On the last Friday of January I attended Global Game Jam 2016 at North Sydney Tafe, St. Leonards. Having produced audio for Psyco-Path in 2014, I was excited again to give it a shot. At this time, myself and over a hundred other game enthusiasts and seasoned pro's would create a playable videogame over the weekend. On the first night, our theme for this year was determined to be 'Ritual,' and many developers soon pitched their ideas to all with an unmistakable gaming zest.
Before I began, I decided that I'd work on sound design and music for more than one game project.
The main game I worked on, Monstergotchi (image to right), was a rather puzzling game that required the player to feed a monster certain food combinations so he was fit enough to wreak havoc, but also before he was killed by the town archers. This was to be produced with Unity 5.
Although the puzzling gameplay was in itself challenging to program quickly, I had produced two loopable tracks (listen below);
one was a mischievous and sluggish orchestral theme, and the other was a 'tension' theme, with overlaid industrial ambience when the monster was in danger. In our case, both pieces of music are playing throughout the game, but a variable turns up the volume of the second tension music track when the game calls for it. While it is in sync to a tempo, the tension loop is a few beats shorter than the orchestral theme, so that if the player is stuck in danger for a while, the loop will highlight different parts of the main track. This is a great way to create musical variation without much resources or effort, the only requirement is that the gameplay is extensive enough. In the end however, time runs out fast.
I had customised about 46 sounds for this game, most of which are a hybrid human-monster cries, but also including item selections and gross eating and vomiting sounds. A lot of these occur in fast pace based on player selection, demanding a lot of practice.
The second game The Mirror Ritual, developed by Michael Chu (pictured left), had very simple platforming mechanics, and all of my sounds were implemented. Beautiful additional music was also produced by Amanda J Lim. The game engine was Game Maker.
Michael spent his time in a PC & Wacom Cintiq room, while myself and the Monstergotchi team had brought our own laptop and computer devices to another floor. Nevertheless, we worked in the same building with no problem. From the very beginning Michael had developed on his own idea and playtested with many of the other Jammers.
In around as little as 48 hours to produce a game, it was another fantastic weekend. The atmosphere at Game Jam is a boiling pot of game-ified imagination, collaboration and quirky weirdness from those who did and didn't deprive their sleep. If you are willing to stay in the zone, make games and sleep there, make the classrooms your bed for the night. It is a rewarding and fun place where you show yourself what you can do with a deadline and work under pressure, and make a lot of new contacts from your local area and beyond.
Soon I will check out more of the games at the Sydney Beer & Pixels meetup, where other developers socialize and playtest their games. This time it will be a place to see what people did at Game Jam, while we are more awake. Until next time, I plan to learn more implementation tricks in Unity 5 and test out the middleware FMOD Studio, which is available for free. When creating audio for a game, or any asset for that matter, some knowledge of programming is bound to be useful.