Good news everyone! I have just completed the “40 Hour Make a Thing” challenge with my fellow Handsome Dragon Games crew. If you cast your minds back a few months then you may remember that your humble-blogging-host received best game sound for the event, held in February. Although my work in this challenge was not enough to take the award again, I had so much fun and our game-dev company “Handsome Dragon Games” performed brilliantly and made a really cool “thing”. Our game we made in the 40 hours was “Linker”, a top down, twin stick shooter-racing game that we all have become very fond of. This game had a difference, it was a set on a racing-track that is viewed on a screen that is laying flat on a table with four friends on each side, like a digital slot-car track. This concept was a lot of fun to play, although when it came time to the showcase, we hadn’t allowed enough time to set up properly and our top-down, screen laying flat method was reduced to being viewed on a projector, voiding the mechanics and the niche of the game and for this, the presentation could have been classed as unsuccessful. As well as the platform the game was meant to be viewed on, the sound was reduced to coming through a projector! If you could have heard the audio quality, you probably would have felt like I did…lol! This in itself is a learning lesson, that you may have the best idea in the world, but if you can’t clearly communicate that concept, then the hard work is void.
Enough with the faults of the presentation, let’s focus on what made Linker great.
For our game, we chose to create five characters, Jim Sterling, Yakuza Drift Man, Lady Neon, David Cage and Monte. There was an overlying main musical theme that had variations for each of these characters, the unique character-variation would happen when your character was winning the race, adding to the exhilaration of the game. This was a lot of fun to produce and the guys (including myself) really loved “Yakuza Drift Man’s” theme that was played by a rock band.
Character Theme and Variations
- Jim Sterling – Steampunk
- Yakuza Drift Man – Modern
- Lady Neon – Cyberpunk
- David Cage – Emotions
- Monte – Tribal
If you can already tell, this game is all about having fun and not having to think about the usual boring stuff, like target market or target platform, it is about four friends coming together, making a game in a week and having a heap of laughs along the way!
In Jim’s theme the instrumentation is a reflection of what a steampunk’s music may be like, rhythmical and orchestral, full of wonder and fantasy.
With the music for Yakuza Drift Man, I went back to the F-Zero days and made a Rock-Band version of the track, much to the delight of the HDG crew!
Ah Monte…Short for Montezuma’s Roast, his theme was tribal and I chose to reflect that with crude xylophones, flutes and chants.
Lady Neon is from the Cyberpunk-Future realm so I chose to make her variation all synth!
Hello, I am David Cage, I have met Ellen Paige! lol. That is an in-joke 🙂 David’s theme had to be emotional and tender, that is why I chose Pizzicato strings and a Celeste to get the point across!
The dialogue was one of the funnest things that we did in the whole week we were in the “40 Make a Thing” Challenge. The whole HDG crew went into the Audient studio of SAE QANTM and recorded all of the dialogue ourselves, except for Lady Neon who was played by one of the very approachable and super talented staff members, Julia van Hameren, thanks Julia! I played the announcer, Jack Kuskoff (Game Design, Art) was Yakuza Drift Man and Jim Sterling, Callan Syratt (Programming) was David Cage and Corey Underdown (Programming) was Monte. The experience in a professional recording space was a lot of fun and the crew loved it, not to mention all having a laugh when we heard the edited dialogue in the game (especially David Cage…I have met Ellen Paige…lol, thanks Callan, you nailed it!).
Here is an example of each of the characters personalities.
The announcer had to be the Daytona-Style American.
David is a sensitive one. (Emotions)
Jim is cynical.
Lady Neon is half cyborg and upper-class.
Monte is a living God.
Yakuza is the man!
We made sounds for special items, character layers and personalised the racing experience with a wealth of funny tag lines. We had the best time and I think that the experience brought us closer together as a team. All in all the project was very successful and we will continue working on the game into the future, believing that not all games need to be scrutinised, for when we let ourselves go in artistic expression, that is where the magic happens!
I will blog about this topic again very soon, until then, keep creating!
Thanks for reading and expect to see some table-top games making their way into the mainstream soon! 🙂