LIMBO was originally released in 2010 and garnered many awards including “Best Indie Game” in the 2012 PSN Gamers’ Choice Awards and Apple’s Design Award in 2012.
LIMBO is the next big title after LittleBigPlanet™ to come through the Double Eleven doors. The original version of the game saw three and a half years of meticulous development and is an extraordinary artistic accomplishment.
“LIMBO for us is the gaming equivalent of a priceless painting. Rarely do all the right ingredients come together in the industry to allow for the creation of a game like LIMBO, as it did for Playdead. We feel truly honoured to be the first external developer to work on LIMBO, and bring it to the PlayStation Vita. The team has worked tirelessly to ensure all the details, subtleties and nuances have been preserved from its home console legacy ”, says Mark South, COO at Double Eleven.
“This version of the game is for the first time being made externally”, says Dino Patti, Playdead CEO told us. “In the way we work there is normally no room for outsourcing, but the talented team at Double Eleven has convinced us that this was the right decision.”
Shahid Ahmad, Senior Business Development Manager for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe commented, “Having the first mobile version of LIMBO on PlayStation Vita is part of our enduring commitment to ensure it has a strong, competitive catalogue of quality titles. Both Playdead and Double Eleven have shown a tremendous amount of energy and attention to detail in re-creating the PS3 experience on PlayStation Vita.”
We were truly honoured to be the first external developers to create a version of LIMBO. Naturally we have done our utmost to make it excellent and do justice to the game. We hope that you will enjoy playing it as much as we enjoyed developing it!
The PS Vita version of LIMBO is released June 5th, don't forget to check it out!
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.
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 of Middlesbrough 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!
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 the deaths. 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 stuntman John 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 animator and 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.
Whew! That’s quite a list!
It’s a fantastic honour to have our hard work recognised and we’d be delighted if you’d vote for us.
The winners will be announced at this year’s Game Developer Conference (GDC), held between the 27th and 29th of March. Voting for the awards closes on the 18th of March, so get those votes in quick!
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!
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 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?
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!!