We recorded this Podcast about a month ago, but then I went on holiday to Japan for a couple of weeks (and got engaged to Mrs. Kenny, woo!), and then Moo went on holiday and then…
...it all became horribly out of date.
But rather than re-record the whole shebang, we decided to release it as is. So, ignore the out of date references, and think of this as a little test run. It’d be great to gauge what the level of interest is in this kind of thing, get a bit of feedback and then move on to the next Podcast full of vim and vigour.
Without further ado, I give you the very first Media Molecule Podcast:
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Sorry for the radio silence. Consider that era over !!
Things have been a bit of a rollercoaster since launch but we are ready to now start talking about what’s going on in Mm towers. We won’t always be able to give full details immediatley, but the idea is for us talk more on here about what’s going on in here!! We will also start to really give Media Molecule Mondays more attention too!
Firstly, I just wanted to let everyone know that Media Molecule are dedicated to working on LittleBigPlanet and bringing you lots of new content and improvements over the coming year. The blu-ray was just the beginning for us and we have a very exciting and experimental year ahead!
So, what’s coming up?
Online – Mm and the Sony server/online support teams are working on a load of improvements for your main concerns : Searching, Moderation & Online play. Not all of these improvements will come at once, but rest assured that you are being listened to and we will update here what the fixes are & when they are coming out when these are all set & ready to be announced.
LittleBigProjects – We are working on something unannounced but very cool! Argh, it’s killing me not to mention it right now but we will update soon hopefully with some pictures!!
Clean up work – aside from stuff for you, we need to fix things for our team too. Finishing a game always leaves some areas needing attention and we need to spend some time mending the ship before people bash their heads against their desks one time too many !!
I am not going to be able to announce anymore information about the packs today but I can tell you that we are working hard to get these finished up, through QA and into your hands! :)
Thank you for your patience!
Lots of love
PS. If this doesn’t answer all of your questions keep checking back in regulary. We also have a FAQ page that you can take a look at.
...but crooked smiles all around this Hallows eve.
A few of the molecules spent their lunchtime today hacking at fruit with sharp knives. What fun!
If you’re carving your own pumpkin, or turnip*, then please be careful! The first aid box was out in force at Media Molecule towers this afternoon - if you look closely you’ll see that some of the pumpkins have more of a reddish tinge to them than others…
* When I were’t lad we’d carve our lanterns out of turnips or swedes (rutabaga). Not only could pumpkins not be bought for love nor money in the Land of Scots in the early ‘80s, but this tradition actually pre-dates the carving of pumpkins. So if you want to be authentically old-skool, grab a turnip. Unfortunately you’ll need to have the dexterity, strength and perseverance of a small mountain goat if you wish to scoop out the hardened innards of a turnip. Good luck with that li’l project…
So my big run was yesterday. My dad lives just 10 miles from the start of the race so we set off around 9am (he joked that I should have just run in rather than getting a lift.) The race starts on the central motorway in Newcastle, and they close the road the night before the race to get it ready. As we got closer to the start of the race we began to see more and more people walking along the motorway, which is a really weird sight – like something out of a zombie film :)
It was a sunny morning, but only about 7C so after about an hour of waiting for everyone to assemble I was wishing that I did have a giant Sackboy costume to wear :) By 10:30am I was stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands of runners and I was starting to wonder if we’d all just fall over in one giant tangle of limbs as soon as the starting gun went off. Fortunately this didn’t happen - after a few hundred metres everyone had started to spread out and the pace began to pick up.
The first few miles felt really good. You run through a number of tunnels and underpasses and you can hear the echoes of ‘Oggy oggy oggy’ for miles as people pass through them. After passing through the underpasses you cross over the Tyne Bridge into Gateshead. I was in San Francisco recently and was overawed by the Golden Gate bridge, but there was something quite spine-tingling about running over the Tyne bridge alongside 50,000 other runners.
As you cross into Gateshead the course begins to climb for 3 miles, and my initial burst of energy rapidly began to fade. 6 miles into the race I began to worry that I’d set off too fast. If I was Sackboy one or two presses on the left d-pad would be needed to express my emotions at that point :) Just as I was starting to flag the course levelled out, Atlas by Battles came on my ipod and I started to pick up the pace again.
The hardest bit of the race was around 10-11 miles in. The course starts to climb unphill again and then in a cruel twist, just as the North Sea comes into sight you swing around a corner and see that there’s over a mile still left to run. That last mile was an absolute killer! The course is totally flat at this point, and you can see the finish line in sight, but it just didn’t seem to get any closer. After what seemed like a month, I crossed the line in a time of 1:37:25, and promptly pressed up on my d-pad 3 times :)
Many thanks to everyone for their comments of support an donations. Thanks to your help I’ve managed to raise nearly £1000 for FSID, which is truly incredible. In addition, Media Molecule have generously offered to match the money I’ve raised through sponsorship, which brings the total raised to £2000!
And now a message from intrepid uber-coder, Paul Holden:
Since I joined Media Molecule at the start of 2007 I’ve regularly spent my lunchtimes running around the streets of Guildford. I find running helps to clear my thoughts so if I’ve been stuck with a particularly nasty problem I often find I’ve figured out a solution half-way through my run. It also means I can eat lots of delicious cake without feeling guilty!
We like charts and things here at Media Molecule, so I’ve made a graph of the cumulative distance I’ve run since starting here. I guess I must have had lots of tricky problems to solve over the past two years, because I’ve run over 1,000 miles now – that’s far enough to run from Guildford to Algeria!
On Sunday I’ll be taking part in the the Great North Run back in my hometown of Newcastle. The Great North Run is the world’s largest half-marathon. Every year around 50,000 people run the 13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields. Every year runners participating in the race raise millions of pounds in sponsorship for different charities.
I’m raising money for a charity called the Foundation for Study of Infant Deaths. FSID work to help prevent sudden deaths in infants, fund research, and provide support for bereaved families. I had an older brother who died suddenly as an infant and I wanted to do something to help the charity that helped my parents 30 years ago.
I’ve set up a fundraising page at http://www.justgiving.com/paulholden and I’d be incredibly grateful if anyone wanted to sponsor me. Even if you can only spare a few pounds that would be amazing. If you’re a UK taxpayer you can claim the tax back on your donation with Gift Aid. This means that for every pound you donate, £1.28 goes to FSID.
[NB this isn’t an official fundraiser by Mm, Sony or LBP; however it’s a very worthy cause and wow, you should see the amount of sweat that comes off Paul when he runs all those miles… If you think he should run in a giant sackboy costume, post your votes in the comments :) ]
[EDIT: highly recommended to follow the link above and watch it ‘fullscreen’ in HD. then you can actually read the names of the little people floating about!]
Here is a video which gives some insight into how Little Big Planet ( and Media Molecule! ) evolved from next to nothing into what it is today! This was generated from our source control repository using a awesome tool called codeswarm. Each dot represents a different file, and they “swarm” towards the user who edits them. So not only do you get to watch files move around, you can see when various members of the team joined ( roughly! ).
Timeline events of note:
0:00 : In the beginning were Dave and Alex - February 2006! At this point the company was 6 people - Dave, Alex, Mark, Kareem, Chris and Francis
1:10: We have a build server! As time goes on you can see a cluster of bright white dots around the build server, because no-one else ever touches them. Largely meaningless, but pretty.
1:17 : Almost every source file in the project surrounds Jon as he changes our v2 vector class GetX(), GetY() and GetZ() accessors to getX(), getY() and getZ() to match with the Sony vector libraries.
1:56 : Luke resaves every level in the game for some reason, and adds texture compression for loading win.
2:03 : Luke adds “plan” files, which are mini files extracted from levels representing one object - when you send your friend an object in the beta, it’s sending a plan file. Your inventory is made up of lots of these!
2:11 : The build server is going great guns with multiple different builds happening nightly, an on-demand Deploy build, and a continuous integration server.
2:21 : Craig is making lots and lots of toys for you to win as you play through the main game - plans again.
2:30 : Bang up to date - the sudden musical and visual cutoff is an intentional nod to the fact that this project is not a dead entity, will not fade away but an evolving organism by you the community with your content, and by us at Media Molecule as we support the game in a variety of ways; a bricolage of media and emotion, a juxtaposition of form and function, blending the old with the new in a mystical symbiosis of code, art, talent and win. In a mirror. So there we have it - essentially a lot of dots moving around but it’s quite pretty and also a little bit informative. EDUTAINMENT.