Hours 37 – 40: Art / Games / Hack Gamejam at The National Video Game Arcade

Hello! I’m back again, after a little while this time. Sadly my degree has been pretty heavy going at the moment (my currently unfinished dissertation is due in two days) so I haven’t had many chances to get out and do any recording. However, this past weekend I attended an event in Nottingham at the National Video Game Arcade (or Gamecity) called ‘Art/Games/Hack’, a kind of loose gamejam intended to bring together digital artists, game developers and other creatives, to make some cool ‘game’ prototypes. I’ve done a few game jams before, and they’ve been a lot of fun, so I figured it’d be good to go along. We ended up making an interesting little game, and it was great to hang out and meet some like-minded people. We actually were one of the winning teams at the jam too, which is pretty cool.

Essentially, the game was an amalgamation of a lot of other, older games. None of the team were pixel artists, so we pulled sprites and background etc from the web, and put this game together. We wanted it to be a little leftfield, so we decided to usurp the player expectations a little: the game appears to be a typical street-fighter esq scene, two players with equal health who batter each other til one dies. The truth is actually that the player is facing an AI Goliath, who will continue to attack until you’re dead. You cannot attack back, but only defend the onslaught from the attacker. To make this more complex, we intended to implement a feature whereby the block key is randomised periodically. Sadly the AI and this panic key switch didn’t make it into the prototype in full form, but that was our intention. There was also some weird camera zoom stuff going on that we didn’t get quite right. We used the name ‘mortal combat’ as our working title, a play on the classic game title (and mortality) and it stuck. Here’s a little bit of gameplay:

Sound wise, it was pretty fun. I’ve not done anything like the street-fighter style sound before, and I was really excited to try it out. I’ve been playing a ton of Super Smash Bros. with my flatmates recently, and I really love the fat sample-based sound they used for attacks. I really wanted to make some ridiculously oversized smashes and stuff for the attack sounds. I also wanted to explore the use of non-literal sounds to make it all a bit more fun.
The main element is the huge punches: these are built from a lot of different things. I made some punch sounds a while back so I pulled them from my library and crushed them up. I also mixed in a gunshot and some metal scrapes to give the sound a bit more character. I also put a number of kick drums in, as well as a super low bass stinger to give it a lot more depth (i’ve only recently realised how important low end stuff is in sound design). I implemented in FMOD, and I layered into some ‘audience reaction’ type stuff (a la smash bros) under the main punch, and turned the probability right down so it only played a small percentage of the time. It sounded super fun, sadly we scrapped FMOD implementation for everything other than the music (due mainly to time constraints) so sounds just went in as audio files.
I did make quite a cool stinger for the game start, again consisting of elements of the punch, a low end boom and some cool metal ‘shings’. I would’ve loved to have done some cool mortal kombat esq announcer VO to go in, but sadly we didn’t have time. I also made basic foley for all of the characters, footsteps, jump/land, and a crouch sound for the player character. I also made a sweet little ‘ouch’ sound for the attack impacts, that I smashed through some bit crushers to get an authentic lo-fi sound.

The other thing I made that i’m really pleased with was some cool chiptune music for the level. I’ve been really into making 8-bit chiptune type stuff recently, and hoping to explore it more in the future. I made this cool fighty loop of music, it’s got some nice bass stuff going on, a nice beat and some cool lead stuff too. It was implemented with FMOD, as it had some looping logic that’d be a pain to do in Unity.

All the sounds are below:

and the loop of music I made can be heard here:

and that’s the lot for the meantime! my dissertation deadline looms, and the end of my degree isn’t that far away either, so expect some cool stuff in the very near future.

Thanks for reading!

-Barney

http://barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 37 – 40: Art / Games / Hack Gamejam at The National Video Game Arcade

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