Panic Inc.

Panic Blog

From the desk of
Cabel
Engineering Dept.

Violet Beep

I have a 1-year-old daughter named Violet.

For whatever reason, we began calling her Beep. Sometimes Beepy. Usually Beep. Rarely Violet. These things happen.

Yesterday, Ashur and Heather revealed to me a tiny little easter egg they snuck into our SSH app, Prompt 2.1

With the right set of steps, you can switch the normally-white visual beep to be… violet.

Heather coded it up and Ashur made this graphic to reveal the secret:

slack-imgs.com

Basically, I will know you are the deepest of Panic fan if you are rocking the purple flash. (Someday I’ll explain this to Violet. Probably her first question will be, “Wait, you called me what?”.)

There aren’t a lot of secrets in Panic apps, but I’ll never forget this one.

Posted at 12:49 pm 8 Comments

From the desk of Cabel
Portland, Oregon 97205

Firewatch Demo Day at GDC

You knew Panic was making a game, right?

Technically, we’re not actually making the game — we provided the funds to launch both a brand new game studio, Campo Santo, and an ambitious upcoming game… Firewatch.

Panic is, I guess, the “publisher”, although to me that conjures up imagery of a guy in a suit slamming a table and yelling “If you don’t add a goddamn assault rifle in the first five minutes of this snooze-fest we’re shutting this whole thing down!”. We are not that publisher. Campo Santo has become extended Panic family, and we feel as strongly about Firewatch as we do any of our apps.

“In Firewatch, you play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio — and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind.”

You can watch 17 minutes of gameplay here. The game already looks incredible:

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Now, while Campo builds the game, it’s Panic’s job to help sell it.

We talked a lot about how we wanted to do that. Should we get a booth at PAX? E3? What’ll get the word out best? Trade show booths are notoriously expensive — I’ll never forget getting yelled at once because I was carrying in a single box to our Macworld Booth one year, that was the Union’s job!, not to mention the $1,500 three-day internet — plus your game gets lost in a giant sea of bright lights and loud garbage.

So, we focused on GDC — the Game Developer’s Conference — a time when a lot of press and peers are in one place. Then, we thought it’d be more cost effective and possibly more powerful to do something “off-campus” — make a destination for attendees. And since not everyone can afford to attend GDC, we thought it’d be incredible to do a Public Demo Day, where anyone in town could play an early build of Firewatch for themselves, for free.

Sounds great. But how could we make this event feel amazing for our guests?

We needed to find the right space… and lights… and trees.

Because we brought Firewatch to life.

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Guests were greeted with some helpful signage. To the right, we built a full recreation of Henry’s tower and desk… down to the smallest Olly Moss-crafted detail.

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On the left, we set up these demo stations with the latest build of the game right in the middle of our own tiny forest.

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(That’s Rich Sommer, the voice of Henry in our game — you know him as Harry Crane from Mad Men. I asked if it was weird playing a game with his own voice but he said that kind of out-of-body experience doesn’t really affect him anymore.)

We even included some cool special effects, like this magic poster at the entry stairs:

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(FYI, the secret to an eye-fooling projection is to project onto a textured surface — in our case, canvas — and layer a lighting effect on top that spills outside the primary surface — in this case, faux window light.)

The doors opened and we were slammed. Nearly a thousand people showed up to our (quickly-very-toasty) venue and played the game. We got a giant stack of feedback forms and learned a lot about what was, and what wasn’t, working. The experience was invaluable for us.

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Plus, the reactions to the demo have blown us away:

Rock Paper Shotgun: “It was agonising when the demo ended – I desperately wanted to play more. I wanted to know what happens next! Despite the fact that, looking back, what had happened so far was so relatively mundane. It was the strength of the characters, and the wonderful sense of place, that made me not want to have to leave.”

gameinformer:Firewatch is my favorite game from GDC. It immediately hooked me, and I never knew what I would find next. […]  I’m still thinking a lot about my time with Firewatch, and that says something.”

Spectre Collie: “If we get enough people pointing at a beautiful, engaging, and mature experience and saying, ‘This. We want to make more of this,’ then the entire medium will be better off.”

Firewatch has been teed up.

The goal is in our sights.

Now we just have to hit a home run.

I’m not good with sports analogies.

We hope to release Firewatch in late 2015 for Mac, PC, and an as-yet-undisclosed console.

(Production notes! The bulk of the planning, design, and hard work for this event was done by Greg here at Panic, who really did an incredible job. Beautiful photos courtesy Sebastiaan De With. The venue was The Box SF, which was already laden with warm wood and tower-ready windows. Lighting and sound was installed by Got Light. Props came from the incredible Prop House. Our ambient forest sound loops were crafted by Jared Emerson-Johnson. Boombox audio from the incredible Cheap Talk as discovered by Chris Remo. PCs were provided by Nvidia. Our stump tables and chairs came from Campo’s downstairs neighbor, a woodworker, and they were heavy as all hell as it turns out trees are heavy. When we unloaded the stumps to the Campo office, a random San-Fran-coolguy quickly roosted on one and we love him. Secret party weapon: ambient pine scent provided by a hidden Accuscent HD, which delighted me to no end. And everyone at Campo, of course, worked incredibly hard to guide players, talk to press, make everyone feel welcome! Thanks!)

 

Posted at 4:56 pm 32 Comments

From the desk of
Cabel
Engineering Dept.

EditorConfig for Coda 2.5

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EditorConfig is a clever idea: a simple text file you can put anywhere in your code source that automatically changes settings in your favorite text editor.

For example, let’s say someone decided one project had to use space indentation (for Python?) even though everybody usually uses tabs. With EditorConfig, you can easily declare this setting in an .editorconfig file in the root of the project…

  1. # top-most EditorConfig file
  2. root = true
  3.  
  4. # 4 space indentation
  5. [*]
  6. indent_style = space
  7. indent_size = 4

…or you could put this file in any folder in your project, and the editor will automatically pick it up. Then, you can easily check this file in to your source control system. Anyone who checks out your project — and uses a EditorConfig-capable editor — will automatically inherit the recommended editor settings.

We thought this was pretty cool, and so did our users, so we went ahead and built an EditorConfig plug-in for Coda 2.5. It currently supports everything except for the text encoding setting.


If that install link didn’t work, or you don’t want to install it right now, you can browse our plug-ins here.

When you’re ready, read up on the file format here. We hope you enjoy it!

Posted at 3:44 pm 12 Comments

From the desk of
Cabel
Engineering Dept.

ShrinkIt 1.3

ShrinkIt 1.2 icon

Quite some time ago, we made a quick, free, handy tool called ShrinkIt®.

(Yes, we actually have a registered trademark on ShrinkIt®. Why not!)

ShrinkIt takes bloated Adobe-saved graphic PDFs, runs them through Apple’s PDF renderer, and saves them back out, making many of them smaller without any quality loss.

Note, though: it’s not really for long complex PDF documents or bitmap images. It’s generally for simple PDF symbols and glyphs you might use in your apps, where saving space is critical.

We’ve just updated ShrinkIt to version 1.3, and wanted to let you know!

ShrinkIt Release Notes:

  • Processing is now threaded and significantly faster.
  • It’s now properly signed with our Developer ID
  • There’s a new icon
  • And it’s now Retina-ready
  • 1.3 — Fixed exception when dealing with Unicode file paths
  • 1.3 — Added cool progress bar and gratuitous animation

Two important ShrinkIt instructions:

  1. If a finished file is not smaller after being processed, it will not be saved.
  2. Your original files are renamed with the prefix “_org_” just in case.

We hope it serves you well.

UPDATE 2/11: We bumped it to 1.3.
UPDATE 2/13: Aaaaaand 1.3.2 fixes some problems with 10.7 and 10.8.

Posted at 3:53 pm 12 Comments

Transmit User Survey

What would you like from Transmit in the future? Here’s your chance to let us know.

 

Posted at 10:28 am 18 Comments