Mar 29, 2019

Top 12 Highest Paying URL Shortener 2019: Best URL Shortener to Earn Money

  1. Adf.ly

    Adf.ly is the oldest and one of the most trusted URL Shortener Service for making money by shrinking your links. Adf.ly provides you an opportunity to earn up to $5 per 1000 views. However, the earnings depend upon the demographics of users who go on to click the shortened link by Adf.ly.
    It offers a very comprehensive reporting system for tracking the performance of your each shortened URL. The minimum payout is kept low, and it is $5. It pays on 10th of every month. You can receive your earnings via PayPal, Payza, or AlertPay. Adf.ly also runs a referral program wherein you can earn a flat 20% commission for each referral for a lifetime.
  2. Linkrex.net

    Linkrex.net is one of the new URL shortener sites.You can trust it.It is paying and is a legit site.It offers high CPM rate.You can earn money by sing up to linkrex and shorten your URL link and paste it anywhere.You can paste it in your website or blog.You can paste it into social media networking sites like facebook, twitter or google plus etc.
    You will be paid whenever anyone will click on that shorten a link.You can earn more than $15 for 1000 views.You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $5.Another way of earning from this site is to refer other people.You can earn 25% as a referral commission.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$14
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-25%
    • Payment Options-Paypal,Bitcoin,Skrill and Paytm,etc
    • Payment time-daily

  3. Wi.cr

    Wi.cr is also one of the 30 highest paying URL sites.You can earn through shortening links.When someone will click on your link.You will be paid.They offer $7 for 1000 views.Minimum payout is $5.
    You can earn through its referral program.When someone will open the account through your link you will get 10% commission.Payment option is PayPal.
    • Payout for 1000 views-$7
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-10%
    • Payout method-Paypal
    • Payout time-daily

  4. Ouo.io

    Ouo.io is one of the fastest growing URL Shortener Service. Its pretty domain name is helpful in generating more clicks than other URL Shortener Services, and so you get a good opportunity for earning more money out of your shortened link. Ouo.io comes with several advanced features as well as customization options.
    With Ouo.io you can earn up to $8 per 1000 views. It also counts multiple views from same IP or person. With Ouo.io is becomes easy to earn money using its URL Shortener Service. The minimum payout is $5. Your earnings are automatically credited to your PayPal or Payoneer account on 1st or 15th of the month.
    • Payout for every 1000 views-$5
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-20%
    • Payout time-1st and 15th date of the month
    • Payout options-PayPal and Payza

  5. Linkbucks

    Linkbucks is another best and one of the most popular sites for shortening URLs and earning money. It boasts of high Google Page Rank as well as very high Alexa rankings. Linkbucks is paying $0.5 to $7 per 1000 views, and it depends on country to country.
    The minimum payout is $10, and payment method is PayPal. It also provides the opportunity of referral earnings wherein you can earn 20% commission for a lifetime. Linkbucks runs advertising programs as well.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$3-9
    • Minimum payout-$10
    • Referral commission-20%
    • Payment options-PayPal,Payza,and Payoneer
    • Payment-on the daily basis

  6. CPMlink

    CPMlink is one of the most legit URL shortener sites.You can sign up for free.It works like other shortener sites.You just have to shorten your link and paste that link into the internet.When someone will click on your link.
    You will get some amount of that click.It pays around $5 for every 1000 views.They offer 10% commission as the referral program.You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $5.The payment is then sent to your PayPal, Payza or Skrill account daily after requesting it.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$5
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-10%
    • Payment methods-Paypal, Payza, and Skrill
    • Payment time-daily

  7. Clk.sh

    Clk.sh is a newly launched trusted link shortener network, it is a sister site of shrinkearn.com. I like ClkSh because it accepts multiple views from same visitors. If any one searching for Top and best url shortener service then i recommend this url shortener to our users. Clk.sh accepts advertisers and publishers from all over the world. It offers an opportunity to all its publishers to earn money and advertisers will get their targeted audience for cheapest rate. While writing ClkSh was offering up to $8 per 1000 visits and its minimum cpm rate is $1.4. Like Shrinkearn, Shorte.st url shorteners Clk.sh also offers some best features to all its users, including Good customer support, multiple views counting, decent cpm rates, good referral rate, multiple tools, quick payments etc. ClkSh offers 30% referral commission to its publishers. It uses 6 payment methods to all its users.
    • Payout for 1000 Views: Upto $8
    • Minimum Withdrawal: $5
    • Referral Commission: 30%
    • Payment Methods: PayPal, Payza, Skrill etc.
    • Payment Time: Daily

  8. Cut-win

    Cut-win is a new URL shortener website.It is paying at the time and you can trust it.You just have to sign up for an account and then you can shorten your URL and put that URL anywhere.You can paste it into your site, blog or even social media networking sites.It pays high CPM rate.
    You can earn $10 for 1000 views.You can earn 22% commission through the referral system.The most important thing is that you can withdraw your amount when it reaches $1.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$10
    • Minimum payout-$1
    • Referral commission-22%
    • Payment methods-PayPal, Payza, Bitcoin, Skrill, Western Union and Moneygram etc.
    • Payment time-daily

  9. Short.am

    Short.am provides a big opportunity for earning money by shortening links. It is a rapidly growing URL Shortening Service. You simply need to sign up and start shrinking links. You can share the shortened links across the web, on your webpage, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Short.am provides detailed statistics and easy-to-use API.
    It even provides add-ons and plugins so that you can monetize your WordPress site. The minimum payout is $5 before you will be paid. It pays users via PayPal or Payoneer. It has the best market payout rates, offering unparalleled revenue. Short.am also run a referral program wherein you can earn 20% extra commission for life.
  10. LINK.TL

    LINK.TL is one of the best and highest URL shortener website.It pays up to $16 for every 1000 views.You just have to sign up for free.You can earn by shortening your long URL into short and you can paste that URL into your website, blogs or social media networking sites, like facebook, twitter, and google plus etc.
    One of the best thing about this site is its referral system.They offer 10% referral commission.You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $5.
    • Payout for 1000 views-$16
    • Minimum payout-$5
    • Referral commission-10%
    • Payout methods-Paypal, Payza, and Skrill
    • Payment time-daily basis

  11. Short.pe

    Short.pe is one of the most trusted sites from our top 30 highest paying URL shorteners.It pays on time.intrusting thing is that same visitor can click on your shorten link multiple times.You can earn by sign up and shorten your long URL.You just have to paste that URL to somewhere.
    You can paste it into your website, blog, or social media networking sites.They offer $5 for every 1000 views.You can also earn 20% referral commission from this site.Their minimum payout amount is only $1.You can withdraw from Paypal, Payza, and Payoneer.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$5
    • Minimum payout-$1
    • Referral commission-20% for lifetime
    • Payment methods-Paypal, Payza, and Payoneer
    • Payment time-on daily basis

  12. BIT-URL

    It is a new URL shortener website.Its CPM rate is good.You can sign up for free and shorten your URL and that shortener URL can be paste on your websites, blogs or social media networking sites.bit-url.com pays $8.10 for 1000 views.
    You can withdraw your amount when it reaches $3.bit-url.com offers 20% commission for your referral link.Payment methods are PayPal, Payza, Payeer, and Flexy etc.
    • The payout for 1000 views-$8.10
    • Minimum payout-$3
    • Referral commission-20%
    • Payment methods- Paypal, Payza, and Payeer
    • Payment time-daily

Lemmings - Commodore Amiga - 1991

Along with Tetris, Lemmings has to be one of the most ported games out there.  Originally released in 1991 for the Commodore Amiga, it has been ported to 30+ devices ranging from the Nintendo Gameboy to the Playstation 3 and Mobile Phones.

For me, the game is best controlled with a mouse which leaves us with the initial versions from 1991 for the Amiga, Atari ST and DOS.  Although all three versions play the same, the original Amiga game has the best graphics and sound in my opinion.

The concept of the game is simple - guide a specified percentage of Lemmings through the exit portal within the time limit.  

There are 120 levels split across four difficulty settings.  FUN is the easiest and is mainly there to get you used to the controls.  The game gets progressively more difficult through TRICKY and TAXING, with MAYHEM being the most demanding.  There is a password system so you don't need to repeat completed levels.  
One of the TAXING levels.  Note the lack of available skills.

Each level starts with the Lemmings dropping out of a trap door.  Their release rate is shown at the bottom left of the screen.  This can be increased or decreased using the + and - icons, but cannot be set lower than the initial rate.  Left to their own devices the Lemmings will move in a certain direction until they reach an obstacle, at which point they will turn around and walk the other way.  If they encounter a long drop, water, lava, a trap or anything else lethal to them, they will walk mindlessly to their deaths like, er, lemmings.

You do not control the Lemmings directly but give them actions by using the skill icons.  The Climber icon allows the Lemming to scale a vertical surface.  Using Floater on a Lemming allows it to survive a high fall. The Bomb causes the selected Lemming to self destruct taking a chunk of the landscape with it.  Blocker stops other Lemmings passing and sends them in the opposite direction.  A Bridge Builder constructs a set of twelve steps to cross chasms or climb to higher platforms. The Basher icon orders the chosen Lemming to dig horizontally if in front of a suitable surface.  Use the Miner or Digger skills and the Lemming will respectively tunnel diagonally or vertically down.
Building a stairway to heaven.

The final two icons are 'Paws' and Nuke 'Em.  Paws obviously pauses the game.  You can still scroll around the level to plan a route or quickly get to a Lemming that's about to die, and becomes invaluable in later levels with the tight time limit.  Nuke 'Em causes all your Lemmings to explode if a level is obviously lost.

Some parts of a level can be made of metal and can't be dug through, blown up or damaged in any way.  Some walls can only be tunneled through from a certain direction.
This obstacle can only be tunnelled through in the direction of the arrows.  The metal floor prevents digging under.

When Lemmings was released in 1991 it was a totally original concept - there was nothing else like it.  In 2016 it is still fun to play.  The graphics are still acceptable and the tiny Lemmings are well animated despite being only 8 pixels high.  The soundtrack is good for the most part, mixing some original songs with music from other Psygnosis games and some well known tunes (March of the Mods on the intro, the Can Can and the like in game).  Sound effects are limited in number but are effectiveThe learning curve is pretty good too, ranging from very simple on the lower levels to practically impossible in the MAYHEM stages.  Like Tetris it's a game the that stands the test of time.

A couple of FUN levels....
  

Spiderman - Web Of Shadows ANDROID

Download Spiderman - Web of Shadows

200MB Download GTA San Andreas For Android



For those who do not know this great classic game, GTA San Andreas is an open world action adventure game developed by the great Rockstar Games. San Andreas was released for PlayStation 2 consoles in October 2004, although later versions of the same would be published for both sixth, seventh and eighth generation consoles, also on computers and now on mobile devices.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, who does not know this great classic game, is an open world action adventure game developed by the great Rockstar Games for those people. San Andreas was released for the PlayStation 2 console in October 2004, although later versions will be published for the sixth, seventh and eighth generation computers and still on mobile devices.
GTA: San Andreas is an activity enterprise computer game created by Rockstar North and distributed by Rockstar Games. It was discharged for the PlayStation 2 on October 26, 2004, and on June 7, 2005 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox. A top notch remastered presentation on 30 June 2015 and 1 December 2015, personally found a physical discovery for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is the seventh title in the Grand Theft Auto System, and is the main primary part of the 2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. For Game Boy Advance, Grand Theft Auto Advance was discharged on a unpublished day with a turn.

Amazing Theft Auto: San Andreas is played in the position of an open world from a third person's perspective, allowing the player to cooperate with the Diverson world for entertainment. Entertainment is set in the ridiculous American area of ​​Sin Andreas, which is intensely in light of California and Nevada. [B] Three metropolitan urban communities in the light of Los Angeles in San Andreas Province: Los Santos; San Francisco in the scene of San Firos; And in the light of Las Ventures, Las Vegas, the single-player story is taken after Carl "CJ" Johnson, who returns to Los Santos's home from Liberty City after the murder of his mother. Karl discovered his old loved ones in confusion, and during the turn, he tried to restore his old group, struggles with the police, and gradually opens the reality behind his mother's murder. This plot relies on various real opportunities in Los Angeles, including the competition between blood, cripps, and the Hispanic road group, the crisis of partition of 1980, the LAPD Rampal Smirmini, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Download Game ⬇⬇

Mar 28, 2019

Vs Sabrina And The Auction House Begins!

Want to get the Shiny Starters? Shiny Zorua? Shiny legendary dogs? Shiny Mew? or any other shiny pokemon in the game? Adopt them today using SnD coins! Click here for more info.

Visit the PTD: Pokemon Center - a place to trade pokemon, get your Daily Code, adopt Pokemon, view your items and change your avatar!

Welcome to the Sam and Dan Games Developer Blog!

PTD2 Trainer Pass! Get it today!

A great way to support us while getting amazing rewards!

So let's talk about what you get:
  • Increased chance for Shiny/Shadow pokemon to appear in the wild
  • No ads while you play the game
  • Get a copy of shiny giveaway pokemon automatically every week
  • Faster Breeding - Breed with only one visit instead of 2, essentially breed something everyday!
  • Faster Leveling - Get twice the experience on every battle!
  • Giveaways for pass holders only
You get all of this for only $1.99! One time payment! Get it today!

Blog Poll! You decide which Mega Stone! (Poll Above Blog)
For the next Gym Challenge there are many possible mega stones that can be given away. So I'm leaving it up to you to decide which one will be given out! Vote wisely!

vs Sabrina
As promised this week we will have a new Gym Challenge Fight for PTD2 and it will be versus Sabrina the Saffron City Gym Leader. She specializes in Psychic Pokemon so we can expect some sneaky stuff happening on her end since they have much power. The way I'm planning it right now you will have one pokemon only but you will be able to move around as there will be many spots. How will you fare against her Alakazam?

Auction House Begins
Also this week I want to start building the Auction House of Champions TD as I feel we are getting to the point were we have enough items for it, it will work a lot like the PokeCenter except instead of trading one thing for another you will trade item for in game gold/silver/copper. Players will also be able to bid or buy out items so think of it like an ebay for Champions. Along with these eventually you will be able to message other players and even trade with other players. Please look forward to it!

Weekly Progress

PTD2 Gym Challenge vs Sabrina Released! Hope you enjoy!


Healing Orb, Psycho Cut and Teleports are shown.
  • Fixed Fairy Type Filter (100%)
  • Fixed issue with Ditto not losing his transformation while invasions are set (100%)
  • Fixed Diancie Bug (100%) - will be fixed when v1.83 comes out.
  • Fixed Weedle and other Waves in the invasion (100%)
  • Level Background Graphics (100%)
  • Level Layout (100%)
  • Sabrina Graphics (100%)
  • Level Menu Setup (100%)
    • Menu button (100%)
    • Level Intro Tip (100%)
  • Mega Evolution (100%) - Mega Mewtwo X! Thanks for voting!
  • Server Reward (100%)
  • Add the correct badge graphic to vs Koga (100%)
  • Attack Design (100%)
  • New Attacks (100%)
    • Recovering Orbs (100%) - Part of Alakazam's life will manifest as recovery orbs that your pokemon can touch to regain health.
    • Disabled Escape (100%) - Once your pokemon is in the arena it cannot be removed but it can still swap spots.
    • Teleport Room (100%) - Swapping to a spot will send you to another predefined spot.
    • Psychic Blast (100%) - Every once in a while Alakazam will fire off a psychic blast that cannot be avoided.
    • Psycho Cuts (100%) - Psychic cuts are aimed at different spots in the room and then fired doing lethal damage.
Champions TD Auction House Incomplete

Have any questions, idea, feedback? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter! Thanks!

Dolphin Emulator

Download Dolphin Emulator

Giveaway Ending In A Few Hours!

Hey everyone!

I'm really sorry I haven't had the time to blog recently! There are reviews and blog posts coming soon though, I promise!

I just wanted to let you know really quick though that my giveaway is ending in four hours(ish). So if you're interested in Doctor Who, make sure to visit the Giveaway blogpost here: http://girly-gamer.blogspot.com/2014/05/supernatural-poster-set-review-and.html

Good luck! I'll be back later tonight to announce the winner!


Mar 27, 2019

Reasons Why This Chain Of Command Malarky Must Be Pretty Good

If you are reading this then you might have noticed that I have started to re-invigorate this erstwhile dormant blog, one of the main reasons for this has been my (rather late) discovery of these rules. A set of rules that has managed to achieve that after a seven year lay off is in itself no mean feat given my natural indolence.
Last night is a good micro example of why for me Chain of Command is a great set of rules and lives up to its recent accolade from WI of "Best game of 2017"; for me, that is literally so.
We had a game planned at the CLWS, just a vague pick up game of "medium" CoC, 2 German infantry platoons versus 1 BEF and 1 French infantry Platoon. Nothing special, but even as a simple game it was extremely tense, tough on both sides, and with neither  really having any great advantage until the very end.
We plumped for a Delaying Action scenario, with the Allies deploying in a small village protected by a small wooded rise to the south of it, with an open flank to the west and the eastern side protected by walls and hedges
The view from the southern German approach
The forces were a slightly weird mix, 1 full strength early war German outfit, plus 1 German platoon with only 3 sections rather than 4. This meant the Germans were giving away a total of +3 support points.
The Allies had a full strength BEF platoon, on a minus 5 support points, plus a weakened (2 section) French platoon at minus 3 points. The net result was a massive 11 support point adjustment for the Allies.
Then the fun begins: Will, for the Germans rolls a 3 (three....) for the German side. So the net result was indeed 3 support points for the German and 12 for the defending Allies....ewwwww.
It actually turned out, in my opinion, to make for a really good game. What on earth could we take with our puny 3 points? We were sure to be up against armour of some sort...A flamethrower? decent choice but we'd be attacking so it would be tricky to use in an ambush role...an ATR plus perhaps a satchel charge? ...In the end we opted for 3 satchel charges, in order to spread some sort of AT ability around.
The only problem with 2 on 2 games of CoC is that they inevitably turn into 2 x 1 on 1 games, and this was no exception, doesn't really matter, and still worked out ok for us. However, it does mean that my knowledge of what went on on my right flank is a bit sketchy as I had my hands full to my front trying to winkle out the BEF from a collection of buildings. To be honest, I found it sort of added to the experience and emphasised how this truly is a platoon commanders game. Yes, bits of news and sounds of fighting filtered through to me, but generally I was concerned with doing my own job and not worrying too much about someone elses.
The plan was fairly simple, I was to fix the defenders by approaching and occupying the wooded rise while Will with the 3 section platoon swung right and went for the nearest (French) JOP which was tantalisingly close to our right flank.

Early deployment: 1st section gets into defilade south of the village
And so it begun, this was going to be quite tough. The buildings facing south (me) had a decent field of fire, and the defenders in the upper storeys would be able to pop away from hard cover as soon as I crested the little rise, so I wasn't in too much of a hurry, I thought I'd get a couple of sections on, go tactical and advance up the rise, which is indeed what I did....meanwhile from my right I could hear a lot of firing (and quite a lot of swearing) from Will. I don't think things were going to well over there.


About to crest the riseA few British had indeed deployed into the buildings to my front as I readied to "go over the top", off we went. I was indeed met by a hail of rifle and Bren fire, plus (horror) a Vickers gun opened up from one of the rear buildings on my right hand section. I took the odd casualty, and bit of shock, nothing too terrible, but I kept rolling 1's for my movement. I was going nowhere fast, taking a steady dribble of hits, and, by staying tactical, not putting any fire back on the enemy (Dave). Not good.
I dropped a couple of totally ineffective mortar rounds on the Vickers, came out of tactical with 1 section and traded fire with the section in the house but this simply wasn't working.
Most of the British fire was on my right hand section, the left hand one was safe from the murderous Vickers by virtue of a building blocking his LOS. What to do?
Sod it.
Pull back, rally up. Do it properly.
Meanwhile on the right things were not going well. 1 German section had been almost eliminated and some French armour had showed up. Questions such as "How do these satchel charges work?" were being asked. I hadn't inflicted any damage at all on the British and had 3 men dead for my trouble,Oh, and my mortar rolled a double 1....out of ammo. So I pulled back down the little rise.
Meanwhile, a Bren carrier had appeared on my left flank, and was trundling up the road to come and cause trouble.
A couple of rather indecisive phases passed, I ended up deploying all of my force now behind the riseand had racked up 3 CoC dice...there were some 40 odd German infantry milling about there, Jerry and  Dave were rightly bemoaning the fact they hadn't taken a mortar in their support!
All the while the Bren carrier advanced, I'd pulled 2 of my sections to the left of the rise, which would allow them to get over it out of sight of the Vickers which would be blocked by the occupied house in front of them, but, the Bren carrier would also spot them. A third section moved tactically to the left to distract the carrier.
Then suddenly I had a brainwave..Smoke! doh! why hadn't I used this?
My senior leader expertly lobbed a smoke grenade to cover my left flank and the 2 sections on the rise tactically moved over, steeling themselves from the fire about to come their way from the occupied house to their front.

                         About to go over a second time. Bren carrier threatens.Where's that smoke genade?
Over I went. British turn.He opened up at close range with a Bren and a couple of rifles, and....I got away with it...He only managed to hit 1 rifleman and inflict a couple of points of shock.
Then my turn: A double 6 plus a 4 and a couple of 3's..perfect! I returned the British fire with some 25 fire dice, got 17 hits, killed 3 or 4 British and inflicted a similar amount of shock, he was wobbly but not quite pinned, I also continued moving my left flank section up to distract the carrier. With my second turn from the double six I fired again...hitting the BEF section with another 25 dice...too much for him- the entire section was wiped out including the corporal. Much better.
A loud bang and and a shout went up from my right flank. The lone surviving rifleman from Will's section had got forward, flanked the Souma and detonated his satchel charge! Things were looking up. I despatched my 4th section round to reinforce the right now that Will was making headway.
Then the British turn, he rolled 3 sixes so the turn ended....my smoke evaporated....Gulp...The bren carrier and a section in the rear house started peppering my left hand section, The Bren carrier continued forward firing.. I took a couple of hits and several shock, I needed to get forward. In my phase the sergeant readied another smoke grenade and promptly rolled double 1! dropping it at his feet and enveloping himself in smoke. Nothing for it, The platoon sergeant ordered forward a rifleman with my only satchel charge, he ran to the Bren carrier, planted the charge and retired to safety. It was even the right figure to do it, he had a gold close assault badge on his little plastic arm! The charge went off and did absolutely nothing, didn't even scratch the carrier.
I pushed forward with the left hand section despite taking fire from the carrier, I didn't really know what to do to be honest, but at that point the  game was won on the right, the last French section broke, the German force  morale was hanging on by a thread (Will was down to FM 1!)but in the ensuing tests I used a CoC dice or 2 and survived and the British morale gave way. I ended on FM 7

It was a thoroughly enjoyable game, so thanks to Will, Dave and Jerry for a good evening. I don't think I've managed to convey much of the tension that was in this game. The lack of support options for the Germans meant they had to do it the hard way. I don't think it would have been as much fun if the Germans had brought along a Stug or 2. I took 12 casualties but if this had been a campaign my losses wouldn't have been too bad after adjustment.
Thinking about it, if we had been playing a game of say, Spearhead, or Command Decision, this entire game would have been about 3 or 4 die rolls between 4 stands.....
So, it looks like I'm sold on Chain of Command.
(Apologies for the lack of photos for this game, but I was having too much fun to remember to take many)

Mar 26, 2019

Q&A With Frictional Writer Ian Thomas

On the last day of the cold January Will from Extra Credits sat down to stream SOMA, and for the first few hours of the game he was joined by his friend and Frictional employee Ian Thomas. Ian worked on scripting, coding, and level design for SOMA, and is now the Story Lead on one of Frictional's two upcoming projects. During the stream he answered some questions from the viewers, ranging from what type of pizza he thinks Simon had in his fridge, to ways of minimising dissonance between the player and the character in a narrative game.

In this blog we've compiled the best questions and answers into an easily readable form. So go get a beverage of your choice and dive into the everyday life at Frictional, narrative game design and tips on networking in the industry! Or, if you're not the reading type, you can also watch the whole video on Twitch.

Have some other questions? Hit us up on Twitter and we will try to answer the best we can!

(Picture commentary from your favourite community manager/editor of this blog, Kira.)



Q: Does the Frictional team scare each other at the office?

We didn't have an office until recently, and even now most people are still remote, so not really!

The thing about being behind the scenes in horror is that it's very difficult to scare yourself, and each other, because you know what's going on. We do play each others' levels every other week, and it's always brilliant to get a decent scare out of a coworker.

Otherwise we don't hide in the office cupboards or anything like that… regularly.


Q: Is it true that developers don't actually play their games?

No - we play our games thousands of times, and most developers do!

It does depend on where you sit in the development chain. If you work for a very big company and only do something like facial models, you might rarely play the game until it's close to completion. But in a team the size of Frictional everyone plays the game all the time. That's how we get our primary feedback and develop our levels before the game goes anywhere near alpha testers.


Q: How about after they're released?

Probably not that often. For me personally there are two reasons, which both have to do with time. Firstly, I'm probably already working on a new thing. Secondly, during the short downtime after a release I'm trying to catch up on games I had to put aside during development. But it depends: for example, when I worked on LEGO games I would later play them with friends, because they're so much fun to sit down and co-op play.

For a couple of years after the release you might be fed up with your game and not want to see it, but then you might come back to it fresh. With SOMA I sometimes tune into livestreams, especially if I'm feeling down. That's one of the kicks you get out of this stuff – knowing which parts of the game people are going to react to, and getting to watch those reactions! That's the best payoff.


Q: Did the existential dread of SOMA ever get to the team?

It's a little different for the dev team, as the horror is a slow burn of months and months, whereas for the players it comes in a short burst. The philosophical questions affected people in different ways, but I don't think we broke anyone. As far as I know we're all fine, but given that a lot of us work remotely, it could well be that one of us is deep in Northern Sweden inscribing magical circles in his front room and we just don't know...


Q: Why did SOMA get a Safe Mode?

SOMA was originally released with monsters that could kill you, and that put off some people that were attracted to the themes, the sci-fi and the philosophy, because they saw the game as too scary or too difficult. Thomas and Jens had discussed a possible safe mode early on, but weren't sure it would work. However, after the game came out, someone in the community released the Wuss Mod that removed the monsters, and that and the general interest in the themes of the game made us rethink. So now we've released the official Safe Mode, where the monsters still attack you, but only if you provoke them – and even then they won't kill you.

You can now avoid one of these three death screens!

The concept of death in games is a strange one. All it really means is that you go back to a checkpoint, or reload, and all the tension that's built up goes away. The fact is that game death is pretty dull. It becomes much more interesting when it's a part of a mechanic or of the story. We at Frictional have talked about it internally for a while, but it's something we've never really gotten a satisfactory answer to.

So, all in all, even if you turn on Safe Mode, it's not that much different from playing the game normally.


Q: What type of pizza does Simon have in his fridge?

Meat lovers', definitely.

Schrödinger's pizza! And a Mexicana. Unless they mixed it up at the factory. In which case it's also a Schrödinger's pizza.


Q: What was the funniest or hardest bug to fix in SOMA?

There were so many! You can find some of the stuff in the supersecret.rar file that comes with the installation.

I spent a lot of time fixing David Munshi. His animation really didn't behave and he kept leaping around the place. He was so problematic, especially in this sequence where he was supposed to sit down in a chair and type away at the keyboard. We had so much trouble with that - what if the player had moved the chair? We couldn't lock it in place, because we want the player to be able to mess with these things. We went around trying to come up with an answer for ages.

And then someone on the team went: "Standing desk!". Problem solved! It's silly little things like this which tie up your time.

For all you thirsty Munshi lovers out there. You know who you are.

Another similar element was the Omnitool. It was a fairly major design thing that we came up with to connect the game characters, and to gate scenarios. We were struggling trying to tie these things together, and then it was just one of those days when someone came up with one single idea that solved so many problems. It was a massive design triumph – even if we realised later that the name was a bit Mass Effect!


Q: Why does using items and elements in Frictional's games mimic real movements?

This is one of Thomas's core design principles: making actions like opening doors and turning cranks feel like physical actions. It binds you more closely into the game and the character, on an unconscious level. We've spent an awful lot of time thinking about ways to collapse the player and the character into one and make the player feel like a part of the world. It's a subtle way of feedback that you don't really think about, but it makes you feel like you're "there".

There's an interesting difference between horror games and horror films in this sense. You would think that horror movies are scarier because you're dragged into the action that moves on rails and there's nothing you can do about it. But for me that kind of horror is actually less scary than the kind in games, where you have to be the person to push the stick forward.

We try to implement this feedback loop in other elements of the game too, like the sound design. When a character is scared it makes their heartbeat go up, which makes the player scared, which makes their heartbeat go up in turn, and so on.


Q: Why didn't SOMA reuse enemies?

It obviously would have been much cheaper to reuse the monsters. But in SOMA it was a clear design point, since each of the enemies in SOMA was trying to advance the plot, get across a particular point in the story, or raise a philosophical question. Thus, the enemies were appropriate to a particular space or a piece of plot and it didn't make sense to reuse them.


Q: Did SOMA start with a finished story, or did it change during development?

The story changed massively over the years. I came on to the game a couple of years into development, and at that time there were lots of fixed points and a general path, but still a lot changed around that.  As the game developed, things got cut, they got reorganized, locations changed purpose, and some things just didn't work out.

Building a narrative game is an ever-changing process. With something like a platformer you can build one level, test the mechanics, then build a hundred more similar levels iterating on and expanding those core mechanics. Whereas in a game like this you might build one level in isolation, but that means you don't know what the character is feeling based on what they've previously experienced.

You don't really know if the story is going to work until you put several chapters together. That's why it's also very difficult to test until most of it is in place. Then it might suddenly not work, so you have to change, drop and add things. There's quite a lot of reworking in narrative games, just to make sure you get the feel right and that the story makes sense. You've probably heard the term "kill your darlings" – and that's exactly what we had to do.

A lot of the things were taken out before they were anywhere near complete – they were works in progress that were never polished. Thus these elements are not really "cut content", just rough concepts.


Q: The term "cut content" comes from film, and building a game is closer to architecture or sculpting. Would there be a better name for it?

A pile of leftover bricks in the corner!


Q: How do you construct narrative horror?

Thomas is constantly writing about how the player isn't playing the actual game, but a mental model they have constructed in their head. A lot of our work goes into trying to create that model in their head and not to break it.

A central idea in our storytelling is that there's more going on than the player is seeing. As a writer you need to leave gaps and leave out pieces, and let the player make their own mind up about what connects it all together.

You'll meet a tall, dark stranger...

From a horror point of view there's danger in over-specifying. Firstly having too many details makes the story too difficult to maintain. And secondly it makes the game lose a lot of its mystery. The more you show things like your monsters, the less scary they become. A classic example of this is the difference between Alien and Aliens. In Alien you just see flashes of the creatures and it freaks you out. In Aliens you see more of them, and it becomes less about fear and more about shooting.
It's best to sketch things out and leave it up to the player's imagination to fill in the blanks – because the player's imagination is the best graphics card we have!

There are a lot of references that the superfans have been able to put together. But there are one or two questions that even we as a team don't necessarily know the answers to.


Q: How do you keep track of all the story elements?

During the production of SOMA there was an awful lot of timeline stuff going on. Here we have to thank our Mikael Hedberg, Mike, who was the main writer. He was the one to make sure that all of the pieces of content were held together and consistent across the game. A lot of the things got rewritten because major historical timelines changed too, but Mike kept it together.

During the development we had this weird narrative element we call the double apocalypse. At one point in writing most of the Earth was dead already because of a nuclear war, and then an asteroid hit and destroyed what was left. We went back and forth on that and it became clear that a double apocalypse would be way over the top and coincidental. So we edited the script to what it is now, but this has resulted in the internal term 'that sounds like a double apocalypse', which is when our scripts have become just a bit too unbelievable or coincidental.


Q: How do you convey backstories, lore, and world-building?

Obviously there are clichés like audio logs and walls of text, but there is a trend to do something different with them, or explaining the universe in a different way. But the fundamental problem is relaying a bunch of information to the player, and the further the world is from your everyday 21st century setting, the more you have to explain and the harder it is. So it's understandable that a lot of games do it in the obvious way. The best way I've seen exposition done is by working it into the environment and art, making it part of the world so that the player can discover it rather than shoving it into the player's face.


Q: How do you hook someone who disagrees with the character?

It's hard to get the character to say and feel the same things as what the player is feeling. If you do it wrong it breaks the connection between the player and the character, and makes it far less intense. Ideally, if the player is thinking something, you want the character to be able to echo it. We spend a lot of time taking lines out so the character doesn't say something out of place or contrary to what the player feels.

With philosophical questions there are fixed messages you can make and things you can say about the world, but that will put off a part of the audience. The big thing when setting moral questions or decisions is that you should ask the question instead of giving the answer. If you offer the players a grey area to explore, they might even change their minds about the issue at hand.

To murder or not to murder, that is the question.


Q: How do you write for people who are not scared of a particular monster or setting?

In my experience the trick is to pack as many different types of fear in the game as you can, and picking the phobias that will affect the most people. If there's only one type of horror, it's not going to catch a wide enough audience. Also, if you only put in, say, snakes, anyone who isn't afraid of snakes is going to find it dull.

We probably peaked in our first game. What's worse than spiders? (Not representative of the company's opinion.)


Q: What's the main thing you want to get across in games?

The key thing is that the players have something they will remember when they walk away from the game, or when they talk about it with other people. It's different for different games, and as a developer you decide on the effect and how you want to deliver it. In games like Left 4 Dead delivery might be more about the mechanical design. In other games it's a particular story moment or question.

In SOMA the goal was not to just scare the players as they're looking at the screen, it was about the horror that they would think about after they put the mouse or controller down and were laid in bed thinking about what they'd seen. It was about hitting deeper themes. Sure, we wrapped it in horror, but the real horror was, in a way, outside the game.


Q: What does SOMA stand for?

It has many interpretations, but I think the one Thomas and Mike were going for was the Greek word for body. The game is all about the physicality of the body and its interaction with what could be called the spirit, mind, or soul – the embodiment of you.

The funniest coincidence was when we went to GDC to show the game off to journalists before the official announcement. We hadn't realised there is a district in San Francisco called Soma, so we were sitting in a bar called Soma, in the Soma district, about to announce Soma!

As to why it's spelled in all caps – it happened to look better when David designed the logo!


Q: Does this broken glass look like a monster face on purpose?

I'm pretty sure it's not on purpose – it's just because humans are programmed to see faces all over the place, like socket plugs. It's called pareidolia. But it's something you can exploit - you can trick people into thinking they've seen a monster!

This window is out to get you!


Q: What is the best way to network with the industry people?

Go to industry events, and the bar hangouts afterwards!

It's critical, though, not to treat it as "networking". Let's just call it talking to people, in a room full of people who like the same stuff as you. It's not about throwing your business cards at each other, it's about talking to them and finding common interests. Then maybe a year or two down the line, if you got on, they might remember you and your special skills or interests and contact you. Me being on Will's stream started with us just chatting. And conversations I had in bars five years ago have turned into projects this year.

You have to be good at what you do, but like in most industries, it's really about the people you know. I'm a bit of an introvert myself, so I know it's scary. But once you realise that everybody in the room is probably as scared as you, and that you're all geeks who like the same stuff, it gets easier.
Another good way to make connections is attending game jams. If you haven't taken part in one, go find the nearest one! Go out, help your team, and if you're any good at what you do, people will be working with you soon.


Q: Can you give us some fun facts?

Sure!

- You can blame the "Massive Recoil" DVD in Simon's room on our artist, David. A lot of the things in Simon's apartment are actually real things David has.

- We try to be authentic with our games, but out Finnish sound guy Tapio Liukkonen takes it really far. We have sequences of him diving into a frozen lake with a computer keyboard to get authentic underwater keyboard noises. It's ridiculous.



- Explaining SOMA to the voice actors was challenging – especially to this 65-year-old British thespian, clearly a theatre guy. Watching Mike explain the story to him made me think that the whole situation was silly and the guy wasn't getting the story at all. And then he went into the studio and completely nailed the role.

- There's a lot of game development in Scandinavia, particularly in Sweden and Norway, because it's dark and cold all the time so people just stay indoors and make games. Just kidding… or am I?