Alkemi’s chronicles – part 1 – (2009-2010)

duoI’ve been asked to talk a bit about what it takes to create and manage a game studio these days. In the following lines, I’ll try to recount all the important facts in the life of our small and still young company and what led to its creation in the first place.

Alkemi today is a team of 2 people (one of the original founder aka me, Alain, and Christophe my colleague). At the end of 2012, Mickael, the other original founder decided to go his own way because our views had sadly become quite incompatible. He just started a new small entity which is called Potion of Wit to develop his own projects but we’re still in good terms and work together for contract jobs.

We’ll come back to our present situation, but first let’s take a look at the origin of the project… and even before that to the first time I contemplated the idea of making games as a job.

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A game of Tricks – Normal mapped sprites

flowerHonestly, I’m a bit ashamed at how little time we took to communicate this last year. I’ve always wanted to share my experiences, just to repay everything I’ve learned from others generous enough to publish sources, tutorials, study cases in the game industry. When we started Alkemi 3 years ago, I tried to write tutorials regularly but I was soon overwhelmed by the work required to finish our game and the contract jobs necessary to finance its production. 2012 was a stressful year but hopefully all of that is behind us now and I really want to get back to playing with small ideas and sharing a few tricks here and there.

Designing small visual or development techniques and tricks is my favorite part in the game making process. It is in fact far more rewarding for me than game design or pure visual creation. I’ll share here what I’ve learned over the years and more recent stuff.

My first topic will be something that is massively used in Transcripted : normal-mapped-sprites. In other words, how to make your 2D game look like it’s real time 3D. Well… to some extent. A lot of recent 2D games are made with 3D engines. For tools like Unity, a 2D game is just a simple scene with an orthographic camera filming orthogonally a lot of planes with pretty textures mapped on each of them.

Let’s face it : planes are not really interesting when it comes to how they react to light. There’s not much you can do with dynamic lighting and dumb planes or sprites. Sure, you can use light attenuation ranges to create halo of lights in darkness but you won’t get a lot further than that…

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Transcripted Status : on hold

Transcripted has been released for 5 months now and some of you may have noticed that the game just disappeared from Steam a week ago. Instead of cursing and swearing and kicking all over the place, I’ll follow my lawyer advice and state things as formally as possible : due to a conflict between Alkemi and Topware (our publisher), we have decided to terminate our publishing agreement and this termination is now subject to litigation. We very much hope this problem will be solved at some point but I’m told these things take time…

A new start

For Alkemi, 2013 is really like a new start : Transcripted is out. Mickael one of the 2 original founders of the company went his way to work on his personal projects. So here were are, ready to work on brand new projects, just the two of us, back with a vengeance !