What The Hum Means for Me. A story about my childhood, my struggle with health and my dreams

This is the english version of my original that post I put here.

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There’s more than one reason why The Hum is extremely important to me. I consider it to be more than an idea or a story. The Hum means a lot to me. There’s a lot about myself that many of you don’t know – about obstacles I’ve had to overcome and illnesses I’ve recovered from. But you neither know how all of these issues have led me to create what it looks like as a simple alien horror game.

 

Even when it is a demanding task, making this videogame means a lot more to me than any other “simple videogame” that I could make. For that reason, today I’d like to share my tale with you. My story about how I became who I am today.

 

23 years ago I played a game that you may know. Its name’s Doom. I was 7 years of age at that time. I began to program when I was 2. I learnt to read at that age thanks to my father’s Spectrum ZX, which I still have (totally destroyed). When I was around 5 or 6 years old I was able to program in BASIC – I remember feeling frustrated since I never achieved the desired results. But I was happy. After spending many hours copying codes from a magazine I was able to compile them in order to play a game “I’d made with my own hands.”

 

I played DOOM on a computer that belonged to an acquaintance. I didn’t have my own PC, nor did I for many years. But I felt inspired enough to continue programming on paper and designing cartoons of my ideas. I was only 8 years old and I was writing my own stories about aliens, wars between different worlds and cultures in conflict which were “radically different” from our culture. I learnt that line (“radically different”) as a boy from the mouth of Captain Picard of Star Trek (broadcasted in Argentina by a local channel.)

 

My life was not easy as a child. I was at the mercy of a bipolar mother so creativity was my only refuge. I expressed it via game design and stories about “that super game I was going to create when I was the age 20”. I read a magazine at that time which included a story about two young guys called John Romero and John Carmack who had achieved amazing feats. They were like rock stars of video games and I couldn’t help dreaming to be like them one day.

 

My life turned around. My grandfather (who was like a father to me) died when I was 14. As a consequence, the situation at home became unbearable so I decided to leave. Then, it began a series of adventures (or maybe I should call them misadventures) that forced me to live in the street, to suffer hunger for months and to start to work young. I faced many problems, which I won’t fully describe, that made me become what I am now.

 

However, my health began to fail. At the age of 18 my body said “Enough!” and stopped moving, overwhelmed by pain. The only way doctors found to calm my pain was by sedating me, but even that way the pain wouldn’t disappear. But with the help of many people that accompanied me in life (Many people!) and with great effort, I‘ve managed to go on.

 

I used to feel envy for the people I saw complaining about their responsibilities. I used to think they were lucky enough to move and not to suffer constant pain. But as years passed by, I came to understand that this pain was part of my fate. It’s hard to explain how my health problems affect me in everyday life. Many people do not even seem to notice it. They see me at conferences, see me going to expositions, but, honestly, I have to admit that it’s hard for me to leave my home because of my condition. Making a cup of tea, going to the toilet and even typing represent and enormous effort. But I keep going on.

 

 

Every day my wife helps me to get up. First, she moves one of my paralyzed legs, then the other. She massages my arms and helps me to ease the pain of my teeth, eyes, head, back, and fingers. She pronounces words that no one else can tell me and reminds me that I can continue with all of this. We spend one or even two hours this way every day, until I can stand up and face my day.

 

I’ve never given up on my dream. Not even when I lived on the streets neither when my health failed me. And even when life has gifted me with lovely people, I‘ve also met those of the kind that like to express pessimistic ideas such as “Argentina’s not a country suitable to make videogames” or “You can barely move, how are you going to make it?”

 

I always tried my best. At the age of 22 I started working at the University buffet and on a cyber café after that. I suffered a lot at that time; I could barely walk and talk to people, trying my best not to pass out. But I felt I had to do it since I’d decided to keep going on…I would live to fulfill my dreams.

I got my own PC at 23. At that age I knew some programming stuff in Pascal, Basic and C which I’d learnt in using a computer that I shared with some people in the past.

 

I started working on computers, on systems and databases, with people who helped me and trusted on my knowledge. At that time, every day after coming back home, I spent hours and hours learning how to make games on Flash. Meanwhile, I tried to study at University (I started many courses of study, such as Astronomy, Physics and Psychology) and I became interested in Yoga and other similar spiritual practices that made my condition more bearable.

 

Some time passed and I decided to quit that job, even when I had reached a supervisor position that made me earn decent money and lead some teams. But I left. I wanted to work in a game company (There were quite a few at that time here in Argentina). I moved to the capital without a buck and I started to look for a job. In every interview, I had to do my best to hide my terrible discomfort and pain – many times I simply ran from the place, almost crying on frustration for my health. But fortunately, I started making games “professionally” in a studio I finally joined. Some of my colleagues at that company were friendly but there were others with who I couldn’t possible get on well with. I’m a weirdo. I’m someone who eats the unconventional to feel better as possible, who doesn’t go anywhere because of pain and who always wears an angry face. Yeah, people tend to see me as a weirdo.

 

My life experience has influenced my personality in many ways. But it has also taught me to look on the bright side. There has been and there will always be people full of prejudice who will judge me without knowing me and my “misadventures”. “Ladran Sancho”.

 

The Hum is more than a game to me. It’s the result of 20 years of hard work. It’s what makes me feel that my life actually means something. Anytime I was sleeping in the streets or looking for a doctor that could ease my pain I would think to me “My dream will come true.” I always thought “I’ll do it”. I lost some people that I really loved. Every time things seemed to be getting brighter, a new obstacle appeared: a death, a break up with someone I loved, a financial crisis… But I feel I’ve always done my best to get stronger – I’ve always looked ahead.

 

Today I’m making two of my dreams come true: creating my own game and having a family. Years ago I never would have thought it to be possible. Taking into account my condition, my health and my “shitty complications”, having children was not an option for me. Making games, traveling to another country and talking to people were hard too.

Obstacles haven’t changed much but I’ve grown up. My daughter’s coming soon and I feel the most beautiful sensation one can possibly imagine. I’m going to keep going on the way I’ve done it all my life, just for her. And even when it’s hard to get up every day, she‘s chosen me as a father so I can only make the effort for here.

 

The Hum is more than a game to me – It’s a story to tell. It’s the way I have to express many things. I’ve been creating The Hum’s universe since I was a child and it’s been changing and expanding endlessly since then. I gave a name to my disease. I call it “The Beast”. In a way, The Hum‘s part of that beast but it’s also my way to tame it, to control it.

 

There’s still a lot to be done in order to improve The Hum. It certainly requires a huge effort but making an endeavor it’s something I’m not afraid of. Sooner or later, you’ll be getting your hands on this game and on many other games I’ll hopefully be making in the future! I am really grateful for all your comments praising and supporting The Hum. Every “good work” is worth thousands for me and every review is a door to further improvement.

 

I can’t close this thread without telling you never to give up on your dreams. Don’t be fooled – Life is not easy but it can be compared to a videogame: if you play it on easy, you’ll get easily bored! All great achievements require making an effort and you’ll definitely enjoy it better that way. There’s always a new opportunity and you can always make It better. Never give up.

 

 

Todo lo que simboliza The Hum, desde mi niñez, pasando por mi salud, mi vida y mis sueños.

Hay muchas cosas detrás de The Hum que son sumamente importantes para mí. Es más que una idea o una historia. The Hum simboliza demasiado en mi vida. Hay mucho de mí que la mayoría no sabe, ni las cosas que pasé a lo largo de los años, ni mis cuestiones de salud y cómo todo desemboca en lo que parece un simple videojuego de terror con aliens.

Para mí estar acá hoy haciendo este juego, a pulmón y de a poco, pero haciéndolo, significa mucho más que “hacer jueguitos”, y hoy me surgió compartir con ustedes un poco de cómo llegué hasta acá hoy.

Hace 23 años me encontré jugando algo que quizás conozcan. Se llama Doom. Me voló la cabeza. Tenía 7 años. Venía desde mis 2 años intentando programar. Aprendí a leer a esa edad gracias a la Spectrum ZX de mi viejo, que aún conservo (destrozada…). Cuando tenía 5 ó 6 años intentaba programar en BASIC y me frustraba por no lograr los resultados deseados. Era feliz si, tras horas de copiar código de alguna revista del momento, podía compilar y jugar un juego que “había hecho yo”.

Jugué DOOM en la computadora de un conocido. Yo no tenía PC, ni tuve durante muchos años más. Pero me inspiró tanto que seguí programando en papel y haciendo game design, dibujos e historietas de mis ideas. Tenía 8 años y armaba historias sobre extraterrestres, mundos en guerra, razas conflictuadas y culturas diversas y “radicalmente distintas” a la humana. Saqué esa frase de chico de la boca del Capitán Picard de Star Trek, TNG, que pasaban por el entonces canal 2.

Mi vida no era muy fácil, siendo niño y a merced de una madre bipolar y con bastantes cuestiones, la creatividad era el único refugio, y la plasmaba realizando game design e historias para lo que algún día serían los “super juegos” que iba a hacer cuando tuviera la inalcanzable edad de 20 años. Había leído una revista donde contaban como unos pebetes llamados Jhon Romero y Jhon Carmack habían logrado hazañas increíbles, simil rock-stars de los videojuegos, y no paraba de soñar con emularlos.

La vida tomo giros. Con el fallecimiento de mi abuelo, quien actuaba como padre, la situación en casa fue insostenible y a mis 14 años decidí irme. Desde entonces empezó una serie de aventuras (y desventuras)  sin descanso que me hicieron pasar por dormir en la calle, no comer durante meses, trabajar desde joven y afrontar varias situaciones que, si me pongo a describir, no terminaría más, pero fueron formando mucho lo que soy ahora.

En el camino, mi salud se fue deteriorando. Hasta que llegué a unos 18 años donde mi cuerpo dijo basta y dejé de moverlo, invadido por un dolor infinito. La única opción de los médicos fue drogarme hasta desmayarme, pero el dolor igualmente no aflojaba. Con ayuda de gente que pasó por mi vida (¡Y cuanta pasó!) y con mucho esfuerzo, lo intenté igual: seguir adelante.

Veía otras personas quejarse, desganadas, de las cosas que “tenían” que hacer y yo les envidiaba la suerte de poder moverse, de no estar sufriendo de dolor constante 24 horas al día. De a poco fui entendiendo que simplemente es lo que me tocó. Es difícil explicar cómo se comporta mi salud y el dolor e impedimentos que me genera, pero mucha gente ni siquiera lo nota. Me ve dar charlas, me ve ir a eventos, pero yo apenas salgo de casa. Armar un mate , ir al baño e incluso tipear son enorme esfuerzo y sufrimiento. Pero lo hago.

Día a día me ayuda mi mujer a levantarme. Primero me mueve una pierna, luego otra. Me masajea los brazos y me ayuda a calmar el dolor de las muelas, los ojos, la cabeza, la espalda, la piel, los dedos. Me dice palabras que nadie más puede decirme y me recuerda que yo puedo con todo eso. Son una , quizás dos horas diarias de mucha garra para comenzar el día. Y al ruedo.

Nunca olvidé mi sueño de hacer juegos. Cuando estuve en la calle, cuando mi salud empeoró. Si bien hubo gente que la vida me regaló en cada momento, siempre fue una negativa, un sarcasmo o un “no” a ese sueño. Que en Argentina no se hacen juegos. Que hay que tener plata. Que con esa salud apenas podes moverte, menos hacer juegos.

Con mucho esfuerzo, a los 22 años empecé a trabajar en el bufet de la facultad, luego atendiendo en un ciber. Sufría horrores, el solo hecho de caminar, de hablar con la gente, de intentar no desmayarme todo el tiempo. Pero tenía que hacerlo.. lo había decidido… ¿Sino para que estoy vivo, si no es para cumplir mis sueños? Conseguí mi primer verdadera pc a los 23. Sabía cosas de programación por haber usado papel y algo de Pascal un tiempo atrás en una compu que era compartida con gente con al que vivía.

Empecé a trabajar en informática gracias a la ayuda de gente que me lo permitió y que confío en que podía hacerlo bien, haciendo sistemas y bases de datos. Volvía de trabajar y le dedicaba horas y horas a aprender a hacer juegos, usando flash. A la par intenté varias carreras en la facultad y me interioricé en Yoga y varias disciplinas que hicieron de mi carga algo mucho más llevadero.

Al tiempo dedicí dejar ese trabajo, que era estable y en el que en tan solo meses había escalado bastante, para ir a trabajar en alguna empresa de juegos, que apenas comenzaban a aparecer en Argentina. Me mudé de ciudad y sin un peso, salí a la búsqueda, intentando disimular en cada entrevista mi terrible malestar. Y así comencé a hacer juegos “profesionalmente”. Tuve grandes compañeros y también gente con la que simplemente no me llevé. Soy un tipo raro. Alguien que come raro para sentirse lo mejor posible, que no sale a reuniones porque se muere de dolor o que parece tener cara de orto constante porque aguanta día y noche para no desmayarse, suele ser visto raro.

Mis vivencias y lo que afronto día a día me fueron dando un carácter un poco duro en muchos aspectos. Pero también me hizo darme cuenta con los años que hay que estar agradecido de todo lo que tenemos. He sabido de mucha gente que ha comentado cosas de mí, sin apenas conocerme y sin apenas saber todas estas odiseas. Ladran Sancho.

The Hum es para mí mucho más que un juego. Es el fruto de 20 años de esforzarme día en noche en sentir que la vida vale para algo. Cuando estuve en la calle de pendejo pensaba “voy a cumplir mi sueño”. Cuando estuve postrado o cuando iba de médico en médico con el dolor partiéndome la vida, y que aún lo hace, siempre pensé “lo voy a hacer igual”. Perdí mucha gente que ya no está en este mundo. Siempre que algo parecía remontar, alguna prueba se me cruzaba: algún fallecimiento, algún desencuentro grande, alguna tragedia económica, alguna crisis en el entorno. Pero me curtí de muchas cosas y decidí siempre darle para adelante.

Hoy estoy cumpliendo, de a poco, mis dos sueños: hacer videojuegos, y tener una familia. Años atrás yo estaba resignado a saber que jamás iba a tener una familia. Con mi situación, con mi salud y con mis “cosas”, tener hijos no era opción. Hacer juegos, viajar a otro país, hablar con la gente, salir a eventos, tampoco.

Mis obstáculos no cambiaron tanto, pero yo crecí. Así que hoy estas cosas están cumpliéndose. Mi hija está pronta a nacer y es la sensación más hermosa que uno pueda imaginar. Por ella voy a seguir con este camino, así como vengo haciendo, con la garra que cada día me toma al levantarme y al acostarme. Ella me eligió como padre y no puedo más que estar agradecido.

The Hum es mucho más que un juego, una historia a contar. Es mi forma de expresar infinitas cosas. Vengo armando el universo de The Hum desde mi niñez, y fue mutando una y otra vez. Es la expresión de como algo puede ser gigantezco y parecer absolutamente irremontable, pero uno puede encontrarle igual un sentido a la vida. A mi problema de salud, durante años, lo llamé “La Bestia”. Eso es The Hum, pero también es el cómo domarla, el como desmitificarla, el como trascenderla.

A The Hum y a todos los juegos que sueño con hacer, aún les falta muchísimo trabajo. No dudo que se trata de un gran esfuerzo, pero esforzarme no es algo a lo que le tema. Así que no tengan dudas que van a tener en sus manos este juego y muchos más! Y agradecido estoy por todas las palabras y comentarios que me llegan elogiando o apoyando lo que The Hum es, casi siempre sin saber todo esto que hoy acá cuento, pero que hace que cada “buen trabajo” que me dicen, vale por mil para mí, así como cada crítica una puerta para seguir mejorando.

No puedo cerrar este post sin decirle a todo aquel que esté dudando con sus sueños, o abatido por las situaciones, que no se deje engañar. La vida no es fácil, pero esto es como ser gamer. ¡Si todo es muy fácil también es aburrido! Los mejores achievements se logran con esfuerzo y se disfrutan más. Siempre hay otra oportunidad y siempre podemos dar más de lo que pensamos.  No se rindan nunca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hum Assets Showcase Build for Kickstarter

Hey there!

I’ve decided to upload the same build that I was showing in Gamescom some days ago.

IMPORTANT!  Please, read all the details I’m listing below before to download this build!

 

Details about the build:

  • This is not a gameplay demo of The Hum! Is a simple build showcasing the ambience and some assets.
  • Even if it has not real gameplay, the size after uncompress is around 4 gigas. That’s why the build has inside many stuff from the whole game and I could not spend days over this in order to decrease the size. Sorry for this!
  • It is absolutely prefered to try this build with Oculus Rift instead a common screen. All the assets, the ambience and the visual experience is thought for immersion, but you can still try this in a common screen.
  • It is working on DK1. There is no DK2 intergration yet. For DK2, just use legacy dk1 support!
  • I recommend to try it with headphones and in a quiet enviroment.

Requirements and how to execute the build:

  • Only Windows version by the moment. My MAC just explodes if I try to run UE4 on it =P
  • You will probably need to install “Visual C++ Redistributable Pacakages”. If you are a Steam user, you probably already have it installed, but it it’s not the case, don’t worry, just go to  this link and download/install the x86 version! (I don’t know if the x64 version is also necesary but I don’t think so)
  • To run the build, first uncompress the 3 files. Then, inside, go to: WindowsNoEditor\THGcom\Binaries\Win32 and run the executable that you can find inside!
  • I don’t know the machine requirements but it’s probably that they are high.. I’m running this demo at 60fps with my Asus Reign of Gaming i7 – nvidia 870m, but I know it is not the media machine. Keep in mind that this is not a improved version!

 

Don’t forget to comment with your impressions here or in some of the social networks! (Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter)

DOWNLOAD LINK

The Hum’s assets Mini-build demo

The Hum’s assets Mini-build demo

Howdy Aliens! We’ve been working on something that many of you asked to us! :)

I just finished an assets’ mini-build demo, this is not a gameplay demo strictly (I don’t want in any way to be spoiling anything ;), it’s just a showcase of assets that we are using like ships or aliens. The demo is focused primarily for Oculus, to let you know how the VR immersion improves a lot the experience, of course you can use a common PC if you don’t have (yet) an Oculus.

We hope you enjoy this mini-build.

Link soon!

Have fun! =)

THE HUM NEEDS YOU

THE HUM NEEDS YOU

Hey everybody!

I’ve released the Kickstarter campaign for The Hum!

I will be updating it with trailers, screenshots, video blogs and more! In less than two weeks, I will be at Gamescom 2014 too!

The Hum is being developed with loooot of effort and passion, so this campaign was made for help us to work 100% full time (500% actually!) on the game and to improve the most as possible the art and the gameplay adding work from very experimented people from big projects.

I’m so excited with all this and with all the support that The Hum is receiving since months ago. I just cannot thank you enought.

Let’s make this happens!

Ariel

The Hum Demo

In the last weeks we were aiming to bring a VR demo of The Hum to Gamescom 2014 at cologne, in next August. The project is very on rails, growing everyday and more live than ever  but, many factors made me to decide that the best decision is not to show a public VR demo of The Hum at Gamescom.

In first place, our Oculus DK2 has not even shipped. The good new is that Oculus confirmed to me that our shipping has been already processed and will be effective soon  but, sadly, we will not receive the  kit before our travel to Cologne for Gamescom. I was meditating a lot about to show or not to show the game with our DK1 and now I’m sure that it would be a mistake.

The Hum is being very focused to be a strong and impressive VR experience and, even if Oculus DK1 is a great first step, I’m pretty sure that it will not be the expected experience for audience and even for us. Since we switched to Unreal Engine 4, The Hum has been improved a lot in visual qualitiy and I think that you should enjoy what we have in hands in the better way as possible.

Another good reason for this delay is that we have been adding many great stuff to the game in this last months. We bought great tools like Quixel Suite or Substance Painter that helped us A LOT to improve the graphic quality of the game.

We are just a few people making The Hum. It is usual to find myself making 3D, painting textures or animating stuff even if I’m the only programmer on the project. But even with all this effort and lack of budget, I want to bring to you the best alien game that you ever played. And if this means to delay a demo some weeks, it’s not that terrible!

We will travel to Gamescom anyway and we’ll be in our stand at bussiness area showing stuff and samples and giving interviews to press. I promise that I’ll be sharing a demo and showing The Hum in another big international event as soon as we have everything setted up for it, and I’m very sure that it will be this same year. I’m very hyped with what Oculus DK2 can offers to game developers and gamers, and I really want to join to the new era of gaming and VR in the best way.

I really appreciate all the kindly words and support from people that The Hum has been receiving this last weeks and be sure that we are working very hard on this project!

Ariel