Papa Sangre II is born on Halloween 2013

November 1st, 2013

Producer Director: Tom Green

Firstly, let me apologise for the length of this post. While I’ve been very deep down a Papa Sangre-shaped hole, I’ve not been updating this blog nearly as much as I should have: and so here it is – all at once.

It’s been a long road. We kicked Papa Sangre II off in April 2012. The next 10 months were spent wrangling the technology that eventually gave us the amazing papa engine. the tech which powers Papa Sangre, the Nightjar, and now Papa II. The creative team made use of this time to argue over work out what Papa II should be, while we waited for the engine to work well enough for us to try out our ideas on.

I'm the Papa Engine

Given that it was two years since we’d produced Papa Sangre, we knew that we could take advantage of the advancement of the technology since Papa Sangre, which was developed with the 3GS as the most powerful device. Now we’ve hit release 18 months later, this has been superseded by four more powerful iPhones (plus all iPads).

This (along with the new, optimised engine) meant we’d be able to produce something far more processor intensive, which ultimately in the world of Papa Sangre development means we could have more simultaneous spatialised sounds. (A spatialised sound is one that we ‘put into’ the Papa Engine which then renders it in a 3D space in real time, allowing us to treat it like an object in a room, and thus build up a 3D audio world). More spatialised sounds would mean more creative opportunities for the types of levels we could design and the types of environments we could create. But it also meant that we had to take the hard decision not to support some older devices, so that we could take advantage of the newer more powerful ones. This is not an unusual decision for a developer to make as technology moves on; but it does weigh on us that we can’t support everybody.

We also knew that we wanted to use one of the new features that Apple introduced from the iPhone 4 and upwards: the Gyro. By creating a Gyro Mode, where the player holds the device in front of them and turns their body in the way they want to face and the room moves around their head as though they’re in it, we had something that would make Papa Sangre II even more immersive. Once we got the engine working enough to prototype this, we knew we had to use it in Papa II. It’s totally intuitive, and it’s awesome.

Fast Forward to March this year and the Papa Engine was finally ready and stable enough to develop with. After 9 months of discussing ideas and coming up with a premise and structure and manifesto for Papa Sangre II, we were faced with a terrifying task: making it. What had been a large creative steering team was streamlined to a smaller working team so that we could start making quick progress and decisions, with regular review points along the way for the wider group to feed into the process.

After a couple of intensive days locked in a studio acting out possible game design in real life (see my blog about it here), work began in earnest in April 2013. I (the game director and producer) began working very closely with an amazing team which consisted of writer Neil Bennun, sound designers Ben and Max Ringham, and game developer Antoine Pastor.

Play Testing Papa Sangre 2

The six months since then have been a blur of scripts, level design, sound design, bugs, testing, testing and testing. Somehow we moved from draft scripts and back-of-fag-packet level sketches through to our first demo levels, to a very rough alpha and eventually, after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, to a working Beta.

We had two recording sessions with Sean Bean – one in July, when we got most of the content recorded; and another at the end of August, for retakes and to re-record bits which we’d changed based on further testing. Prior to this we’d recorded guide scripts with various members of the team taking on the role of ‘Sean’. I sometimes lie awake at night worrying that some of these placeholder recordings are still in some obscure corner of the final release. (It isn’t). (It is? tell us where!)

We did our first proper, structured playtests in May, and kept running formal and informal playtests for the rest of the project. In August we put out a Beta which we distributed to twenty volunteers, and whose feedback was invaluable. In September we completed a ‘finished’ version of the game which we put to the functionality testers – who showed us a load of things which needed fixing (as we were expecting), which we duly did.

We submitted our first release candidate to Apple in September, but have since updated the version waiting in the back end of the App Store three times (I think), as we’ve continued to improve the game while we waited for today to come.

And here we are, today, on release day. It’s time to give our game over to the public, to take it’s chances in the big bad world. Big bad world: enjoy…

MORE SOULS. I NEED MORE SOULS!

October 30th, 2013

Dear minions,

October 31st a new age will dawn. I am returning. The world will not be the same, knowing that everyone is already dead. But there is hope for you. My hunger is not soothed. Not yet.

Bring me the tastiest souls of them all and I will reward you with something special. But bring the souls to me before the end of Halloween 2013 (23.59 GMT, October 31st).

A signed, exclusive ticket back to the world of the living will be sent in paper form to the minions bringing me the 10 best tasting souls in the world.

Some_Finale

It is a simple as ever. You talk to me through this medium they call “Twitter”. Fill in the blind spots. “Tweet”.

• Greetings @papasangre, I hereby offer you the soul of @(INSERT TWITTER NAME) for (INSERT WHY). #PapaSangre2

For example:

• Greetings @papasangre, I hereby offer you the soul of @SenTedCruz for his pure awesomeness. #PapaSangre2

Or another example:

• Greetings @papasangre, I hereby offer you the soul of @charliesheen‎ for his charming good looks. #PapaSangreII

Bring them to me. Bring them to me NOW and you shall be rewarded!

-Papa Sangre

Bring me souls. Millions of souls.

October 24th, 2013

Dear minions,

As the time crawls near, I’m getting hungrier. I need millions of souls to sooth this hunger. Bring them to me and you shall be rewarded!

papasangre-souls reward

It is more simple than you think. You only need to talk to me through this medium they call “Twitter” @papasangre. You fill in the blind spots. You “tweet”.

• Greetings @papasangre, I hereby offer you the soul of @(INSERT TWITTER HANDLE) for (INSERT WHY). #PapaSangre2

For example:

• Greetings @papasangre, I hereby offer you the soul of @SenTedCruz for his pure awesomeness. #PapaSangre2

Or another example:

• Greetings @papasangre, I hereby offer you the soul of @charliesheen‎ for his charming good looks. #PapaSangre2

Every day until Halloween eve, the one who brings the tastiest soul to me shall be rewarded with free access to the bridge between the dead and the living; the app “Papa Sangre II”.

Papa Sangre II will be unleashed on the world on October 31st, Halloween eve. This is exclusive first access, offered to you, in return for souls. Millions of souls.

I await your offerings.
Papa Sangre

Papa Sangre II stars Sean Bean

August 6th, 2013

It’s been a hell of a journey getting Papa II ready for release, but we are nearly there and it is sounding immense. We are pleased to announce that we have secured the Game of Thrones and Lord of The Rings star Sean Bean as the main guide through the game. And if you know Sean Bean, you’ll guess Papa II isn’t Mexican but very very British.

Sean Bean voicing Papa Sangre II

Papa Team in Deep Production

March 28th, 2013

We thought it was time for a little update on what’s been going on in the dark corner of Somethin’ Else where Team Papa resides (writes Tom, producer of Papa Sangre 2).

Our focus over the last three months has been on three (inter-related) things:

—creating, testing, and tweaking the all-new Papa Engine

—rebuilding Papa Sangre and The Nightjar from the ground up using the new engine

—setting the direction for the follow-up to Papa Sangre

PAPA ENGINE

The Papa Engine is the guts of Papa Sangre: the technology that takes mono sounds and allows us to place them anywhere in a 3D field in real-time, using binaural processing—and it’s totally unique. It’s based on some pretty low-level (read: hideously complex) code, meaning we’ve had to draw on some serious brainpower in our team and beyond: different specialisms to complete different parts of the engine. It’s taken almost a year to produce the engine in it’s ‘finished’ form. The Engine is extraordinarily demanding on mobile processors; over-working any part of the technology stack produced horrendous noise. The majority of this time was taken up just getting the engine to ‘work’.

Once we’d nailed this, development turned to testing and improving the API, so that we can release it for other developers to use. Now we (or you!) can make binaural games in a snap — create objects, use the API to give them behaviour, and let them loose! If you are interested in using the Papa Engine head here.

Before we launched the engine, we ate our own dog-food and used it for …

PAPA SANGRE & THE NIGHTJAR REBUILDS

The code for the original versions of Papa and Nightjar had its roots in an experimental “Can we really do this?” process. That’s not great for reusability or long-term compatibility with platforms—like iOS— that change over the years. As Apple released new versions of iOS, we had to go back inside the code to fix things that the updates had broken, particularly in the audio engine. Unfortunately by the time that Apple reached iOS 6, this was becoming increasingly difficult, as it was requiring more and more hackery to keep it working.

Nightjar? Nightmare, more like.

With limited resource and no wish to present games that didn’t reflect what we were capable of, we took the decision to take Papa Sangre off the App Store so we could rebuild both Papa and Nightjar from the ground up around the new engine.

This involved pulling all the assets and level design out of the original games and re-implementing them on the new platform. This task in itself was actually pretty straightforward—but it was followed by a LOT of testing and tweaking (“Do the footsteps sound the same in the new game as the old? Is the scale the same?”). It also highlighted, as expected, a number of bugs in the Papa Engine which we were able to fix.

We’ve now completed this phase, have a stable engine, and faithful replicas of the original Papa Sangre and The Nightjar to show for it. Both out very soon.

PAPA SANGRE 2

This has been taking up most of my brain power lately. Producing the follow-up to a game as successful, loved and strategically important as Papa Sangre is a huge responsibility. Papa 1 was the result of a number of people collaborating, and we’ve tried to approach its follow-up in the same way, with many of the people who helped make the original a success, as well as some new faces. We’ve had a number of creative sessions during which we’ve thought big about what we want to achieve and then gradually honed in on what form Papa 2 should take.

While collaboration is an important part of the development process it’s also critical decisions get made and the game stays within an achievable scope so it can actually be made. That is one of the main parts of my role as producer: to listen to and contribute to all the different discussions, and then make calls that steer the game in the right direction based on all the different factors that need to be taken into account.

We’ve had to make big decisions about the user interface (just wait ’til you try out ‘Gyro Mode’), the length of the game (longer than The Nightjar, shorter than Papa Sangre), the structure (still a bit TBC) and the narrative (ditto).

We’re now at the point where we’ve decided on the shape of the game, and demoed a few (very exciting, if I say so myself) new levels, and are poised to go into full production in the next week. This will involve designing the levels (Tassos Stevens again features heavily here), coding the levels, producing the sound (which is being provided by audio artists Ben and Max Ringham), writing the script (Neil Bennun, who wrote the script for The Nightjar, is responsible for this), casting actors, recording and editing the audio, graphic design, testing, fixing, tweaking, retesting, then testing again, etc, etc…

Watch this space for more updates on Papa 2 as we go through the development process. We’ll post some audio from the game as soon as we’re happy with it, and release some video from one of our recent playtesting sessions soon.

Wish us luck!

The Aftermath

November 12th, 2012

As threatened, on the 10th and 11th November 2012, Team Papa surfaced from the underworld hungry for new talent at Silicon Milkroundabout.

Big thanks to everyone who came and spoke to us – we’re looking forward to hearing from you, interviewing you and press-ganging lots of you into joining our crew.

Big thanks as well to the organisers, very impressive weekend and we highly recommend it to other talent connoisseurs.

A question that came up a lot was whether we offered internships. The answer is: YES. They last for four weeks, expenses only.

You can find more detail here (just say you’re interested in El Papa when you apply).

Gracias compañeros.

A message from El Papa himself

November 9th, 2012

“Be my minion. I want you. Come and meet my functionaries at Silicon Milkroundabout, London, World of the Living, on Saturday and Sunday.

I need minions who make games for living humans. Engineers, QA, audio … I have world domination plans.”

More information here, and here.

¡ Felíz Día de los Muertos !

October 31st, 2012

Secrets, excitement and hunger. Nuggets of new Papa will begin to emerge – starting with a tease for your ears this Day of the Dead.

If you’re looking to celebrate Día de los Muertos in London, the Londonist is a good place to start.

And do please join our new Papa mailing list for the latest on when Papa 1 (the original) goes back on sale, and for speculation, rumours and hearsay surrounding Papa 2.

Just pop your email address in below. Papa doesn’t spam, or bite.



The Papa Engine: I Want It!

May 29th, 2012

We’ve built what remains — as far as we know — pretty much the only audio engine that has on-the-fly binaural processing using HRTFs, and procedural reverb and other cool stuff that works.

For the new game, we’re doing what we should have done ages ago: make it work all the time, make it work beautifully, created a well-documented API and abstract all the game logic from the audio engine.

This means two things:

1) The Next Game will work better, won’t crash, will be lovely.

2) You can license the Papa Engine for your game.

Coming soon.

WHAT? IS SOMETHING STIRRING?

May 29th, 2012

YES.

Something is stirring far away, far below. Something beautiful.

And this time, we’re serious.

New technologies. New sound artists. New game types. Fewer bugs. Improved UI.

This, dear friends, this we hereby promise you.

“WHEN?” I hear you say. “WHAT EXACTLY?” I hear you say.

Enough for now. Enough. Patience.

Papa Sangre under iOS 5 (Edit: now works)

October 28th, 2011

EDIT: Papa Sangre now works on all current versions of iOS.

At the moment, Papa Sangre doesn’t work under iOS 5. It did under early builds but broke just before iOS 5 was released.

We’re on it.

More Amazing Reviews!

January 4th, 2011

My, my, my. People have been saying the most amazing things about Papa Sangre!

1) We were the best reviewed application of December 2010, according to MCV. Here’s the Quality Index website.

2) Gamezebo gave gave us a five-star rating. In its favour they said: “Incredibly well designed. Absolutely terrifying sound design. Lots of levels with a surprising amount of variety. The one negative point? “You will have nightmares. We can live with that. Thanks, Gamezebo.

3) 148Apps gave us a five-star rating in every single category, earning us a perfect score. “Hollywood quality,” they say. Read more!

If you’ve got a big ole website and want to review the app, drop us a line!

Just How Amazing is this Game?

December 21st, 2010

This is a bit of a long post. Why? Because it’s hard to describe Papa Sangre. And because the feedback has been amazing — thank you so much everyone who has said nice things. Here’s just a couple of days on Twitter (and check the reviews on the App Store, too!).

irfus

Papa sangre is awesome…

laurencehill
Playing Papa Sangre. It’s awesome. And terrifying. www.papasangre.com

SnapFlapGnap
I’m absolutly speechless about the coolness of @papasangre it’s truly amazing and easily one of the best games of the iphone, in my opinion!

_PhilHarris
Really enjoying playing Papa Sangre it’s certainly worth the wait well done @Voiceofse

JamieKing89
Very impressed with Papa Sangre. Go download it now

benrmatthews
Getting slightly freaked out playing @papasangre. Will be sleeping with the hall light on tonight…

dragon1424
@zersiax Why can’t you get @papasangre? That’s really a shame, you are missing out on the best audio game ever created!

PeterBellUK
@papasangre I spent yesterday scared with my eyes closed and with headphones on. Papa Sangre is The most awesome iPhone game.

m0nastic  Chris
Almost every day this week, someone has released a new iPhone app that is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Today’s is @papasangre

dwoodbridge  David Woodbridge
@papasangre Absolutely fantastic audio game, can’t stop playing, there goes my jobs for the day.

dragon1424 @papasangre is the best audio game ever done! I could play it for months.

Kevin Weispfennig
@papasangre well, the game does work on my iPod touch 3G 32 gig, I played through it. It, is, amazing! Best audio game I ever played!

thomasapage T.O.M.
Been playing Papa Sangre. Man that game is creepy, hell of an idea though. Bravo!

kpopper
Playing Papa Sangre is quite an experience. The video game with no video messes with your head. Very creepy.

digitalmaverick
‘Papa Sangre’ breaks the mould of every other game I’ve ever seen before – a risky idea uniquely & imaginatively executed

laurapea
Papa Sangre is a brilliant iPhone game. And it was them there 4iP folk what done it.

pkqk
Papa sangre is out, only 2 levels in and my heart is pumping with fear.

@TomDavenport: Too scared to play Papa Sangre again. http://bit.ly/papasangre

philstuart
#PapaSangre is freakin’ awesome! FACT. http://bit.ly/eoPyhl

railtonrailton
@benjilanyado papa sangre is awesome

pyro1234 Jim D
The Sound effects in Papa Sangre are really impressive! The designers did a fantastic job with this game!

mink_ette
This game is amazing and terrifying buy it. Buy it now

whitejamie
Of youre looking for a totally different kind of game, download Papa Sangre. It. Is. Awesome.

cali_chica
I love papa sangre. And sorry to those who need an apology. Going to bed.

re7ox
@papasangre The pressure & anxiety really teases out the imagination. Real panic sets in when one steps on a bone.Who needs graphics? Genius

paulpalinkas
Papa Sangre, a sound-only video game for iOS, is pretty amazing so far!

nickludlam
Just played the first 5 mins of “Papa Sangre”. One of the most absorbing iOS games I’ve ever experienced. Brilliant stuff, Somethin’ Else!

benhammersley
Papa Sangre and Word Lens are both giving me proper future thrill. So so so good.

digitalmaverick
Anyone else downloaded the Papa Sangre App to their iPhone? It’s terrifying- like if an App was made by The League of Gentlemen

saleem4rahman  saleem ur rahman
I have to say IOS Papa sangre is a great game so far! #Papasangre

Liamerven
papa sangre is a fantasticly awesome game. wow

AppleVis
Early reports on Papa Sangre are very positive. Everybody who has tried it seems to be enjoying it – http://bit.ly/e6TZlN

@FitFu: Sitting in the dark with a massive grin. @papasangre (iOS) FTW!!!! So good. Huge congrats to all involved.

KevinChao89 Kevin Chao
just reviewed #iOS game: Papa Sangre by Somethin’ Else with a well deserved 5 stars=excellent, fantastic, awesome!

rooreynolds  Roo Reynolds
Enjoying playing Papa Sangre very much. http://j.mp/evr2SG – The most I’ve ever concentrated while playing a game. Congrats to all involved

stevegreer
@tassosstevens Loving @papasangre but finding it impossible to play for anything but short bursts. Too scary.

skilz4comps  Thomas Dean
@papasangre alright I gave in and bought it even though I didn’t get to try it and I GOTTA SAY it’s GREAT!!!! I don’t blame u for gettin mad

DebbieHazelton
@papasangre I read. So impressive. Great minds and incredible work! Hugely commendable. :)

DominicSmith
@papasangre is great, I played it at the weekend. It reminds me why the radio has the best pictures.

matlock  Matt Locke
If you haven’t bought @papasangre yet, make sure you do. It’s an incredible game, and a remarkable innovation.

tomlangdon
A. Fucking. MAZING. @papasangre is every bit the ear bending dastardly fucker I’d hoped for. Bravo @benoonbenoon & co

re7ox  stephen hands
@papasangre Takes me back to MUD days with touches of rpg books by @ian_livingstone. A classic in the making to be sure.

sheffdocfest Sheffield Doc/Fest
It really is a mighty fine leap in playing, that there @papasangre

dubber
@papasangre I’m playing a scene, closing the app, recovering, playing another scene. This will take me a while.

Nettya  Jeanette
Papa sangre is finally out. 3d audio soundscape game, well worth your money on the app store. Not to be played in public, I just screamed!

What’s the Story with the 3rd Gen iPod?

December 19th, 2010

“Somethin’ Else! Hey! I have an iPod touch (3rd generation) and Papa Sangre works fine! You don’t support it. Why?”

Yup, we made a big noise about not supporting 3rd generation iPod touches, yet folks are reporting the game works perfectly for them. We thank you heartily for ignoring our advice and buying it (!) and we are delighted the game works for you — here is why we made the support decision in the first place, and why for now we aren’t changing our officially supported hardware list. 

When you’re making software for different hardware platforms, specs are one thing but real world results are another. When we were ramping up to release and making final support decisions we were finding knotty bugs on older hardware, and on the iPad where identical code was running on hardware with less RAM. Older iPods including 3rd gen iPods totally could not cope. This is, sadly normal. With limited resource we wanted to make sure we actually released the game by Christmas — let’s face it, everyone was getting sick of the wait. So we restricted support to a limited amount of hardware we could test continuously. That way, we could be sure el Papa did what we said it could and no-one would waste their money. 

We stopped testing on older iPods completely. We could not be sure Papa would run and we didn’t want to sell something that would upset folks we want to delight. So we restricted official support. 

Before release we did a huge amount of clean-up, fixes and optimisations on the code. Some of this may have positively affected how the game works on older hardware. We don’t know, because we still haven’t looked. 

Last time we looked, the 3rd generation iPod touch would crash on later levels.

For now we still don’t officially support 3rd generation iPod touches. When we’ve checked we may change this. But there ain’t no way the game will run on something *older* than a 3rd gen iPod — don’t waste your money — and we will never get stuff like the procedural reverb working on anything but 4th gen gadgets. 

Papa’s Here!

December 18th, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen all around the world, the Papa Sangre team is delighted to say our game is now on sale.

Make sure you have at least an iPhone 3GS, iPad or latest version of the iPod touch running the latest version of iOS …

… and then click this link as fast as you can.

Will My Device Play Nice With Papa?

December 6th, 2010

We’ve had a lot of contact recently asking if people will be able to use Papa Sangre on their device — so here’s the coup.

First of all, you’ll need an iOS device — we will not initially be supporting Android devices at all. This is because the binaural engine we are using in the game is incredibly demanding on a processor. Apple’s iOS 4 includes a maths library called “Accelerate,” which helps programmers speed up their floating point calculations. Without this, we couldn’t bring Papa Sangre to you at all. Once version 1 is out, we’re going to look at porting Papa Sangre to Android — we’re more likely to do so if you tell us you want it!

Secondly, you’ll need to be running iOS v4.1 at least. Fire up iTunes, connect your device, and under the Info pane for your device, check you have the latest version of iOS.

Thirdly, you’ll need to be running an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation) or iPad

… to be clear, Papa Sangre does NOT support the original iPhone, iPhone 3G or any iPod touch but the current version. We wish it did, but we just can’t make it work with stability on those devices.

UPDATE: many people are having a good experience on an iPod (3rd generation) which isn’t currently officially supported. Check back soon for an update on this …

If you have a 4th generation device, we’re able to unlock even more audio goodness, similar to how powerful graphics cards on computers give you greater textures or frame rates. In our case this means ‘procedural reverb’ that gives you more detail and realism about the size and shape of room you’re in. Papa Sangre is super-cool without this, but super-cooler on an iPhone 4 basically.

Watch this space for pricing and exact release date information.

Who Made the Papa?

December 3rd, 2010

Here’s the alphabetic list of the people that made Papa Sangre. It doesn’t include all those at Somethin’ Else and elsewhere whose support actually made it possible …

Paul Bennun Executive Producer

Neil Bennun Writing

Ben Cave Director and Producer

Sophie Choupas Graphics

Richard Evans Voice Acting

Ed Hallifax Audio Editing

Jim Holmes Playtesting

Adam Hoyle Technical Architect and Gameplay

Dan Jones Lead Engineer (Audio Engine)

Trevor Klein Playtesting

Lily Kumana Voice Acting

Ed de Lacy Interstitial Audio Mixing

Peter Law Project Manager and Level Wrangler

Rob McHardy Development Environment

Daniel Morris Launch Project Manager

Pilar Orti Voice Acting

Stephen Travis Pope Engineer (Audio Engine)

Margaret Robertson General Brilliance and Game Design

Nick Ryan Director of Sound and Music

Luis Soto Voice Acting

Tassos Stevens Lead Game Designer

Seaming To Voice Acting

Lucy Würstlin Executive Producer for 4iP

Release Date. For Real.

November 29th, 2010

Hello.

El Papa is about to make an important statement about his proximity to the land of the living.

Very close.

Very, very, very close.

Cross your fingers for some iTunes vouchers this holiday season …

Audio Wrangling

July 27th, 2010

Today a missive from Nick Ryan; our Doctor of Sound (no less)…

We have been working on further audio design for the palaces. Last week a new Palace was born; designed narratively to sound dramatically distinctive, The Palace Of Glass has loads of levels all of which play with the acoustics of highly reflective surfaces. In one level there’s a major twist in functionality (but I can’t tell you what it is yet!)

The footsteps sessions are growing exponentially it seems and we have devised a way of delivering more footsteps more procedurally. This makes everyones life ten times more labour intensive *except* the player of course, who can now enjoy footsteps that are gradually adjust to changes in terrain – thus allowing us to circumnavigate the ‘peg-leg conundrum’.

I’ve just opened a  conversation with software developers ‘Flux’ hoping that they’ll let us try out the hotly awaited new plugins from Ircam Tools. Only just said hello but they seem very nice fellas and we hope that they dig Papa. One of the two plugins in question allow voices to be manipulated according to variables that change percieved age and gender – except it sounds like they’re taking a radically different approach to other tools that have done this in the past and the results are meant to be amazing. The other tool we’re hoping to get our hands on models acoustic space in new and exciting ways. More news to come on that…

I’m off on holiday next week but taking a friend with me – George or KU800 as he’s better known (god I’m a geek!) Anyway I’ll be taking George with me to some nice sounding places and recording binaural ambiences for use in the game. These will include a cornfield and a wood.

I leave you with some pics of the logic automation for the FWT’s voices  - if you dont know what an FWT is, you will.

Papa Sangre: The First Public Playtest

June 17th, 2010


Yesterday was an excellent day for Team Papa. The first in a series of playtests (this time for the good people of Apple and 4iP) we took over Channel 4′s Drum for nachos, beer and games.

With the glorious Alex Barrow on the accordion, proceedings kicked off with a few rounds of Sangre Y Patatas, the theatre game that inspired Papa Sangre. The rules are simple:

- Wear blindfolds
- One person is killer (‘Sangre’) and the others are prey (‘Patatas’)
- Keep moving
- If you bump into someone you have to greet them with your name – either Sangre or Patatas
- If you are Patatas and you hear Sangre you are dead, and may die as theatrically as you like and retire to the fringes
- The winner is the last Patatas standing

New games included hanging bells and Doritos on the floor as sound hazards. This gave everyone a look into the game world of Papa Sangre; a place where every step matters, where you have to listen and creep in a darkness so dark if you lit a match it would be invisible. And of course it was a good warm up for the ears:

Thanks to everyone who came along, and played both Papa Sangre and Sangre Y Patatas… we have some excellent feedback and playtesting notes to work with. And sorry to those that were freaked by Fluttery-wutteries whispering in their ears or Snufflehogs idly picking at their brains.

Team Papa

April 20th, 2010

We had a drink last week and someone took a photo on their iPhone.

If you wondered what Team Papa Sangre looks like (minus Dan the Coder and Neil the Writer) here you go.

And for special bonus edit: chief Sangre Wrangler, Ben Cave, is not in this picture either. The author of this article sends his sincere apologies.

Nice pic of the Papa Sangre dev team

Release Date News

April 16th, 2010

OK — we’ve had a *lot* of requests for information as to when Papa Sangre’s going to ship. Thanks for all the interest!

Short version: “When it’s done.”

Longer version: we reckon we’ll be done by early summer — to be specific, June.

Exact day to be determined.

It’s sounding pretty darn good by the way.

Fresh Sangre – Dan Jones Joins Team Papa

April 8th, 2010

Papa Sangre has found a new pair of ears to feast on.

Dan Jones is the latest addition to the team, and is applying his considerable talents to turbocharging our audio engine.

Dan is part artist, part designer and part engineer. After pumping steroids into Papa’s world of sound he is heading off to the Santa Fe Institute - Mecca to all things complex and labyrinthine - to explore chaos and swarm theory in the desert. He is responsible for several site-specific audio/video performances, sound design and scores for film and stage, and web-based generative works, plus live and pre-recorded pieces for radio. Check his website, or follow him on Twitter… he is something of The Don.

Below is a beautiful Dan Jones original. ‘Score Treatments’ sees the surface image of a series of classical scores subjected to techniques mirroring those found within contemporary digital music production: granulation, timestretching, mathematical repetition, and cut-and-splice collage. Welcome along El Jones.

“Research”

March 8th, 2010

This afternoon Nick, Paul and I were joined by Christer and Martina AKA Lundahl & Seiti. We encountered the lovely duo in search of a microphone in the shape of a human head, but after meeting them discovered that they have much more to offer than mere equipment hire.

The first time we met they (politely) refused to describe to me exactly what they did, preferring instead to demonstrate it. I was led into our large Black Room Studio here at Somethin’ Else, instructed to put on a pair of goggles (letting in light but basically blindfolding me) and a pair of headphones. They played a 10-15 minute sound file, recorded at 4am in what sounds like a playground with binaural voices and effects.

Throughout the adventure the duo use the space they are moving in, different types of illusion, touch and sound to create something that defies description. The experience was as surprising as it was wonderful and I found myself clumsily thanking them a lot.

Today was the turn of Paul and Nick for the L&S treatment and both absolutely loved it. Martina and Christer have over a decade of experience in sound art—often choreographed and with binaural audio—for audiences all over the world.

Their current project asks some serious questions about how the sense of self itself is created through stimulus — serious shizznit — and in that they’re working with Henrik Ehrsson from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm who can make you feel like a doll’s fingers are attached to you. He was featured in a recent BBC Horizon programme … here’s some more about Henrik from the Beeb.

We really want to find a way to work with them on Papa (fingers crossed it will work out) but in the meantime if you ever come across their work make sure you take time to put the headphones on and turn off your eyes.

The Papa Sangre Philosophy

March 5th, 2010

Here’s how our Game Design Document begins … with a couple of redactions made for various reasons, some of them good. Margaret Robertson forced us to write this. We’ll come back and expand on a few of these prior to releasing the game, trying not to give away anything it would be more fun to discover first-hand …

1: You are You — this is a first-person game where you, the player, are the person. There is an immersive visceral kick of feeling immediately that it’s you in there. This is not the real world (surreal), but it also isn’t abstract.

2: This is Horror — there are things in the space trying to kill you.

3: Finger Man Walking — walk with your fingers. Every step you take is meaningful and full of feedback; it locates you. It carries an outcome in relation to the threat. You need to understand the stakes on every single step.

4: Sound and Music — the world has sound and music in its fabric. It is the first game created with dynamic binaural sound.

5: Sightless World — it’s a game in pitch darkness, where immersive sound transports you in your imagination wherever you are.  There is no visual representation of space whatsoever. Instead there are safety nets such as *** REDACTED *** to help you. Playing the game teaches you audio cognition in the early stages.

6: *** REDACTED FOR SUSPENSE ***

7: *** REDACTED SPOILAR!!!1!! ! ***

8: *** REDACTED BECAUSE WE CAN ***

9: *** REDACTED TO SAVE KITTENS ***

10: Playing this enriches peoples’ lives — through positive subversion, confidence building and / or co-operation.

Papa Sangre Featured in Wired Magazine

March 4th, 2010

The April issue of the UK edition of Wired magazine has a story on Papa Sangre, sitting pretty on page 55.

It features an interview and pic with Paul Bennun, wearing a very fetching set of yellow and pink headphones, freezing his arse off near London Bridge one February morning, 2010.

It’s a good article and the newspaper industry needs your support, so go and buy the excellent Wired immediately.

Picture of Wired article (hopefully not © infringing)

First Post!

March 4th, 2010

Hello! Welcome to the Papa Sangre development blog, where we’re going to geek out about how we’re developing Papa Sangre’s gameplay, audio, tech, artwork, PR and the rest.

We’d love to hear from you!

The most interest we’ve had in the game is about the audio — probably unsurprisingly. So let’s have a quick look at that for our first post.

Ben Cave, Papa Sangre producerWell, here’s a couple of members of our team building the first teaser for Papa Sangre, which you can hear here … the rather fabulously good-looking Benjamin Cave, project producer, and the fantastically talented Dr. Nicholas Ryan (sound designer and composer).

There are two main types of audio in the game, both of them binaural.

Nick Ryan, Composer and Sound DesignerOne comes from a software engine that can simultaneously position a number of sounds behind your head — or anywhere else — and move them about in real time relative to where you move in the game (which, we may have mentioned elsewhere on the site, is BLOODY HARD TO DO, at least on a handheld device).

We haven’t got a name for our engine (maybe suggest one — we’ll use it forever and give you a credit!).

The other type of sound involves a few novel techniques using the extraordinary dummy head Neumann lent us (thank you Neumann). The head has the same shape, density and features as a human head, with two exceptional microphones in the ear canals. These shots show Ben and Nick moving around some of our studio speakers (playing mono audio) relative to the dummy head, which records what it hears. This creates flat two-channel files (left and right), which are beautifully binaural when you listen back on headphones.

Picture of Nick and Ben moving loudspeakers relative to the dummy head micA Neumann dummy head recording device

This is not the first iPhone game to feature binaural audio: you can find a few games on the App Store that use a dummy head or something similar to record two-channel binaural files. The beautiful Zen Bound springs to mind. To the iPhone CPU this is as demanding as playing a stereo file (mainly because it is just a two-channel audio file!). The difference here is that we’re also generating binaural audio in real time.

It means the player can move about freely inside the game, and the game procedurally uses an HRTF to work out how sound sources should change relative to the player’s movements in real time.

This was, by the way, BLOODY HARD.