BIG update time.

Been ages hasn’t it?
Oh dear.. the date on the last blog entry can’t be right can it? Surely we posted something more recently? Look! Over there! Puppies!

Ok, so it has been tooooo long, so I decided to write a MEGA UPDATE. Here are some of the things that have been going on:

PSN
The last 12 months have been a bit of a daze. We have gone all out to try to make the PSN port of Eufloria as good as it can be, and ended up spending more time on it than we intended. The good news is that it is now DONE. We have finished the port, Sony of America and Sony of Europe have approved it, and we are now just waiting on a release date.

In the mean time Sony have set up a product page, which you can see HERE. It features among other things a new trailer made by the wonderful Anthony Flack. (Of Platypus and Cletus Clay fame)


Eufloria PSN HD TRAILER

Sony have been very supportive indeed, and are actually pushing the game (us AND other indie games) quite hard, which is great. :-) They also gave us a stand at E3, which was amazing. I will probably do a separate post about that at some point, but here is an image at least:

That is Eufloria, on a ps3!

iSpy, with my Ieye..
In the meantime, we are developing a port of the game for iPad/iPhone, and when I say we I mean that most of it is done by the lovely crew at Tuna.
They are fellow indies, so they understand what something like Eufloria needs, and we work closely together to make the game translate to touch devices as naturally as possible. The results are very good, the game is “right” for these platforms, and work progresses nicely. I would say we are about 90% there.

 

Here are some screenies to show that it is actually happening:

Yes, this time a REAL screenshot off a REAL iPad
Level 9 again. Ignore the purple ;-)

 

Next up.. BRIAN!
As you know all the music in the game was created by Brian Grainger (as Milieu). Well, he has created another full hour of amazing ambient for the game, to debut with the PSN version, and to celebrate that we have been interviewing each other. Crazy I know. The interview turned out very well, so here it is replicated in full:

1: You have been making music of all kinds for a long time now, and your ambient work far predates Eufloria’s soundtrack. How did you get involved in this kind of music?

You know, I can’t even remember how it happened. I think the earliest I can remember making ambient music was when I was 15 years old. I had just heard Selected Ambient Works II for the first time and it changed the way I heard music forever. It sounded like music that was from some alien place, and I remember sitting down with a Debussy LP on the record player, running the sound of that through a wah-wah pedal and a delay pedal and overdubbing AM radio static, and that was my first attempt at making this type of stuff. From there, I guess it’s just always been about exploration, improvising, experimenting…there’s kind of always a fascination there with all the freedom involved. I love working in a medium that is never the same way twice, so perhaps that’s one reason why I got involved.

2: Your Eufloria OST is universally loved by people who enjoy the game, Alex and I certainly are fans, but how do you feel about your own achievement? We always see flaws and issues in the games that we make, I wonder if you feel similarly about your own music.

There are most definitely always going to be flaws in my work – it’s totally inherent to my whole process. A few years ago I arrived at a point where I just came to terms with the fact that “perfection” was never going to happen, and instead of focusing on ideals and what COULD be there, I choose to focus on enhancing what IS there, and really making the most out of what is sometimes quite little. I think a lot of great musicians and artists think that way, because all those flaws and incidentals and overlooked things that you yourself may not notice while others do…that’s the stuff that makes your work sound like it’s yours. That’s the charm. In the end, I do feel quite proud of what I’ve done.

3. How do you feel about the rest of the audio design and how it gels with the music? As you know you provided raw sounds and musical snippets and Rudolf mashed and smashed them into something that is often quite different from the source files, but sits well within the Euflorian soundscape.

I think the incidental sounds work extremely well for the whole atmosphere of the game. There’s something very “alive” sounding about all these miniature parts growing, moving, doing things. It just adds to the overarching organicness of the place. I think the music complements the audio design in the same way the visuals complement the music. They’re all working pieces of the same whole, and a lot of the soundtrack is very burbly and almost swamplike at times…lots of foggy sounds and wet sounds and things that evolve over long runtimes. So I think having all the spritely sounds of trees growing and impacts happening just adds to the established “space organic” vibe immensely.

4. Having seen the game go the distance from small competition game to Playstation 3 release, do you feel enthused to do more games related work? It seems your own independent music approach gels well with the indie games scene.

I would absolutely love to do more audio for games. In the grand scheme of things, me sitting here in my studio and self-releasing most of the music I make, and directly getting it to the people who want to hear it, is very much like the indie game circuit. It’s all just a bunch of free thinkers sitting in a bedroom making something they love and cutting the middleman out of the equation as much as possible. I think I’d also be a good fit for game audio work because I already have a tendency to make loads of material and I try not to be bound by genre lines or expectations or whatever. I really love working along the lines of a big concept, as lots of my recordings are quite conceptual and visual, so it’s definitely a good fit.

5. Have you noticed any crossover in your audience where people discover your music via the game, or your existing fans discover the game through the OST release?

I have indeed notice a bit of both, though I have definitely experienced first-hand more people discovering my work via the game, which is a great thing. Just knowing someone picked up the game
because of the game’s merits and promise, then became impressed with my music and got into it enough to want to seek out more of it and buy it, instead of just hear it every time they turn the game on…well that’s just awesome to me. It’s at that point I can see the proof of the music being more than just an effective soundtrack in a utilitarian way – it’s also being enjoyed just as a regular record would.

6. Do you feel restricted at all by the creative limitations a game’s soundtrack puts on you? I can imagine it can be tricky to create so much music that must feel fresh and fit the game universe, yet is open and quiet enough to not disturb gameplay.

If anything, the limitations make the work much more of a challenge, which I usually like because it forces me to think and work in a way I don’t normally, and that keeps the music fresh, as opposed to me having total free reign to do what I like, and inevitably falling back on the little nuances and things that I do subconsciously in my music without really being aware. The format of scoring something requires that everything be completely deliberate and arranged, and it’s always a refreshing experience when you can simultaneously learn something new and create something you still really like. I think that definitely happened with Eufloria, and now because I’ve gone through those motions, there’s a very specific sound that Eufloria has, and it has hereafter become established, making it easier for me to make new things and “play in the sandbox” so to speak.

7. Have you received other offers for this kind of work?

After Eufloria was released on Steam, I was approached by the Discovery Channel to contribute original music to a program they were making for Animal Planet. That went really well, and wasn’t too dissimilar from my work on Eufloria in the context of…total atmosphere. Like Eufloria, they were after very organic ambient sounds and it ended up being a good bit darker than Eufloria’s sound in the end too. Beyond that, I have been asked numerous times to contribute music to online webisode” type shows, student films and things like that, but Eufloria and the AP job were by far the most involved scoring jobs I’ve ever done. As I said before, I’d love to do this type of work more often!

8. Can you describe the process involved in creating a game soundtrack? What are the typical steps you take that end up in a Eufloria music track? Has this stayed consistent throughout your work on the OST or have you been adapting your approach over time?

For Eufloria, the process began with me simply working with a couple demo tracks…I think Meander” was actually the very first one in fact. I had some ideas regarding sort of organic electronics…lots of playful melodies, open spaces in the composition, and a recurring melodic theme that could be revisited in different motifs throughout the entire game. Once those sort of ground rules were established, it was just a matter of creating what I felt were logical “mutations” on that sound. Perhaps some moments would be completely without rhythm, while others had a steady pulse. Sometimes I would focus on darker, more oppressive atmospheres, and others I’d emphasize this sort of playful naiveté in the melody. I wanted a lot of the melodies themselves to sound as if they were “grown” from a single source, like little variants of branches on a tree, almost procedurally generated.

There is/was a definitely consistent vibe throughout all of the Eufloria music, but I can’t deny that the sounds themselves have been mutating over time as well. For example, when I went back to the
soundtrack 2 years after the original tracks were laid down, to create more songs for the PSN version of the game, there was some difficulty, because in my mind, while all that time had passed, I still felt I had a great handle on what was the “Eufloria sound” and in truth, it had mutated in my subconscious to the point that it was pretty different. So I almost had to start all over again and blindly feel around for things that worked, but in the end it all worked out and Eufloria came back to me again. To look at it a different way, the original seeds I had planted were now fully grown into something much more graduated, and I had to go back to the original field and plant some new crops…

9. Do you have a favourite track and if so, which one?

I would say my favorite track is probably “Open”, mostly because it was the first track I did for the soundtrack that felt like I hit a big stride with the atmosphere. It was lengthy, but melodic…ambient, but rhythmic. Playful, textural, a little bit dark and unfamiliar. It was the most perfect balance of all the motifs I wanted present, and quite possibly became the definitive framework for the color of all subsequent pieces. “Pink Leaves” is probably a close second, because it’s a total Eufloria composition in every way, but buried somewhere in there is a pretty classic sounding Milieu track too. It has a special charm that I can still not quite put my finger on.

10. How do you yourself feel when you play the game and hear your own music?

It’s stunning! There’s inevitably always a disconnect when I play it and it’s so immersive and I forget that I was the guy who created these sounds. Also, because there’s so much other stuff going on in gameplay, and you’re not wholly focusing on every bar of the music, and so on, you start to lose your way in it a little bit, and that’s when it’s really like zooming out and hearing my own work for the first time again, and it’s lovely. It just makes me start grinning from ear to ear. I’m very proud of what we’ve all managed to create together, and I can’t wait to spend a few spaced out hours on my couch with a PS3 controller in my hand…

THANKS BRIAN! People, do yourself a favour and check out Milieu’s own indie record label: Second Sun. The old OST can be found here while some wonderful new Eufloria tracks can be found here.

Other Gubbins
Finally, I wanted to share some love for our wonderful modders, and point people at our Forum!

There is a very impressive mod community for Eufloria that tirelessly creates new levels, mods, and even new tools! Here is the latest level design tool for example. You should scoot over and have a peek really. :-)

That’s about it for this mega update. I think we will finally be able to start updating and improving the site more frequently again. Feel free to contact us and share ideas to make it all a bit better. The FAQ needs work, we want to showcase the forum more, screenshots need to be added and so on. Let us know what you think?

Either way, nice to talk to you again.

15 Comments

  1. Posted 17/08/2011 at 14:27 | Permalink

    iPad version 90% done?

    How long to you think will the rest 10% until marketing this version take, approximately?

    And any chance we’ll be able to play user-made maps? (it *is* possible to install documents for specific apps via iTunes)

    Greetings, Tom

  2. Posted 17/08/2011 at 14:56 | Permalink

    Hey Tom, use made maps are as of yet undecided, but not ruled out. The rest of the dev time on this… hmm.. I am actually not sure, no more than 2 months I reckon, but I can’t make promises at this stage. :-)

  3. Posted 18/08/2011 at 01:45 | Permalink

    OK then, let it be three months or four, I don’t mind since then I can see it shimmering on the horizon, great. Don’t know, though, whether I pine more for the OS X version or iPad version … I think I pine more for the game on OS X, my iMac has 27 inches :-D

    Thanks, Rudolf!

  4. Bazooka Joe
    Posted 18/08/2011 at 07:09 | Permalink

    Why isn’t there a Mac port. Dyson worked on the Mac a long time ago. Surely there are more of us than iPad users.

  5. Posted 18/08/2011 at 09:13 | Permalink

    Heya Bazooooookaaaaa!

    Well, the simple answer is that LUA broke mac compatibility, so the enhanced modding came at a price. But to be clear, that was not a native Mac version, and was not officially supported by us.

    The good news is that there will be a proper full blown mac port, as it will be feasible to do one with the new code base. So you will get your wish!

    It will be this year unless disaster strikes. :-)
    (I really hope disaster leaves us alone)

  6. Ag
    Posted 20/08/2011 at 02:39 | Permalink

    Looking forward to the Mac port! I remember playing and enjoying Dyson ages ago! :)

  7. Zazu
    Posted 22/08/2011 at 02:04 | Permalink

    Hey Rudolf, 2 months is a very long time, are there any games that are similar to eufloria availabe ? Preferbally on the ipad ?

  8. Zazu
    Posted 22/08/2011 at 02:05 | Permalink

    I mean to play while we wait its release…

  9. Wuzzy
    Posted 15/09/2011 at 02:16 | Permalink

    This was a major change. A major “political” decision.

    You just decided to transform your INdependent (indie) game developing company into a dependent game developing company. You now accept money from a huge publisher named Sony.
    Well, well, well. What a shame. Why did you decide to get dependent?
    The definition of an indie game is AFAIK to NOT use external publishers, especially the very big corporations. Sony is an external publisher and also a very big corporation.

    So you should remove the word “independent” everywhere from this website because this word is wrong here. Anyone who still calls OmniSystems an “indie game developing company” is either dumb or a liar.

    And if you say “Sony PUSHES indie games” I am laughing at you. Are you blind? This is impossible because if they do “PUSH” any game, after this, it can impossibly an indie game anymore, by definition.

    Oh, I have nothing against porting a game to a console. But I have something against stupid and incorrect word usages. You shouldn’t tell a game an indie game if it is not an indie game.

  10. HamsteR
    Posted 20/09/2011 at 06:37 | Permalink

    Ps3 version, awesome! Definitely gonna buy it.
    ‘ve been playing since Dyson time and I have to say your game is absolutely astonishing. I bet nobody said this to you! (wow that sounds douchy)

  11. Posted 27/09/2011 at 11:21 | Permalink

    Wuzzy, thanks for the passionate feedback, but there is a basic misunderstanding in your post.

    “The definition of an indie game is AFAIK to NOT use external publishers, especially the very big corporations. Sony is an external publisher and also a very big corporation.”

    Without getting bogged down into an argument about what defines an indie game/company, on your own terms you are mistaken. You see, Sony is not our publisher. The game is completely self publisheed and self funded. We paid for it ourselves, we produced it ourselves, and we are taking the risk ourselves. In fact, it is a great indie victory to be able to self publish on a major console, without losing artistic or financial or IP control. :-)

    So there, we are as indie as f*ck, still.

  12. S. M. Das
    Posted 02/10/2011 at 03:01 | Permalink

    Completely agree with the above, in regards to you’re indie nature. Also very excited to “beat the drum”, as it were, for an eagerly awaited Linux port :-)

    You have supporters out here, in the intarwebs, with cash ready-to-go! If you’re hunting for a distribution method for the Linux port, please have a chat with the Desura guys; their Linux client for digital distribution of native Linux games is in BETA right now!

    Exciting times, no?

  13. zazu
    Posted 02/10/2011 at 21:41 | Permalink

    Can you atleast reply and estimate a time for this release, I really want to buy it on the ipad !!!

  14. Dan D.
    Posted 11/10/2011 at 14:26 | Permalink

    Hey folks,

    Love this game! I’ve been playing on my PS3 and am positively hooked, that said I’m all thumbs when it comes to the SixAxiS so I am waiting patiently for a Mac and/or iPad version. Touch/mouse seem like so much better an interface for this game then analog sticks and shoulder buttons. :)

    Thanks for a great game!

    Dan

  15. Posted 16/10/2011 at 00:45 | Permalink

    I just wish I could be as patient as Dan D. (comment just above this one) ;-D

    Greetings, Tom aka Bonobo

One Trackback

  1. [...] Eufloria: Big update time "We have gone all out to try to make the PSN port of Eufloria as good as it can be, and ended up spending more time on it than we intended. The good news is that it is now done. In the meantime, we are developing a port of the game for iPad/iPhone. I would say we are about 90% there." [...]

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