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» Braid

Interview on Critical Hit

November 26th, 2009

While in Chicago last month, I recorded an interview with Columbia College’s gaming podcast, Critical Hit. This a well-made show which I whole-heartedly recommend. The interview was very well-prepared, and even later on, when the conversation becomes more freeform and casual, it remains a worthwhile listen. Hopefully my perception isn’t skewed because I enjoyed myself! We talked so much, they got two episodes out of it.

The show begins with an interview about Braid and indie game development. Later on the guys asked me about my career path (if you will) from art school through Braid and (conceivably) beyond. Then we talk about upcoming games and games of the past. The tone progresses linearly from polished professionalism (credit to Joe Locastro) towards irreverent improvisation (Anthony Sixto), finally into audience-insulting profanity (me). John Gosling accompanies throughout in a low register.

Direct Download for Part 1
Direct Download for Part 2

Subscribe with RSS, XML or iTunes.

Visit the Critical Hit homepage (and stream the show from your browser).

Thanks to the Critical Hit team for an enjoyable conversation.

Chicago, I Visit Thee

October 20th, 2009

This Thursday, October 22, I’ll be at Columbia College in Chicago, giving a lecture about my work on Braid. They say it’s open to the public!

The info is this: 916 S. Wabash Ave, Room 150. 6:00 pm.

Here is Columbia College’s page about it.

Well, I Laughed

October 1st, 2009

Look what the internet made:

We’ve discussed WayForward’s A Boy and His Blob already, but I feel that this adds something valuable to the discourse.

It’s been about a month since the last maps update. I’ve made incremental progress, but from here on it’s the sort of thing you’ll mostly need to zoom in to see. To be honest, this project has been mostly sidelined by a new work opportunity that arose unexpectedly. (More info on that in time…)

Here’s a zoomed-out view of the whole thing.

Might as well say now: my intention is to sell these maps as posters, along with Braid-related images and my old comics. Back when I was doing A Lesson Is Learned with Dale Beran, we sold prints of those comics. I printed, packaged and shipped each one myself. As much fun as it was to share the work with an audience in a physical way, it ate up a lot of time and we didn’t charge enough to make a worthwhile profit. So I’ve been looking for another way to do this.

At the moment, my favorite option is imagekind, literally the CafePress of art. You create an account, upload your art files, set your profit margin by percentage or flat amount (the base price is predetermined), and prints are made on demand. I’ve ordered their sample booklet and the prints are high quality. One of the paper options is the same as what I used to print myself from home (Epson Photo Luster). They even print on canvas.

On the plus side, I can offer a range of images and see what people like without incurring any up-front risk on a big order. Over time, I could even offer the entire back catalog of A Lesson Is Learned. (Each image requires some preparation, so this would not happen instantly.) So it allows a lot of choice for customers.

Also, because everything is handled by imagekind, I don’t have to do anything! I can keep my hands alien-smooth and customers can expect quick turn-around.

On the minus side, artists don’t have great control over what kinds of prints they offer and how they set their prices. Imagekind offers a dizzying range of paper options, and there’s no way to limit that. Maybe that’s a good thing for certain customers, but I’m a little concerned it could be confusing and deter some. (I’ll probably just indicate my recommendation and people can make up their own minds.)

Another issue is pricing. Each type of paper has its own base price, and I determine the markup (either as a percentage or a flat sum). The markup is controlled per image, not by paper/size. This makes it tricky to not charge too little or too much at one end of the paper spectrum. So the prices will probably seem a little high at the lowest end, and a little bit cheap at the highest end.

However, from a customer’s viewpoint, if you keep in mind that these are not cheapo things that you want to stick to your bedroom wall with rolls of Scotch tape, but really high quality archival art prints that you can frame, the prices will be reasonable.

Because I’m still mulling this over, I thought I’d share this with you in case you have any knowledge to share.

  • Anybody have experience with imagekind?
  • Know of any good alternatives to imagekind?
  • What images would you personally consider purchasing? (Braid, A Lesson Is Learned, maps, other)
  • What size print would you ideally want? (imagekind prints up to 60×60″!)
  • What is the most you are willing to pay for timeless beauty?


(By the way, some people have asked for wallpaper images for the puzzle paintings Tim assembles in Braid. I don’t plan to offer these as posters. The main reason, which may or may not amuse anyone, is that some things really belong in a certain context. Those images were made to exist in the game, and derive their meaning from that context. They are rewards for thinking through Braid’s challenges. I don’t think they are as good outside of the game. Also I don’t want to contribute to de-mystification of things that are better when you earn them. To the small extent of my influence, I don’t want those images out there to be seen by people who haven’t yet played the game. The secondary reason, also known as the convenient technical problem, is that they were painted at a resolution too low for printing. Sorry to those who’ve requested these!)

Interview on Now Loading

May 12th, 2009

I was recently interviewed by a Brazillian games podcast, Now Loading Round #45. My Portuguese being weak, the interview was conducted in English. The podcast includes both the original and translation (although it’s mostly Portuguese!).

English language readers can view the page translated by Google.

We talked about Braid’s art, the sometimes confusing marriage of gameplay and storytelling, and I even fielded a few questions that were obviously written for Jon!

Braid Soundtrack

April 10th, 2009

Music from Braid by Sieber, Kammen, Fulton and Schatz

The soundtrack to Braid was assembled from existing compositions by several talented musicians. Jon collected the songs from various albums, but now you can download all the songs that were in Braid as a single album. This collection also includes two newly created remixes by Jon Schatz.

Check out the Braid soundtrack at Magnatune.

And here’s some more information about the artists, like which albums these tracks are originally from.

Braid Trailer

April 9th, 2009

On the eve of Braid’s Windows PC release, here’s a new trailer. For the innocent, it will spark wonder. For others, it will deepen the lines of bittersweet remembrance.

You can buy Braid for PC at Greenhouse, Steam, Impulse or Gamers Gate. All these stores will make Braid available some time on April 10.

The PC version has the same content as the xbox version, except that you can play with a keyboard or an Xbox 360 controller. (Finally those blocks in the bathroom mean something.) Also, it has the level editing tools used by Jon and me. So you can make your own Braid levels and stuff. Jon wrote a little about that here.

More info may be available at www.braid-game.com and Jonathan Blow’s blog.