Friday, May 29, 2009

Weekend Puzzle #13

It's Friday, time for your weekend conundrum! This week's puzzle is courtesy of designer Rob. Good luck, sleuths!

--

15 12 0E 05 14 03 13

13 12 12 13 03 0F


--

Have a great weekend!

-Novel-

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gettin' in the Biz

Sorry for the late post, but this one is sure to be golden!

So a lot of people have been asking about internships and employment opportunities at HI. I figure I can give you the inside scoop on this process.

First and foremost, HI isn’t hiring all the time. We only add to the staff when it becomes a necessity. If you’re curious about when jobs become available then you can always check our website here: [ http://www.herinteractive.com/jobs.php ] Our webmaster does a pretty dutiful job of keeping it up to date. When new jobs open up, we post them here first, along with a list of skills and experience/education that we feel is necessary to handle the position.

Now mostly the schooling and experience help to best define the candidate, but it isn’t always a deal breaker. For instance, one of our most cherished designers got his degree in “French,” while another studied to be a zookeeper! One thing that they share however is a lot of creativity and an understanding and passion for game design. There are also artists, testers, marketers, programmers, and accountants that we hire, since making a game takes a lot of coordination between lots of people. Of course, being a big fan of Nancy Drew is a must!

During the application process, we read a lot of resumes that come in before narrowing down the pool. Usually we choose people that have shown a history of dedication, hard-work, and the experience. These applicants then come to Her Interactive for interviews and we get to meet them and ask more job specific questions. The HI team utilizes a combination of silly antics and creative genius to keep the workplace efficient and part of the interview process allows us to determine whether or not HI is a good fit for you, and vice-versa.

So how is this process similar/different for internships? Well, the internships we offer ask more for dedication and fervor than they do experience. Our hope is that you will learn and discover the joys and struggles of the job and the industry. An internship at HI is an educational experience, a starting point for a journey into game production. We’ve got programmers and artists alike who started their HI careers first as interns. In fact, one of our longest running employees was the very 1st HI intern and he’s now the Creative Director!

So that’s about it, you can find all of our internship and job postings on our website, so if you’re interested, check there every so often. Remember; follow your passions and your dreams!

- Novel (& others) -

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

HI Snapshot #10

It looks like there were quite a few requests for more pictures from the offices, so I've been taking a couple shots each day. I'll be slowly releasing them for your enjoyment.

Today's theme: Building Blocks... and Chicken!



This shot is courtesy of the casual art team. They're way into building crazy contraptions in the office. You'll find these goofy creations on top of their cubes, as they like to pass them back and forth between each other for inspiration or just plain fun.

Fun? At work? I like that attitude!

- Novel -

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Composing Ourselves

Hello hello! Last week I reported on a project that we were working on to add a musical accent to our HI logo animation. I'm proud to announce its completion, and have managed to attain a bit of insight on the process from our own resident sound engineer, James. Here's what he had to say:

In order to create the music for our animated logo, I started off by trying to think of what feelings our games invoked in me. I thought of mystery, adventure, danger, excitement, and fun. From there, I tried to imagine what each of these feelings might sound like, if it were in fact a sound, rather than a feeling. I thought of other sounds and songs I've heard that also remind me of these feelings as well. When I had a few ideas in my head that I was happy with, I started to play around on the piano with some of these concepts, trying to encourage the melodies to grow and develop.

To actually record the songs, I used a MIDI controller (which is basically just a piano keyboard that plugs into your computer) and a music software program called Reason. I selected the different instruments I wanted to use, and one by one, recorded their parts separately. Once I had these tracks completed, I added them all together and turned the whole thing into an MP3 with a program called GoldWave.

I made 5 or 6 little songs total so that our marketing team would have a variety of songs to choose from. I sent them all off and they took a listen. They told me what they liked about each one, and a few changes they'd like me to try out. After they had chosen a version of the song they liked most, I touched it up a little and sent the new version to our artists so they could make an animation for it.


Pretty awesome! Thanks for the information James! And now for those of you at home, you can check out the finished product below! We hope you enjoy it.

video

Peace!

- Novel 3:4 -

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekend Puzzle #12 Revealed!

Happy Memorial Day folks! I just thought I'd pop by and give you the scoop on the weekend puzzle. You all solved it so quickly, I'm stunned! Here's the key for those of you still working.

--

1-4169-6827-X ---->
[ ISBN # ]
1st W last L -----> [ 1st word, last letter of the book title found by the ISBN = T ]
2nd W last L = [ Y ]

0-689-86843-X

1st W 1st L = [ T ]
2nd W 3rd L = [ O ]

0-448-09504-1
2nd W 2nd L
= [ Y ]
2nd W 1st L = [ M ]

0-448-09570-X
2rd W 1st L
= [ S ]
2rd W 2nd L = [ E ]

0-671-50355-3
1st W 1st L
= [ R ]

Shuffle up the letters and you get: [ To Mystery ]

Combine that with last week's answer and the final answer is: [ "Resorting to Mystery" ]

--


Congrats to those of you who solved this puzzle. As a side note, and a little clarification for those of you looking at the answer in a funny way, let me explain. The next Dossier game title is "Resorting to Danger." The puzzle's answer is one of the many titles we originally came up with for the game. The puzzle's designer thought this answer, with it's likeness to the real title, would be a nice way to trick some of you into seeking the "wrong" answer. But it would seem you were unfazed by this sneaky ploy and managed to complete the puzzle in grand fashion. As a nice little bonus, you'll find a few other titles we brainstormed below.

- Nip, Tuck, Terror
- In a Spa of Trouble
- Spa-ntaneous Combustion *my personal fave*

Adios!

- Novel -

Friday, May 22, 2009

Weekend Puzzle 12 (Part 2)

Hey Puzzlers, I've got part two of your special weekend puzzle. You'll be combining today's letters with last week's word (or letters if you left it unsolved.) Thanks to Mari for helping come up with this puzzle. Good luck!

--

1-4169-6827-X
1st W last L
2nd W last L

0-689-86843-X
1st W 1st L
2nd W 3rd L

0-448-09504-1
2nd W 2nd L
2nd W 1st L

0-448-09570-X
2rd W 1st L
2rd W 2nd L

0-671-50355-3
1st W 1st L

--


- Novel -

P.S. Monday is a holiday for many of us here at HI but I'll still drop by to give you the scoop on the puzzle. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mixing it up!

I'm really glad many of you decide to submit your requests for blog content. It's given me some awesome ideas. So I'm going to try to work through as many of your suggestions as possible. I've got to set up some interviews and button down some of the loose ends, but you should expect to see some great new content here!

As for today, I'm going to let you all in on a little project I've been working on. As you may recall, we recently changed our logo (say last year.) With that change we've been working on catching up on some of our company's other marketing assets. I'm going to talk about a musical accent for our logo animation.

Think about all the little jingles you can remember from other companies. Can any of you hum the theme of the Nancy Drew TV series or the theme of the Nancy Drew PC games (the books, oh the books) for that matter? I'm sure many of you could recognize the various themes from a myriad of commercials, movie trailers, or other promotional materials. For the marketing department it is a great way to remember us and keep the song stuck in your head.

So now I guess the real question is, what should the musical accent for the Her Interactive logo sound like? We use a specific score for the Adventure games that helps tie in with the title treatment. In addition, our Dossier series even has its own signature piece. So what to do for HI? Well we tried to come up with something that embodied our design ideas (mysteries of course,) while still expressing the open-mindedness and fun that really defines our company.

Intrigued? Well if you can wait a bit longer, I'll post the scoop as soon as it's completed!

- Novel {possibilities} -

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Your Blog, Your Voice.

So we've been doing the blog for quite a bit now. It's a nice way for all of you to hear about the craziness that goes on within these walls. In the past I've spoken of vocal actors, art processes, puzzle designing, and many other work-related topics. We've heard and seen the ins-and-outs of some of the office's various traditions, from hacky-sack to "Burger Friday." There's a lot more left to share here, people!

Mostly I've been writing about whatever it is that I wanted to write about. But this blog is for you, and I thought today I'd find out exactly what it is you would like to hear or see.

So what'd ya say? What would you like me to snoop about for? I can do interviews, or teach you about various jobs around the office. There's snapshots to be had and screens to share. But what would you like to know about? I may not have be able to share all of our secrets, but I bet there's still quite a bit you're curious for. ^.~

Drop me a comment, and let's see what I can dig up over the next couple of weeks! I'll catch you cats later!

- Novel -
[open]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Puzzle 12 Answer

So for this week, I'll be giving you the solutions to the individual pieces, but not the final answer as it will require this Friday's clues. Anywho, here are your answers.

--
You'll find these all in one place:
[ They all appear on the front of the Lights, Camera, Curses! box ]

· I am a statue and my numbers are 2 and 4 = [ O, R ]

· I show you your clues and my numbers are 1,14, 7, 12 = [ N, R, S, I ]

· What’s my rating? = [ E ]

· I tell you what your mystery is and my numbers are 5 and 3 = [ G, T ]

--

Good job for those of you who managed to find all the necessary letters. Be sure to keep an eye out for this Friday's puzzle. Enjoy!

- Novel -

Monday, May 18, 2009

Puzzle 12 Assistance

Alright, so Mari has given me the green light to give you all a little bit of help. So far everyone has come up with some great stuff. Here's your clue:

--
Good job everyone, I've sent Novel a picture that should point you in the right direction!



--

Well I hope that gives everyone good ideas. Till tomorrow!

- Novel (Mr.) -

Friday, May 15, 2009

Weekend Puzzle 12

So this weekend puzzle is a little special. Designer Mari decided that the answer from this week is going to be combined with next week's puzzle to give you something grand! So here are your clues for this week.

--

You’ll find these all in one place:

• I am a statue and my numbers are 2 and 4

• I show you your clues and my numbers are 1,14, 7, 12

• What’s my rating?

• I tell you what your mystery is and my numbers are 5 and 3

--

Alright sleuths, good luck! We'll see ya next week!

- Novel -

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Un-Released

It would appear the blog was left un-posted yesterday (I was out sick,) so in fairness, I've obtained a special picture today. I managed to borrow this artwork from one of our marketing artists, as it hasn't even been put into the game yet! This is going to be one of the images shown during the installation of RED. The marketing team calls them "billboards," and if you've installed any of our games, then you're probably quite familiar with a lot of them.


(click to enlarge)

They mainly serve as static advertisements, like real billboards, but I think they also help to pass the time while your waiting for the latest Nancy Drew mystery to load up on your PC. They do one for each game in both series', as well as billboards that call out the Wii game, the webpage, and even the message board! It certainly is a sneaky tactic, as a little art goes a long way, particularly when I'm already craving a mystery ^.^

I'll see if I can get the lowdown on the process for you all sometime soon, and maybe even a copy of the RAN "billboard" I snuck a peek at. Keep it groovy.

- Novel -

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Quite Puzzling

Puzzles are our lives, but are we just a little zonkers? I think not! Here's a photo of a table next to two of our most talented designers. I can't help but try and solve one each time I walk by.




I think this office thrives on a delicate balance of fun and work. Yesterday seemed tipped towards the work side, so maybe today things are gonna go swimmingly. I see sunshine!

- Novel (adj.) -

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Puzzle Answer

So after much deliberation, I've decided to go ahead and post the answer to the puzzle. You all did quite well, I think Mari was surprised to see how quickly this one was solved.

--

1. [ 2,5,2,3,1,1,8,5 (directions on a phone pad)
2=B 5=E 23=W 1=A 18=R 5=E = Beware
]

2. [ The seat of Royalty = Throne ]

3. [ #9 (the 9th puzzle answer was "Ivory") #9 = Ivory ]

4. [ 23, 11, 8 (alphabet code + 3)
20=T 8=H 5=E = The
]

Your puzzle Answer is: [ Beware the Ivory Throne ]

--

So, for those of you still working, good luck!

- Novel -

Friday, May 8, 2009

Slightly Delayed Weekend Puzzle

Alright sleuths, sorry for the late entry, but here's your puzzle for the weekend. This one should be pretty tough.

--



--

Good luck, I'll catch up with you next week!

- Novel -

Walking a Different Beat

Beacon Street Girls… Well, I’m quite sure some of you read the Dare To Play Blog that broached this subject. For those of you that haven’t, you should check out the post, there is some pretty insightful information about the series on the blog. Nikeheart’s analysis of the books is tried and true. In my own thoughts:

There is something stylistically different about the portrayal of these teen girls. In a world bloated with misrepresentations it is wonderful to read about characters that actually have depth. The author works quite hard to give your imagination all the necessary tools to make these girls a reality. Their feelings and actions come from places we know, their hopes and dreams parallel our own, but they exist in as unique identities, a quality too often missing from similarly-themed novels these days.

Nancy Drew delivers a foray into the world of mystery; stories of hauntings and kidnappings, lost treasure and stolen jewels. The Beacon Street Girls offers a different kind of suspense and mystery, one that seeks to show the humor and terror we find in everyday life. That roller coaster of emotions we ride each day, and the hardships we face to find the elusive treasures in our own lives; friends, family, and a place in this world.

I’m pretty interested in writing, so these kinds of things are nice to read. Ah well, I’m sure you get the picture. Check it out if you’ve got some time. But more importantly, what kind of books are you interested in?

-Novel-

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sounds Exciting

Good gracious we're just barreling along on projects these days. I've been having the good fortune to work on some cool content.

The Dossier team has been letting me tackle some sound effects for RED. The taks requires a good ear and a whole lot of patience. Let me break down the process for you.

The team hands off a scene for me to play-through and evaluate what sounds are needed to help create a richer experience. I then write down each sound that I'm going need, and access the sound library, an extensive collection of everyday sounds we hear. Once in the library, I find the perfect sound for each occasion and save them out for editing or finalizing. These sounds are then passed on to some of our scripters to integrate into the game. We systematically apply this process for each and every scene in the game!

What makes the job so difficult and time-consuming is picking out the perfect sound to emphasize the action taking place. For instance, let's say a door is being closed in a scene, some questions I may ask myself would be: what kind of door is it; a sliding door, a cellar door, an office door? What is the door made of; wood, metal, glass? Is the door being slammed, or shut gently? All of things can influence the kind of sound I need to find. In addition there may be as many as 100 different types of sounds in our library that meet my requirements. That's a lot of listening! Sometimes I may even need to alter a sound to get the right environmental effects, like if Nancy is underwater, or in an echo-friendly cave.

Overall though, the process is quite fun, particularly when I have to create sounds that don't exist. To do this, I utilize the sound library and try to find similar sounds, or pieces that make up what I need. This is more of a necessity for puzzles, when we're trying to attribute sounds that don't have a particular standard; like sliding game pieces or providing feedback on choices you make (cheery sounds for correct answers, buzzes for wrong ones, et al.)

Well I hope you enjoyed the little jaunt into the wonderful world of sound effects. Till next time.

- Novel -

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Answers, Comments, and Question. Oh My...

Well done sleuths! It would seem you've managed to solve the weekend puzzle. I'm posting the answer below in spoilers for those of you still working on it.

[ A Movie Star ]

RED is coming along quite well, and for those of you who have yet to experience the first game, Lights, Camera, Curses! we've released it to retail. It shipped out today, and we posted it up on our site to sell. I know a lot of our fans were clamoring to get us to release it, and finally we've succeeded in granting their wishes. I think this is pretty awesome. It's a change enacted by you all!

So if you could change something, not necessarily at HER, maybe at your school or home, what would you petition for? would it be a big change, or just something small? So let's have at it!

- Novel (open) -

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Continuing Saga of "Puzzle X"

You all have made some great progress over the weekend. I've managed to convince Mari to give you some more time. She sent a long a little help as well.

--

“You’re very, very close. You’ve found the numbers, now you just need to turn them into letters. Here’s a hint: Zero doesn’t count as a number when it is by itself.”

--

Alright, good luck, I'm sure you'll hit upon the answer very soon. ^.~

- Novel -

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekend Puzzle X

Okay Puzzle players, here's this week's puzzle. The answer will give you one of the characters for RED. Have a great weekend!

--


Once upon a time there lived a single, beautiful unicorn. Thrice did hunters attempt capture of it, and finally one succeeded.

On their fifth birthday, two princesses heard of the trapped creature.

“That is too sad,” they said, “We must free it!”

So the princesses gathered an ennead of friends and marched off through the wilderness.

Days later, they came upon a castle with many towers in quinary arrangements. Gates and traps and mazes filled the fortress. Only a single child passed all nine trials and made it to the center. None were injured or hurt, and they all helped the one get inside.

It was the youngest princess who made it the farthest and just as she freed the solitary unicorn, eight of her friends joined them (the others had run home.)

Together they escaped and lived free and happy lives.

--

Good luck!

- N0V3l -