Alex Riggen dot com

I haven’t updated in awhile

It's been almost sixth months since I last updated this site and unfortunately I don't have a good excuse. Trust me, I did try to think of one but after several weeks nothing came to mind.

I do have some updates to post like the above video which was inspired by the purchase of a slide projection device I found at a local Goodwill. I'd been wanting to make a video to at least one of the songs off of Rabbit and after taking this baby home and obtaining some random family's slides I proceeded to make a video to Dawn. It's about how watching slides can motivate someone to make toast.

Speaking of Rabbit, the album has been out for over a year now and I'm very appreciative of everyone who has taken the time to download/listen to it and give me their thoughts. If you haven't heard it yet it's available to stream over at and you can purchase the whole thing for a dolla'. Holy hot gravy, that's cheap!

As for Veil, it's definitely still being worked on, albeit slowly, as I re-work some things and figure out the best mechanics and process for me to release an episodic game that accomplishes what I want it to and on a timely basis. The artstyle has been overhauled and I've tweaked some of my original designs, but I haven't had a lot of time to make progress because...

..I've been working mostly on a follow-up album to Rabbit. The album is nearly halfway complete and I have a goal to have it finished and released by Winter this year. While it's too early to really tease what the album will be like, it's definitely not more of the same. Rabbit was a very stripped down album with minimal guitar, piano and drums and this time I've added a lot more to the recordings with multiple guitars and vocal tracks. If you take the song Hold Tight and mix it with Rabbit's sound you may get an idea of where it's going.

And the last update I wanted to mention is my plan to get lots of old music posted here. There's a lot of solo material and music I've recorded with several bands and projects that I'd like to make available. Starting with my last band, Murnau, I'll be regularly posting complete sets of all the music that's been recorded over the past decade.

And I promise to keep this updated more often. A lot of my time is spent running Sega Addicts so feel free to hope over there occasionally and say hi.

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Four months later…

It's probably about time I stop neglecting this site.

There's not a lot to post here as far as major updates on the progress of Veil and musical projects. Right now, I'm going through a bit of an overhaul of the Veil visual and audio aesthetic. The game itself as far as plot, setting, and gameplay is still the same but I'm not completely satisfied with the style I've originally created for the game. There's two major reasons for this:

1) The tone is a too dark and realistic for what I'm going for and while there are some moments of the game that that would work for it doesn't work right for the majority of it. It also isn't quite as unique visually as I'd want it to be and therefore I'm working on an art style that hopefully sets itself from other games of the genre.

2) The style I'm using right now takes way too much time to get anything accomplished in the amount of time I have to work on Veil. The world of Veil has a decent amount of locations and characters and I can't be spending months getting one character and one location completely modeled, textured, and animated and expect to get the first episode completed in the next 10 years. So, along with this new art style a major goal is a to create a way to streamline the process while keeping the characters and locations detailed and engaging. It's a challenge but necessary and I'm getting close to something I think that will work.

In other news a lot of my time has been going towards recording a full-length album of solo material, which, is coming along nicely with 6 of the 10 planned tracks fully recorded. If all goes as planned I should have it completed and ready for public consumption in the next few months. Most likely I'll be releasing it on the "pay what you want" but who knows maybe I'll have it sold exclusively at Wal-Mart.

And last but not least how about an unreleased track originally intended for Veil? Download it here.

And remember to go to the Music Library page for other downloads. In the next few weeks I'll be attempting to build up the downloads there with some more tracks from the past.

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It’s Song 3 From Veil!

As I work on the slow task of finishing one of the main environments in Veil, I'll be posting a few music tracks from the game. The song today is: Song 3! Catchy name.

Eventually, the individual songs may have actual names but since I can't say for sure where they're going to be used yet I don't want to start naming them. Plus, I hate naming things, especially instrumental tracks where any sort of name will influence the listeners expectations for the song.

Progress on Veil is slow but still continuing. I'm mostly working on the first main neighborhood and have been focusing on the last step of texturing. Once that's completed I'll take a final look at the environment, add any last details that I feel are missing and then one of the biggest sections of the first episode will be complete.

Download Song 3 from Veil here.

Or go to the music downloads page.

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Introducing Uncle Craig from Veil

Uncle Craig is a character you'll be seeing a lot of in Veil. At times, Veil is just as much about Uncle Craig's story as is it James' and the two have a strange yet close relationship as they rely on each other throughout their daily lives.

Fun fact!: In the Veil trailer, the man's voice you hear talking for a few seconds is actually Uncle Craig.

Below is the original concept art Tom Kyzivat created for Uncle Craig. As with James' model, I stuck pretty close to the original concept while adjusting it to fit the style of Veil with a low-poly character and de-saturated grainy textures. The model for Uncle Craig (above) is pretty close to complete although there's a few aspects that I plan on touching up in the future.

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Veil’s Main Character, James: From Concept to Completion

Remember that guy you always see the back of in the official trailer for Veil? That's James. Now, I won't be going too deep into who he is or what his backstory may be as that's for the game to reveal. However, I do want to show the concepts Tom and I worked with to get to the final model and style for the game.

It was important early on that we didn't go with a mainly realistic look for two reasons. One, I wanted the game to have a unique and memorable visual style that would potentially age well. And two, I needed an overall style that didn't take months to model and rig each character as the game would take a ridiculous amount of time to complete on my own and the idea of regularly releasing episodes would be nearly impossible.

So, after discussing with Tom some ideas about the game's tone and characters, he went off to his lair and produced a few early stylized ideas he had...

I loved the direction Tom was going with the style concepts and James' design. We discussed taking the style a little more towards a realistic look so it would have slightly more realistic proportions with certain features exaggerated or elongated. Since, the overall world and environments have an overall realistic look to them, the characters needed to too so they didn't look out of place.

The next concept he created for James is the one we ended up using...

From there, I went off to Maya and began the modeling process. For the most part, the James model is just like Tom's original sketch. I made some changes to make the 3D model fit in with the style I'd been using for the environments but nothing too drastic. The test animation above was made shortly after finishing the model and doing some test rigging and animating as it's always amazing to see a model come to life. James has changed only a little since then but mainly just some tuning up to make sure he animates well and nothing looks too awkward.

He's such a handsome young man.

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Veil Soundtrack: Introducing the Veil theme

As promised, I'll be rolling out details on Veil as development progresses and the theme song seems like a good place to start. While the visuals and gameplay of Veil are incredibly important to me, the audio is an aspect I'm really focusing on. There's a specific atmosphere I'm going for with the game and getting the music and sound effects just right are going to be integral to conveying that setting.

A small clip of the theme song was played during the announcement trailer when the logo appears. So, if you recognize it you aren't crazy. Or at the least, this would not give you substantial proof that you are.

Download it here.

or the Music Downloads page.

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What is Veil?

In most respects, Veil is a game I've had in my head for a long time and always wanted to make. It's an episodic first person adventure game with subtle horror elements. Now, let me explain that a little better...

It's episodic because I love the idea of a world that can be created and developed for as long as people are interested (or the creator moves on, dies, becomes comatose, goes bankrupt, etc.). It's the reason why certain characters and settings work better as a TV series, book series, or monthly comic book than as a stand alone film or novel. While there's definitely a place for standalone stories and games I feel that episodic games are something that hasn't been explored that much yet and has a lot of potential. Veil, is very much about the setting and characters you meet and the episodic structure feels right for the game. It also allows me as the single creator to regularly release something much quicker than if I was developing an entire 5-10 hour game for one release.

It's taken me a lot of time to decide whether to go the first or third person route for the game but after much thought it's become apparent that the game needs to be first person. With the camera dropped back to behind or above your character the atmosphere and exploration aspects of the game would change dramatically. There's some very important scenes I've created that without the first person perspective would lose much of their meaning.

As for the adventure genre. It's one that I love and still feel is relevant outside of the point-and-click genre. In fact, deep down Veil's gameplay aspect revolve quite a bit around the typical adventure game with item and subtle puzzle interaction. It never gets quite as obviously puzzle-centric as the average point-and-click game with huge item inventories and combinations but there is some inspiration there.

And then there's the horror element. I didn't set out to make a horror game but as I sat down to write the game definitely took some turns in that direction. The story revolves around some dark events and mysteries in the small town in Veil but the horrific moments are often broken up by long stretches of a much lighter tone. I'm hoping the contrast between the dark and light moments will create some more meaningful and "bigger" experiences in the game.

So, that's Veil in a nutshell. I have lots of work and details left to tell and have plans to at least post one update a week. No guarantees but I will do my best. I pinky swear.

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