“For us? You really shouldn’t have… -I love you, guys! – The pleasure is mine. -No, it’s all mine. -No. Mine.”
“Amazing! Exquisite! Huge!” were some of the superlatives the organizer of the Reboot Develop 2016 used to describe his conference. And guess what? It was all of that – and more. Three sunny days in beautiful Split, more than 80 speakers, 800 attendees, and six awards:
Visual Excellence – Shadows of War (TRI.G)
Outstanding Gameplay – Qube 2 (Toxic Games)
Special Selection – Morning Men (Pixel Federation)
Game of the Year – Qube 2 (Toxic Games)
Hero Award – Charles Cecil
Street Hero Award – Croteam
We’d like to congratulate everybody that won, console everybody who was nominated but didn’t win, but most of all – we are going to brag about our award, the Street Hero!
The award was introduced just this year and came as quite a surprise (that’s why we are sporting our street smarts at the awards ceremony and not wearing tuxedos). Initially we thought it was for eating the most at the hotel bar or winning the Develop football cup (yup! It was Croteam), but we got separate awards for those achievements. An extra charge at the hotel bill for the first one, and a nice golden cup for the second one.
Apparently, Street Hero has something to do with being a cool regional developer and an all-around nice studio. And that’s us, in a nutshell. Tnx, Reboot! See you next year.
How would you like to meet with Croteam? Like, all of us? At the same time?
Now’s your chance: we’re going to Reboot Develop 2016 next week – and you should too. You should be able to instantly recognize us – we’re tall, dark, but we’re no strangers. Just wave at us, preferably while sitting at the bar, and we’ll gladly join you to discuss everything and anything. As long as you’re buying.
Another tip for spotting a member of Croteam: most of us will be wearing company issued red T-Shirts (pro tip: it says Croteam on front. And back). But enough with the serious stuff, here’s where the fun starts. Some of are speakers too!
Check this out: Dean Sekulić will be talking about how his team of GPU wizards was able to bring Vulkan support to The Talos Principle. To make things more interesting, The Talos Principle was the first game to support Vulkan, ever (and even more interesting: we say “team”, but basically it’s just Dean).
Damjan Mravunac has been at the helm of Croteam’s music department for the past 15 years, so it’s supposed to be a lecture, but you never know with this guy – it MIGHT be a musical! Damjan is also Croteam’s CMO, and he should be able to recount the company’s history in the form of a song – like a true bard does!
Davor Tomičić is another member of the studio that is very, very excited about Reboot Develop! This year, Croteam’s co-founder and The Talos Principle designer has gone out of his way to share the naked truth of game development. In addition to his public talk, you’ll also be able to schedule a very exclusive 1-on-1 session and hear him talk – just for you! You can look for him in the spa.
Goran Adrinek, Croteam’s programer, will be sharing his tips and tricks on AI navigation. The talk is suitable for both aspiring and experienced programers, but that’s not all! Even if you are a total beginner, Goran’s lecture will instantly turn you into a programing master in less than an hour.*
(*May or may not be entirely true.)
It’s not just us – there will be A LOT of interesting industry people at Reboot Develop 2016. Come mingle!
That’s it, boys and girls, it’s done. We cancelled production of Serious Sam 4. No more Sam 4. Nada. Niente. Instead, we decided to go straight to Serious Sam 5.
Reasons, you might ask?
Well, we were so much under the pressure from our publisher, fans, friends, dentists, lawyers, neighbours and people we occasionally meet in elevator to deliver best Serious Sam game EVER, that we simply realized we couldn’t fill shoes that big and if we want to make a really good game, we need to let it go, and start from a scratch. Too bad, because story that Jonas and Verena wrote was so awesome, it took Sam to two European famous countries where he’s never been before…)
We do have one screenshot from abandoned SS4, but it had to be blurred for security reasons.
Serious Sam 5 will continue where never-released-and-prematurely-ended Serious Sam 4 left off, and it will showcase the power of new and improved Serious Engine 5, which can now render billions of square feet of sand with no noticeable dropout in frames per second.
Here are first three screenshots from the newly-started production of Serious Sam 5. This is the setting we are most comfortable with, we know how to do this properly.
Serious Engine v1.10 source code was released just recently, but it already provoked the interest of a large number of developers.
Among the developers was a company Program Verification Systems, that used it’s static code analyzer to analyze the Serious Engine v1.10 code.
Their findings? Well, apparently there are “bugs in the code” and “suspicious code fragments”, but Croteam’s official stance on this matter remains that we write and develop a perfect code!
For example, PVS-Studio analyzer claims that it found typos and that there are identical sub-expressions to the left and to the right of the ‘==’ operator. So? One can never be too sure! We were just double checking! Errm, yes, just making sure, that was it. Definitely not a typo.
Further on in the analysis, PVS-Studio analyzer tries to pwn us with another finding: “in this code fragment we get a pointer “pwndView”, which is then assigned with NULL, making the condition always false. Most likely the programmer meant to write the inequality operator ‘!=’”.
While it may be true that the condition is always false, we’re positive that the programmer knew exactly what he (or she) was doing. Which is more than can be said for our PR department (it’s just me on Thursdays, hi!) that would love to further analyze the analyzer (or just use the word extensively) and its findings, but sadly can’t really understand any of that technical stuff.
But if you can, take a look at our careers section – we may have a job for you!
A big thanks goes to Svyatoslav Razmyslov from Program Verification Systems for testing Serious Engine v1.10, writing the article and trying to find bugs. Nice try 😉
Take a look at Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour video created by Swedish indie developer, Crackshell, which shows tons of action!
Since the last update, they have added some new features and have mostly completed the first four levels. They are working really hard to create a first person fully packed adrenaline shooter which will be a new fan favorite.
All we can say is that we will continue to monitor the development progress, as the game is shaping up quite nicely. You can also check the progress at Seriously!
Back in the day, at the very beginning of the new millennium, Croteam was a bunch of young 20-something guys who all shared the same dream – to develop most intense, hectic and fun shooter ever. Nowadays most of us are in our late thirties or early forties, have families, and admittedly, don’t play games as much as we’d want to. But one thing we still share – our desire and passion for making best and most fun games ever. And of course, that same dream is still here, as vivid and real as it gets.
But how did it begin?
Our first game was released on Commodore Amiga in 1994. Only two years later, and we could see the age of Amiga was over, and it’s time to move one cause the new king came to town – Windows PC. So we decided to switch to PC gaming. The game we all loved and adored at the time was DOOM. We wanted to make something even crazier, but a bit light-hearted. But 3D engines at the time were so expensive, that a group of students couldn’t afford one. So we came up with the plan to create our own 3D engine, which would power our own game and which we could license to other developers as well.
Fast-forward several years of hard work, and in summer of early 2000 we finally burned alpha copies of TFE on CD’s and mailed them (yes, mailed by POST, not emailed) with an extensive game design document, printed in full color on deluxe paper, towards addresses of 30 biggest publishers worldwide. We thought the game was great, we loved it, we were so confident it’s gonna be a huge hit, so all that was left was to wait for a reply from those guys, and then pick the best proposal.
Out of 30 submissions, two letters returned. One said “No, thank you”, the other “Thank you, but no”. So, with no certain future and weakened morale, we decided we’ll go our separate ways, but before we split, we agreed to put a demo on the internet, to showcase our engine and what we’ve worked so hard on for the past few years.
In May 2000, public test 1 was released. And it blew up the internet (sorry Kim, we were first). It quickly became the most downloaded demo of that summer and landed us the contract with Gathering of Developers, a Texas-based company led by Mike Wilson and Harry Miller, among others.
After receiving hundreds of emails per week from gamers all over the world who loved the demo, with our batteries fully replenished and secured funding from GoD, we went on to finish our first Serious Sam game. To be honest, The First Encounter was (and still is) one of our dearest games, in which we poured our hearts, soul, sweat, and tears. It took us years to develop it, but on 21st of March 2001, the wait was finally over, our baby was released in stores worldwide. It had a great reception, everyone loved the crazy over-the-top gameplay combined with beautiful visual and audio presentation, and we were really relieved once first (positive) comments started pouring in. And best of all, it won Gamespot’s prestigious Game of the Year award, as well as numerous other awards and praises from the gaming press and community.
Concept vs. final box art
15 years later, it’s great to see our first baby still has a very strong following, mostly thanks to 2009 Steam HD reissue, published by Mike and Harry again, this time at the helm of Devolver Digital, probably the best publisher in the world.
In light of this anniversary, we asked our veterans to say a word or two:
“When I joined Croteam, the name Serious Sam was already there. And when I first heard it, I thought – God, we need to change it ASAP! I mean, who would buy game with such a name?! They convinced me to give it a rest for few months, and it eventually sunk in. Later, I was told that once our CEO Roman came up with that name, nobody liked it at first or believed in it. But Roman was so confident that in the end we all accepted it. Thanks God!”
Damjan Mravunac, Music composer/SFX designer/lead beta-tester for SS:TFE
“Late in Serious Sam development, while we were rushing to meet self-imposed deadlines, I was banned from testing the game (actually from reporting bugs) as I found “to many critical bugs” for programmers to fix. There are 2 funny moments I remember:
Me: Hm, you can kill Ugh-Zan with a single bullet from colt if you shoot him RIGHT after he appears! Guys: grhmspp…. told you not to test the game!!
Me: guys! shouldn’t Bomberman explode when I kill him? Guys: !@#$#%^%^%^%^@#!!@ you are banned from testing the game!”
Admir Elezovic, 3D/2D artist, beta-tester for SS:TFE
“I joined Croteam after they made game Football Glory and started working on 3D engine wanting to make Doom-alike first person shooter, then working title “In The Flesh”. They needed someone to make levels in their newly created Serious Editor. Having made some simple games on ZX Spectrum and having an interest in making them I was more than willing to fill that role. I experimented with different environments and made more than 60 levels of various themes and sizes (well, I had enough time, guys were working on the engine for about 5 years). I remember one of those levels in, particular, It was called Karnak. It was too big for capabilities of computers in those times, we couldn’t fix performance on it so we cut two-fifths out of it and they become two of the biggest levels of the Serious Sam: First Encounter, Karnak and Luxor. Imagine how that original Karnak level was big in size! We always dreamed big and I think we still do. Some of those dreams coming true you will be able to see in Serious Sam 4!”
Davor Tomicic, Level/Gameplay designer for SS:TFE
And for all of you Serious Sam fans and aficionados that have been here with us from the start, here is a little thank you in a form of artwork (some previously unreleased) that we managed to dig out of our archives.
Hey! We are working so hard on Serious Sam 4, that we almost forgot it’s been 15 years since we first launched Serious Sam: The First Encounter! Can you believe it? Neither can we, but we are still here, Sam is still here, and most importantly, you are still here. So let’s celebrate this together: in light of this anniversary which is taking place on 21st of March, we prepared trading cards for both Serious Sam HD First and Second Encounter. Now all you boys and girls can go back playing these classic games and get your shiny cards, you know you deserve them!