Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Survive The Nights Interview With Leader Designer.

What about the DAYZ!!

If your like me, after many years (too many!) of gaming, you get stuck in a rut and go through a stage where all games look and feel the same. Nothing excites you or get's you finger riddling your mice in excitement. It's not the games at fault (well, some maybe) but just this rut that appears..... It could be the greatest game ever made and still you feel deflated and "same old, same old".

That's when little gems like 'Survive The Nights' help out. Its sneaky sneaky projects like this that suddenly pop out of nowhere and make a fuss. They rock the foundations of the gaming community and make heads turn.  It has me excited and feeling like a teenager again, living back at home eagerly waiting in anticipation for it's release to do all night gaming sessions, it had me at "Survive" and I've nick named it my "Sweet Suzy" because it’s going to be sweet, so sweet I named it Suzy.........

I was fortunate enough to sit down (in the virtual online world) with Joe, the Lead Designer for 'Survive The Nights' from a2z(Interactive). Carry on reading for a summary of what the game is about and an Interview that will reveal exactly how fascinating this team is and why their project should have YOUR support.

Survive The Nights is a unique FPS survival, focusing on teamwork, fortification, creativity and strategy. Secure a structure or roam free, the choice is yours.  With drivable vehicles, mental health effects and a crafting system that has indoor farming for those of us who just like to stay inside!
The game has been Greenlit on Steam and now live on Kickstarter as a "Staff Pick!"

1. Hi, Please can you introduce yourself andgive a brief description of what you do on the Project.
My name's Joe, everyone on the team calls me JB.
I'm the lead designer on Survive the Nights and co-founder of a2z(Interactive). I'm 31, married, born and raised in Brooklyn New York.  I love gaming and anything game related. Recently my hobbies have included eating and getting fat. As most people developing a game will tell you there isn't time for anything but developing a game, it has become an obsession!

2. Can you provide a brief overview of the game and why you chose a survival zombie genre when already the industry is flooded by “Zombie” games.
Personally we don't feel it is flooded. Zombies aren't a "new fad", hell I played ‘Zombies ate My neighbors’ for hours and that was nearly 25 years ago! The short answer is we've all always wanted to make games and we've all always wanted to play this one. 

3. I’m fascinated how the Team (a2z Interactive) formed. From meeting on Xbox Live to creating a Minecraft server which then spawned the idea of creating ‘Survive The Night’ (STN). What knowledge did you have to gain and experiences to go through to even consider creating a game?
The team has had little to no formal training when it comes to game development. Our knowledge comes from almost two years now of trying! We read/watch/listen to anything we can get our hands on. The two lead developers Jayty and I have been life long gamers, as you mentioned we met gaming. We've dedicated every free second we have had over the last two years to Survive the Nights. 

4. Why did you choose Unity as the build engine? With the flexibility in the Unity Engine will you find time and resource to possible port this to Next Gen Consoles (PS4, X1...Wii U!?!?).
We fell in love with unity but more importantly the community behind it. We strongly suggest anyone thinking about game development have a look at not just Unity but it's forums and all the amazing people that are involved with it. We haven't discussed much when it comes to console ports however that shouldn't mean we don't plan on them. Right now we're focused on creating the best game we can and for the time being that only includes Windows/Mac builds (Linux we're not forgetting you we promise!).

5. How many players can the engine handle concurrently?
There are a wide scope of factors to take into account and nothing game wise is truly set in stone! We'll have more info on the matter soon. 

6. How do you plan on the servers being persistent and dedicated? Are any servers to be hosted by a2z or player only?
Servers will be hosted by a provider we trust very much. Players will be able to rent them just like Minecraft servers etc. We'll also have a number of servers hosted by a2z! :)

7. Will you approach server providers (i.e. to get some form of service/support?

8. With the Calorie and sleeping features are you at all concerned the game could turn from fun to a ‘Chore’. Will players be wanting to just get on with the ‘Fun’ stuff but consistently held back because they must go eat something or sleep to keep player energy at peak?
Yes this is something we totally want to avoid. We plan on keeping starvation and dehydration realistic also. Players will not have to eat every 10 minutes rather every few hours (gamedays) before really feeling the effects! Once again all of these systems are in alpha and we plan on really listening to our alpha backers.  

9. Can you provide a further insight in the calorie features i.e. eating.
We will be releasing more video in the coming months showcasing all of these features. 

10. Does the dynamic weather affect game play in sense of aim and speed of movement? I.e. if it’s cold, will aiming down site affect this and if so can winter clothing mitigate this effect?
Yes colder months will have you seeking more firewood, wetter weather will sap your energy, damp cloths your body temperature. Luckily the dryers work! :p 

11. Can you describe how the ‘Mental Health’ engine will work in the game? Do we take it that PvP is a No, No due to ‘Mental Breakdown’.
You shouldn't take PvP as a NO!
PvP will still be a part of the game as it should be. Mental health will play a large role in it though. A player that abuses others will have to suffer the consequences of their actions. The bandit will become disorientated after a few KoS's their vision might blur voices might be heard visions of the players they have killed. These symptoms can be fought off perhaps with home grown medicines or found prescription anti psychotics. Once again all of these systems are in their infant stages and players will have a say in the final product for sure. Players will also be able to control server backends allowing them to completely disable PvP. 

12. How will the levelling work? Is it casual player friendly?
Levelling much like crafting will be simple yet extensive. We'd like to keep things old-school here doing things a lot makes you better/faster/steadier and so on.

13. Will there be player events? I.e. triggers that start a mass zombie overrun where as players must group to survive.
That's a great idea but not something we have planned as of right now.

14. What are the minimal system requirements?
We don't have any specifics locked in at this time. Survive the Nights will be very scalable, it's currently being developed/recorded on out of the box gear. 

15. Do we have a launch date or open beta date?
Nothing we'd feel comfortable sharing. The game is in its early stages, very one on the team is a gamer and we wouldn't release anything we weren't happy playing no matter what stage it's in.

16. Which games have inspired you to create STN and have you taken ideas from
As insane as it sounds the whole thing started with GTAIV. Jayty and myself were messing around in a free roam and started saying how epic it would be if you could "hold down" homes, store weapons and supplies in cars. That idea is really what sparked the first talks about getting into game development. We're heavily influenced by all the old zombie flicks, George A. Romeros stuff in particular.
I'm a massive fan of point and click adventure games and I've turned Jayty onto a few, you might see some of that influence trickle into Survive the Nights.  As unbelievable as it sounds no one on the team has ever played any of the current survival games with the exception of the two hours i've put into the forest (love it) and an hour or two on 7d2d (which I also enjoyed very much). Jayty and I are one day going to get Day-z but currently can't seem to take a break from development as my lack of timely response to your interview can confirm (sorry!).

17. Who is your Gaming hero?
He's short, stubby and Italian much like myself.

18. Lastly, have you any STN goodies we can giveaway! (Cheeky Grin).
Yeah we'll hook you up when we get some! :p

Sunday, 15 June 2014

I have a DREAM!!!!

I have a Dream!
When I was a young child there was no better break away from the stern discipline of my parents or the hard knocks life of school than sitting down with my 2 brothers and playing multiplayer games on our Spectrum or most of all the Commodore Amiga and so forth through the generations of computer (Nes, Master System, Dreamcast blah blah etc).

I actually have 3 brothers in total but the 3rd was too young back in them days.

It was so exciting when we all competed against each other or take turns on single player games, with the older brother sometimes doing the "Big Brother" thing and taking 2x goes in a row (GIT!). After several attempts of failing at Moonstone, we would move on to some Skidmarks (super skidmarks!) and many more.

I now have my own family with 2x little girls at the age of 2 years and a 5x week old.

I HAVE A DREAM (besides winning Euro Millions!)

As an avid gamer and lover of the entertainment and escapism it provides, I look forward to all these wonderful indie games that provide classic couch gaming, in particular the Ouya. The vast amount of lovely silly games you would never dream of playing are just a treat to be able to play with friends and family for an evening of fun.

Taking away the HD graphics, all the technical shader details and pixels per zillion and just have some bare fun couch gaming.
I buy and download as many 4 player couch games for Ouya as I can just so when my daughters grow up, I can unwrap my bad boy Ouya (if its wrapped up in 3 years time or so) and play some fun innocent games with them for giggles and entertainment.

I suppose this is why I want to support indie developers, there are some fantastic little gems out there which don't see the shed of light or get no notice (Super World Karts?!?!? and can someone please make a Fuzion Frenzy style game on OUYA please!).  I want these come to be released and hopefully on a form of system that is not a PC.  As much as I love my PC for gaming I just think it's not the Couch gaming system at top of the list.

Our first of many “Support the Developer” campaigns is Explosive Dinosaurs, a 4-player party/mini game coming to PC, Mac and Ouya.

Find more details here –

And our products which will donate proceeds to the cause can be found here -

P.S I'm still waiting for someone to make or convert Liero to Ouya!  With 4 player mode :)

Friday, 6 June 2014

The Big Steam Engine Pull - Dystonia.. A Good Cause!

Dystonia is a medical term that describes a range of movement disorders that cause muscle spasms and contractions. It can be devastating to deal with, however one individual is standing up to it and running a charity event.

Ellalouise Middleton is 16 years old from Essex. She was diagnosed at 14 years old and it has had a massive impact on her life within these few years.  Her life style has changed dramatically due to this Illness because she cannot do any of her hobbies or interest i.e. play football, dance and horse ride. This is down to Dystonia effecting hurt legs, and feet.
She is often wheel chair bound or on crutches, unfortunately there is not cure for Dystonia so support is a big deal to Ellalousie and other sufferers.

Support comes in the form of The Dystonia Society; the Dystonia Society provides practical and emotional support to people with this neurological condition by providing support and information services through our national Helpline and our network of local branches. We also support research to find better treatments for this incurable condition.

You can read more on this charity event at Ellalouise's just giving page - ellalouise-Just Giving is proud to announce the first of many charitie campaigns by supporting Ellalousie's event/cause. PureG33k plan on supporting vairous charities and indie developers to ensure gaming can help in every way!

Buy any products with the Dystonia Society logo and will donate £1.00 GBP of the sale to EllaLousie cause.

Monday, 26 May 2014

A New Standard In Digital Distribution...

  Launching today is, a digital distribution website that sells PC games, Xbox and PSN codes.

Check their Web Site out it -
Facebook (offering 10% discount if you like!) - PureG33k
Twitter for latest sales and deals - Pure G33k Twitter

Saturday, 16 November 2013

I'm Backkkkk

With next gen (xbox One) around the corner....I'm back!

Starting with a fresh video of Xbox One 00:00 Launch on 22nd Nov 2013!

Friday, 9 August 2013

How do you Launch Yours?

With so much excitement around the next generation of consoles launching this year I wanted to see how you will launch yours?
You see I’m leaning more towards the PS4 (Wait... don’t get the pitch forks out yet!!!).  I’ve always owned a PS3 and Xbox 360, from the two I’ve loved the Xbox 360 with the PS3 ever only being used as a gaming machine since ‘Last Of Us’.

I love the fact my friends and family own a 360 and we can jump on, join together in party chat and have a fantastic time on the same games while socializing and being kids again on the voice comms.  Easy transition and just a feeling of LAN without the Local in it………..the addition of a great controller and it’s a package of delight (bit like Turkish delight without the Turkish??!?).

Now, I can not quiet put my finger on it or describe in words but something Sony is doing with the PS4 and their attitude is making me forget about the PS3 less friendly online user interface, uncomfortable pad and internet lag… I don’t know what it is but the PS4 is screaming at me “GET ME!!! YOU NEED ME!  FEEL ME!”.
MS with their Xbox One is making me feel…well “pah” and I’m quiet not sure why that is (I’m going to miss smelling the Bill Gates).
With my two brothers and a handful of gamer friends I’m trying to entice them to join me so we can still do our online sessions and our little LAN’s whilst we play in our marmite stained pants and Haribo sticky fingers.

So, my launch plans if my friends and family join me on the PS4 front will be -  Collect me pre-order at 00:00 with my brothers and friends, take off the following day from work (and another few if it’s not launched on a Friday ‘tears’). All race to an agreed house (hopefully my brothers) and we all open together with tears of joy and excitement while screaming for attention to look at our systems… when their all exactly the same.
Sit down with a big bag of greasy munch, a few take aways and just game it online all together with Battlefield 4, Killzone 2 and a few F2P titles Sony will hopefully have available!

How will you launch yours? And do you think I’m right in swaying my friends and family to join the Sony evolution or leave them to the Xbox One whilst I’ll LAN on my own with my wife putting up with my screaming and spraying spit everywhere of excitement? Or perhaps provide me tips on how I can seal the deal on them converting!!

How will you Launch yours? (Xbox One & PS4)
 free polls 

Comments below!!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

A Geek Who Thinks He Has A Gaming Career..........

When did your gaming career start?
Actually, I suppose I use the word career extremely loose and I mean Hobby.
I admit it must be just a personal thing when I say career as it makes me feel at least half good that I’ve achieved something through the years, hours and minutes I’ve spent gaming (supposedly wasted).

I was 30 years old on June 23rd 2013; and it’s made me realise I’m not where I want to be career wise.
I’ve gamed since as far as I can remember, from the day my father brought back a Spectrum the love grew and luckily with my father having 4 children (me having 3 brothers!!) and his passion for latest gadgets we were fortunately (or is it unfortunate?) to end up with some lovely home computers.
I recall games like Jet Set Willy, I remember my brothers and me smashing buttons on Daley Thompson’s Decathlon and so many memories of waiting so long for our games to load on commodore 64 and then crash….to then go through another painful and torture of the ears of loading screeches and time consumption.
Actually one of my fond memories of gaming is on the Amiga A600, my older brothers got it as a combined Christmas present with the 512mb upgrade (they had 1 Meg ram!!! WHooooOOooo)…..anyway this memory was when we randomly got a copy of Leisure Suit Larry 3 (I can not actually remember how or where we got it from, as back then it was considered a game for adults!).
The pack we had!
Myself and the 2nd oldest brother (2 years my senior) sat there on the quiz part asking our mother in the kitchen making pies “What’s the answer to this Mum….”  And she would shout out the answers which on the most part were correct!  Wahey! We were now in for the virtual pixels of boobs through the binoculars…..hardcore mode!
Don’t get me wrong, my mother never had the faintest what we were doing, after asking 2 to 3 questions she always asked why, or what we were doing.  We just ‘sighed’ and said it’s a quiz game!

We had Nes, Master Systems, Mega Drives (I and my oldest brother played Bulls vs blazers till the death). I recall having a Mega Drive with Sonic for my Christmas gift, my parents bought it second hand a few months before Xmas and put it away. I randomly came home from playing out with friends and no one was in the house, I went to my bedroom and found my older brother sitting there playing on my Mega Drive! He snuck it out whilst my parents were out and did it often, so he admitted….I was devastated!
I had Sega Saturn, we’ve had Dreamcast, I had an Atari Jaguar (Bruce lee!!) and the family have had many PC’s.  To a geek’s life (or gamer) you would say we were pretty spoilt for entertainment systems and we probably were (we never had more than 1 system, most of the time they were sold to get the next etc).
Back then things were different, if we had a system and a game (i.e. mega drive and Sonic) it’s all we had unless we got a game for our next Birthday or Xmas.  It’s not like now when children will get every new release or at least a game every few months, boy no…we never had that.  It was literally playing the 1 or 2 games we had to its full extent and really appreciating them as the only chance to get another game was on a holiday season/Birthday and to pick was even harder…to ensure that one game or possibly two a year would have to be the right pick…the best pick!!!

So... my gaming career (Hobby?) really started from getting Duke Nukem 3D for Christmas, I remember standing in the store holding in one hand Quake and the other DN3D and debating which one to get.  I read PC Gamers review so many times for Duke I could have reiterated back from mind… I used to stare at the screenshots in the magazine to satisfy my thirst of excitement, I went with DN3D (God knows what would have happened if I went with Quake. You will understand later…). Duke Nukem was awesome game and it opened up the door way of Game Developer for me, the real kick start for my passion of what I wanted to do in life (Work in the games industry!)
My older brother one night was printing off this massive (and I mean massive!) document that looked like it was written in DOS…It had all this code and random stuff that meant nothing to me.  He was reading it and drawing out these vector lines on the screen, this turned out to be the Level Editor for Duke and the booklet (bible?) being the manual of codes to tell the system if the brush is a door, glass etc.
I eventually jumped on the PC when I could to learn myself and started to create some awesome levels with trucks moving, city’s and awesome levels we could do over link up on our 486 pc.
It was marvellous! If we had the web then and released our content I am sure it would have been a big hit (I was only 12 years old or so).
Craft before Minecraft!
 Jumping a few years head at the age of 16 I received a cheque which was a child’s savings my parents did for us children from when we were born. It was not a huge amount but the most money I ever received in my full 16 years of age (approx £1000!).  Now, most parents (bless mine always supportive in what I do?!?!?) they would ensure that hard saved cash would be put on driving lessons or something for the future….. Lucky for me my Dad loving all the latest new hardware of computers and my passion for gaming they actually allowed me to buy a top of the range pc?!?!?!?! After years of jumping on my older brothers (Think his was a AMD CPU with an ATI 1mb gfx card…forgot finer details) when he was out to fulfil my fix or using our old run down systems that only ran Day of Tentacle and doom etc which we used for years.
We bought computer shopper every time the latest edition was in to find the best deals and hardware, in the end if I recall correctly I got a P3 866, Geforce 1 etc.  It was the bloody bee’s knees… I felt like a king trying all the PC Gamer and PC Format demos’ full whack…
Unbeknown to me at the time, this PC was going to open up a new world for me, new experiences and mould me as the man I am today! (Over the top I know but say that in your husky cinema trailer voice and it’s pretty awesome!)
This blog post is getting too big so from here on out it might get a bit jumpy and itchy of detail as a lot will be skipped out!

When ‘Jedi Knight Dark Force 2’ was released (1997) I came across it by accident, actually as it was Christmas and I asked for Blade Runner which I completed in one sit through. So my parents took me back to the store to return BR and I saw JKDF2, got it and actually fell in love with it enough to play it through and through about 20+ times.  The story, the real actor video sequences etc was the best! Not mapping for Duke for a long time and sort of forgetting about it all I randomly found JK Edit which was the map editor for JK2.  I played around and again was making awesome Star Wars levels (I say awesome but in fact to anyone else they were pretty shit. You see, I’ve never been artistic or having an architecture flare) but to me and my family they rocked!!

Then came Half Life I got this for Christmas 1997, again I stood in the store one hand HL and the other Quake 2…… guessed it I went with Half Life.  Again I read PC Gamer review so many times I still have a pure hard built image in my mind of sitting at the parents dinning room table reading and staring at the images and going in my own little dream land of playing the game and loving it!  As a side note I also got FF7 too and that was actually surprisingly one of best games I’ve played to this day. Half Life to me will always be a soft spot in my heart, it really showed me what games can achieve with cinematic scripted sequences, emotions and story in a First Person Shooter (FPS). It also excited me that on the back of the box it advertised the map editor ‘Worldcraft’ and so again I started creating maps and absolutely loved it, I so wish I saved them till this day just to look back…hindsight heh.
Still have my original copy.. no box though (cry)
After playing HL single player so many times and loving it eventually internet started to get a bit more mainstream (at least accessible). I recall finally having internet 56kb although expensive we were allowed an hour now and then and that was it!
Half Life was the first game I ever did online, Death Match…the OZ MOD ( which myself and my older brother came across randomly by joining a server and we were addicted!
Online started to open me to game development even further, creating mods and skins and all for free! I was astonished and I recall explaining to my older brother that people in their spare time for free programme mods, make maps and models that change the entire game! (Total Conversions!!!).He never believed me!!!!!!!!!!, for free? No way! But it was true.
One random mod I came across in Alpha version was one as Police and terrorist, I think it had 1x map and a few guns… known as Counter Strike and so began mine and my brothers Counter- Strike addiction (another story for another day).
I recall communities like Barry’s World, Jolt, Gamespy server browser (it actually owned back then), Roger Wilco, Wireplay, ICQ (when everyone used it) etc.
Internet then got better, provided free internet and hence we changed ISP and so began the gaming sessions online! (Slow as hell still on 56k)…..
Good Old Barry.. We miss you!
Jumping time again, another Xmas came and I got Quake 3 and tried map making (although did not enjoy it as much as HL mapping). With Quake it opened me up to Esports, I entered online leagues, FFA, TDM whilst everyone was jumping on the Fibre Optic and ADSL bandwagon of 512kb internet I was still the High Ping Barstard (HPB), ironically still coming top of the tables either due to lag or sheer skill?!?!
I got great a duels and at the age of 17 after leaving college I got a job and jumped on the Fibre Optic wagon (512kb for £40 a month….no phone, no tv just the web!).
I got in to Q3 duels (1v1) and got good!
Many games, many engines and many attempts at mapping always loving it but always quitting, same as getting great at online games…quitting eventually because it was routine to just quit….never having the balls to say “I’m going to attend a Lan tourney”.

I’ve also loved to programme and did attempt several times with Java, Blitz Basic, C++ and again the furthest I got was making a asteroids game in Blitz Basic but always quitting due to attention span or finding something else that took my fancy.
If you’ve got this far through reading…well done and I apologise for dragging this out to actually get to the POINT!
Many more years, many more games and always attempting to get into something productive gaming wise (i.e. mapping on HL2, Unreal, editing Source SDK animations, sound etc) but quitting/stopping.

The present…..30 years old, a wife and daughter (15 months) who I love and adore with all my heart, mind and soul (oddly enough not quit on… most of the stuff I take on!). ). It’s unbelievable how much my wife supports and believes in my 5 minute wonders or adventures I jump on.  One minute pro gamer, next a level editor and tomorrow Card Magician! Or this blog (lets see how long this lasts).
I’m fortunate and grateful for the job I have which is very stressful, holds high responsibility but has great pay and job satisfaction (albeit not in the gaming industry).
It’s time to face facts……….do I still want to achieve the dream of working in the games industry? Yes!
Do I want to be involved in the development of games, put my pure passion, love and enthusiasm in to games and a team that feels the same as I do?  Hell yes!
Then the fact is that I’m not artistic, I’m not made to be a programmer or have the skill set to map (although I understand the process). It’s not that I’m going to be the next John Carmack or Cliffy B! I need to work on my strengths that I’ve gained away from gaming and combine that with my passion for the industry and the experience I’ve had through learning the basis of the development cycles.
Management, project managing, out going, good motivator and speaker….. And a whole lot more are my strong points.
Am I selling myself here to hope a random reader will offer me that dream job? No, I just hope in writing this it will make me feel that all the years spent gaming, all the years attempting to learn a tool of the craft has not gone to waste and all it takes is defining one’s strengths and applying those.

One day I hope to be writing “I made it”, until that day please tell me of your gaming stories funny or serious.  Do you work in the gaming industry now as a developer, marketing or business. Post your comments below and tell me!

Other items that I like to think are defying moments in my gaming career (hobby!!!):

  • Beating Voo in PK online prior to CPL World Tour kicking off (no screen shots or anything to show!). I got awesome at that game…but like everything I quit it.
  • Winning a Gamecube and being one of the first in Europe to own one! I won on a news paper competition call in. I rang up drunk and said some random funny stuff and some how won?!?!!
  • Writing for an Xbox site (name escapes me) and being sent Aggressive Inline skating Xbox game from publisher to review!
  • Winning a Duel tournament in Ultima Online. I got to the semi-final by using magic items which were not allowed… some how they never caught me!!  It came to the final and the referee passed over the winning cheque some random reason before fighting the final. I ticked ok, took the money and ran!
  • Attending my first ever LAN @ Multiplay (i15) with mine and my fellow attendees PC’s blowing up on route we left only after a few hours. We made a come back at i19 and many more thereafter.