Splash DamageAugust 2008

August 2008

Splash Damage Profiled by Develop Magazine

In the wake of Splash Damage being named Best Independent Studio at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards, Develop Magazine decided to chronicle our history from the Quake III Fortress mod days to the AAA-filled present. The piece was written after a long chat with Splash Damage directors Paul Wedgwood, Arnout van Meer, and Richard Jolly and is laden with plenty of quotes and behind-the-scenes information on how Splash Damage got to be where we are now and what we've got in store for the future. Definitely recommended reading!

Update: As noted by Develop writer person Ed Fear in the comments, the print version of the magazine is now online. You can find the Splash Damage piece on pages 32 - 34, including lots of pretty pictures from throughout Splash Damage's history.

Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At... It's Almost September! Edition

Pixel TapirWith virtually no major releases in the past two weeks, we've got another small gaming drought at our hands, but that certainly didn't stop us from picking up our peripherals of choice. Xbox Live Arcade continues to deliver the goods and while we may not have gotten any new AAA fodder, the occasional quiet time lets us catch up on games we missed the first time around. Those of us yearning for new games will be happy to hear that September, which for some reason of other seems mark the early early beginning of the holiday season, is just around the corner.

If you haven't seen it yet, join our local Xbox Live Community Leaderboard (currently headed up by forum member Ging) and show off your achievements to the world. Getting on there is simple - just register a forum account, fill out the Xbox Live Gamertag field and start posting on the forums. Now, let's see what's been killing our thumbs:

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Arne Olav 'ao' Hallingstad

aoSlowest to skitter away from our Fiery Eye of Notoriety/duck beneath the Swishing Sword of Publicitisement this week was Splash Damage's code warrior Arne 'ao' Hallingstad. Arne cuts a dashing figure here in SD Towers, resplendent as he is in his floor-length satin robe embroidered with the Norwegian coastline, but he is most noted and famed for his jawdropping code-bullying skills. In fact the movie "Babe" is almost entirely about him, as long as you replace the pig with Arne, and the sheep with code, and wherever the movie is set with where we are. Seriously, he should sue the studio or something.

To find out more about where Arne's from, at and about, behold the entire and colossal interview which lurks within his new-fangled unmanned and horseless staff profile.

ducks and jRAD interviewed on EnemyTerritory.tv

ET.tvWhile out at QuakeCon 2008, Splash Damage ambassadors Jared 'jRAD' Hefty and Dave 'ducks' Johnston were dragged away by the EnemyTerritory·tv crew for a video interview featuring not just one, but in fact both of them. The dynamic duo discusses a variety of things, including the typical process a game update for Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars has to go through, the value of large-scale beta tests, the ETQW console versions, and a rather hotly anticipated fruit analogy. You can grab the interview in a variety of flavors over here on the EnemyTerritory.tv website.

Currently Hurling Mice/Controllers At... Braid: Bad Company

BraidSummer and the associated drought of games are still in full swing (as if you couldn't tell by the gap between this installment and the last one), but we're now back in action! We've had a few games come out in recent weeks, with Xbox Live Arcade serving up the excellent Braid alongside Geometry Wars Evolved2. Soul Calibur 4 appears to be the only notable retail release to hit lately, but September (and with it a fresh crop of games) is drawing ever closer.

In any case, let's see what we're playing, shall we? We've actually got several new faces in this installment, with recently crowned Audio Director Chris 'peaceful warrior' Sweetman and freshly spawned Lead Programmer Dean 'Deano' Calver hurling peripherals for the first time.

Engage:

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Jiri 'JFK' Kristek

JFKRepresenting our crack team of Production Coordinators, Jiri 'JFK' Kristek fearlessly throws his hat into the Ring of Interrogation for our latest staff interview. Jiri is currently attached to our art team (metaphorically, of course, otherwise that'd be pretty weird), where he makes sure that the guys and gals have everything they need to be as artsy as possible.

To find out more about Jiri's daily duties here at the office, how he ended up at Splash Damage, his gaming habits, and his giant Swedish brain, we heartily recommend slowly slurping the soup of words that is his profile page.

Paul Wedgwood and Spong in Giant Interview Extravaganza

Mark over at Spong had the chance to sit down with Splash Damage owner Paul Wedgwood and ask him lots of stuff during last month's Develop Conference. The resulting epic six-page interview romp was published just a few weeks days ago and covers everything from our deal with Bethesda and working on an original title to doubling the size of the studio and the state of the UK games industry. The quality of iRiver voice recorders is also touched upon, so clearly there's something for everyone here.

No, Mister Bond, I Expect You To Dance

Out of the wondrous depths of the internet comes this piece of what some might consider to be pure awesomeness. Exactly how it came into being will forever remain a mystery, but when the end result is this magnificent, does it really matter?

The video stars Ben 'Randles' Hopkinson, Dave 'ducks' Johnston, Ed 'BongoBoy' Stern, Tim 'spacemonkey' Appleby, Tim 'Huntle' Rose in what is quite possible the finest performance of their lives. Look for an extended cut to come to a theater near you at a completely unspecified time in the far, far future.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Chris 'peaceful warrior' Sweetman

Chris SweetmanThis week we interview Splash Damage's Supreme Commander of All Things Audio, Chris 'peaceful warrior' Sweetman. Chris comes to Splash Damage from Criterion, where he worked on the award-winning Black and Burnout Paradise. He also created the beeps and bops for a myriad of other games and before that worked on several movies, including Goldeneye and Twelve Monkeys. Suffice to say, Chris knows a thing or two about sound and we're excited to have him here in our tapir pen, if only to have him make the Star Trek door noise whenever somebody enters the office.

To find out more about Chris's sonic extravaganzas, how he ended up at Splash Damage, his process for sound creation, and much more, pretend the full interview is an audiobook and listen to it with your eyes.

Stroyent-powered ETQW Gaming Desktops and Laptops on Sale Now

GameRigsFor those wanting to frag in style, the gaming system gurus at GameRigs have launched a brand-new line of gaming desktops and laptops based on Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars. Clad in custom game artwork, the systems boast top-of-the-line components supplied by NVIDIA, Intel, and Crucial.

But rather than just slapping a game logo on a case, the guys also include ETQW mousepads and the official strategy guide with each of the systems, and even pre-install a copy of the game, so you can hop straight into the action when you get your new PC. Best of all, you can get $300 off for a limited time by using the coupon code QUAKECON08.

And finally, if you're a console gamer yearning for some ETQW goodness, GameRigs also has you covered with these rather pretty Xbox 360 and PS3 skins.

SplashDamage.com Wins Ultraweb Award

Ultraweb AwardWe're delighted to announce that Splash Damage's virtual enclosure has won an Ultraweb Award. The site was closely examined by a panel of judges and received Ultraweb's highest honor, the Level 4 Award. The Level 4 Award is one of the most difficult awards to attain on the World Wide Web, and out of a combined total of 16,242 reviewed sites to date, a mere 56 were rewarded with an Ultraweb Award, and out of those, only seven managed to scoop a Level 4 award. A list of all winners to date can be found here.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Flavius 'Flawe' Alecu

This week's subject of our no-nonsense Q&A sessions with the Splash Damage team is Flavius 'Flawe' Alecu, the newest addition to our programming team. Flavius has teamed up with Jared 'jRAD' Hefty to provide our development team with all sorts of handy tools, programs, and widgets to make game creation as easy as possible.

To find out what drove him to Splash Damage, how he got his start in the industry, and how one can play Pong with toothpaste tubes, read the full interview in his profile!

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Paul 'MoP' Greveson

The enigmatic being more commonly known as Paul 'MoP' Greveson is the subject of the latest installment in our on-going series of staff interviews. Paul is part of our small fleet of environment artists whose sole mission it is to make game levels really pretty without turning them into performance hogs. Easy, right?

To find out more about what Paul does at Splash Damage, his occasional guitar wailing, being involved in the Polycount community, and telling really bad jokes, read the full interview in Paul's profile!

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Jared 'jRAD' Hefty

Tools whiz Jared 'jRAD' Hefty briefly emerged from his Visual Studio cocoon today to answer a few questions for the latest of our staff interviews. Aside from making sure the development team has what it needs to be as productive as possible, Jared also provides code support for our various in-game user interfaces and is frequently tasked with providing celebratory exclamations of joy (also known as woohoo!) during meetings that involve more than three people. To find out more about the inner workings of Mr Hefty, read the full and extremely emotional interview with him in his profile.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Manuel 'katzeimsack' Virks

Freshly plucked from his native Germany, Manuel 'katzeimsack' Virks makes up what is arguably the most continental portion of our ever-growing environment art team. Like Mister MoP, he stars in what is basically Extreme Makeover: Game Level Edition, though unlike the television namesake, he has to work closely with our level design department in order to achieve that perfect balance of gameplay and visuals. To shed some light on what kind of man it takes to make all of this happen, we forced encouraged Manuel to be the latest subject in our on-going series of staff interviews. Better yet, the results are now in and you can find out everything Wikipedia doesn't know about Manuel in his freshly enhanced profile.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Olivier 'nosebone' Leonardi

For the latest installment of our award-avoiding series of staff interviews, we decided to dig our new Art Director Olivier 'nosebone' Leonardi out of the pile of Wacom tablets he's been hiding in ever since he arrived here. Olivier came to Splash Damage from UbiSoft Montreal where he art-directed several games including Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and Rainbow Six: Vegas.

To find out about his work for UbiSoft, how and why he ended up at Splash Damage, and all those other things he doesn't want you to know about, read the full interview in this profile!

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Gordon 'digibob' Biggans

To make the latest installment of our on-going staff documentary especially exciting, we unearthed the most digital of bobs in the entire world, Gordon 'digibob' Biggans. Gordon is a Senior Programmer here at Splash Damage and has been a member of our tapir-obsessed cult since the Early Days of Q3F. He now spends most of his time transforming the most outlandish of gameplay ideas into neatly formatted chunks of code and can often be seen sleeping on his DDR dance pad. More about Gordon, how he ended up at Splash Damage, a meticulously detailed breakdown of his daily tasks, his gaming exploits, and an extra dose of celery can be found in his extremely digital staff profile.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Mark 'static_mover' Lack

June is here and aside from slightly less rain than before, it also brings with it a brand-new staff interview. Our latest victim is Mark 'static_mover' Lack who recently joined Splash Damage after having worked on Heavenly Sword. Mark's yet-to-be-printed business cards proudly classify him as Senior Environment Artist, a position that frequently has him concept and build really pretty rooms that we then proceed to frag each other in without cleaning up afterwards.

To find out what drove Mark to Splash Damage, his work on Heavenly Sword, and all kinds of other things more or less loosely related to his job, point your digital eyepieces towards his tricked out staff profile.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Tim 'Huntle' Rose

The mustachiest of all Splash Damage folk, Tim 'Huntle' Rose, is the subject of our latest staff interview. Tim is a Production Coordinator attached to our programming team and makes sure the guys can get their jobs done without anything impeding them. He's also the source of many of our placeholder sound effects and voice-overs, though ears all over the office are still debating whether that's a good or a bad thing.

To find out more about what Tim does at Splash Damage, how he ended up here, and what he does with his cat in his spare time, peruse the full interview in his profile.

Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Laurel 'Tully' Austin

From the colorful depths of our art department comes Laurel 'Tully' Austin, the shining star in this week's episode of our on-going series of staff questionnaires. Laurel is a Concept Artist here at Splash Damage and helps shape the artistic vision for our environments, characters, equipment, and the like, and her art helps guide and inspire the rest of the development team. Not content spending the whole day creating video game worlds at the office, Laurel often spends her spare time building what people from the '90s might refer to as totally rad maquettes (think smallish statues) of dinosaurs, demons, and whatever else tickles her fancy at the time.

To find out more about Laurel's work, how she ended up here at Splash Damage, and her after-work demon creation extravaganzas, read her full interview in her profile. Don't forget to surf over to our newly established outpost on Flickr where you can find all kinds of photos of Laurel's various creations!

QUAKE Wars Backend Server Maintenance Tomorrow

DemonWare will be conducting some emergency maintenance on their cluster of game authentication servers tomorrow, which includes the login servers for Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars. This sounds worse than it actually is - the issue in question involves a software update for one of the routers and is not expected to disrupt the service for more than 5 minutes. If you're connecting to the master server via Telia routes, you may be disconnected during that time, but if all goes well, the maintenance should go without a hitch and you won't notice a thing.

Splash Damage Seeking Environment Artists

We are looking for several Environment Artists to add to our talented team. You'll be spending much of your time creating objects of varying shapes and sizes that infuse our game world with life and atmosphere. A full description of the position, including benefits, desired experience, and how to apply for it can be found here in the Jobs section. In addition to this opening, we've got a variety of other positions available across all development disciplines, so go take a look!

The QuakeCon Files: Day 2

With both Jared 'jRAD' Hefty and Dave 'ducks' Johnston out at QuakeCon 2008, we'll try and bring you regular coverage from the event in form of riveting and highly emotional blog updates and photo galleries. Find below the shocking truth that lies beneath Day 2 of QuakeCon 2008!

The morning started with a quick wander around the BYOC area, in a hunt to find the finest PC cases and systems to ever exist. Amongst our favourites was the Spongebob Squarepants PC (it doesn't take much to entertain us SD staffers.) We also spotted a number of groups attending QuakeCon, from Something Awful goons to Shacknews shackers, each with their own enormous placards, tables, and pizzas visible from across the hall. By the afternoon, the BYOC area was practically full, awash with an even greater selection of games.

The QuakeCon Files: Day 1

With both Jared 'jRAD' Hefty and Dave 'ducks' Johnston out at QuakeCon 2008, we'll try and bring you regular coverage from the event in form of riveting and highly emotional blog updates and photo galleries. Find below the pile of excitement that was Day 1 of QuakeCon 2008!

Captain ducks' log, stardate 123456789111!!11eleven. At about 08:20 GMT on Wednesday, myself and Jared 'jRad' Hefty left for Gatwick airport, and despite some attempted stunt-driving on the part of other road users (skilfully avoided by our cabbie), we got there in one piece and set off on our 16 hour journey to Dallas. We can only say one thing about it: discovering there's in-flight entertainment is the best news anyone boarding a 757 for a trans-atlantic 8-hour flight could possibly ask for.

Paul Wedgwood Talks Bethesda and State of the Industry on GI.biz

The chaps at GamesIndustry·biz recently cornered Splash Damage owner Paul Wedgwood and got at least one entire interview out of him. Paul discusses Splash Damage's relationship with its new partner Bethesda Softworks, life as an independent developer in the United Kingdom, and the recent calls for tax breaks to help the UK games industry. It's a very interesting read indeed.

Elsewhere on the internet, Spong teases their own upcoming interview with Paul by posting his (not very rosy) views on developers being acquired by publishers. Look for their full interview to be coming soon.

The QuakeCon Files: Day 3

With both Jared 'jRAD' Hefty and Dave 'ducks' Johnston out at QuakeCon 2008, we'll try and bring you regular coverage from the event in form of riveting and highly emotional blog updates and photo galleries. Find below the thrilling conclusion that was Day 3 of QuakeCon 2008!

It's all over!

In the morning, we stumbled over to the ET.tv guys, hoping they'd have found a spot in their busy schedule of shoutcasts and live matches to handle an interview they wanted to hold with us. Surprisingly, they were free, so off we all set back into the main hotel, found a spot, and spent about 45 minutes discussing aspects of ETQW, the console versions of the game, Splash Damage, our new partnership with Bethesda, and jRAD delivered an interesting analogy involving various kinds of fruit.

Games 5s Kicks off Tomorrow, We Prepare to Bring on the Pain in Style

Admittedly we've been a tiny bit lax on the football update front, so we've got quite a bit of stuff packed into this final blog before the big Games 5s five a side football tournament. There's a sneak peek at the team strip design, and, at last, the reveal of the winning team name!

Over the past four weeks we've had a variety of training sessions to help us get ready for the inevitable and merciless crushing of our competition that's sure to take place tomorrow. Unfortunately, the injury count during practice was often quite high, which usually resulted in the office being half empty every Wednesday.

Splash Damage Named Best Independent Developer at Develop 2008

The Develop Industry Excellence Awards 2008 took place earlier in the week and we're extremely pleased to announce that Splash Damage was named Best Independent Studio! The Develop Industry Excellence Awards are voted for by members of the UK development community and with Splash Damage originally coming from a modding background, winning this particular award is an especially exciting occasion for us. We're still on the hunt for a picture of the awards ceremony - we'll update this post as soon as we get ahold of one.