Archive for the ‘In The Media’ Category

One more prize for the road

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Progress on the tech for my upcoming game “Alone, The” has been a little slow the past couple weeks, due to Ludum Dare, a nightmare of server issues (both LD and my own), and my upcoming move (OMG THAT’S RIGHT NOW). I have some great news to share though:

TransGaming Announces Winner of the $10,000 GameTree Developer Competition: Developer’s Choice Award

Developers from around the world have their say: Smiles HD takes home the prize

TORONTO, CANADA – August 31, 2011 – TransGaming Inc. (TSX-V:TNG), the global leader in the multiplatform deployment of games, today announced Smiles HD by Sykhronics Entertainment as the winner of their GameTree Developer Competition: Developer’s Choice Award.

Smiles HD is an award-winning puzzle/matching game featuring inventive game modes, engaging achievements and family-friendly themes. This immersive but “snackable” game experience involves spinning, swapping and dropping smiling objects to create huge combos and even bigger scores. After incredible commercial and critical success on the iPhone and iPad, Smiles HD was easily enabled on the next generation GameTree TV gaming platform for Smart TV.

“The amazing opportunity presented by TransGaming’s GameTree Developer Competition allows an independent developer such as myself to easily reach a growing market on an exciting new platform”, said Michael Kasprzak of Sykhronics Entertainment. “With TransGaming’s help and the GameTree TV SDK, Smiles HD was enabled on GameTree TV in a matter of hours.”

“We wanted our GameTree Developer Competition to truly engage the talented independent game development community in order to be able to discover and deliver innovative and creative interactive entertainment to our GameTree TV consumers. The Developer’s Choice Award gave GameTree Developers a voice to choose the best among their peers”, commented Vikas Gupta, CEO and President of TransGaming. “This indie development community is creating revolutionary games like Smiles HD which we know will be enjoyed by the GameTree TV audience, and TransGaming is dedicated to finding and rewarding that talent.”

I am a big fan of the outcome. 😀

Smiles HD should go live on “Free” set-top boxes in France soon.

Nope, not this time

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

No sir. Do not pass go, do not collect $50,000.

However! All is not lost!

I am still eligible for a the $10k “Developers Choice” award, which means you, you developers! Visit and cast your vote (For Smiles HD). 😀

I might win something…

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

The latest in the world of Mike, I might win something again.

I’m less than an hour away from finding out if it’s true, so here’s me killing minutes as I wait.

Towlr at “N Design” Exhibit

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Towlr recently frustrated attendees at “N Design”, an art-game exhibit in Curitiba, Brazil. Very cool!

Here are some photos of the event.

On your left, take note of the bright eye burning red

Descriptions floating on the wall -- Very classy

Several other favorites were at the event, included a Rohrer game, a Terry Cavanagh game, and of course, Braid.

More details can be found here.

VNC Poster Boy

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Heh, I certainly wasn’t expecting this.

Pay no attention to the grammar tense of the first sentence

RealVNC has a rotating twitter quotes on their front page, and it seems I’m now part of the rotation.

And yes, that is a real quote; I do think VNC is awesome. Admittedly, I’ve been using UltraVNC on my PC’s recently, though I do run their iPhone client. 😉

Thanks for the tip Adam.

– – –

Moblin 2.1 running on the USB key

I *FINALLY* submitted my Moblin (Linux) AppUp port of Smiles late last night. I planned on having this done a week or two ago, but between other things and some hardware I had to pick up (more USB keys), I still had a bunch to learn about Linux itself. I’ve had my game code running on Linux since the beginning (I needed it, since my laptop was a Acer Aspire One Netbook running Linpus), but creating a proper RPM and DEB bundle for distribution was something I never tackled. Heck, I didn’t even know where to put my files. 😉

So with the installer hurdle out of the way, all that’s left in the land of Linux is to tackle 64bit binaries. What Moblin provides is a pretty good baseline GCC+Libraries collection, that should be compatible with any notable 32bit distros out there today. I ran in to issues running the Ubuntu 10 compiled binary on Moblin, but the GCC version and libraries included in the Moblin SDK worked well across both. For the future, I need to find a good baseline 64bit Linux for creating my 64bit binaries. It’s not something I can do right now (not comfortably), since my test machines (older Atom Netbooks) don’t support 64bit instructions. I think the newer Atom chips might, so I’ll have to grab one of those some day.

Next on the agenda is my update for Windows AppUp. With 1.0 I neglected to add my game to the Vista/7 game launcher. I figured out how to do it last time, but the game had a startup bug from the launcher I was trying to avoid, so I pulled it. Also there was a metadata XML file that Microsoft suggests you create, and I really wasn’t in the mood to write it. I’m not vying for a Microsoft “Games For Windows” certification right now, so I’ll probably ignore that metadata file again, but this time I’ll at least add myself to the game launcher (now that my bug is fixed).

That’ll do for now. Really, I just wanted to post the weird discovery of me on the RealVNC website. 🙂

Automobiles, Interviews, all Smiles

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

To say 2010 has been a busy year would be an understatement.

While we were all waiting for Apple to confirm the existence of the iPad, I was busy tweaking, improving, and porting my game Smiles to a bunch of new platforms. The most significant port by far was to Netbook PCs for Intel’s AppUp Center, a brand new App Store coming soon to Netbooks everywhere.

To say Intel and AppUp have been good to me, that would be another understatement.

Since last year, Intel has been running a contest to attract developers to their platform, and you might say, I hit a grand slam with them. Intel ran 3 rounds of prize giveaways, and I won something awesome in every round!

Late January, I received a note informing me that I came 2nd Place in their Early Bird Deadline contest. The Early Bird contest featured 5 prizes; 3 home entertainment packages, and 2 cars!

This is somewhat appropriate. A car won with a cheerful game called Smiles. Even the car is smiling.

iPhone Smiles is small enough to be downloaded 2x over 3G, and you can fit 2 of my cars in a parking space.

Above you can see my new 2010 “Smart for Two” smart-car, in a very bright shade of yellow. So if you’re in London Ontario Canada, and you see this little yellow beast drive by, that might be me.

Talk about kicking 2010 off with a bang!

I was totally giddy; Cheering, laughing, celebrating the fact that I won a car making games. It’s just such a weird yet awesome thing to happen, and such a fun story to be able to share. What a fantastic start to a very futuristic sounding decade.

Then it happened again!

Around the middle of February, I get ANOTHER e-mail, this time telling me my game Smiles won the “Elegance in Design” award. That was 1 of 2 prizes everyone was gunning for (the other award was “Most Innovative App” which went to FXpansion for GURU). And what was the prize? Oh, an all expense paid trip to GDC!

I don't know about you, but I really did have TWICE the GDC as everyone else

Now I already had my travel and hotel arranged for the conference, but when Intel decides to pay your way and put you in a fancy hotel, you don’t say no. 🙂

I previously talked about my very awesome GDC trip here, so you can go read that for more.

So, holy cow again! Two months in to 2010, and I’m already 1 car and 1 trip ahead of last year on the awesome scale. If I was to think in terms of gameshow prizes, aside from crazy cash, what haven’t I won yet?

How about a free computer?

The final giveaway from Intel was for the first 100 approved apps. I made the Early Bird deadline, so I caught this one easily. Free “top of the line” Netbook!

Smiles on my new Netbook

This worked out really great for me. My old laptop was an original Aspire One Netbook running Windows XP, but I’ve used it enough that the batteries barely give me an hour and a half on a full charge. My latest prize was a brand new Eee PC running Windows 7 Starter, this time with a claimed 10.5 hours of battery life. In practice I get a bit over 7 hours, but wow, that’s a huge step up from the 2-3 hours I used to get from my Aspire One. Excellent!

So, holy crap! That’s a lot of awesome! Clearly I am the happiest game maker in Canada right now with my car, computer, and everything PR wise that goes with winning an awesome contest like this.

Oh hey, there’s actually more!

Submit an app and actually use their site, score a free book. Not bad.

As part of Intel’s dev program, submitting an app and participating in the community scores you points, which earn you belts. When you reach certain belt rankings, you get stuff. As you can see above, I got 2 books from Intel. The first for becoming a brown belt, and the 2nd for becoming a red belt. Also as part of the red belt, I’m getting a free year extension on my dev program membership. Nice.

Oh, and at GDC, I grabbed one of these from the Intel booth too. One of the cooler pieces of GDC shwag, now a permanent desk ornament.

Shake it and it changes colors, while the confetti swirls around the gel.

So really, it’s almost overwhelming how well things have gone. Without a doubt, I can definitely recommend other developers check out what Intel is up to with the AppUp Center. They’re running new contests now with even bigger prizes, you don’t want to miss it.

Heh, so really, how do you say “thanks” for being treated so well?

Well so far, I passed a note on to our people in the Ludum Dare community. I got pretty big response there, having several e-mail and IRC conversations with people. We’re a pretty large community of game makers, and like the sales pitch says, we made over 400 games last year! Wow!

Then at GDC, I scheduled 3 video interviews; Two with Intel, and one with NetbookNews.

The most “INTENSE” of the interviews was a live broadcast from GDC. Intel set up a small TV studio inside their GDC both with all the fixings; Multiple cameras (3), BIG HUGE lights (2), and a crew of 2 guys monitoring the video and audio. On the stage there was me, the host (Arti), and a guest host (Bob).

The interview was for Intel’s gaming and graphics show Visualize This. That’s online and archived now, so check it out.…/mike-kasprzak-on-netbook-game-development-and-smiles/

Next was a short interview for Intel’s Software site. Not as in depth, but a slightly different discussion.…/intel-atom-developer-challenge-winner-mike-kasprzak/

And there’s one more video interview with Netbook News, buuut I can’t seem to find it online yet. I did notice the host (Nicole Scott) just now started following me on Twitter, so I can imagine that video will be up soon.

However, Smiles did make appearance on Netbook News, in their CES report:

So wow!

That was a VERY new thing for me, doing video interviews. Well really, I’ve done maybe 2 e-mail interviews and a podcast interview prior to that, so yeeeep, it was a very new experience for me. 😀

It’s fun, and quite shocking to be in a position that people actually want to interview you. It’s also reassuring and encouraging that maybe you really are doing something good.

And now for something a little more up my alley; Crazy technical mumbo-jumbo!

Over the past week and a bit, Bob from Intel and I fired a couple e-mails back and forth which became this:

An interview, but at the same time, a very technical rant on the stuff I do to keep my game code and assets portable. I’ve talked about this stuff here on my blog and in my book chapter, but we cover a lot of ground in a short article. I think it’s some good context for those looking for some insight in to porting to AppUp, but it’s just an article, you still have to do all the work! 🙂

And that’s all I’ve got.