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Things You Were Too Afraid to Ask: Laurens 'Xoliul' C.

Jubilations! We've got a brand-new staff interview for you today, shining our very inquisitive spotlight on Laurens, the only certified Belgian in the office. You may remember Laurens as the man behind the awesomely fantastic Brink Nerf Gun from a few months ago - turns out he works on video games, too. As one of our Technical Artists, Laurens is the vital glue between artists and programmers, ensuring there's nothing standing in the way of awesome art for our games. Here's a slice from Laurens's interview:

Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started?

I guess I never really grew up and still prefer to play with and build guns, tanks and little soldiers, things just got a bit more advanced as I got older. I used to build a lot of little models and gradually moved on to doing this in 3D on the computer, being shown basic 3DS Max when I tried Architecture in university helped a lot. I also fiddled with game config files when I was younger, it was fun to tweak numbers and experience the results ingame. I ended up studying “games” in Belgium. I was one of the first people to ever graduate from that course.

To find out more about Laurens's work here at Splash Damage, his tips for breaking into the industry, his Dopefish nightmares, and much more, read the full interview.

New RAD Soldiers Trailer Serves Up a Cocktail of Explosions

We've got a brand-new RAD Soldiers trailer for you, packed with gunfights, explosions, and at least one pigeon. Titled 'A beginners guide to the Combat Cocktail', it cunningly blends backstory, character customisation, and the arenas you'll be fighting in with a generous helping of new footage of RAD Soldiers in action. Check it out via the embed below or head over to WarChest's YouTube channel for the splendid HD version.

Let us know what you think of the new trailer in the comments!

Community Question: Measuring Player Skill

Splash Damage has released several team-based multiplayer shooters over the years, and they've all featured various ways of showing off how skilled a player you are. For starters, experience points (XP) has been front and center on all of our in-game scoreboards, while player rank icons were featured in Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory's Campaign mode and persistent ranks first made their debut in Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars. In addition, we've had statistics sites filled with data, allowing players to examine many different aspects of their performance and in-game achievements.

With so much data out there, this week's Community Question is this:

What do you think is the most important stat for player skill?

Please cast your vote in this week's Community Question poll. We'd also like to know why you think your stat of choice is the right one to go for.

We're looking forward to your replies!

WarChest and Splash Damage Raise Over £4,000 for Special Effect

This weekend, a combined force of Splash Damage and WarChest team members took to the British 10K London event to raise money for Special Effect, a charity dedicated to making games accessible to young people with disabilities.

We're absolutely delighted to announce that our runners managed to raise a total of £2,016 - all via generous donations from family, friends, and, of course, you, our fans. Better yet, all donations are being matched by WarChest and Splash Damage, so we've now ended up with a fantastic grand total of £4,032! All of that will go to the good folks at Special Effect, so they can keep doing what they're doing.

We'd like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who donated and, of course, to all of our runners for putting in the effort! You rock, all of you!

Paul Wedgwood to Discuss Metacritic at Develop Panel Tuesday

If you're attending Develop Evolve in Brighton on Tuesday (that's tomorrow!), keep an eye out for Splash Damage CEO Paul Wedgwood, who'll be discussing Metacritic's impact on gaming and gamers at a special panel there. Titled 'Metacritic Killed the Video Game Score', the session also features journalists Simon Parkin, James Binns (Network-N), and Jon Jordan (PocketGamer), and the chairman of UKIE, Andy Payne. Here's a clip from the session description:

Metacritic scores are now cited in publishing contracts – yet ironically the declining punch of any one magazine or website's opinion is weakening the case for creating quality reviews. At the same time, social media and user-review sites are gaining ground. Where does it leave publishers, developers, retailers – and consumers – who will always want to know if a game is any good?

The 45 minute panel is set to kick off at 14:50 tomorrow, 10 July 2012. You'll need to buy a pass to attend, which'll also give you access to all of other other sessions at Evolve. For more information, visit Develop Evolve's website.

We're Hiring: Mobile Gameplay Programmer Wanted

We're currently growing our mobile development team and are looking for a Mobile Gameplay Programmer to strengthen our ranks. You'll be working closely with our design team to help them realise their goals, and will be able to make significant contributions to our titles. If mobile and social platforms are your specialty, check out the full Mobile Gameplay Programmer job description and get in touch!

Sponsor us at the British 10K London to support Special Effect

This Sunday, we'll be sending a kilometre-hungry contingent of amateur runners to the British 10K London event in order to raise money for Special Effect, the splendid geniuses working tirelessly to make games accessible to people with physical disabilities. The important of their work cannot be overstated, and the difference they make in people's lives is fantastic.

So, we’ll do the Running, with our legs, but it would be utterly awesome if you could do some giving with your fantastic pointing, clicking cursors. To do that, head on over to our Just Giving page, pick your favorite/most attractive person from the list, and leave a donation. Any amount, no matter how small, is a huge help to Special Effect and will ensure that they can keep helping disabled people experience the fun of playing video games.

An Update on our Release Plans for RAD Soldiers

The response to RAD Soldiers has exceeded all our expectations. We’ve had fantastic feedback from around the web on the RAD Soldiers reveal trailer, and the select few that have been able to try the game in person had an absolutely splendid time with it too. We are now rapidly closing in on the light at the end of the development tunnel, and we’d like to give you a quick update on where things are at and what our current plans are for release.

The Sound Design of RAD Soldiers

RAD Soldiers is very different from Splash Damage's previous games, bringing our core values like multiplayer, classes, and deep gameplay to a new platform (smartphones and tablets) and format (turn-based). Going hand-in-hand with all this new-ness also comes a new approach to sound design that's geared towards quick gaming stints on the go. Just what exactly that entails and how it compares to traditional AAA development is being explained over on Designing Sound, with the help of Splash Damage's Sound Designer Andrew Quinn. The piece even includes some sample sounds so your ears can get a small taste of RAD Soldiers. Check it out!

Community Question: Preferred Period of History

Community, over the years we've created multiplayer worlds set in all manner of time periods. We've visited World War II (Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory), near-future scenarios of several sorts (Brink, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars), and even flung ourselves into super-futuristic settings (DOOM 3). With so much variety, what we'd like to know from you this week is this:

What period of history is your favourite backdrop for multiplayer shooters?

Do you crave modern combat? Are pew pew laser more your thing? Do you want just a tiny sprinkling of The Future? Cast your vote in this week's poll and do let us know in the comments why your chosen setting ticks all the right boxes for you.