Programming is A-MA-ZING

I hope you like the content we’re writing in our Blog ^^!

My name is Miguel Montero, and I’m the one in charge of coordinating the whole programming department in Fraxel Games! Programming in my view is one of the most ungrateful job in this industry because they only remember you when there’s a Bug, the game controls are not “tight” enough or things like that, but even then it’s still an amazing job.

As a programmer you get all the different resources from the other departments, it could be graphic or music for example. Sometimes, we even get just a simple idea like “We want our main protagonist to launch remote control cats” and you go like “WTF?!?!” and try to make it happen. After this our task is mainly to unify everything and make it work. This part is the most beautiful of all since it allows us to see how the ideas and the different components mix together to make a game.

In the programming department the work is distributed so that everybody has a main thing to do.  This can be setting up the UI, I.A. behaviour, different game mechanic, how to handle game data and, when needed, online multiplayer.

Despite everything I have said, that’s only the theory. In reality everyone here in Fraxel Games has to be able to multitask. We divided our work depending on the necessity of the project and the strong points of everyone, so we end up even doing animations, scenes or dialogs. This variety in our work is what it really makes it an amazing job.

Another task, that’s as important as the previous one is that I have is to bring to the studio some cool elements that could bring a smile in hard moments (I will show you some now).

Not everything while working has to be 8 hours in front of a monitor till your work is done. To rest and have fun with your coworkers while doing it is what makes this more than just a job.

It’s a pleasure to share this with all of you and if you want to know more about us please do not hesitate to leave us a comment and we will answer as soon as possible ^^.

See you!

The magic of art in video games

Hi everybody! I am Silvia Doña and I´m in charge of the design and creation of the backgrounds and props that are in our game. I am also the art department coordinator.

To organize the team is quite easy (honestly! xD) because thanks to our coordination we rarely have any problem in this topic.

As a general rule, we divide the work according to the specialization of each of our team members (character design, animation, porps, backgrounds, graphic design, interface design…) but when we need to work on something new or special we are really flexible and we learn very fast how to tackle any problem.

In order to coordinate any project, it is essential to have a fluid communication between all the departments (game design and programming mostly) before and during the working process in order to work without any inconvenient. With this in mind all the departments coordinators organize themselves and their teams according to their necessities.

In the other hand, as background and props designer, my creative process is quite similar to any other designer. When something new comes up, it is necessary to look for any reference that could be similar to what is been asked and test them in all imaginary manners. Always having in mind the artistic vision that the character designers are working on in order to give the same entity to the entire project.

It is always nice to have some knowledge about the graphic engine that the studio is working with to be able to test the ideas immediately and see what everything works. This also helps the programmers and the game designers to see how the project is taking form

To finish and how you can imagine by now, art people in videogames should know a little bit about everything, we must also have a lot of organization and communication skills to be able to talk with everyone. Being good people is also required!

Technology is cool, isn’t it?

How can I start? Ah yes, presenting myself!

Hi, my name is Roberto Monge, CTO in FraxelGames

What is a CTO? It means Chief Technical Officer. Quite cool isn´t it?

My work in Fraxel Games consists in supervise and promote all technological aspects. Something as basic as security steps when uploading files, code or material to the cloud or more complicate steps such as using different dev kits to test the games, or publish them in different stores.

Being a CTO is much more than just of this aspect, I have to be actualizing myself in a daily basis. I have to look at all new technologies that could benefit Fraxel Games in a medium and long run.

Apart from my CTO duties I also work as a programmer, more specific as a web application developer, supervising the different proyects that we are doing at this moment or choosing the best development technolgy.

 

Definitely, being a CTO is hard but really cool, you never stop learning, giving 100% for Fraxel Games to be at the forefront of the technological innovation. Always trying to give the very best to all of you.

FEEL THE FUN!

I’m an indie guy in Gamescom

Ah, Gamescom!

What an interesting place indeed! If you’re reading this you probably know that Gamescom took place last week, and this year, yours truly got to go! Who am I? Hi, my name is Adetona Ajao, it’s a pleasure to meet you! I’m the COO at Fraxel Games, which basically means that if it ain’t coding, drawing, animating or composing, I’m probably involved somehow. Here’s a picture of me finding out in real time that my coffee is actually tea.

In this particular case, I had to go because I had some people to see and some meetings to attend in that part of the trade shows that you never tend to think about if you don’t work in the industry, the mythical business area! Full of mystical meeting rooms and magical networking spots, where business cards are wielded as swords and words can be woven into life altering contracts!

And it was in that land of miracles and wonders that I came to do battle, armed with a stack of greeting cards and a tablet carrying some powerpoints, a few videos and the vertical slices for the two projects that we’re currently working on. Again, if you’re reading this you’re probably more than aware of what a vertical slice is, but for those of you that might be unfamiliar with the term a Vertical Slice is to a Demo what an Early Access can be for a finished game. It is the game in it’s very first stages, a prototype to show possible publishers or investors what your idea might look like as a playable product. And if they happen to like what they see, that’s where the real magic happens…

Speaking of which, here’s me with Silvia Barraclough, she’s from Games from Spain and she’s a super cool lady that helps spanish indie developers make it to places like Gamescom along with associations such as DEV or AEVI (and if you’re a spanish dev and you haven’t heard of these groups, you should probably check them out).

So for 3 days and 3 nights I did battle, for when the night came, the battlefield just kept on raging across the beautiful city of Cologne, we fought in bars, we fought in hotel parties and, I kid you not, we fought on a boat. Speaking of which, here’s a picture of a boat. Not the party boat, a different boat, unfortunately I didn’t think to take any pictures of the party boat at the time, so here’s a nice picture of a different boat. Cologne is a beautiful city.

So for the first 3 days I wasn’t really able to leave the business area except when I was wandering between the halls from meeting to meeting. But during such wanderin’ I did had a few minutes here and there to check out some games, so I spent most of that time inside the most interesting part of the show: The indicade!

I’m totally serious here. I’m not saying that the main floors are not worth checking out, they absolutely are. It is a bewielding sight to behold the displays that tripleA companies bring to these types of shows, but for the most part, anyone that consumes video game related social media or regularly visit any video game website is going to easily see that content. Indies on the other hand? We have a much harder time catching the public eye with the sheer amount of cool games that are out there.

I consider myself quite the informed consumer when it comes to video games since I’ve been in and out of the industry for quite a few years now, and still, the coolest thing happened to me in the Indicade. I got to play Star Renegades.

And what is Star Renegades, I hear you ask? Well, a couple of years ago a super cool game I sank a bunch of hours into came out: Halcyon 6, an awesome indie title created by the good folks at Massive Damage that’s a love letter to old school sci fi and an absolute must for any Babylon 5 fans out there. They’re these fine folks right here, by the way.

And as I’m walking through the indicade, I suddenly stop dead in my tracks, raise my finger like a dumbass and say to the developers: “Hey, that games looks cool, kinda reminds game of an indie game I loved called Halcyon 6”. To which they responded: “Yeah, that’s kinda also us”. And it was probably the best time I had in the show, getting my party of space badasses absolutely rekt in the retro inspired, tactical roguelike sci fi thingie they’re shaping Star Renegades to be, and I had a blast of a time. For me the best surprise of the show, I had absolutely no idea they were making another game!

So if I had to take something away from the experience, work aside, it would definitely be the people. In this industry we tend to forget that behind every game there’s a whole team of people, dreams and sorrows pouring their whole being into making something cool for us to enjoy, so for me the best part of the show definitely was getting to say some unexpected thank yous to some of the people I admire. And not just professionally, but also for lovingly crafing my main source of entertainment.

And while we’re on this precise subject, I also got to say hi to the cool folks at Techland! Who were kind enough to not turn me away at the door and squeeze me with all the press people to play some Bad Blood and to see some Dying Light 2! As you’ve probably guessed, I’m quite the sci fi nerd, and I also love the zombie genre quite a bit (as they’re technically sci fi? yes? Are we rolling with this?), so as you can imagine I had quite a bit of fun with the first Dying Light, and I remember as I was playing the first game thinking “these guys are probably a pretty cool bunch, aren’t they?”. Well, getting to talk to them and finding out they’re an awesome group of passionate people is a 10 out of 10 experience, fully endorsed.

The truth is I’ve been to video game cons before, some from the side of the press, most from the side of the fans, but this was my first from the big 3 where I’ve attended from the biz side, as I’m sure kids these days are absolutely not calling it, and it’s been a bit of a transformative experience to be in the thick of it from that front. Now that cons are my place of business I look at the big trippleA stages and I see the price tags more than the game, I look at a game and I see the hours upon hours of work that must have taken several people to get that swinging palm tree from the background “just right”.

It is a crazy indstry, video games. A growing and ever changing beast that’s just starting to reach maturity but is still quite a way from getting it’s driver’s license. But it’s also a place full of love, dreams and possibility, and seeing how much effort and care everyone is putting into making enjoyable experience is something that fills my heart with a fiery drive that allows me to give my absolute most every single day. So thank you all. Thanks to my fellow devs for being a constant source of inspiration, thank you to all the players that trusted us with giving them a good experience for allowing us to chase our dreams, and while I’m saying my thanks, thank you reader for making it this far, whomever you might be and wherever you might come from.

So regardless of the type of games you’re into, have fun with them! But if you can, do me a solid, the next time you get to a cool place where you just have to stop your character for a sec to take in the landscape, look for that palm tree and you might just see the dreams of a whole bunch of people right under it’s textures 🙂

What a crazy industry indeed…. but it’s just so much fun!

Oh, and here’s a picture of a cathedral!

Play it Again Sebas

Hi all! I’m Sebastian Melgar and I’m the composer and sound designer here at Fraxel Games. My job is “simple”: I have to make all of the game’s sounds, from ambient sounds to sound effects without forgetting about making the soundtrack, of course. An easy job? Depends on the day. An entertaining task? A whole lot. A thrilling job? Without any trace of a doubt!

Before going into detail let me say that this is my own way of seeing, making and understanding the sounds within a game, it’s not a fixed rule from the industry, it’s just my personal way of dealing with the process of putting sounds inside a game.

First of all, Nacho, our game designer, makes a list of sounds that he thinks are going to be needed in the early stages of development. But to be honest that list is temporary, as there are always some sounds that we didn’t think of, so that list grows little by little over time.

This sound process has to be done usually twice, once at the beginning when I make all the preliminary sounds, and once more when we integrate those sounds into the game.
It’s common that one sound doesn’t fit in the end and I have to change it or modify it once we hear it ingame.

The workflow schedule I use to create the sounds is as follows:

Sound effect>>> Ambient Sound>>>Soundtrack

Buuuuut this is not always a fixed rule, it could be because of production reasons (we really need a sound for some reason) or because I have already listened to the same sound  sample like 50 or 100 times with minor changes, so I need to start creating music to clear my mind or else I would go insane.

I classify the sound effects in 3 categories: real samples, synthesized sounds and mixed.

When I need real samples (for example some steps or a water sound) I directly record it with a hand recorder (my Zoom H4n PRO) and then in a DAW* Software I clean it, equalize it and apply the effects needed (reverb, delay, chorus, etc)

In some occasions when I need very specific sound material (for example real world tools that I don’t have access to) I search for Creative Commons 0 license samples on the internet.
This kind of samples are royalty free, this means you can use them without paying anything. Also, when I have to use this kind of sounds I don’t like to leave them unchanged, so I change minor things or mix them with some other sounds to give them a different tone.

I use the synthesized sounds to create imaginary sounds like plasma beams, sonic explosions or space engines… things that do not exist in the real world. For this I use several virtual synthesizers. Explaining how to use a single Synthesizer would be impossible in just one blog entry, it would require an entire book.

The mixed sounds would be a combination between the previous two types, for example, the sound of an explosion from a plasma gun would be the mix of a synthesized sound from the gun with a real explosion sound.

Sound design is amazing and almost infinite, and everyday you learn something new and you will not believe what you can do playing around with the sounds.

In the next chapter I will speak about how I create a soundtrack from the beginning, now that’s a real adventure ^_^

See you around!

*DAW: Digital Audio Workstation, it is a software that allows you to work on audio in many aspects. Composition, edition, sequencing..etc.

Welcome to our first blog post!

We wanted to open this space to share our first hand experience with the creation of indie games. We have already been up for a whole year with our project “Super Saurio Fly” and we have to say without a doubt that we have wandered into an amazing industry.

BUT FIRST, before we go into blog territory, we want to use this first entry to THANK our community. Your feedback has made us grow as a company and your support in social media and in the gaming events was our main source of strength in creating a game such as “Super Saurio Fly

So in this first entry of our blog we’re going to talk a little about the most important thing for any video game studio that dares to call itself that. You, the community

Because let’s be honest, any studio, the indie ones even more so, live and die by our community. Nowadays it’s really hard building a community around a game or an studio, that’s why everyone of you is so important to us. We have to take care of our community even more than a big studio, since normally a big community generates content by itself taking away that responsibility from the company.

That’s why we like to think that even if our community is still small, we have to give it as much love and effort as we possibly can. And we love to do it, since as gamers ourselves there is no feeling quite knowing there are people out there that enjoy the kinds games that we make.

If we’ve learned something about the gaming communities, the ones you see out there and the very same ones that we ourselves are part of, is that we’re loyal, and that’s something to praise. Taking out the two or three loud trolls that are in every place, we gamers can form some incredible community that all share one thing in common. We all want to have fun.

Gaming can bring some very good natured people together. This support and loyalty that people can show is what us, as a studio, love the most from the gaming community, and we will work with all our efforts to give you the best games we can possibly make to, hopefully, meet your expectations and give you a unique gaming experience.

FEEL THE FUN

Fraxel Games