Saturday, January 31, 2015

Global Game Jam 2015

The Global Game Jam is an international event designed to encourage aspiring artists, coders and game designers to assemble and create a game within 48 hours. Having a playable build by the end of this event requires dedication, teamwork, communication, a little luck and a lot of caffeine.

This year I had two team mates: The experienced Unity coder, Dylan Bennett. And the inspired 2D artist, Stirling Hepburn. I went in to this jam brimming with the confidence of victory from last year, but I was quickly humbled by Dylan's proposed game mechanic and the challenge of the prompt. The prompt (or theme) exists both as a source of artistic inspiration and to provide continuity to the challenge.

The theme this year: "What do we do now?"

The event was organized by the Portland Indie Game Squad and hosted by The Art Institute of Portland

PIG Squad Founder Will Lewis

Dylan had informed me prior to the jam that he was interested in creating a game with events triggered by the soundtrack. As the sound-guy, this was an exciting and terrifying prospect. But it indeed became the core mechanic of the game.

The three of us discussed different ideas for the setting, style and story. We settled with an 'endless runner' genre game with a twist.

An unnamed robot protagonist seeks revenge against a mysterious and powerful unnamed antagonist. The game-play consists of 4 levels which are generated by 4 audio tracks. The levels end when the track is over, at which point our mysterious and powerful unnamed antagonist selects, at random, the next laborious obstacle course of doom to pit against our unnamed robot protagonist.

Each quadrant of our mysterious antagonist's screen was to represent a level

Once this framework was agreed upon, I departed the Art Institute of Portland en route to my home studio while the guys remained, hard at work.

Over 100 people participated in Portland's Global Game Jam this year

Communication was maintained via google hangout and we continued collaborating with assistance from Dropbox.
Shared Dropbox Folders

I began my contribution by creating 4 short tracks within a single project file. This technique helped maintain the timbre of each track. I wanted each track to sound similar, yet different.

I utilized FL Studio and several VST's, including Toxic Biohazard and Massive

Once I was satisfied with the tracks, I expanded upon them individually, saving each into their own distinct project file.

Using the first track as my template, each of the remaining became 1:38 in duration

While I was slaving away at audio stuff, I decided to have a little fun with Meg Turney on Twitter.

Eventually I made my way back to the Art Institute and basked in the glory of what my team had created.

Left to Right: Robot, Me, Dylan & Stirling
People checking out our game!

I'm very pleased with how our project turned out. There are a few missing sound effects and the sensitivity of the audio event triggering could be increased. But with some tweaks I believe it could become very addictive!

Give it a whirl: download and play the game! 

(Gamepad highly recommended)

More images from the Portland GGJ15 gathering.

Listen to the soundtrack:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Vector Space

Vector Space is cool little game created by OSU student, Jonathan Allard. The premise is to destroy enemy ships, salvage parts and use them to make your ship stronger. Sound fun? It is!

I was happy to provide two audio tracks for the game, having worked previously with Jonathan at the 2014 Global Game Jam.

The game is available to play now on gamejolt.

The soundtrack is available for listening or download below.