This last weekend I had the privilege to participate in the 2010 Global Game Jam, held at our local branch of ITT Tech building. It was a lot of fun, overall.
This year’s theme was “Deception,” and the area restraints were “Trades, Raids, or Maids.” Some teams were formed before the opening night, which I feel took away from the overall experience, but those teams still had the experience of cranking out a game in 48 hours.
I was officially part of one team–made up of Tim Tillotson, Mark Schmelzenbach, and Jacob Kinney– at the start, with a self-imposed time limit of being done at Saturday by noon, which worked just fine for me, because I wanted to do audio for as many people as I could. We cranked out as much as we could, and when noon came around we saw that we weren’t close to finishing our project, but we saw an end in sight, so Mark and Tim both agreed they could work ’til 3, which we worked to and had to simply cut our losses; it was close, but it still wasn’t a playable game. With Tim saying he was going to work on it a bit more that night –which he did– he, Mark, and Jacob all went their separate ways, and I stayed behind to do sound for anyone else who wanted it.
I could give you tons of stories, but I’ll just get onto the games and audio.
First up, is The Ant Thieves, the game that my team put together. You can play it here.
I am really happy with my audio for this game… I took The Ants Go Marching, and blended it with the James Bond and Mission Impossible themes, for an ant-spy feel. I made two versions, one with a subdued chord progression and one made to feel victorious. As for sound design, I pitched up a scream sound and made a “stomp” sound with some impacts and a drum, then added some distortion.
Next up, Treasure Raiders is an XBox 360 game with a rock-paper-scissors mechanic and some campy art. It should be mentioned that none of the people on their team were artists. I hung out with these guys almost exclusively after my team left. You can download the Windows version of the game from the link above, or you can wait for it to show up in the XBox Live Arcade (it won’t be free… but all the money is going to charity.)
I had a lot of fun writing the music for this project. They wanted something like Castle Crashers, giving the game a cheesy epic feel, and I was loving me some French Horns when I wrote the music. As for sound design, I tried to use musical instruments for as much of it as I could, to keep the campy feel, but had to resort to recorded sounds for the combat.
Third up is Dust Bunnies. I really don’t know what to tell you about this team. They were mostly ITT Tech students, with two exceptions. Every time I went into their room, I never knew what to expect; someone could be sleeping on the floor, or someone could be rapping, and over the Saturday-to-Sunday crunch, they had rap music videos projected on their wall. It was a blast, and you can play it here.
These boys didn’t know what they wanted… they first asked for elevator music, and then something by Ry Cooder. By the end of it, they had settled on a Sim City-sounding reggae tune that I had actually cast aside, because I didn’t think they’d want it. I’m glad they did, though.. I always ove writing reggae. For sound design, I took two vacuum tracks, layered them, and trimmed them so the start and stop would be shorter, and cleaner.
Finally, I did sound design for two additional games.
For the first one, Maid of Discontent, built entirely by one man, the sound was almost an afterthought. He had asked me for two sound effects earlier in the night, but he insisted it wasn’t a big deal, so I focused on everything else. If he hadn’t had trouble uploading the file, I don’t think I would have even been able to get the two sounds in. Yeah, that’s right… two sounds. A coin dropping into a vending machine, and a door closing, both FreeSound sounds that I simply cleaned up and balanced out.
The second sound-design-only game, and final game I worked on, was ConRaid, a fun flash game where you hide crowns from raiding orcs. I feel I had more making these sound effects than any other project, due to their simplicity and speed. I simply played guitar, then bitcrushed and downsampled them ’til I was happy. Because of their melodic roots, they give the game a sense of having a soundtrack, even though there’s not one there. You can play it here.
Oh, and one more thing:
The games posted in this entry use the following sound files from Freesound (http://www.freesound.org):
Woman Scream AAA, Thijs loud scream, from thanvannispen
Wilhelm from SweetNeo85
Scream Boom 01 from studiorat
Scream from analogchill
banda fort sample from snog
Door Creak Short from Percy Duke
Single Coin Return from tweeterdj
I’ll happily do this again, next year.