Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Mammoth Academy is on AppSumo: Learn how to make video games with zero programming

I am pleased to annouce that AppSumo has run the Mammoth Academy on their site. As of today there is 5 days left to get 75% off. The course is only 99 dollars. 

Here is what AppSumo had to say about the course:

Who doesn’t love a good casual computer game?
Games like Angry Birds, Bejeweled, and World of Goo have exploded in popularity for wider demographics in recent times.

Got an amazing idea for a game but ZERO programming knowledge?

We’re right there with ya...

See, I have this idea for an AppSumo game called “5 Minutes To Squash A Deal”.

You play a handsome and husky Sumo who travels around the world finding the offices of the people who offer AWESOME products or services for web geeks and business professionals.

When you find them you can either...

1) Kidnap the CEO
2) Deploy stealth ninjas (you have to find those first and get them to defect to Sumo Nation) to swap out prices
3) Or just negotiate (i.e., push them against a wall with 502 lbs. of happy gut force)

And then you score points when ever you SQUASSSSSH the hell out of a deal!

Sounds like a winner, right?

Anyway, hiring a team of game developers is a bit out of this Sumo’s price range, and digging around learning how to create a game is too frustrating for Sumos (we barely have the patience to wait for someone to seat us to eat).

That’s why we were soooo freakin’ happy when we found this course from John Bura of Mammoth Interactive.

John has been programming games since 1997 (damnnnn old school; FF VII for the WIN!).

And he has been teaching others how create games since 2002, so he’s something of a game veteran who can quickly teach you all the tips and tricks that took him years to learn.

Ok, before we get any more into it, there’s one little disclaimer...

This is a HUGE course (though damn well worth the price) that actually teaches you in a way your Sumo-noodle can understand.

I’m talking about 5 full lessons broken down into 348 videosThis is NOT for the weak of heart or frail fingers...

This is for those who are willing to put in the effort needed to create AWESOME games and reach the "Top 10 Most Downloaded Apps" hall of fame!

This is for those who have a seedling of an idea for a GREAT game but can’t afford to hire a team or have NO IDEA how to even begin to create a game.

What makes this course different from other game development courses is that other courses only concentrate on the basics of putting a game together.

This course teaches you all that, but ALSO teaches you sound and music creation (which actually adds 70% to the game experience).

Ready to learn an entire degree’s worth of game development for less than the price of a community college class? This course normally goes for $399, but we've squashed the deal down to ONLY $99!

Click BUY NOW and get access to this course (which is yours forever) and get your game development going!

The “Mega-Man Of Eating” Chief Sumo

P.S. This course will also eventually give you access to bonus material, including:
  • An introduction to Game Salad, the powerful engine that allows you to deploy to Apple's App Store and the Android Market
  • How to make an interactive ebook from scratch
  • How to compose and remix video game music in FL Studio
...as soon as they’ve finished the production of the videos (free extras for everyone! Hooray!).

Friday, 23 December 2011

Image compression in Construct 2 - Scirra.com

Image compression in Construct 2 - Scirra.com

Great read about image compression in construct 2

FL studio sale 35% off!

I love FL studio. It is by far the best digital audio workstation to use. If you like video games and video game music or if you are a program FL studio is for you. They are having a 35% off sale. With most software you have to buy the additional software upgrades but with FL studio you buy it once and get lifetime free updates.

I bought FL studio 6 and I got 7, 8, 9 and 10 for free.

If you have some extra cash this holiday season I suggest purchasing FL studio.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Mega Man Remixes

During the holidays I usually listen to a lot of music. One of the best soundtracks in video game history is the soundtrack to mega man 2. The rest of the series is also amazing. There are a few reasons why the soundtrack to mega man is so great.

  • Well crafted songs
  • Very melodic content
  • Adaptability
The songs are so well crafted and they aren't just thrown together. I find that most music is an afterthought when it comes to video game production. I think that if there is anything timeless about video games its the sound track to the mega man series. 

One of the reasons why the music last is its rich melodic content. Have you ever caught yourself humming a melody in the shower or on the way to work. Strong melodies stick with us. The mega man melodies are very well crafted. What is even more surprising is that when you compose music for video games you have less design options and the music still shines. 

Because the melodies are so well crafted and they have a strong melodic content, the music can be adapted, remixed and covered. You can go to youtube and find a plethora of remixes to enjoy. Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of the soundtrack. I love listening to all the different versions of songs.

I find that if a developer is looking for a good business reason to put good music in their games they should look at the mega man franchise as an example. 

When people remember the music in your game they remember the good times they spent playing the game

If you are building a brand have good music. It will enhance everything that you do. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

One reason why video game design is not as good as film

I love seeing a big budget hollywood film. Everything is generally well thought out and the experience is gratifying. I seldom get that same experience from games and as I was watching a movie I finally figured it out. It's the music.

Big budget productions have big budget scores. Big budget games have mediocre scores. This shouldn't come to a surprise to anybody in the industry. In almost every game the sound is almost always tacked on at the end. Composers are generally not paid what they are worth and as a result the music is not as good as it could be. In contrast the film industry pays it composers well and the music is a much bigger part of the production. Imagine Inception without it sound track. Imagine that the soundtrack was just an afterthought. It wouldn't be as good as a movie.

I honestly think that some developers thing that if music is simply just playing it is good. They don't care about fidelity at all

Personally, music is the one place where the least amount of money and time is spent in development. It really shows.

Monday, 19 December 2011

More music

So you are probably wondering why I post so much music here. Isn't this blog supposed to be about game design? Well design concepts overlap and I find that since most other forms or art or media have been around for a longer period of time they have had time to explore ideas more throughly. But classical music in particular is very dense and is very well constructed. I urge any game designer to study classical composition from Bach to Stravinsky.

The reason why classical music is so amazing is that everything is placed with absolute precision. There are pieces that "work" and there are masterpieces. Games are the same way there are games that work and there are games that work better. Compared to classical music there are no games that are masterpieces. Portal comes close and maybe a few other games.

Anyway here is a great orchestral work for you to get inspired.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Another great chip tune rendition of classical music

I personally love the work of JS Bach. His music doesn't simply just "work" it transcends. I always recommend game designers to study music especially classical music. Enjoy this chiptune rendition of the prelude in G minor.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Why the Chrome Web Store is better for developers

I'm always looking for places to deploy my game. There is one feature that makes the Chrome Web Store really attractive. It's the fact that in order to be a developer it costs 5 dollars and they only take 5% of the profits. Look at most other places like the app store where it costs 100 dollars a year and they take 30%. Now people can argue that apple is hosting your game and they are marketing the store. But I highly doubt that my game is being marketed. They are just promoting angry birds and other apps. So why do I have to pay 30%?

The proposition fo only giving google 5% is amazing and personally I think that is fair because 30% is a lot. I still think that the Chrome Web Store will be the best place for any development company to make a game. It will especially be a great place for indies to go and be successful.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Why I don't listen to music when I work

Most people listen to music when they work. I love working in silence. I think its because most people think of work as work and I think of work as fun. I take what I do seriously and Im not just killing time whenever I work on something.

When you listen to music your brain isn't 100% focused on the task at hand. In order to produce amazing things you don't have to work hard you just have to work focused. The more focused you are on the task at hand the better your products will be.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Setting a countdown timer to improve efficiency

Have you ever spent the whole day "producing" and have the results have been mediocre? Perhaps you should set a countdown timer to improve efficiency. I usually set mine to about half an hour. In this time you don't listen to music, don't check Facebook, don't do anything but produce in a very clear and focused half hour of production.

I find this works because most of our attention spans are about a half hour anyway. You can set the timer, produce and when the timer is over you can go and do something else for 10 minutes. This way it gives your brain sometime to think about what you have just done and it gives it a little breather. I find that when I produced with this method my product is much better than when I don't use the method

You can really use any length of time. I even do this in 5 minutes intervals for speed production practice. I recommend shorter versus longer periods of time. The reason is that you have to hurry when the time is shorter.

Give this method a shot and post below. I would like to see your comments.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Why 100% creative control is not always the best thing

I recently watched Harry Plinket tear apart Star Wars and Star Trek


If you haven't watch these videos I urge you to watch them. They give you an insite as to how to make a production make sense.

One of the best parts of this review is how he looks at the production process. He shows several parts a long the way where major problems could have been fixed. If they had fixed these problems the movies would have been much better.  Some people think production is a nonsense career and doesn't have a lot of weight.

As a producer you craft memorable experiences that translate into loving life

There are more points to living than just being alive. When you drop the ball as the the Star Wars prequels have done you have disappointed people and ruin the love people have for the experience and life.

Having 80% creative control is just as good as having 100%. Other people will help you make your ideas better. This works is most areas of production. Surprisingly, the only area where this dosen't work is musical composition. Solo artists and composers can compose and produce by themselves and get wonderful results. But I feel that bigger projects have to have more people. Eventually, landmark games will be producable by one person.

If you are the producer give some credibility to your team. They will help make your product much better than if you commanded all of the orders.

As a producer if you give a little your product will get a lot

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Orchestration versus construction

In the 19th century there was a debate on orchestration versus construction. When you compose a symphony orchestration is very important. If you put the pair the wrong instruments your symphony can sound horrible. Some composers decided to make the symphony mostly about orchestration and others were all about the structure of the composition. During the process of both you have to weigh the positives and negatives of sacrificing one or the other.

If you wanted an orchestra to sound really good you would have to sacrifice some of the structure. Likewise if you wanted great structure you would have to sacrifice orchestration. The big debate was between the composers Tchaikovsky and Brahms. Tchaikovsky' symphonies sounded great but lacked the structural components that Brahms had. Brahms was the reverse. Naturally you want your orchestra to both have amazing structure and be well orchestrated. However, that is not always possible.

So if we flash forward to today. I find the exact same argument among game developers. Does the game play well or look awesome? Do you sacrifice definition for mechanics? Naturally you want a game's design to flow and in a perfect world you would have great mechanics and great assets. But a long the way you have to sacrifice something. The question is what will you sacrifice.

Personally, construction will always trump polish. To me all forms of media should be engaging and I consume media for the ideas and the exploration. On top of this, well constructed ideas can be adapted and improved upon. The oposite to this is fluff. Games that look and feel good but have no substance. It's the classic style versus substance. I like my games to have substance.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Chip tune arrangement of classical music

I love finding something awesome on youtube. This is a chiptune version of claude Debussy's Passepied. It is amazing. Surprisingly, it works very well as video game music. Usually complex songs don't work out because there is too much variation. Here are some reason why it works(except the ending)
  • It is face paced
  • The energy is for the most part constant for the entire song. 
  • It is interesting to listen to.
The arranger did a good job as well. Enjoy!

Here is a orchestral version. Compare the difference and post your thoughts below!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Why I don't like 3D today

While I love playing 3D games I tend to produce in 2D more than 3D. The main reason is that 2D games have more longevity than 3D games. With 3D games you have a very short window to make your money in and after that your game is done. Your game will be graphically obsolete in a short span of time. On top of that, a revolutionary new paradigm could happen during production and make your product worthless. This has happened to me a couple of times.

There are other reasons why 3D isn't as "viral" as 2D. If your game is successful, people with make fun of it with cartoons or videos etc. This process is much easier if your game is in 2D. People can interact with it. With 3D this process is possible but it is much harder.

Lastly, the development is much more expensive. 3D artists are much fewer and more expensive. There are a lot more problems that can go wrong. The game could crash or something random can break your game. As a result you have to test them more. Even something as simple as collisions can be very problematic.

3D games are awesome and I love to play them. I am personally going to wait before I produce my 3D games. I will take a look at the production landscape before I start a game.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Bastion is on the chrome store, native clients on the web and what's next for the chrome store.

I am speechless. Bastion is on the chrome store.

Im surprised this was even possible. Usually you have to code these kinds of games in native code. But apparently Google has a native client called NaCl that will allow developers to use native code on the web. What this could mean is that bigger games that were coded in native code can now be played on the web. I have to give google a gold star for doing this. 

So what does this mean for all of the app stores? Every device seems to have its own store and each of them have their positives and negatives. All of them make money but as a developer some of them are better than others. The most famous is Apple's app store. It has made a ton of money and is probably the most well known. But that might change with Google's chrome store. 

So far the best part of the app store to any developer is that everybody gets an equal chance. Nobody screens for content and every developer gets a shot of making the next Angry Birds. It's a more modern style of distribution. It is similar to how youtube will just allow almost any video to be put on there. So if you have a game and it doesn't crash, then you are good to sell on the apps store. The chrome store works in the same way. There is no filtering for content. If you want to make a chrome store game and it doesn't crash you can sell your game on the store.

This approach is better for developers especially indie developers like Mammoth Interactive (me). This way everybody gets a fair shot at production. It says let the best game win (for the most part). The services that does not do this is Microsoft. They purposely divide the service into three tiers. There are certain privileges and features that you as the developer can and can't have. For example, you can't have achievements on XBLIG or in game purchases. As I have stated before. This is a major problem and it's why I will not be developing for Microsoft until they change this.

This is why the chrome store and the app store are much more attractive to me and other indie developers. On both of these stores I can use in game purchases as well as achievements and leader-boards if I want to (the chrome store doesn't have leader boards or achievements at this time). For me, I need to be able to compete with the giants. I need everything available at my disposal in order to succede. In the past, it was hard to impossible to make money off an indie game and now it is easier than ever.

Sidebar: I tell everybody who reads the blog to ship a game sooner rather than later. It is now easier than ever to make money so start shipping.

So as an indie developer I will be for sure putting a lot of thought into the chrome store for 2012. 

Why you need to get your games in the hands of players yesterday

There is an old adage for musicians...

When you are not practicing somebody is...

I would like to update this adage for game developers...

When you are not developing somebody is...

You can even go as far as saying...

When you are not shipping somebody else is...

Your game is worthless without execution. I personally have games on my hard drive that nobody will ever enjoy. People can't enjoy your game if it is in your head or on your hard drive. Go ahead and start to develop and ship your game. If you hesitate, somebody will just develop and release a game and become successful.

Start developing your game today!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Timeless games

The main reason I work in gaming is because games is an area where there is much needed improvement and development. Most other forms of media are harder to innovate because they have been around for a longer period of time.

There is no such thing as a timeless game. There is timeless movies, music, literature and theater, but there is no timeless games.

People have listened to and enjoyed the music of J.S Bach long before you were born and they will continue to long after you die

But will people play Mario or Angry Birds in the future? Games don't have the same lasting power as other mediums do. When you listen to Toccata and Fugue, you know that this is an epic work, that it is a masterpiece. He made all of the right decisions in that work an it will last forever. Some forms of art are like monumental buildings, such as the pyramids. Toccata and Fugue is one of these works of art.

Games are fun and do not have the same lasting effect. I find that even mind blowing games are only fun for a certain length of time.

There is a fundamental difference in the way that other mediums are produced and games. Toccata and Fugue is 10 minutes long. But it took a lifetime to compose. Now I don't mean that Bach started to work on this since he was a little kid and then one day he released it. He worked on his craft and the culmination of all of his experiences made that work amazing. He probably did spend a lot of time writing and perfecting that song. Great art has hours of thought put into a few seconds of experience.

Movies are produced the same way. Next time you see an amazing movie look at every scene. Most of the time that scene was made with extreme care.

With games I find most of the production is rushed and not thought out. Now there is one key difference that game producers have to take into account


Interactivity is a big part of games and it is the reason why games do not stand up against other mediums. In games you have to craft experiences. You have to take into account how people perceive the game and make it fun for them. Nobody has solved this yet.  This for me is the best part of game design: so many unsolved problems. 

There is one game that comes close and that game is the Mass Effect series. I give a round of applause to the BioWare team which is located in the Canadian city of Edmonton. Seriously, if you love art go play this game. It is absolutely amazing. Whatever the code base they have for that game I still feel that it is a few generations out from being a true masterpiece. 

I recently showed Mass Effect to my friend and I started the opening sequence and I got the same tingly feeling I get when I listen to a great work such as Toccata and Fugue or watch an amazing movie like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. BioWare is the closest company to achieving a timeless game. If they make Mass Effect 3 awesome then I would say it could be a contender.

Here is what a timeless game needs
  • To be able to be fun, relatable and revelvant at any time
  • To have extremely rich content
  • To emotionally move people at any given time
Mass effect has extremely rich content, but we will have to see about the other factors. Any game developer who solves this will be the JS Bach, imhotep or George Seurat of our time

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The 3 things I think XBLIG should have

Here are three things to make XBLIG competitive

  1. Access to achievements
  2. In game purchases
  3. Steam like promotion services
If XBLIG had this it would attract more developers and would improve the service quite a bit.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

XBOX Live Indie Games review

I created an XBLIG last year in August 2010. I am happy to see some of my developers such as Radian Games be so successful now. Radian games just released a game under Chilingo the Angry Birds publisher. While XBLIG is always the subject of debate among indie developers, the services is luke-warm in terms of features and success.

Let's start with the good
So imagine you are 10 years old and you somebody says to you  that 15 years later you will make your own game for the leading console of the time. You are playing Megaman trying to get to the boss and you are thinking to yourself "No way, I don't think that is going to happen". Well thanks to XBLIG you can. You can produce a game for the leading console today. If there is any reason to produce a game for XBLIG it would be to just feel a sense of accomplishment and say that you made a game and have it being sold on the XBOX 360.

On top of that, you can make money. There are a handful of games that have made 6 figures. There is even a game that has surpassed a million sales. So you can make money but not everybody can make money.

In addition, you get a ton of exposure. Lot's of bloggers and reviewers will review your game and that is a good thing. Anybody talking about your game good or bad is a good thing. If you develop a game for XBLIG you will get about 10 times more press than a game for iPhone or android.

The tools to develop an XBLIG are amazing. C# and XNA are awesome programming languages. These languages make game development so much fun. There are a lot of resources in the forums and they are easy to implement and follow. Also deploying to your XBOX is incredibly easy.

XBLIG is a great place to make your game and get some press for your game. You might make some money with it and it can be a gateway to greater success.

Let's talk about the bad things
Microsoft divides its game development into three parts: XBOX 360, XBLA, XBLIG. Each has their own rules and costs associated with it. XBLIG easily has the worst reputation. The reason is that there is a lot of shovelware on the service. Some developers have something like 60 small games on the service. There are a few really good games on the service but if you don't get featured your game gets clumped with the shovelware.

If you produce a game for XBLIG you get little or no XBOX features. You don't get achievements or in game purchases. This is a major problem if you want to make money. I don't really care about the reason why this happens. If you can't use these two techniques then it makes your game less competitive. Not having achievements is the worst part. I really, really wanted this when I was making Circa. If you can't use it then how are you going to get good at incorporating those features into games. You have to go to iOS to get this kind of experience.

You have to use XNA which can be problematic. The reason I bring this up is because there are some major limitations with XNA. While it is easy to use, if you are an experienced developer then there are parts of XNA that will drive you insane. Somethings are either impossible or ridiculously hard to do. You can code XBOX games in other languages. I wish I had this option

Other thoughts
So if you are a hobbyist or just simply want to produce a game to add it to your resume, then XBLIG is the platform for you. I personally get a lot of "street cred" for my game Circa. I have easily made money because I have the game and not from the game. Basically it helped me make a living in 2011.

However, if you are serious about game design and development (which I am). I would suggest staying away from XBLIG and instead go to steam. The reason is simply because you don't have enough montization features.

I don't think XBLIG was ever set up to make money. It seems like it a place to get experience and not a place where you can make a living let alone start up a studio.

I'm glad XBLIG exists at all. It's a place where you can gain some experience and have a little fun with development. It is a great thing to add to your resume and will most likely help your career along. If you haven't made an XBLIG then what are you waiting for?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Real life is like a multiple choice test

The best part about multiple choice tests is that the answers are on the page so all you have to do is select the right one.

I could say the same thing about real life. All the answers to success are around you just have to select the right course of action.

If you want to start a business go and find a few businesses you like and reverse engineer what they do. Find out what makes it good and put it in your own product.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa died today in 1993. Thank you for all of the inspiration Frank

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Make your own Legend of Zelda franchise

We all know and love the Legend of Zelda. There is one thing that this game franchise does that makes it great to plan and last essentially forever. What Zelda does is have re-occurring characters and themes. Each game that is produced has a similar story, theme and characters. When a new game comes out it is familiar enough so that people know what they want and it is different enough that people buy it and enjoy it.

This is simply brilliant. Let's look at how to make your own Zelda franchise.

  1. Get a list of characters and give them flexible attributes
  2. Make a list of possible settings again with flexible attributes
  3. Set up a your game mechanics
  4. Have a fixed release schedule
Now making a franchise like Zelda dosen't happen over night. But you can experiment with these ideas and you can make your own franchise. 

Why you should know everything about the process of making video games if you want a job in the industry

I usually get a few resumes a week in my inbox. One thing that everybody has in common is that they only have one tallent and no skills. Of course you need to be talented if you want a job. But you should have some skills to compliment that tallent. I get a lot of artists emails and that is all they can do. If you are an artist and want some advice on how to stand out.

Learn everything about the production, produce your own game and release it.

Of course you are not setting out to be a programmer or a composer but you can make your own game and release it. I personally look for this when I am going through resumes. Very few people have produced a game by themselves. To me that is the most attractive item on a resume. There are people who work by themselves and make a living. So why not try and make your own game from scratch and see if you can make some money. If it dosen't make any money then you can at least add it to your resume.

There are so many things that can go wrong with the production in a game. When everybody knows what the problem is and how to fix it, the work can be divided and solved much quicker.

You will become a better artist or programmer if you learn the entire route to game production. When you are an artist you can learn how to tailor your art towards the mechanics and when you are a programmer you can tailor your mechanics towards the art. I personally feel that the design of games compared to older forms of media such as film, literature and music is much poorer and if everybody learned the entire process it would make the design of games much better.

If you want media with a  great design, all of the parts have to easily fit together. When you experience a production backlog because the art doesn't jive with the programming then the design of the game starts to feel disjunct. This could all be solved if everybody knew the entire process of creating games.

There is a difference between talents and skills. You have to know the difference between the two. You want to get hired because of your tallent and not your skill. Talents is an area of production that you are extremely good at and know a lot about. Skills are something that you can just do and get it done. For example, I have coded many games from scratch, but I am not a talented programmer. I have made the art to many of the games I have produced, but I am not a talented artist. My two talents are game design and composition. Surprisingly there is little difference from composing a symphony and designing a game.

Why don't schools teach this? The answer is that most schools want you to end up in a big company that where the work is very specific. While that is a great prospect for students, it doesn't explain to them that you might be on contract before you get hired full time. So what do you do between contracts. Why don't you make your own game and try and sell it.

During the great recession, I noticed that a lot of people who were laid-off started their own studio in their basement. Not every developer made money but some actually made what they were making in their jobs. I tell this to everybody I meet who wants to be apart of the industry especially artists. Start your own studio, you get to learn (probably more than you did in school) some new things and possibly make some money. Plus, you get to add a game to your resume.

People always tell me that it is unrealistic for people to know all the areas of game development. I say that I made Flashes of color all by myself and the game is the size of super mario 3. I made some money with that game and I feel that I could add it to my resume if I wanted to apply to a job. On top of all of that I learned a lot about game production during that game. I always learn something about production during any game.

Tearing down the fabricated walls of game production practices makes games more creative. Again, the best games with the most coherent designs have every part of the game complimenting each other. The best way to do this is that everybody learns all parts to game production.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The best defense of piracy is to not produce it

If you don't want your game or content pirated don't produce it. It cannot be pirated if it doesn't exist.

Ubisoft recently announced that thy are not producing a PC version due to piracy.


In the article it says that the PC game wasn't even part of the plan. They tailored the game towards the consoles and they would have to re-design the game for PC. If you want to make a good PC game, you make it free and with purchases. But not every game should be like that. What about Braid for example. In game purchases would ruin it. So how does the developer make money if a game's design doesn't support in game purchases. The answer is simply release for consoles. There is still piracy for consoles but there is much less and with each generation of consoles that comes out the piracy gets harder.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I would love to work on something with a really big budget

I love what I do. I try to get the most out for as little money as possible. Some projects have seem to have almost unlimited amounts of cash pouring in. It seems like those if those projects need more money get it. My guerilla production style works great for me however, I would love to work on something epic, something truly awesome.