us a bit about the most relevant works for you?

True, you can see many different things in there. One of the skills I've always put so much effort to train the most is versatility, so I can adapt my work to the needs of each certain project.

I will start with one of my illustrations inspired on Shadow of the Colossus. This one was selected, amongst others, to be in the background during the “Games as Art” roundtable that took place at Gamescom 2012.  There were very important names talking there, as Kellee Santiago (thatgamecompany), Alex Evans (Media Molecule) or Ian Dallas (Giant Sparrow), and then they signed the illustration and then sent it back to me.


This another SotC illustration also got plenty of good critics from some relevant artists in the video game industry. It was awarded in a competition held by Sony Europe, Sumo Digital and Team ICO, being the price a copy of the game signed by Fumito Ueda.



As a curiosity, I also did a mask design for a nude Freddy Krugger elastic costume.



I really love American comics, so as I wanted to create a cover for one of them and tell a bit of a story without words. In the next illustration you can see how Venom is putting Spiderman in serious trouble.
I also like Batman universe a lot, in this illustration you can see how the Joker, dressed as Batman, wants to impersonate him and provoke chaos in Gotham. There's also a bag of explosives with the shape of the Penguin, as if they were allies in these actions.



I wouldn't be able to pick a favourite amongst all of my artistic works, once I finish each of them I'm only thinking about the mistakes, it doesn't matter if they are small, they are always relevant for me. If I had to remark two of them in particular, they will be the walking colossus one and the other with the velocirraptors.




I Also did 3D modelling and experimented with lighting and textures on ZBrush.



And how did you start developing games?

One of my first game-related project was Warcelona, a Left for Dead 2 campaign mod that got certain notoriety back in 2011 (had 400.000 downloads in less than 2 years). In this project I especially focused on the recreating and building the atmosphere of an apocalyptic city, as much similar to Barcelona as possible. An environment where all the important Left 4 Dead events already happened, as it was something real. It was really imporant to not simply show a destroyed city, we wanted to transmit a true feeling that the city was full of life before the apocalypse, and there were rumours about zombies in other countries.




After releasing Warcelona we got plenty of good critics, reviews and youtubers repercussion. So me and Carlos started working on a new project called "Coma: A Mind Adventure".  We both worked doing a bit of everything without having very clear delimitation of our action areas, I ended up focusing more on the creative and artistic parts of the game, and he dedicated most of his efforts to the technical aspect and puzzle design. With COMA it can be clearly seen that we didn't want to follow the market trends (space marines, FPS, etc) so we went through a more personal approach, based on contemplative environmental puzzles. Those puzzles tell stories about the mind of a person in coma that has grown a lot of remorse inside. When you solve the puzzle, the person will progress in his state of mind, you can help him to progress in his illness, for the good or for the bad. There were some circumstances beyond my control, but the game is already on Steam with the name "MIND: Path to Thalamus".



Aside of a few small personal game projects, I've also worked on shortfilms, graphic design for companies, comic and advertising. The audiovisual work is very hard, but also quite rewarding. I still try to collaborate with them whenever I have the chance and the time for it, but where I feel more satisfaction is doing video games, the artistic needs they require are really diverse, and the player interaction with the piece adds an extra value.

Long ago I got to know BeautiFun Games and their work with Nihilumbra, so I offered them my services, we have been helping each other with good advice since then, until one day they invited me for an interview because they needed extra support in the art department. Then things went pretty smooth and we reached to an agreement pretty fast. It's a pleasure to work at BeautiFun, there is a nice teamwork and everybody is working in what they really love. I have been helping out with graphic design work for marketing related stuff, and now I'm doing concept arts and art for Megamagic.



First time I heard about Megamagic I saw how big it is compared to Nihilumbra. It reminded me to what I did with Coma after Warcelona: to be ambitious and face new challenges to try to progress to the next level.

Before finishing the interview I will dare to ask you about your main good and bad quality, and then, as every other member of the team, will love to know the best attribute of each one of the members in the team.

A good skill I have is to quickly be able to see the needs of a project, task, and as something to improve, I would say I'm too perfectionist, but in this sense is better being like that than not.

Aniol: Persistent, he knows what he wants and how to get there. He's very professional.

Kevin: A very creative guy, full of curiosity and with a very analytical mind.

Marcos: Super responsible and very good, technically speaking.

Elias: He's a really nice guy, predisposed to do whatever is needed.

Lourdes: She is a really good artist, full of sensitivity with the project and everybody working at it.

Jordi: He has a lot of resources and works very very hard. Also he introduced me to the Master, Álvaro Clemente.



You can get in touch with Dani on Twitter, he is  @playerDNG

Interview made by @JesusFabre






Nihilumbra issue with iOS 8

Hi Everyone,

Sadly, Nihilumbra is not working on the new iOS 8. This is a known issue. Thanks to the many Nihilumbra players that reported the problem.

We are working on a fix to that problem. We are a small team and adapting the game to the new update takes time and effort. We expect to have the fix ready during the following weeks.

Also, if you don't delete the application the saved games won't be erased with the new update and you will be able to continue the game at the point you left it.

If you prefeer, you can ask Apple for a refund by clicking this link:https://reportaproblem.apple.com/ and report the problem.

If you have problems here are a couple of tutorials we found on the internet:
- http://gizmodo.com/5886683/how-to-get-a-refund-from-the-app-store
- http://ioshacker.com/how-to/get-refund-app-purchased-app-store

Sorry for the inconveniences, and thanks for the understanding.



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