Here you’ll find different texts that I’ve written throughout the years. Most of them were originally published on the (no more existing) site GAMEcore.se.
Cart Life [SWE]
Subtraktiv speldesign [SWE]
Kentucky Route Zero [SWE]
Verk utan titel, 2013 is an (as of yet unfinished) story made up of mini chapters. The idea when I began was to write and publish at least one chapter each day. Even though I failed at this after some time the project is by no means abandoned. I keep on coming back to it from time to time.
Please note that Verk utan titel, 2013 is written in Swedish.
You can find the story in its entirety at the following address: http://billingmans.tumblr.com/
Calm is a short and simple experience, all about getting relaxed and doing… almost nothing. Steer the cloud as it slowly descends. Listen to the music by Frankie & Owl. Look at the backgrounds (which change depending on time of day and current season).
The project actually started out as an entry for a game jam. At that point it was developed during a few hours well past midnight.
There are two versions of the experience, one free and one full version (featuring twice as many backgrounds).
You can find the free version here:
And the full version here:
Sjörök is a FPE (first-person experience) centered around exploration, atmosphere and puzzle solving. It is set in a strange and somewhat uncanny Swedish archipelago where the player must explore the world by navigating the sea and disembark on a number of islands. These islands contain information on what has happened on the islands and give clues as to what has occurred in the world. The narrative is centered around poems and music is an ongoing theme throughout the experience. Our goal with the game was to convey a feeling of loneliness and exploration, somewhat like traversing the barren world of Fallout but in a completely different setting. It was also important for us to try and create an environment that felt Swedish (or at least Nordic) using a combination of setting, architecture and language. That is also the reason why the game, at this moment, is only available in Swedish.
The experience started out as a ten week (student-) project. Later on we took part in and won the Game Concept Challenge along with three other projects. Because of this development continued throughout the summer and the experience was finally released in the end of October 2011. The team behind Sjörök was, beside me, Christofer Levall, Carl-Johan Nyblom, Max Nilsson, Kristoffer Beijer, Jakob Lindh and Tim Lidåker.
November 5th, 2012
So, what is happening at the moment? Well, I’ve begun writing for a swedish game site called GAMEcore.se. So far I’ve got three articles published and another two in the pipeline. I really appreciate this, partly because I’m “forced” to finish my texts and also because it offers a larger audience for my texts. It also means that I have to work under pressure in a different way and adapt to that fact.
I purchased Proteus which so far is an amazing experience. It’s all about exploring a familiar yet alien world painted with a striking audiovisual langauge. I really encourage you to try it out.
September 26th, 2012
It’s been quite some time since I wrote anything here. For that I apologize to you all, especially to the faithful Russian bots who keep returning. I am deeply sorry.
What am I doing at the moment? Well, I have begun working part time as a tutor in game development. I really enjoy this and I feel like a student, but in a different context, all over again. The simple conclusion? We learn constantly. The division between learning and not-learning which traditional pedagogy creates is quite destructive. What do I mean, you ask? In a situation where students are seen as students, that is they wear the mask/identity of being in a specific position of learning, a non-existing contrary identity is created. This identity is the identity of the teacher who knows everything, a person who is past learning. I would argue that while this identity is created, no one is truly beyond learning. It is an intrinsic part of living. Rigid structures between learner (student) and teacher only maintains this false concept. I’m not talking about a complete removal of teachers (or am I…?) but rather more focus on the teacher as a tutor (or an “igniter of fires”). What does this mean from a more hands-on perspective? I’m not sure yet. The process continues.
August 28th, 2012
The bachelor thesis that I wrote together with Jakob Lindh during this spring is now available for download from the texts section to the right. The thesis, which discusses the monomyth from a video game perspective, is only available in Swedish at the moment.
July 3rd, 2012
Minor spoilers ahead!
I’ve begun playing Fable III, a game that I’ve been interested in for quite some time. I must say I enjoyed the two previous games; despite the difference between Lionhead’s ambitions and the actual game I really found the first Fable to be a very cozy and enjoyable action RPG. The second game increased the scope and allowed me even more freedom in creating my own hero and walking around doing everything from kicking chickens to buying property and exploring deep forests.
Regarding the third game it is quite obvious that Lionhead has made some changes to the concept. It is still Fable we’re talking about and much feels like the two previous games. One difference is how Lionhead has tried to reduce the interface, which didn’t really work that well in Fable II. The experimental solution to this has been to “spatialize” the interface/inventory. The game contains a sanctuary in which all of your gear, gold and clothing are stored. You can at any moment teleport to this place in order to change clothes or equip another weapon. I think the approach is quite interesting and even though it doesn’t work flawlessly, the overview regarding items is not the best, it is still functional. I enjoy that the developers have tried a new way to solve the problem of RPG interface/inventory – something BioWare also did with Mass Effect 2.
Regarding theme the game deals a lot with power, and more specifically political power. It is no secret that you become king/queen halfway or so into the game. I haven’t reached that point in the story yet but it’s interesting to see how Lionhead forces me to make promises (re-open the academy, give money to the poor, grant political freedom) which I hope will develop into tough choices when I become king. Perhaps I have to choose between re-opening the academy or helping the poor? Perhaps granting political freedom to the mountain people will make the kingdom loose a considerable source of income, thus making it impossible to honour the other two promises.
I feel that I’ve to play through more of the game before I can give some kind of final verdict. So far I quite enjoy the game and it’ll be interesting to see how the ruler-aspect of the game works. Time will tell.
June 6th, 2012
I continued my work on Calm today. I completed some of the technical aspects (which was tedious but feels good in retrospect). I also began to add shadows to all of the different layers. I think it really gave the backgrounds an additional boost by creating a clearer division between the layers. It almost looks like they have been made out of pieces of paper or play-do. I think I’ll go with this style.
June 6th, 2012
Ray Bradbury, on of my absolute favorite authors, has passed away at an age of 91. I must admit, it has been a few years since I actually read any of his works. I think I’ll have to change that. One of my strongest reading experiences probably came when I read Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (1950). It was a sad and thoughtful tale, telling a story of life and death through technology and the clash of civilizations. Another superb book is The Illustrated Man (1951). It is a collection of short-stories so fantastic and well written that they plunge deep inside of you. And! Let us not forget Fahrenheit 451 (1953). This dystopian vision is perhaps one of the greatest in the genre. It proves the strength of literature, art and the written word. Or, to put it simply, it proves to us the strength of imagination and a free mind. Read and write and whoever tries to oppress you will also fear you.
To me, Bradbury was (or really is, because his works are still here) a master of the written word; few possess his skill in the art of writing. He was undoubtedly a master craftsman. However, the great potency of his works comes not only from this skill but also from his ability to combine this skill with his very own way of expressing himself. He had his very own way of telling stories, he had his very own language. And what a language it was.
Thank you, Ray Bradbury. And may the martians greet you with open arms, as I am quite sure they will.