We are a young team of game developers, working on our first game title Schein. It all started as a university project at the FH Technikum Wien, in Austria, and has developed into a spectacular project and a promising indie game.
Posted in Graphics | Dec 5, 2013 | by Philip Kasper
Dear blog-reader, my name is “Flip” (Philip Kasper) and I am the new „Artist“ at Zeppelin Studio. It´s my task to write my first blog post today. I would like to show you some of the sketches i did in the concept-phase.
What you can see here is a sketch and then the beginning of a rendered painting. It’s a wooden sculpture.
I’ve recorded a video of when I painted it – check it out!
These are a few sketches of a sword that you can find in the Game. You can´t use it though because it´s already broken when you find it.
Posted in Project Management | Nov 28, 2013 | by Michael Benda
As Tiare wrote in her previous post, the last days were filled with presentations and speeches. We started off on Friday at the Open Days of the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna, and had a successful finish yesterday featuring Philipp’s tech-talk at the Microsoft Education and Innovation Conference.
But first things first: The flight to Vienna. We were amused and delighted to see the preparations our carrier made for Christmas.
The next morning Schein invaded the Technikum. This is the place where the development of Schein started – the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna. We took advantage of the Open Days, where interested students could freely roam the building, and took hold of the Game Lab.
The whole day we spoke about how we started our career in these halls and every visitor could peek into the world of Schein.
Admittedly, a day of standing and talking is somewhat tiring, so we enjoyed the quiet weekend that followed. Still preparations had to be made, so soon we found ourselves in a Viennese café — assembling, preparing and tweaking our presentation.
Tuesday dawned and so did the Microsoft Education and Innovation Conference in Vienna, where we were invited as Keynote speakers. Proud as we were, not even the snowstorm that threatened to embrace us on the way could impede our motivation.
Anthony Salcito – vice president of education at Microsoft – gave a visionary speech about the transformation of education due to technical advances. The talk was given in a big conference hall full of aspiring teachers coming from Austrian schools and universities…
… and I am glad (and kind of satisfied – I have to admit) that although they sometimes won’t show it: teachers are humans too :)
Following this, our Keynote presentation took place. Unfortunately, while talking, none of us had a free hand to take pictures therefore I try to make up for it with this picture of my breakfast:
To top it off, the day had a perfectly fitting end: Vienna-Game-Dev Meeting at Café Stein. New and old faces and one or two sips of Austrian beer.
The next day brought a bright blue sky, huge buffets at the conference and Philipp’s speech about using game development as a starting point for programming beginners. Hereby he went into the advantages of targeting Windows Phone (which actually seems to be much easier to tackle than Android or even iOS).
So for the first time we were at a conference not as part of the audience, but as active participants in the program, which is a great thing. Thank you to those at Microsoft who have madet this possible and cheers to all of you pushing us forward to new heights.
Posted in Marketing & PR | Nov 19, 2013 by Tiare Feuchtner
Today I want to tell you about some of the things that are keeping us busy, apart from polishing and bug-fixing.
For a start, our team has undergone a significant change. Our Art Director Philipp Schürz has left us! While he went off to pursue greatness in his studies at the FH Hagenberg, we felt a little bit like fish out of the water. For what is a game without its graphics? How can a game studio thrive without an artist? And the long list of assets and textures still remains incomplete.
So we began the search for a talented individual, who would be able to fill Philipp’s shoes and is willing to take up that challenge. It was in a way a memorable moment: Zeppelin Studio was hiring for the very first time!
We received quite a considerable number of applications from incredibly talented people. Michael and Philipp were left with the terribly difficult task of selecting the one person, who would make our team complete again.
Their decision fell on someone who shows great promise, and I think we all couldn’t be happier about his work. But I will say no more than that, for he will personally be saying hello in his own first blog post quite soon.
We are also quite excited about the following upcoming events:
On Friday Nov. 22nd we will be at the Open Day at the FH Technikum Wien, which is the birthplace of Schein. Here we will give a short presentation about the course program of the Game Engineering and Simulation track and the creation of Schein. And of course you will be able to play the game too. So come by, we’d be glad to see you!
Then the following week we’re participating in the Microsoft Education and Innovation conference in Vienna. We feel honored to hold a keynote presentation on the first day and our lead programmer will be lecturing about programming for Windows 8 phone on day 2. If you happen to be there, we’d be thrilled to meet you there and are looking forward to interesting chats and drinks at the soiree.
Posted in Engine Programming | Nov 13, 2013 by Philipp Schäfer
Hello and Welcome. I am happy to announce that I finally had some time to dig around in our code again.
Since we are now a more or less small team some would think a bug tracker is not necessary anymore. But since ours is working we used it anyway and it has proven itself very useful. Sometimes someone is just busy so you can use the bug tracker as a memo. Then there are tasks you just want to be sure about that they are not forgotten, and last but not least there are big tasks and enhancements that need to be saved for later. After all you will have a nice time line in the end, which shows you what was done and who did what. On the other hand there are often some small bugs that take less time to fix, than to put them into a management system – “imo” this is enough reason not to do it. Bottom line: In our next release you will encounter much less bugs – but hopefully until now you did not encounter any — since most of them are pretty cryptic to achieve anyway.
I also had the time to make some improvements that impact you indirectly. One of the best ones is the hot reloading of our shader …. this is useful – soooo useful!!! I can recommend it so much. The core benefit is a quick testing of or shaders while the game is running. This allows us to test colors, parameters and new algorithms instantly. Something else I can recommend when reworking your code is refactoring. It’s useful in common programming and super-useful when reworking and reorganising your code base. Especially the extract function is doing a surprisingly good job.
Sadly most of the new bugs were not really entertaining. But some were and I created a little video with them. I added some unsorted bugs from the old times as well (In case you wonder about the different graphics).
Posted in Audio Design | Nov 5, 2013 by Leed:Audio
Today we want to share something which is really important and must not be missed out on every big project.
We are talking about “outtakes” :)
This is a little collection with the funniest moments our two wonderful spearkers Angie and Forrest had while recording the dialogs for Schein.
Last but not least…we did it again. We created another piece of Music, which you can hear in the latest trailer of Schein. It was made on occasion of the Game City Vienna convention last month. Check it out here and enjoy!
And now, without further ado we are now off to nail the last 20% of the Soundtrack.
Posted in Project Management | Oct 10, 2013 | by Michael Benda
It is now over a week since we presented Schein publicly in the Vienna City Hall. The last days were all busy with debriefing the event and planning our next steps accordingly. Now, after we got back to daily business, I want to share some of our impressions of the biggest gaming-event in Austria: The Game-City.
If you didn’t get the chance to visit our booth, this is your opportunity to make up for it. I welcome you to our cosy alcove right between the Gaming Room and the FROG Conference Rooms. We wanted to create a booth that is comfortable and feels like home but still retains a certain degree of elegance. So we did the perfectly right thing to meet this goal: We salvaged our own living rooms.
Our artist supplied us with table and carpet, the seats now again reside in the flat of our marketing manager and the TV and plants came from my own humble abode. Only the banners were freshly printed and specially purchased for the event … as were the pots for the plants …
Dear marketing manager, this is a great picture. Don’t you dare to take it out of this post ;)
Construction was executed very seriously and accurately …
… still, one couldn’t resist to play the Demo for the thousandth time …
… while others were busily constructing and, more importantly, taking pictures
And I can’t stress the fact enough how important a decent roll of paper towels is.
Our audience grew quickly as people stopped to get a glimpse of Schein and, if they got lucky, to give it a go right away on the big screen.
Although we are actively targeting gamers of older age, I was impressed about the impact Schein had on the younger audience. They too were intrigued by our unique gameplay and showed considerable skills in puzzle solving.
Myself, I had little time to wander through the marvellous halls of the Vienna City Hall filled with the newest advancements the game market had to offer.
However I managed to get my hands on (or rather my head into) an Occulus Rift featuring a neat demo by Richard Kogelnig from Beltfed Interactive. It combines virtual reality with cutting edge input systems, but see for yourselves.
Closing, I really want so say, thank you! Thank you, to the whole Game City team for organizing it all, as well as to those who made it possible for Schein to be part of this great event. Thanks to the Schein team for sparing a huge part of their free time for our presence at the event. Thank you to all the people who played our demo, struggled at the most difficult parts and enjoyed the experience of Schein. Thank you for all your feedback and encouragement!
Posted in Engine Programming | Sep 17, 2013 | by Bernhard Klemenjak
A good game with bad controls is not a good game. The connection between player and game character needs to be harmonic. If the game responds slowly or in an unexpected manner that simply kills the fun and playing gets really strenuous.
This is why the input-system is an important aspect. Playing Schein should be a pleasant experience with the gamepad as well as with the keyboard — and this requires a lot of fine-tuning. My task is to rewrite parts of the input-system. Now you might ask… why? It was already playable, right? The reason is that there’s always more than one iteration in software development. Especially if a game “grows” and changes there will be parts that need to be redeveloped.
Maybe because a better solution for a problem is found, a more efficient implementation is required, or simply because we’ve learned something new.
Of course, the “old” input-system worked — and it worked pretty well too. But, for example, we want to support all gamepads – and if possible even have the controls customizable by the player. And for us the system should also be simple for future maintenance.
But redeveloping it a third time would be too much, for real.
Posted in Marketing & PR | Sep 3, 2013 | by Tiare Feuchtner
Today was a very special day for Zeppelin Studio. After all it doesn’t happen every day that our every move is recorded and it might all be broadcast for the whole world to see. So you can probably imagine that the night was somewhat restless for all of us.
Shortly before 10am we met up with the ORF-team at the FH Technikum Wien, where it all began. (ORF = Austrian national TV) Vanessa, Flora and Martin arrived carrying a huge camera, tripod and large bags full of intimidating equipment. We said our hellos and were rushed into action, because the grey skies were already threatening to release a tempest upon us.
We were told to walk through the doors of the university building, behaving as naturally as possible. Have you ever concentrated on how to move when you walk naturally? How to survey your surroundings casually, without actually ever staring at the camera? Are you conscious about which hand you usually open a door with and what you do with your coat and bags meanwhile? It was unbelievably complicated! And worst of all was that we had to repeat it several times in exactly the same way: walk towards the doors in the same order, appear to be having a natural conversation and everyday thoughts meanwhile, then open the doors and file through one at a time, and take up positions again outside for the next shot.
The next scene was recorded in the Game Lab, where we were supposed to pretend to be at work. This turned out to be incredibly easy – we simply began to work in earnest, discussing the redesign of the website, design of the boss arenas and project management. We were happy with the work we got done and the TV crew seemed satisfied as well.
After a quick interview with both Zeppelin Studio founders Philipp and Michael, we transferred from the university to our “office”. Quite frankly it’s our Artist’s beautiful apartment, where we usually get together to work.
The afternoon rushed by with lots of fun takes including recorded Skype sessions and two more interviews. In between we completely forgot that we were being watched by that monstrous camera and it almost felt like a regular work day. Almost.
The thought that our faces will be on TV screens all over Austria is still absolutely surreal. In a way we’re dreading the moment – it’s terrible to see oneself walking and talking. But on the other hand we can’t wait for it to happen (we’ll let you know, as soon as the airing date is known!). It’s an amazing opportunity for Schein and Zeppelin Studio and we want to thank our awesome ORF TV crew for making this happen!
Posted in Project Management | Aug 24, 2013 | by Michael Benda
This is the second time that Schein visits the huge games convention Gamescom in Cologne, but this time it’s different. This year we tackle the trading business with far more focus. Instead of spending the whole week presenting Schein at a booth in the business area and waiting for people to approach us, we don’t have a booth at all and spend only two days in Cologne. By doing so we can approach the people we wish to meet directly and in a concentrated fashion. And indeed it was a great success.
These are some impressions of our trip to the Gamescom 2013:
A balanced breakfast for a balanced mind.
Every time at the Gamescom I am excited to see the liveliness of the game’s community.
Meeting our handsome sound crew Leed:Audio.
You cannot walk through the entertainment area without noticing Titanfall.
On the final evening we rediscovered this bar, which we came across last year already. It just seems perfect, doesn’t it?
I really did my best to put all happenings on Twitter – and I am glad to have Tiare as PR Manager to take the job off me back home.
Schein will be taking a short pause from Greenlight. But don’t be alarmed — we will be back!
Dear fans and supporters,
During the last couple of weeks we got valuable feedback on our public apparance, and we realized that our presentation sucks. People see the screenshots, they watch our trailer, they read the game’s description – but that does not succeed in creating a satisfactory impression of the GAME. Right now there’s a huge gap between experiencing our online presence and experiencing the game itself:
People see the screens and shrug indifferently, saying “so what?”
People play the game and are amazed!
Our goal for the next weeks will be to close this gap. Looking at pictures will never be the same as playing the game, but the better our pictures convey the mood of the game, the more buzz we are able to create with them. And this, my fellow gamers, is what our small, unknown studio requires – buzz! Unfortunately a game’s first days on Greenlight are really significant. We would like to live those first days again – but this time, we want to make it right. And Steam is allowing us to do that! Thus we are taking Schein down from Greenlight to concentrate on a complete revision of our presentation. We are going to overhaul our website, design a new trailer and we will come back with an online presence that will live up to our game Schein.
To all of you, who have voted for Schein on Greenlight, THANK YOU! We hope you will do so again, once we’re back. Those of you who are still thinking about it, we hope our new presentation will convince you of Schein’s worth. And all of you who did not like our presentation, we agree, we could’ve done better. We’d be grateful if you would take a second look and give us another chance.