Category Archives: Blog

The Tiniest TOJammer

After a tumultuous delay, the TOJam registration form is currently live! What was the hold-up? Remember that scene from Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf battles the ferocious Balrog and they wrestle each other off a cliff? Well, imagine that Gandalf is TOJam organizer Jim McGinley, the Balrog is the new database system for TOJam, and i’m a really sexy elf.

Ryan Creighton is a sexy elf

Go on: imagine it.

Seriously, if you want to attend TOJam and you haven’t signed up yet, i don’t know why you’re over here reading this crummy blog. Space is limited. Go sign up now. Like, right now. i’ll wait.

Party of One

This’ll be the first TOJam that i haven’t done all by my lonesome. After creating Two By Two, Here Be Dragons, Bloat., and Heads single-handedly, i’ve finally roped someone into spending an entire weekend with me in a room full of sweaty nerds building video games. And better than that, she’s a girl. How did i do it?

i’m her legal guardian.

Spawn of Creighton

Behold my progeny!

This year, i’m teaming up with my five-year-old daughter Cassandra to create a game called Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, which is a magical adventure game featuring ponycorns. (At this point, i usually have to stop and explain to people what a “ponycorn” is, which dismays me … a ponycorn, clearly, is a single-horned pony – a pony/unicorn. A ponycorn. You see? Was that so difficult?)

Ponycorn

Get some fekkin’ imagination, you freaks.

Cassie, who is a great little artist, will be drawing the game’s pictures in crayon, and i’ll be scanning them in and trying to shoehorn them into a sensible game experience. Because the handicap is so high on this one, i won’t be building the whole thing from scratch. i didn’t approach my first TOJam this way … i was determined to build Two By Two from “scratch”, starting with nothing and using Flash to build the game from the ground up.

Having proven that i can do it, over the years i’ve grown less and less dogmatic about TOJam. For last year’s game, Heads, i used UGAGS (the Untold Graphic Adventure Game System), as a sort of proof that the time and money we spent building the engine wasn’t a total waste. (It wasn’t! Heads was our very first release on the Blackberry Playbook, and we’ve gone on to use UGAGS in other projects). When i got thinking about it, even using Flash is a bit of a cheat. i didn’t write that software, and it does a lot of heavy graphics lifting for me. i also didn’t build the computer, or smelt the metals used in its creation. There’s only so much “scratch” that you can start from.

So this year, Cassie and i will be using the Citrus Engine to make our ponycorn-themed puzzle platformer game. i’m not even starting from scratch with the Citrus Engine – i’ll be re-skinning an existing game that i completed for a client. i’ll even be using some artwork that Cassie already drew months ago, because it’s adorable. (“What’s that, honey? An alien? A slug? A jelly bean?” “No – it’s you and me and Mommy.”) As is required for any weekend game jam, we’re keeping our ambitions reined way in; if we come out the other side of this thing with a title screen and one functional level, i’ll be happy.

i’ve also got Cassie slated to do some voice acting for the game, which will toally rock. Unless someone’s planning to one-up her, Cass will be the youngest developer ever to attend and work on a game at TOJam.

And i’ll be the sexiest elf in the room.

Untold Entertainment Summer Internship Program 2011

Applications are now CLOSED – thanks for your interest! See below for how cool the position WOULD have been!

Hey kids! Are you a post-secondary student, recent graduate, or a wretched layabout looking for an opportunity to work in a real live video games studio? Untold Entertainment, a boutique game development studio in the heart of downtown Toronto, is looking for a summer intern.

Qualifications

Since we’re small, we’re not looking for a cog in a gigantic machine. An Untold intern has to wear many hats. If you haven’t worn that hat before, you need to be willing to try it on regardless, and wear the shit out of it. If the hat doesn’t exist, you need to be resourceful enough to Google a tutorial on how to hand-craft that hat, and cast about for resources that will enable you to construct it.

Who Are You?

Here’s a list of qualities that make you a perfect candidate. They may look like vague HR nonsense, but we’re serious about them:

  • Self-starter. Can you begin a task with minimal teat-suckling?
  • Problem solver. Do you like facing an unending string of problems that you need to fix? Are you motivated by checking things off a to-do list?
  • Life-long Learner. If you don’t know how to do something, is that an excuse not to do it? Or is that an opportunity to add a new skill to your toolbelt?
  • Can-do attitude. How do you respond if you’re asked to do something you don’t particularly want to do?
  • Humorist. If you’re looking for a respectable, corporate workplace environment, this ain’t it. Anyone caught wearing a suit will be shot.
  • Ox. When faced with impossible odds, do you give up? Or do you roll an impossible-sided die?

What Can You Do?

Here are some professional capabilities that interest us. (You don’t need to have all of these – this is just a list of individual skillsets for which we have an immediate need):

  • Writing. We’re not talking about the Gears of War fan fic you wrote last summer. We’re talking about real, solid technical or creative writing skills, with a fanatical devotion to preserving the Queen’s English. Have you ever been called a “Grammar Nazi”? Come to Papa.
  • Programming. Particularly Actionscript 3, but we have an interest in Unity C# or javascript, and OBJ-C. (C++/Python/Ruby/Java, not so much.)
  • Web Development. CSS, HTML and PHP. We have big needs in this area.
  • Art and Animation. Character design, animation, and background/layout, particularly in the classical 2D North American style (think Disney, Warner Bros. and Bluth.)
  • Defeat Ganon in the original Legend of Zelda with only five hearts. Just kidding. We couldn’t care less if you’re good at playing video games. We’re about making them.

What Will You Be Doing?

Here are some of the roles and tasks that past Untold interns have taken on:

  • Content co-ordination. Populating Untold’s game portal sites with game content, descriptions, and reviews.
  • Game programming. Building simple games from scratch – quizzes, simple point n’ click interactivity.
  • Punching stuff up. Jazzing up game writing and descriptions with hot word juice.
  • Fixing the coffee maker. (Actually, all of our interns wimped out on this one. Do you have what it takes to tackle the broken K-cup single brewer?)
  • Photocopying. Because we can’t call it a proper internship unless you pay your dues.
  • Site wrangling. We run a number of WordPress-based sites which regularly require new features and tweaks.
  • Researching. Our best interns have strong Google-fu.

And finally, here are a few random things you may find yourself doing this summer, depending on your skillset (no promises):

  • Making things out of plasticine.
  • Building sets and costumes for a zombie puppet.
  • Operating a video camera.
  • Editing videos.
  • Talking to the press.
  • Playing and evaluating web games.
  • Entertaining toddlers during playtesting sessions.
  • Fixing a broken computer.
  • Writing trivia.

Got Any Toys?

Untold Entertainment owns the following game development toys and goodies for you to get your mitts on:

  • Classic arcade cabinet
  • Blackberry Plabook w/ developer and vendor licenses
  • Nexus One phone (Android)
  • iPod Touch w/ Macbook and developer license
  • Xbox 360 w/ XNA Creators Club License
  • Adobe software suite (incl. Flash, Flash Builder, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Premiere)
  • Unity 3D core engine and iOS extension
  • Citrus Engine license
  • Sounds Ideas sound effects collections
  • Company library, featuring game development, programming, art and animation books

How Much Do i Get Paid?

This is an unpaid internship. Interns are compensated with soda pop and coffee (provided they fix the coffee maker). You may occasionally be taken to lunch, if there are coupons.

This is an opportunity to gain great experience and to put some real game development studio work on your resume, along with the chance to get your name in the credits of a shipped title. If you are planning to take a part-time job this summer, Untold internship hours are flexible and negotiable, and may not necessarily adhere to a Monday-to-Friday, 9-5 schedule. Also, as an additional perk, we offer No-Pants Fridays.

How Do I Apply?

Email info [the curly at sign] untoldentertainment [the little dot thingy] com. Please put way more attention into an interesting email and samples of your work than your resume. Give us a sense of your personality, and why you think you’re a good fit. Cookie-cutter applications with business-suit-wearing cover-letters and resumes describing your evening shift at Shopper’s Drug Mart will be stabbed and burned.

Successful candidates will be contacted for interviews in mid-May.

Pimp My Portal Part 9: Kick It in the Nards!

This series documents my adventures in ultra low-budget, grass roots marketing attempts to drive traffic to my game portal sites, with the hopes of breaking even at $33 a month. For other articles in the series, visit the Pimp My Portal special feature page.


•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨`*•

When i was ten years old, the immortal film classic Monster Squad taught me what to do when faced with the snarling and bloodthirsty presence of the Wolfman:



That’s all fine and dandy. But what happens when you need to disable Dracula, the Creature, or the Mummy? We know Dracula’s got nards, because he’s always having kinky sex with hot lady vampires. i’m not so sure about the Creature … he probably reproduces in some weird, gross fishy way involving tentacles, spurs and egg sacs. Bleh.

FishDick

Gah! Where’s the “unsee” button??

Now, the Mummy is an interesting case. i think that his junk would be all shriveled up like dried figs, and he’d be immune to a good boot to the old babymaker.

From the decaying, decrepit Mummy, it’s a hop, skip and a lurch to zombies. Can you reduce a zombie to a groaning heap by giving its manberries some welly? Truly, a question for the ages.

Peerless Fearlesss

With that very question in mind, i wrote a script for a cute, confident Fiverrer named Fearlesss. She’s a very popular seller, and is constantly busy shooting testimonial videos for weight loss pills, affiliate marketing sites and SAT prep courses. Such is Fiverr.

Fearlesss

i just wanna squeeze her cheeks.

With all of these ZombieGameWorld.com testimonial scripts, i tailored the text to suit the (perceived) personality of the performer. This is the script i sent to Fearlesss:

Hi, girls. Are you as concerned about the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse as I am? Many of the techniques you may have learned in womens’ self defense classes may not work when you’re battling the reanimated undead, so I’m here to offer tips on how you can modify your self defense training to protect yourself from a zombie.

Tip #1: Kick it in the genitals. You may have heard that to disable a male attacker, you should punch or kick him in the groin and run away. The problem is that zombies could be male OR female, and due to bodily decomposition, they may not have any genitals. Instead of lashing out towards the groin area, try this: knock the zombie to the ground with a shovel, plant your foot in its chest cavity, and kick its head off its shoulders.

Tip #2: Some of you carry around a whistle that you can blow to alert anyone nearby that you’re being attacked. But during the zombie apocalypse, everyone else may be too busy fighting zombies to come to your aid. Even worse, they may be dead. Instead of blowing an ineffective whistle, try this: borrow a flamethrower from a local glass-blowing shop, turn it to “HIGH”, and incinerate twelve of the undead bastards in one broad, sweeping motion.

Tip #3: Try one of the over 200 zombie combat simulations at ZombieGameWorld.com to prepare for the coming onslaught.

ZombieGameWorld.com: check your braaaaaaaaaains at the door.

Now, i’m not sure if she was drunk on her first beer when she shot it, but the resulting video has more mistakes in it than a standing-room-only adoption agency. Regard:



Highlights include Fearlesss teaching us many “tuneeks”, and telling us to “kick its head off with its shoulders”. Common to many Fiverr testimonials, we also have a major case of DES: darting-eye syndrome, where the fact that the performer is reading from a script three inches below her webcam is painfully apparent. It’s like she’s watching cars on a highway, or a tennis match featuring the Flash vs. Speedy Gonzales.

Once More Into the Gig

i felt super scummy about it, but i actually asked if she could re-shoot it for me. i suggested she split the script up into three sections. If she screwed up, she could just reset and keep on going.

The resulting re-shoot was too large to upload to Fiverr, so Shifty-Eyed Suzie uploaded it to a dodgy-looking filesharing site. i tried many times to download it before concluding that she’d botched the upload: only the first few kilobytes of the file had survived the transfer.

i provided Fearlesss with my FTP info and asked, politely, if she could please upload the re-shoot there. i didn’t hear back for a looong time, because she was busy filming stuff for other buyers. When she finally got back to me, it was with a flimsy story about how her portable hard drive had been stolen.

Fearlesss's Excuse

Sure – terrible things happen to good people. But i found it interesting that when another Fiverrer bowed out of a gig, it was due to a swiped video camera:

Carlos's Excuse

How convenient …

So, either Fiverrers are especially prone to theft, or loss of technology is the modern-day equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.”

Lemons -> Lemonade

i contacted the Fiverr customer support staff, telling them that Fearlesss had failed to deliver the work, and could they please refund my five dollars? The response was, essentially, “tough nuts” . Since i had been accommodating enough to let the resolution stretch past 12 days, my money was unrecoverable. Lame, Fiverr. Lame.

i did my best to salvage the video, snipping the flubs where i could and adding some images, along with the tagline:


i just earned my Boy Scout badge in Turd-Polishing.

Seeing Red

i felt this script was actually strong enough to double-down on. These were my earliest days with Fiverr, and i wasn’t sure if these people were going to deliver. So i hired a Russian seller to perform the same script, and perhaps even translate it into her native tongue if she was up for it. She wasn’t.

Here’s her crack at the bat in English:



So which of these ladies was more worth the money: the cute American, or the quietly off-putting Russian? Take our poll, and you could qualify for a chance to win the right to say you took our poll.

[poll id="8"]

A Fool and His Money

The World’s Most Meager Marketing Budget took a double-whammy with these self defense videos. Here’s the update:

Original investment: $100

Spent:

* ZombieGameWorld tagline voiceover – $5
* Show Us Yer Bewbz! – $5
* Zombie Funk – $5
* Advertising on Some Dude’s Car – $5
* Zombie Self-Defense: American Version – $5
* Zombie Self-Defense: Russian Version – $5

Remaining: $70

What the Eff?

This wasn’t the only unfortunate outcome in my Fiverr adventures. Another seller went wildly off-book and didn’t respond to my re-shoot request. As with Fearlesss, the Fiverr customer service team turned a blind eye to it all. Next up, a curse word-averse seller sucks the swears out of my script, and doesn’t even have the decency to call me the next day.

Pimp My Portal

Porn, In A Nutshell

i’ve been doing some spring cleaning on my laptop, and have come across a number of half-baked blog ideas. i thought i’d just throw this one up on the weekend. It has nothing really to do with Untold Entertainment’s bidness, but it’s good for a giggle.

The PenIs Mightiter

“Who writes the plot for porno movies?” Nobody cares. That’s an old joke anyway. People who produce pornography obviously put a lot of unnecessary energy into their “craft”. i’m more interested in the people who don’t work in porn, yet have to somehow dignify pornographer’s efforts within a more respectable framework.

To be more specific, i noticed in passing (in PASSING!) that the adult titles in the pay-per-view listings all had plot synopses written for them. Forget the guy who has to write the plots for porno (he’s also the lead cameraman, and the horny mechanic from Act III). i want to know what poor schlub working at Rogers head office has to write the SYNOPSES of those already paper-thin plots – and partciularly in cases where the movies have no plots. i mean, how do you summarize a movie that’s just an hour of straight-up porking?

Here’s a selection of adult movies and their synopses from Rogers Pay-Per-View. One interesting thing to note is that while the movie titles are completely crass, the synopses are as (needlessly) puritan as they possibly can be.

5 Raunchy Rock Tails

Groupies give rock stars a backstage pass to their bodies.

5 Horny Blondes

Fair-haired beauties (Monique Alexander, Alexis Malone, Gen Padova) entertain randy men.

A Train 4

Hardcore harlots ride the rails to backdoor ecstasy.

American Cream Pie 2

Gorgeous women prefer sexy threesomes.

An American in Prague

Wild men enjoy intimate moments.

Anally Yours … Love, Rebeca Linares

Hot young women crave carnal encounters.

Asian Beavers

Exotic harlots find plenty of wood to devour.

Ass Deep 2

Juicy strumpets (Sandra Romain, Trina Michaels, Isabel Ice) take the plunge through the backdoor.

Juicy strumpet

Hey – check out the sweater meat on THAT juicy strumpet!

Just in Time for Easter: Zombunny Cookies

Jesus knows a thing or two about rising from the dead, so it’s not a huge stretch to envision re-animated rabbits crawling out of their pastoral resting places during the Easter holiday. A simple sugar cookie recipe, some cookie cutters, and creative icing skillz are all you need to bring these ferocious zombunnies to life in your own kitchen:

Zombunny Easter Cookies from ZombieGameWorld.com

Mmm … sacrilicious.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies

  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • fresh brains, to taste

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add gradually to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely integrated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours, or press dough between parchment paper and place in the fridge. By the time you’re finished doing this, the initial batch of rolled dough will be chilled enough to work with. Fry brains and strain them of excess juices. Dry brains on a plate, and crumble over cookies immediately after removing them from the oven. Leftover brain juices may be used in unwholesome ritual ceremonies.

Roll dough to desired thickness and cut into bunny shapes. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Yields one small army of zombunnies.

Zombunny Easter Cookies from ZombieGameWorld.com

Poured Fondant Cookie Icing

  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, as needed
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water

Mix ingredients as needed until the icing is runny enough to pour, but thick enough to set. Apply to cooled cookies with an icing bag or jam knife. Plastic baggies with holes snipped out of their corners make inexpensive icing bags, and allow for easy clean-up*.

Zombunny Easter Cookies from ZombieGameWorld.com

*Rampaging zombunnies may make clean-up more difficult.

Visit ZombieGameWorld.com for more fun stuff!