Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Year of The Devil

When we started this blog, we promised ourselves to make a new post weekly. That worked!

For some years.

We realize this blog has turned into somewhat of a desert. We’re sorry about that, because we’ve always enjoyed knowing that people could come here and get a nice overview of what’s going on at Simogo. But, the simple truth is that … we haven’t had the energy or time to be able to update this blog at the pace we want to. Because, goddamnit, running a videogame studio can be time consuming and energy draining.  We hope to update the blog a bit more frequently in 2018. As we start to lift the curtain on the project we’re working on, there will be more reason for us to show and tell. So, please don’t give up on us yet!

We think a nice start to get things rolling ever so slowly again here, would be to look back, and contemplate on the year that was 2017. It’s been a tough year for the world. Mad men at the helm. It’s been a tough year for us personally, too. But, we’re gonna look at the Simogo year, and just pretend for a few minutes that the world outside is not falling apart.

Let’s get the rough things out of the way first. This year we spent a lot of time updating our old mobile games, to make them run properly on new OS versions, new resolutions, and whatever new things that were introduced which broke our games on iPhones and iPads around the world. We’ve put months of work into this, because, well, we care that our games live on, and we want you to be able to keep playing your games. Had we known back in 2010 that we would be updating our games seven years later, we would have shook our heads in disbelief.

This year, a lot of time we had planned to spend on our current project, ended up being spent on just making sure that our games would not be gone from the app store. Because sadly, the platform holder seems to have no interest in preservation of software on their platform.  We can criticize and be angry and mad about it all we want, but we don’t think that any efforts we put in can change that direction. So, instead, we’re thinking a lot about how we can find ways to preserve our games, and our own history, because it is inevitable that our mobile games will be gone sometime in a distant, or not so distant future, as iOS and the app store keeps on changing and evolving. We don’t have a definitive answer, or any final ideas how this would be possible, but we’ll keep on thinking about it, and try to come up with solutions, and we welcome any input and ideas on this from you too!

As you can imagine, this has led to thoughts about platforms in general. Mobile changed a lot of things, and our tiny studio would not exist if it weren’t for the app store and the iPhone. The iPhone has, literally, changed our lives!

The ease of mobile game development drew us to making iPhone games back in 2010. But, it’s getting increasingly financially unviable, tiring and unenjoyable for us to keep on making substantial alterations for new resolutions, guidelines, and what have you, as they seem to never end. The appeal of the mobile platform is less evident today than it was a few years back. Before we started Simogo, we had made console games, and had grown really tired of the clunky processes, politics, certifications and primitive development environments that was involved in making a console game. Today, a lot of that clunkiness is gone, and sadly, for a small developer like us, mobile has become more difficult to support than consoles. Releasing a mobile game means supporting it perpetually, and justifying that is tough for us, at the moment. So, as you have probably understood by now, our current game in development, “Project Night Road”, is indeed a console game.

That doesn’t mean we’re saying farewell forever to mobile development. But for now, we felt that we needed a break, and try out something new.

And new it is! While Simogo is still Simon and Gordon, we have more people than ever working on our game. We’re working with a number of freelancers and friends, (many of which have worked on previous Simogo games), and several of them work full time on this project. Which means more project management, higher costs, and, you know, let’s be honest; less time for the actual fun stuff: making a game. Which is why we’ve partnered with a publisher on “Project Night Road”(!). Simogo and publisher! The 2010 version of Simogo would have laughed at the very idea. But, we’re, quite confident that this is a very cool, exciting and fitting partnership for us, and we’ll tell you more about it next year when we announce the game. To be very honest, we still have quite some time to go before this game will be out, but hopefully it won’t be way too long into 2018 before we can show you “Project Night Road”.

Because we’ve worked on it for so long, the game has evolved significantly from what we thought it would be when we started the project. We’ve been very iterative with the design of this one, sometimes straying too far from the original vision, which has always been (like any Simogo game), that anyone should be able to play. But, we have a good chunk done, and we are now mostly filling this box with fun things; our focus is to finish up in 2018!

We hope you’ll be with us until then, and that “Project Night Road” will delight and surprise in all the ways we hope it will. Thank you for believing in us.

You’re always the best. <3

/Simon & Gordon

PS. Sonic Mania was the best game of 2017, in case you wondered.

The Great $imogo $ale 2017

Step right up! We have everything you need. Leave your ideals at the door. We have seven years in business and seven damn fine mobile game on sale for seven days. All just under a buck.

But you’re not here to hear us talk. You are here to spend your hard earned gold and we’re here to happily fulfill your needs.

Everything on display is $0.99 and as good as new. Trust us.


KOSMO SPIN

WAS $2.99 – NOW $0.99


BUMPY ROAD

WAS $2.99 – NOW $0.99


BEAT SNEAK BANDIT

WAS $2.99 – NOW $0.99


YEAR WALK

WAS $3.99 – NOW $0.99


DEVICE 6

WAS $3.99 – NOW $0.99


THE SAILOR’S DREAM

WAS $3.99 – NOW $0.99


SPL-T

WAS $2.99 – NOW $0.99


Don’t hesitate, buddies – these are only on sale for a very limited time.

Your Friends,
Uncle Gordon and Dr. Simon

Simogo turns 7

We know we don’t say much lately. But, we’re still here and we’re still alive. Maybe a bit older, maybe a bit fatter, but alive, still.

And speaking of older: Simogo turns seven (7!!!) on this very day, so we just thought that we’d let you know that we’re alive, that you mean the world to us and that we are eternally grateful for all the support you’ve given us during these seven years.

We hope you’ll stick around with us, if not for seven more years, then at least until we show you the next wonderfully weird chapter of the Simogo saga. It’ll be a little while before we can do that, but hopefully it will be unexpected, surprising, awesome and worth the wait. This project’s been, and is, a wild big ride, with new and old friends, buttons and screens.

Meanwhile, we’ll soon start to roll out 64-bit ready versions of our iOS games, to make sure they’ll survive the transition to iOS 11. Keep an eye out for that.

So. See you on the flipside, sweethearts. You’re the best.

Love,

Simon & Gordon

Project Night Road

Hi!

It’s been unusually quiet on this blog. The biggest reason is that we’ve not had much to say, as it has just been too early to start talking about our current project. We do want to try and share a little about what is happening over here, and maybe share a few hints about what the next thing is.

Last summer, while wrapping up the Wii U version of Year Walk, we started working on the project which we internally refer to as “Project Night Road“. This is not the final title at all (we do have the final title already, but we’re keeping that a secret until the announcement).

After keeping projects small for so long, we decided that we wanted to try and make something bigger, and take our time to be very iterative with the design, story and universe. Around Christmas 2015, we had a few playable bits, and while we liked it a lot, we decided that it had some crucial things in the design and visuals that needed reworking. While still being very iterative with the design and letting ideas come and be incorporated as we went along, we then decided to make a vertical slice of the revised vision of the game. When we refer to a vertical slice in videogames, we mean a very contained small portion of the game, which is fully representive of the final game — so not a prototype, a real, finished, part of the game.

This demo was completed in July, and we were super satisfied with the results. Seeing and playing the vertical slice, allowed us to get a real feel for the game. We then decided that because of the scope, we had to pin down all design and work less iteratively, which is very unusual for us. So the last couple of months, have been less about experiments and more about writing a big old game design document, building editors and tools allowing us to make the game. It’s been an unusual journey, because we do have a lot of assets completed for the game still, as key characters, scenes and music had been decided early on.

Planning.

Ett foto publicerat av Simogo (@simogogames)

The music is perhaps the most important part of this game. If there ever was a typical Simogo style of music, this one is quite far from it. Jonathan and Daniel have teamed up to create the main tracks, and there’s another really exciting collaborator which we’ll talk more about in the future. We’re a bigger team this time around. We mentioned our freelancer Carl some time back, who is helping us out with 3D modelling, animation, scripting and what have you. Daniel is not only making the music this time; from his home in San Francisco, he’s helping us out with sound effects, modelling and even design.

We’re not sure when we’ll announce the game, but it definitely will not be this year, even if we might show you bits and pieces and various hints. It’ll be quite some time before you can play it yourselves. But we do think it’ll be worth the wait!

Jamming a new track for the game.

Ett foto publicerat av Simogo (@simogogames)

 

It’s still to early to talk about a platform for Project Night Road, but we do think it’d be fun to drop a few hints about the game. In some ways this is the most gamey game from us, but in other ways it is not. It’s gamey in the way that it has goals, it has scoring systems and we’re designing it to be enjoyable to play over and over. It’s less of a game in that it’s very influenced by many aspects of pop culture, both from now and our childhood. If adjectives like “thinky”, “slow” or “creepy”, were words we associated with DEVICE 6 and Year Walk, words for Project Night Road would be “fast”, “fun”, “cool” and “spectacular”. While those words might seem like common adjectives for many games today, we’re really aiming to be as literal and extreme with them as we can: one of our main visions with this game is that it should be as enjoyable to watch, as it should be playing it.

So. Lastly. Some things this game has: A bunch of characters. Motorcycles. Dancing. Masks. Weird powers. A mysterious thrift store existing only in a girl’s dream. And a really really cool soundtrack.

Simogo turns 6

6

It’s been six years since we stepped into those 10 square meters in a shared office space, and began the wild ride that is Simogo.

We know and never forget that none of this would be possible without the people who play our games, talk about them and support us. We’d like to thank you for always trusting us and letting us keep doing all these crazy things we do.

We hope you’ll be joining us for the next bonkers adventure, too.

Love,

Simon & Gordon

From the archives: Rollovski

rolling_rollovski

First of all: We’d like to make clear that this is not a project we’re developing at the moment.

After finishing Beat Sneak Bandit back in 2012, we began to work on two prototypes. One would eventually become the game Year Walk, while the other one never got past the prototype stage.

At the time, we were keen on doing something for the 3DS, so we decided to spend some time on concepting ideas with the hardware features in mind. Throughout a week or so, we went through ideas called The Great Ziorawski Acrobats, Common Sense Police, My Triangle Friend, Observe Agents, Inverto Maze – but only one would leave the idea stage and become a playable PC prototype.

rollovski_3DSXL
It was called Rollovski. A stealth game about a small limbless round detective, who must infiltrate a strange hotel with only circular rooms. As you can probably tell, it shares a lot of ideas with Beat Sneak Bandit, and we actually did imagine that this game took place in the same universe. It also shares one of its main ideas with Bumpy Road, as you don’t directly control the actual character, but rather the environments. The concept focused on two features of the 3DS: the circle pad and the stereoscopic screen.

Basically, we imagined a game where circle pad being directly connected to a flat surface displayed on the 3D screen, so that they would “physically” move around, 1:1 to your thumb movements. We came up with the idea of having several surfaces layered in 3D, and having a ball rolling between them. The ball eventually became a round little detective and so Rollovski was born!

We’ve been talking about this project for some years now, and it’s been so long that we think it would be a shame to just let it stay in the archives. So, we’ve decided to share the playable prototype for PC and Mac with you. Keep in mind that this prototype was created in under two weeks, so it’s very basic and just presents the core concepts of the game. We have also uploaded an early concept PDF, which presents the project a little more in detail.

The prototype has support for XBOX 360 controllers (you can download unofficial drivers for mac here), but is playable with the arrow keys and space on a keyboard too (although it’s not as good!). Although it doesn’t have sound effects, please make sure you’ve turned your volume up – the prototype features a really fun tune by Daniel Olsén (who you know from Year Walk and DEVICE 6, of course!). We present it as we left it, without any changes or polishing.

This prototype was only created for PC and Mac, and was never playable on actual 3DS hardware – that said, we did produce to 3D screens of the game to get a feel for how it would look in 3D. You can pop those on your 3DS’ SD card or look at them in your browser.

So! Without further ado: ladies and gentlemen, start your downloads:

DOWNLOAD

Rollovski Prototype (PC)
Rollovski Prototype (Mac)

Rollovski – Concept Document

Rollovski 3D Screenshot 1
Rollovski 3D Screenshot 2

Enjoy!

SAYONARA 2015

We’re off for a little break, but before we leave the office, we think it’s appropriate to sit back with a glass of glögg, summarise the year … and look into the future too, perhaps.

The Lighthouse Painting

lighthouse_cover

Our first real non-interactive project! It was made together with Simogo Troubadour Extraordinaire Jonathan Eng and the awesome Christopher Sabat and his crew at Okratron 5000. And, it featured wonderful hand-painted cover art by the ever amazing Johanna Meijer!

Year Walk for Wii U

A dream came true: We released a game on a Nintendo console! And it allowed us to work with the amazing Dakko Dakko in Wales, and the lovely Nintendo team in Kyoto. And for the first time, people could now play the game in all the big European languages, as well as Japanese in “Year Walk 最後の啓示”, the version published by Nintendo in Japan.

Foto 2015-06-17 13 03 55

Oh, and we also rebuilt our studio during one day to create the weird home-made trailer, featuring a real brook horse, playing Wii U.

Bedtime Stories for Awful Children

Huldra-02

We once again teamed up with Year Walk writer Jonas Tarestad to create what we thought would be a tiny bonus to celebrate the release of Year Walk for Wii U, but grew into a 16-page story collection with lovely illustrations by Johanna Meijer.

SPL-T

SPL-T box

We were going to have some vacation, but had this little great seed to a puzzle that we simply could not resist to try out … We had been talking about this idea for maybe a year or so, and finally found a few days between projects to start trying out some rule-sets. And when things finally got going, we just couldn’t stop, so we decided to just roll with it (as we do), finish and release it. And so we did!

Other things that happened
• We stopped working on a project that was quite far along in February. It was very playable and had most of its systems up and running. It was all was about typewriters and pulp literature, but even though it was a ton of fun to play, we ended up putting it on hold because it didn’t feel different enough to our previous works.

• Satoru Iwata passed away, and we created a tiny game to thank him for everything.

• To celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our first game, we decided to go against trends and raise the price.

• A man travelled to every destination of The Sailor’s Dream and wrote a 20-page travel log. Wow.

… Aaaaand probably even more things we forgot.

What’s next?
So, 2015 has been a very busy year, with lots of smaller projects. It also marked the first year were we truly dipped our feet into non-interactive works. Next year will be all about a grand thing (which we have actually been working on for quite some time already). It will combine our love for both interactive and non-interactive media in one piece, and will let us collaborate with some good old friends, as well as some new.

So…

Sayonara 2015
Thank you for all your love and support this year. You’re the best!

/Simon & Gordon

Kosmo Spin turns five

 

You know … We like to do things differently.

Kosmo Spin is five years old today. To celebrate our very first game we’ve raised its price from $0.99 to $2.99.

Happy Birthday, Kosmo Spin!

appstore

Year Walk 最後の啓示

We know we’ve been awfully quiet. We’re working on a the next thing, but in the meantime, we have some very awesome news that we have been wanting to share for a while:

Nintendo is bringing Year Walk for Wii U to Japan!

YearWalkSaigoNoKeiji02

In Japan the game will be known as Year Walk 最後の啓示 (Year Walk – Saigo No Keiji) which roughly translates to “Year Walk – The Final Revelation” (We’re completely in love with the sneaky little bird in the Japanese logo!).

 

Year Walk 最後の啓示 was revealed during the Japanese Nintendo Direct stream earlier, and is available RIGHT NOW. We’re very excited about Japanese Wii U owners being able to join players in Europe, America and Australia to enjoy the best version of Year Walk in their own language – with an awesome localisation by Nintendo! We had a great time working with the team in Japan.

YearWalkSaigoNoKeiji01

And there’s one more neat surprise to this as well: Be sure to check out the official Japanese site, where you will find Bedtime Stories For Awful Children translated to Japanese.

Year Walk Bedtime Stories for Awful Children008

So, with this final version of Year Walk, created in Malmö, Wales and Kyoto, we finally close the book on the story known as Year Walk.

New adventures! 行きましょう!!