Double Eleven Day

By | Double Eleven, Frozen Synapse Prime, Nom Nom Galaxy, PixelJunk Eden, PixelJunk Monsters, PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate | No Comments

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Hey all, it’s officially Double Eleven Day & that means one thing. Sales for a number of our digital games on PC, including the PJ Series, Cloud Chamber and Frozen Synapse Prime.

From starting today for the next 48 hours, you can pick up these games:
PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate (Win/Mac) 90% OFF
PixelJunk Shooter (Win/Mac) 90% OFF
Frozen Synapse Prime (Windows) 75% OFF
Frozen Synapse Prime Soundtrack Edition 75% OFF
Nom Nom Galaxy (Windows) 20% OFF
PixelJunk Eden (Windows) 80% OFF
Cloud Chamber (Windows) 75% OFF
And our latest PixelJunk PC title: PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (Windows) 25% OFF

You can find a number of these and even a PixelJunk Series Bundle for 90% off (containing Monster Ultimate, Shooter and Eden) from our digital retail partners below.

Green Man Gaming, Games Rocket, Direct2Drive, Bundle Stars, and Get Games.

Keep an eye out on our twitter for more news on the sales, as they begin to roll out.

Happy hunting.

– Double Eleven Team

Exclusivity comes to an end as we split from Sony XDev!

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For those of you who follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you will already be aware of our split from Sony XDev. Late last week we announced the end of our exclusivity with Sony, which can only be described as the end of an era. The response from our fans has been very positive so far, wishing us luck for the future as we push into publishing on the PSN platform. As you can imagine, this is a super exciting time for us, onwards and upwards!

We gave our exclusive to Games Industry International and you can read it here:

Double Eleven splits from Sony XDev as it continues publishing push | GamesIndustry International

NEW: D11 TEAM PROFILES

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We’ve been celebrating our wonderful team with the recent new ‘Double 1-to-1s’ blog interviews, and it’s great that they’ve been so well-received. In order to avoid flooding you with interviews – and constantly nagging our staff to answer our questions! – we’ve decided to release these in a timely fashion, with a rumination gap between each of a week or two.

We do want to show off the full roster of lovely people that work for us, though, and without waiting for each of their interviews to come out. So, we are happy to introduce our new Employee Profiles: simple bite-sized introductions to each team member.

These permanent fixtures will reside in the About Us section of our website. Head over there now to see the first batch we’ve put up. We’ll be adding more and more as they are written, so come back frequently to check for updates.

AND THE WINNER IS….. DOUBLE ELEVEN!

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Through all of the excitement of Thursday night carrying on right the way through Friday, we have just got round to posting the blog today! As you can imagine, the office was buzzing in the wake of us winning Company of the Year at theNorth East Business Awards. The tension built up as we watched many deserving companies pick up their awards and we have included a list of the night’s winners so you can have a look at what happened in the Teesside heat:

Company of the Year – Double Eleven (yes, we did it!!!)
Corporate Responsibility and Environment Award – J&B Recycling
Export Award – SSI
Heart of the Community – Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation
Innovation Award – Durable Technologies
Internet and ICT Award – Visualsoft eCommerce
Manufacturing Award – Nifco
Newcomer of the Year – Nortech Solutions
Services Award – Odyssey Systems
Small Business Award – Fifteen Digital

As Mark said on the night, we do feel very humbled to have received this award, especially with having been in competition with leading businesses from more traditional industries. We are so proud to be putting the digital sector ofMiddlesbrough on the map. We are also really excited for this coming year and next year; with some really exciting projects in the pipeline, these next few years are going to be amazing!

Teesside’s strength has always been in engineering anyway, but now we’re fortifying the software engineering element and doing everything we can to make the future brighter for the Tees Valley. There were many hardworking companies there on Thursday night who really deserved their awards and it was truly inspiring to see how much is going on in the Tees Valley and how hard people are working to put our region on the map for the best possible reasons.

We want to say a massive congratulations to all the winners of the NEBA Teesside heat and we are so excited for the Regional Final on April 25th!

DEVELOPER DIARY – CAPTURING LIFE IN THE VATFORMS

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We’d love you to join us as we journey through the development of ‘Frozen Synapse: Tactics’ and experience the trials and triumphs we encounter along the way. So we’ve decided to write a series of Developer Diaries to open a window into our world and let you follow with us on the game’s progress, all the way to the finished title.

When we realised that we’d be taking the fantastic original Frozen Synapse and giving the player a more immersive and deeper experience with the game, we knew straight away that we had to do something extra special with the Vatforms. They are core to the gameplay and we wanted the player to feel a lot more connected to them and responsible for them. As part of achieving this we wanted to ensure that they had realistic animations. The Vatforms are similar to natural humans; bipedal bodies of muscle, blood and flesh; so we needed to portray this in their movements and communicate that they’re not simply robots or computer models.

There’s also nothing more fun in the original game than watching a plan come together as you see your units blasting the other enemy units away. Getting this same feeling in the new game was therefore a major focus for us. To achieve this, the series of motions we were most keen to get right were thedeaths. When a sniper gets a headshot or a shotgunner blasts a unit back off its feet, it’s a great sensation in-game. That “Blam!” feeling from successfully taking another unit down is what makes Frozen Synapse so fun to play. We realised that the best way to get this absolutely spot-on was to use motion capture.

For the motion capture we went to Audiomotion. They’ve won a bunch of awards for their work on a host of games and movies, including a big range of shooters such as Far Cry 3, so we knew they’d be right for the job. They brought in stuntmanJohn Street (who’s done stunts for The Dark Knight Rises, Inception and The Bourne Ultimatum!) for the actual actions of the Vatforms.

Donned in a black bodysuit bedecked with white bobbles, our stuntman had to repeatedly get shot with imaginary bullets fired at various angles from imaginary guns. For the higher-impact actions, such as the shotgun death, poor John was yanked to the floor via a bungee cable strapped to his waist. It was quite amusing and a lot of fun watching him die over and over again, though he must have got sick of those crash mats! We collected a great set of motions from the day’s recordings. A particular favourite of ours is the ‘headshot from behind’. You can view that and a few others on our YouTube channel.

The animations are now being touched-up by our animatorand we think they look excellent so far. We hope you enjoy seeing the motions in-game as much as we enjoyed watching them being performed.

Stay tuned for more developer diaries coming soon.

THE D11 BAFTA ROUNDUP!

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As I am sure many of you know, Double Eleven put on their best suits and dresses and headed to the BAFTAs in London on Tuesday night. We would love to tell you that it wasn’t as glamorous as you’d think, but it actually was!

So the champagne reception started at 6pm and we all made our way down the red carpet; thankfully no one fell and there were no wardrobe malfunctions so the night was off to a great start. The night began with champagne and catching up with old friends in the games industry, as well as making some new acquaintances along the way. As much as we would love to give you a blow-by-blow account of how amazing the food was, we will keep it short and sweet and tell you that we all got a “Mini BAFTA” from the famous chocolatier Hotel Chocolat. So in that respect, everyone was a winner!

Now onto the awards!

Comedian and causal gamer Dara O’Briain hosted the night and he did a fantastic job of it, keeping the jokes flowing throughout. There were obviously a host of guest celebrities as well, including Mark Wright, Boris Becker and Jonathan Ross who added to the sparkle of the evening overall. Let’s give you a rundown of this year’s winners by category:

Action – Far Cry 3
Game Innovation – The Unfinished Swan
Artistic Achievement – Journey
Mobile & Handheld – The Walking Dead
Audio Achievement – Journey
Online – Browser – SongPop
BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in association with Dare to be Digital – Starcrossed
Online – Multiplayer – Journey
Best Game – Dishonored
Original Music – Journey
British Game – The Room
Performer – Danny Wallace
Debut Game – The Unfinished Swan
Sports/Fitness – New Star Soccer (one of our favourites!)
Family Game – LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Story – The Walking Dead
Games Strategy – XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Games Design – Journey

Games Luminary and founder of Valve Gabe Newell was there to receive a Fellowship and gave an epic speech to accompany his award. Everyone had a fantastic night and it was a real pleasure to be there. It was also a privilege to meet some of the brains behind some of the biggest games in the industry at the moment. Naturally we were disappointed that LBP lost out to The Walking Dead, but competition was stiff and we were honored to have been nominated for a BAFTA in the first place. That said, we hope to bring one home next year….watch this space!

DOUBLE 1-TO-1s – ROB

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Hi Rob. So, to start off, what do you do at Double Eleven?

I’m Technical Director, but most of my day is spent hands-on coding.

And have you been in the games industry long?

Just working it out; it’ll be 11 years in May.

That’s quite a stint. How much of that has been with Double Eleven?

It will be 2 years in July if I remember correctly.

And where else have you worked in the remainder of that time?

Well, back in 2002 I moved from the south coast to the Midlands after I bagged a job at Rare, where I learnt a lot over the next seven years. In 2009 I moved up to Leeds for a stint at Rockstar, so by that time I knew both Lee [Hutchinson, CEO] and Matt [Shepcar, Technical Director] well and the rest is history really.

What made you decide to get into the games industry in the first place, and how did you secure a job at Rare?

It was all an accident really. I loved computers from an early age and was programming as a hobby. I can remember spending weeks writing a “Red Dwarf” text adventure in Basic. I think that was 1990 or 1991, so I was around 10. This continued through my teens, but I mostly studied other things. I went off to university to study economics. That didn’t really work out and I didn’t finish it, but that turned out to be quite fortunate. I sent off a speculative application to Rare with a bunch of demos I’d written for the Gameboy Advance, and they were kind enough to give me a chance, which I took with both hands!

A Rare opportunity! Ha ha…. sorry. So, knowing Lee and Matt from working with them in the past, you must have been happy to jump over to the Double Eleven ship. What would you say you like about working here, with them, the most?

I think for me it’s been about getting involved with something early on and hopefully being able to make a big difference. That’s exciting and scary in equal measures. Creating software is like alchemy, except that it actually works. So if you can get great people together in that field you can do great things. I think that’s what we’re on the road to achieving here at Double Eleven.

You were part of the team for ‘LittleBigPlanet PS Vita’. What was your involvement on the project?

That project was a bit of a Herculean optimisation effort and that’s what I spent a fair bit of my time on the project doing. We had to multi-thread all sorts of code that programmers often shy away from attempting, such as all the game logic that you can put together in Create Mode. So I spent a lot of time trying to make sure I hadn’t broken anything (or finding out that I had and fixing it!) I also did a fair bit of work on the networking code and then lots of general bug fixing.

And now you’re working on ‘Frozen Synapse: Tactics’. Obviously you can’t say much right now, but can you give us a quick summary of your role on that?

Indeed. For Frozen Synapse I’ve taken on the lead programmer role and that basically involves overseeing all the software, putting processes and pipelines into place, and problem solving whatever comes up as the project goes on.

Moving away from work, do you find much time for gaming outside of the job? What would you say was your most recently enjoyed game?

I love the more experimental indie games and I’m glad that scene is doing so well. Braid, Fez, VVVVVV are some obvious favourites from the last few years, and of course Frozen Synapse. I recently spent half the day selling newspapers in Cart Life, which was quite a profound experience. I’m really looking forward to Spy Party and must get around to trying Prison Architect. That said, I still play quite a lot of good old Tetris too. Aside from that you can find me running quite long distances or playing with my two dogs.

Indeed, it is certainly good to see so much attention on great indie games at the moment. Do you have any closing comments?

Closing comments, well…I should really take the opportunity to say ‘send us your CVs’, if you think you can enhance the team here at Double Eleven. And with that, there is work to do so I’ll say goodbye!

Well, thank you for the interview, Rob. Good luck with your work on ‘Frozen Synapse: Tactics’.

DOUBLE ELEVEN NEEDS YOU! INTRIGUED? READ ON…

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Have you ever played a game and thought “Wow, that character/location looks amazing, I wonder what it took to design that” or “I wish that character had X, Y or Z to make them perform/look better!” If you look at a game on a creative level as well as technical and you love the idea of being part of a successful game, carry on reading.

Double Eleven is on the hunt for an Art Manager to add to our awesome team of creative geniuses. Remember in the movie “Taken”, where Liam Neeson is giving that epic speech and he says, “I do not have money, but what I do have is a very particular set of skills….”? Well, here at Double Eleven, we have a very specific set of skills that we would like our new Art Manager to embody. In a nutshell, this is what we are after:

We want a creative thinker with vast art and project manager experience and a gift for communication both in writing and in person. The ideal candidate would be a team player who demonstrates critical thinking and problem solving abilities. At Double Eleven, passion is key, so putting your heart and soul into everything is absolutely essential, as is the ability to work in a high-pressure environment; everyone loves the adrenaline though, right?

We are really looking forward to adding another valuable addition to our awesome team. If, after reading this, you think you’re the right person for Double Eleven, a detailed job description is available on our website so check it out; you could be exactly what we’re looking for!

Do YOU have what it takes?

BEST NEW BUSINESS AWARDS

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Time to roll out the red carpet again! This time last year, Double Eleven picked up an award at the Best New Business Awards in the Creative Industries category. We were also selected as the overall winner of the Best New Business, so it was a fantastic night for us! We really appreciated the recognition that we received last year, which is why we sponsored the Creative Industry award for the 2013 ceremony. The ceremony was last night and the winner for our category was CoatSink Software Ltd!

For us it is important to recognize talent within the creative industry and the massive amount of work and effort that goes into establishing a successful and sustainable business. We wanted to select a company that was really going somewhere with their fresh ideas and innovative take on what they do. The nominees had all achieved this through their own means, so it was actually really hard to pick a winner. We wish them all a wealth of success in their future growth and development as companies.

As a company, Double Eleven has grown immensely in the last year, with an increase in turnover of more than a third, a lot of exciting new projects on an international scale and most importantly, more fantastic people to help us produce the most amazing, high quality games around. With all of the success and awards nominations in the past few years, you’d think it would have gone to our head, but we remain focused on moving forward and doing everything bigger and better! We aim to keep our team happy and let them grow at Double Eleven; we want them to love working for us and help us to grow the company into something awesome (or should that be more awesome than it already is?).

We were honored to receive the award last year and the Double Eleven team were thrilled that all of their hard work had been recognized, so we were excited to pass it on to another deserving company. It was a really good night, with the passion of the North East really shining through; there are so many businesses working to make the North East into a real empire. Sam Fletcher did a wonderful job organizing the event and made sure that everything went smoothly. We had a fantastic time and want to say congratulations to all of last night’s winners!!

COMPANY OF THE YEAR

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It’s another exciting year for Double Eleven and it’s showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. We have just received news that Double Eleven has been nominated for Company of the Year at the North East Business Awards so we are loving this euphoric wave of recognition that is sweeping across Double Eleven. It is very humbling to us that people regard us so highly as a company, but as a company that remains strongly tied to its roots in the North East, it also makes us extremely proud.

Whilst any award is obviously an honour to receive, Company of the Year is one close to our hearts. We work hard to ensure that our staff enjoy – scratch that – they love working for us. We encourage personal development that satisfies them to such a degree that it makes them appreciate how much we value them as individuals, as well as wanting to enhance the skill set of our growing team. Our working environment is like any other, with boardrooms and office areas, but we also have other, more informal areas for casual meetings and brainstorming that encourage the creativity and fresh ideas to emerge from within the innermost genius of our developers and other team members. Most importantly, Double Eleven owes this nomination to the three pillars on which the company rests; Hard Work, Integrity and Solidarity.

No job is too big or too small, we put our heart and soul into everything that we do and as a team we have an excellent synergy that allows us to produce the results that we do. Great games don’t just happen overnight; there’s always a story (and an army of talented developers, artists and other creative individuals) behind them. Good Synergy leads to great energy and even better games. Company of the Year? Let’s do this!