My name is David Lundvall, a game developer from Sweden. I started doing level design in 1998 after playing a lot of Quake 2 and Half-Life, my favorite games. Quake 2 with an addictive multiplayer and Half-Life with its immersive single player experience. And coffee is nice. :)
Here is the trailer:
Wow.. What a ride. It's been almost 5 years since I started this "small" project. It started as the final project during my level design education and I estimated it to take a couple of weeks to create. Heh.. I had no experience creating single player or create a mod. I had previously only created multiplayer maps, mainly for Action Quake 2. So my experience, even though I felt confident and comfortable with the Source tools, was very non-existent. Early in the development of the mod I got a job at the game developer GRIN, as a level designer. So the mod was put on ice.. It felt great entering the game industry, working with something I enjoyed. I tried to, at times, get back to developing the mod. I wanted to finish it, because I felt I had a great concept and idea. But the project was too ambitious, too big, too many things. I had small periods when I loved working on it, good vibes. Other times I realized it would never be finished and it was easier to not think about it, to do other things.
Then I started to bring it down in scope. Remove areas of a map that played really bad. Change approach on certain designs, just because I couldn't execute them well and remove entire levels... The mod started to become easier to managed, I saw possibilities to tie levels together and not only have a bunch of different levels, with no connection.
In 2009 I showed the first gameplay:
The clip shows an area called "The Playground" and it looks and plays almost the same today. I love that, making it a corner stone. A core thing. A signature for the mod.
I had my on and off's with the mod still, but every push I did got me closer to finishing it. Even though I didn't fully believe it back then. It feel too far away. I had moments when I felt really close to finishing it, but that was me daydreaming. I had a couple of semi-stupid updates on ModDB that I am not too proud of, where I would promise more frequent updates or even set a release date for the mod. That date passed. But I just didn't have the experience..
Good thing was that I kept going. I continued working on it. I had moments when talking about the mod with my friends and colleagues, that always motivated me to keep going. Because I could see their interest about the mod when I explained it and what I had created so far.
In 2012 things really started to take off. I focused on finishing the mod. I put in the hours almost every day that year. I managed to get the mod into a whole package, so you could play it from start to finish. I started to playtest the whole mod, instead of just single levels. Feedback made for faster iterations. I knew what I wanted to create now. Things made sense. It was a mod now, not a map pack. I arranged public playtests and that generated even more bugs, feedback and made it easier to tie everything together. I started to put in more hours, every day and kept doing so up till now..
I hope you have a good experience playing it! I will get some rest now, sleep more and breathe. :)
I have been lagging behind a bit with getting the final playtest started. But a few days ago, Monday, it was sent to the Beta Testers Collective. They will playtest during the period 4 February - 11 February, 2013. I might extend it with a couple of days as not too many of them have reported in, yet. We will see. The reason of the delayed second playtest is something I will bring up tomorrow when I update the mod-page for Spherical Nightmares. But it was mainly due to the decision of doing a final lighting pass and rebuilding one section of the final level.
This weekend I will go through the list of bug that have been reported so far. I will also optimize some of the levels and start working on a trailer.
Yesterday, when I came home, I just fell in the sofa and watched a movie. I was pretty tired after a long work week. After the movie I sat in front of the computer playing The Scorchers DLC for Rage. I spent another hour after that just chilling, browsing random YouTube clips, forums, random articles..
All in all, I had a great end to the work week and transition into the weekend. I have lot's to do outside the office, with Spherical Nightmares mod that requires me to dig through the longest list of bugs. Last weekend I managed to solve most of them. Not too many were solved during Monday-Friday, but at least some and I could also plan for this weekend. 90 bugs are now 35. Today and tomorrow I will crunch through the rest of the list and compile a new build for the second playtest that I will hopefully launch this Monday. It will go on for a week preferably, but most likely two weeks looking at how much the first playtest managed to lag. After the second playtest I hope to be able to set a date for when the mod is coming out. It's a long time coming, but now we are getting closer. The mod has been playable for many months, from start to finsih, now it's just going through the final polish, in all areas.
I have updated the mod-page for Spherical Nightmares with some new screenshots and news.
During a week or two Spherical Nightmares has been sent out and tested by the largest number of people yet. Most of them participated and overall I received great reports to work from. A large number of "bugs" have been added to the todo/bitch list. Things that I need to fix before releasing the mod. Some people went further than just answering the questions I needed to be answered. They provided more feedback. That's really appreciated and definitely something I will address.
Something that I realized after this round of feedback, was that I need one more round of playtesting. That has already been arranged. It's needed in order to secure that the build is free from showstoppers and bugs due to the pretty large number of tweaks I will add. This weekend I will work through the list of bugs and hopefully have something improved on Sunday evening.
The next playtest will hopefully be held in a week or two. I am still waiting on all the results to come in from the first round. I have updated the mod's page with a news post: Successful playtesting!
Have a great weekend everyone!
2012 is coming to an end. It's been a silent year from me, but a very productive one. I have been hard at work finishing Spherical Nightmares, my Half-Life 2: Episode Two single-player mod that I started in 2008 as a "small" school project. It has soon been 5 years in development. Wow! It has changed so much over the years, for the better of course. Iteration is gold.
I haven't updated the mod's moddb-page for over 2 years. I didn't want to post anything before I knew it would be done. So soon, there will be an update, giving good news. :)
I feel bad for the lack of communication to the community and the mod's followers. Little did I know when I started, what it takes to finish something like this. Hopefully you guys will like it when it's finally released.
This year, 2010, started very slow. I failed to release Spherical Nightmares in time and left it there.. with no new information. I remember bouncing in at its profile some time after Christmas just to change the release date to TBD. It might have been on the release day even. Not very nice.
But sometimes you just have to make different priorities. Even though I had other things on my mind and other assignments, I tried to work on the mod... but it all sucked. I remember working on a new area where I created something to remove the whole thing the next day. I kept doing this over and over. I realized I needed a clean break to get my head straight. Not make the mod suffer from what I needed to do.
In late February I got back working on it. I wasn't sure it was for real, so delayed the update of Spherical Nightmares. The time went by, more work was done, each day. The progress was steady and of good quality. Now I didn't know what to say in my news post. I don't like sharing my problems, I am not that guy. We all have problems. Anyway, the other day, I decided to post an update. I didn't want to make a media update, because I knew it would be overshadowed. So I made a neutral I-AM-SORRY kind of post. Because I am sorry, I hate to disappoint people.. Next update will be more kick-ass! Media media media!
I am really happy to see that people still are following the mod. Great to see all the comments, no matter if it's angry, frustrating or happy comments. They all make for a feeling that you guys care. And just as I said in the news update of the mod, I will say it here, THE MOD IS NOT DEAD.
Yep, that was true. Because I got sick and had some offline time curing myself with some episodes of my favorite shows Dexter, Californication and Entourage.
I feel better now, so it was a short timer. Thank you. Tomorrow or Tuesday will be the date for the mod update. Maybe two updates this week, just to make up for the previous dry week. We will see about that. There are some really great games to be played also. Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2 and soon (reaaal soon) also Left 4 Dead 2 which I have completed pre-load. I haven't even touch the demo for that. Anyway, I haven't got the chance to play them yet. I don't play too much games when I am sick and also I haven't really had too much time lately. But soon there is a christmas! Yipppiiiiieeee!!
Also, check out the very awesome new music video from 30 Seconds To Mars, Kings and Queens!
The past week has been frustrating slow on the development. But that’s a common thing when doing something creative. There will always be moments when things are not flowing and going smooth. Ideas are not present and easy things tend to feel tedious and difficult. Hopefully I will step out of this bubble soon.
Tomorrow I will post the next media update for Spherical Nightmares. It will be, just like I said in previous blog post, a similar post of media screenshots like the previous one I made for the mod.
For the coming week I will work hard on releasing a demo. It won’t be public. It will only be an exclusive for PlanetPhillip and maybe also for some close friends. All this so I can get some valuable feedback on
I am currently working on the feedback I got from latest update of Spherical Nightmares, but also towards the upcoming one that will be posted this week. Another bunch of screenshots and in similar fashion - iteration screenshots. There are still screenshots in the media section that are very old, they will get new faces in a couple of days. It will be fun to see the comments on those.
Anyway, here are three screenshots from an early level in the modification. One shot with a hidden/secret room featuring a mini-game and two shots from a test room where something has gone terribly wrong.
Updating Spherical Nightmares the other day was a good feeling. I updated already existing media with iterated versions, just to show how different it looks today. The modification has changed a lot the past months. I have been a lot more focused now than I was before. Now I will update the mod every week until it launches.
I ordered Left 4 Dead 2 a while ago. The demo is already out, but I pretty much never play demos. I find it very hard to judge the whole game with a demo version, but also, in this case, I wanted to wait. I wanted the whole thing when it was released. I heard it was a troubled launch.
Friday and weekend. I think I will enjoy a movie, play a game...and of course get some more work done on the modification. I have started a forum thread at PlanetPhillip where you can follow "behind the scenes" progress of Spherical Nightmares. Could be interesting, join in!