In the last part of 2019 and in the first part of 2020, I was the programmer/technician on the development of a prototype version (demo) of a graphic novel puzzle game for mobile devices called Chadwick House.
The demo contains 3 chapters out of 10 + epilogue in the full manuscript, which is written by Boris Hansen. The graphic art is made by Kamila Slocinska and the game is produced by Esben Kjær Ravn and his small company Kong Orange. These 3 creative persons make up the backbone of the project and they are also the creators of the critically acclaimed game Heartbeats – A Galactic Requiem (2014) to which Chadwick House is a successor.
For this prototype of Chadwick house, I was invited to join the team as programmer along with Nicolas Vetterli who has done the audio design and Mikkel Maltesen who has made image sequence animations.
Chadwick House presents a peculiar combination of historic events and sci-fi twists while you play through 10 decades staged in the three-floored American house. Each decade has its own chapter which presents a puzzle. The player must solve the puzzle in order to continue. Solving the puzzles sometimes requires twisting your mind to uncover the fate of the characters.
From October 2019 to February 2020 (4 months) I was an intern at the newly built and technically advanced Helsinki Central Library, Oodi. The purpose, from my perspective, was to give my Finnish language skills a boost as well as get some experience and contacts within the Finnish working life.
We moved from Denmark to Helsinki in December 2018 as my girlfriend got a position at Helsinki University. Since then, I have been working only sporadically, mainly as a freelance programmer / Unity technician on projects for the small Danish company Kong Orange. But now I am looking for job opportunities here in Finland – to get a more stable working rhythm (and income) and also for me to settle more down socially. And to this end, my internship at Oodi was a great first step.
My tasks included helping out finishing the setup of the sound recording studio, handling various AV tech at events (including getting to know the nice Soundcraft Vi 2000 digital mixer), programming and setting up different projections on the walls of the library and quite a lot more.
It was a good experience for me to be at Oodi with good colleagues and a nice atmosphere in general. I think that I improved my Finnish language skills somewhat and I gained insight into some technical areas that I didn’t know about before.
At the end of 2019, Felix The Reaper was published for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and for Windows and Mac on Steam and GOG.com. It has been a long journey for the small development team of which I have been a part (on and off) from 2012 to 2019. The project started out with an idea of building a game around the Dancing Death. The concept of the Dancing Death can be traced a long way back through history and is reflected in everything from old church paintings to modern popular culture.
The fact that the concept has a strong historical aspect is probably no accident, since the idea arose among a small group of historians hanging around at obscure office at Aarhus University. Though I was no historian, I knew one of them and was invited to participate as one of two programmers, though I was not really that either, at least not by education. In fact none of us were really doing what we were educated for.
Though we had a quite elaborate idea about the universe of the game with tons of inspiration from various historical sources, we did not have a fixed idea for the gameplay. So during the first couple of years, we were making prototypes with different kinds of gameplay, ranging from a Snake type of game where you as Death gather a longer and longer tail of lost souls to a more rhythm-based dance game where you have to tap at the right time and place in order to get Death in to the groove. You might say, that we a bit lost ourselves, gameplay-wise. But eventually, after a lot of experiments, discussions and adjustments, not to mention time, we settled on the grid-based shadow manipulation gameplay that ended up in the final game.
A lot of things has happened during these years of development which fell in different phases (whenever we had some money to develop). And while it would be too lengthy to go in depth with all of these things, I will just quickly mention some of them.
We experimented with motion capture techniques using skilled dancers, eventually realizing that for our purpose it was a better approach just to record the dance moves with camera (still with dancers) and then let our animators interpret that. We changed the platform of the game from iPad, which was our initial target, to basically everything else than the iPad. And as I am writing now, the game is being ported to iOS again, somehow completing the circle. We worked with local musicians, inviting them to compose and record their music for an interactive music system, developed to reflect the current state of the game. We struggled with the dancing movement system of Felix, trying to make the animators (and dancers) free to make organic/wild movements while ensuring that we can keep Felix on track in this very grid-based game. We saw people come and go, and even though the team was not very big at any given time, a good amount of people has been involved in the project. This also posed a challenge with regards to passing on the idea and knowledge of the project. We realized that there is quite a long way from having a sort of finished game to having a game that can be published on four different platforms and in 14 different languages. …
And while I doubt that in the future, we will look back on Felix The Reaper as a big commercial success, for me it is a success that we finally managed to publish this game after a seemingly endless row of demos and time spent trying to explain to friends and family (and sometimes ourselves) what we were actually doing. A big credit to Esben Kjær Ravn, the man behind Kong Orange, for pulling this off, maintaining the direction of the project and convincing sometimes frustrated and doubtful team members (quite often me) that this is doable. Thanks also to Spilordningen at the Danish Film Institute for supporting the project (more than once), to CAPNOVA for investing in it and to Daedalic Entertainment for publishing it.
The Multi-region Exporter is a small, free standalone application that can make the process of exporting multiple audio regions in a Cubase project easier. Especially if the export process is done more than once, this application can, hopefully, save you some time and frustration.
I created the tool because I needed it myself for a project where I was working with a lot of foley sounds for a computer game. It is very annoying to export about 30 footstep sounds (including naming them), do some changes and then export them again. And then why not share the tool so that others might benefit from it as well? I think that it makes Cubase a better tool for this kind of projects.
I admit that it is a tool for a very narrow target group since it does only one very specific thing.
By the way, I have become aware of two videos about the exporter on YouTube.
The first one is made by Ulf Blomberg who runs the recording studio HoboRec in Jönköping, Sweden.
The second one is in Czech and it’s made by Thomáš Nykl who runs the oToman Studio in Prague.
Thanks to Ulf and Thomáš for these videos.
Felix The Reaper is a humorous puzzle game (in development) about Death which is inspired by the way the character of Death has been portrayed throughout the history of art. You play the dancing Death, Felix, who has to perform his macabre duty in order to earn the title of Field Reaper. Actually, he doesn’t care so much for taking lives as he does for dancing and for the pretty maiden, Betty, who he really want to impress.
I have been a part of the development team, mainly as a programmer in the various development periods from 2012 to 2019.
In 2015 and again in 2017, I was developing techical solutions for Vokabulantis. Vokabulantis is a game in development and it is a co-production between Wiredfly stop motion animation studio and Kong Orange. My job was to research and develop technical solutions for realizing the aesthetics of a stop motion universe in an interactive computer game. You can investigate Vokabulantis furter here: http://wiredfly.dk/vokabulantis
In the period, August to December 2014, I was hired by Moesgaard Museum to help with a variety of technical projects leading up to the opening of the new museum . My tasks included, among other things, programming and practical, technical setup of interactive installations .
It was a hectic period, particularly just before the opening on October 11th , but it was also really exciting to be involved in a project of this magnitude and kind .
Here is a view of the so-called MOMU LAB – an interactive laboratory for curious museum visitors . The photo is taken by the photo / media department at Moesgaard Museum
In the spring of 2014, my good friend Peter Fjordbak Sørensen and I developed two interactive sound installations for the exhibition Aarhus Rocks! in Den Gamle By in Aarhus .
The exhibition is about pop and rock music in Aarhus in the period 1960-2014 .
One installation was a “recording studio” set up like the legendary Feedback studio where you could record a song and have it sent by mail .
The other installation was a kind of jukebox where you could listen to Aarhusian music from different decades.
Peter and I developed installations for the company Danish Sound Design, who had the contract with Den Gamle By.
In the summer of 2013 we were four guys who met with a plan to make a game in three days.
It resulted in the game Elf Scare – a game where you have to yell really loud at your phone. More specifically, you have to yell at annoying elves that unsuspectingly come walking on a bridge. If your shouts are loud enough, the elves become so scared that they fall off the bridge.
One might think that it is a pretty stupid and useless game. However, I find it interesting how the game breaks into ‘the real world’ and in a (humorous? , annoying?) way challenges the many conventions that are associated with our behaviour in public spaces. There is an absurd contrast between the almost primal, natural screaming and the very civilized (?), non-physical so-called smartphone which is an increasingly important part of our our daily lives, and which mediates a very large part of our communication with the outside world.
The other developers on Elf Scare were Mikkel Maltesen, Sune Hede and Esben Kjær Ravn.
Below you will find the official game trailer.
Here is a link to Elf Scare’s website where you will also find a link to the game in the App Store.
ArrestenIn 2012 and 2013 I was the programmer on two small iPad games made for the museum Arresten in Faaborg (Denmark) which is part of Øhavsmuseet. The games were produced by the small company, Fuglen på Taget.
One game, Roger og Åge i arresten, is a children’s game that is built on a children’s book series by Jim Højbjerg. Here, taking the role of the detective boy Roger, you must find your father, Aage, who has been kidnapped in Faaborg. Fortunately, you are accompanied by your friend, Casper, and your teacher, Pia, so everything will be OK.
The second game is perhaps more a form of interactive, informative app than it is an actual game. The app is called Døm Selv (in English: You Be the Judge) and it lets you get the chance to assume the role of lay judge. You participate in various lawsuits, with all that this involves in terms of testimonies, procedures and so on. Then you need to decide what sentence (if any) the accused should have. The app also records anonymous statistics about users’ judgments.
The games are free and can be downloaded from the App Store on iPad.
Click on one of the icons below to read more about the games.
Since the first systems for storing and playing back sound were invented in the second half of the 19th century, we have become increasingly better at reproducing sound, resulting in an increasing degree of fidelity. However, we still have difficulties reproducing the spatial properties of a sound phenomenon – the experience of the exact spatial location of the individual sound sources.
In connection with my Master’s thesis, in 2011-12, I developed a system that aims at doing exactly this. It uses binaural synthesis, head tracking and acoustics simulation in an attempt to create a realistic sense of the spatiality of sound played though headphones – this, within an experience-oriented context. It is not the first system of its kind. These technologies have been combined before in different systems for reproducing 3D sound for different purposes. The system is based on the knowledge and experiences gained in the development of such similar systems. However, I also hope to be able to present solutions and experiences that might be a help to any future work in this area.
Below is a video (in Danish) where I present the system and its functionality
For the SPOT Festivals in 2010 and 2011 I was responsible for programming the functionality for a number of info screens.
The screens were placed around the festival area showing information about the current ‘state’ of the festival. In the 2010 version you could see some info on the band who where currently playing (or were about to play) on the venue related to the particular screen and you could get quick overview of the other venues too. A time indicator gave an idea of how far advanced the individual concert were (if started). In addition, you could watch the news and info on the festival’s seminars. The 2011 version was in some ways simpler than the 2010 version, since the screens were not linked to particular venues, and therefore all showed the same content.
The screens were programmed in Flash / ActionScript 3 and constantly drew information from the SPOT database via an XML feed. In that way the screens would adapt to, and provide information about, program changes etc.
My contact at the festival, and responsible for the info screen project was Martin Ross-Hansen.
Impossible Junction is an installation that Kristian Ross, Marie Møller Jepsen and I developed in the winter of 2009-2010.
In short, it is a traffic regulation in the middle of a pedestrian tunnel at Aarhus University. The pedestrians have to stop for different phenomenons crossing the tunnel in an imaginary intersecting path.
The installation can be seen as an absurd and, hopefully, humorous comment on the way our bodily movement in urban spaces is very restricted and regulated. We have given the supremacy of urban space to big machines (cars) both in terms of physical and auditory space. There is an unequal power relationship between our human body and the machines – something we take for granted today as an inevitable part of modern life…
This video is a short walk-through (literally) of the installation – Kristian explains (in Danish):
Below, you find links to three articles (in Danish). The first one is an article written in the magazine of humanities (HUMmagasinet) about our installation. The second one is our project report and the third is a small paper with reflections on sound and power relations.
In the spring of 2010 I was an intern at Statens Museum for Kunst (The National Gallery of Art) in Copenhagen.
As a part of this internship, I worked to develop a system that allows museum guests to paint on the wall using a Wii remote.
I never actually managed to set it up at the museum but it was fun and interesting to develop none the less.
Below is a pretty lo-fi video presentation of the concept and system in a prototype setup:
In May 2009 , I took part in a one-month DADIU production. Along with Rune Thuelund I was the audio designer on the computer game A Mazing Monk. My role was primarily to compose music and to implement sound via Unity3D ‘s GUI and scripts. However, since Unity has changed quite a lot since 2009, the sound implementation we did back then does not always work that well in the updated version. This results, in some cases, in strange audio levels and poor synchronization to the visuals. But with that in mind, feel free to try it out (follow the link).
In the spring of 2009, I was involved in the development of an audio installation called Sound People. It was made in collaboration with Sune Hede and Helga Rosenfeldt-Olsen as a part of a course at Aarhus University on interactive audio design . The idea behind the installation is to comment or sonify interpersonal relationships in the public space .
This video is a brief presentation of the installation:
Below, you find our course report about the installation:
In the spring of 2008, I and three of my fellow students developed the concept UrinalBand/FountainOrchestra which is a sound installation located at a urinal. It was first installed in the men’s restroom at Musikhuset Aarhus for Spot Festival in 2008. Later the ‘band’ went on tour visiting Skanderborg Festival (Smukfest) in 2009 and 2010.
With the band as a metaphor, each urinal guest becomes a band member and each urinal an instrument (eg. Drums, bass, vocals etc.) . Our intent with the installation was, in a humorous way, to challenge the many unwritten conventions that exist in public places – in this particular case, the urinal. We did this by sonifying human relations in this place where every relationship is most often avoided.
Unfortunately the installation was mainly accessible to the male sex but some women did manage to find their way in to the men’s room, thus challenging yet another rule of this public space.
My three accomplices were:
Mads Stenøj Andresen
Brian Hauge Hansen
This is a primitive mock-up video we made while developing the concept:
Below, you find the report we wrote on the installation: