Video Game Music Composer

Deactivated Mecha - Retrospective (MechJam II)

Project links:

Music: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube
Game jam: Entries


I had joined the MechJam II about half-way through since I had been working on the songs for the GBJam 9 prior to that and just finished up the retrospective, which you can read about here. While I prefer to come in at the start of a project to have the chance to gauge the direction of the game and how the relationship(s) can grow between myself and the other developers/artists in the team, I didn't want to turn down the opportunity to work on something which could entail a different style that I'm not used to.

I was contacted rather quickly after posting a message in the official Discord server by two team members who had currently grouped up but not yet started on anything as of yet. While a week had already passed, I decided to give a fair chance to everyone that I speak to and therefore learned more about the project that they were planning.

I found it intriguing as the team were planning on something in a similar vein to that of the Wolfenstein 3D games but where the player controls a person in the cockpit of a mech (as per the jam theme rules), who can control the legs and weapons with various buttons and switches. It seemed like a project where I could create far more atmospheric music for the main gameplay, while still having something a bit more upbeat as a classic title theme.


While there was the initial burst of motivation from the entire team when a project first begins which is extremely common, things started to peter out over the course of the days to come as we were approaching the deadline much quicker as we'd had an initial late start. Some art and drawings had come through early which gave me the opportunity to make a start on a potential title theme while also getting the chance to think about what that level atmosphere could entail.

I was able to send over a sample the next day which was well received by one of the members of the team but I didn't get any other responses so I continued on as best I could with the information I had in front of me. You can never truly know what might be going on in your other team member's lives and in this case it was school/college and lockdown taking its toll in other countries in Europe and around the world. It really gives you a perspective and empathy towards everyone else involved that you can never judge anyone as you don't have all the information.

Regardless, I continued working on the title theme and finally finished that up to send over to the rest of the team. Unfortunately, I wasn't getting any feedback on it but realised that it was likely we weren't going to submit anything before the deadline. Over the course of the time left, I always assured everyone that I was there if they wanted to discuss anything relating to the design and development and always checking in to see how things are going in general.


It can always be difficult gauging whether your team members are "complete-finishers" like yourself or are more likely to not have anything (or enough) to submit before the jam's deadline closes and in this case unfortunately, it was the latter once again. I'm not placing blame on anyone as you just have to accept that things won't always work out, especially when it comes to short, timed events such as game jams. If you don't have a consistent group to work with, then it will absolutely be the luck of the draw to some extent!

Excitement can come from that unknown quantity and the chance to collaborate with a new group of individuals each time, with a new perspective and experience drawn from each encounter.

There's never a time where you should think that your time is wasted at all. Even if nothing comes of a project, then the effort you've put in now should help serve you for the next one and lessons will have been learned.


I haven't played with negative space in my music for a long time so I decided to revisit it for the main level theme, "Altmos". Much like the music of DOOM and Quake, I wanted to produce

I really like how the title theme turned out. It's got that grungy vibe that I was looking for with the simulated guitar instruments that I used and that plays nicely with some chords in the background and a bit of emulated piano for a counterpoint. That slight off-beat beginning of the next bar at the end of the fourth beat each time is a techinque that I've been playing around with a lot recently and I'm in love with how it produces such a different pace altogether. It really works well in the menus and when the player first visits your game.

It might be too much of a difference in theme between the two tracks but the fact that very similar instruments were used for both, it unifies them more rather than feeling like two disjointed tracks.


Duty might be the wrong word to use here but perhaps, I feel a sense of needing to see the period of time with a team I've grouped up with until the end, regardless of how things work out. They brought me on to write music for their project and I did my very best to deliver with the information that was given to me so in that sense, there's always a sense of closure, even if you don't sit through the judging and rating periods.

I feel perfectly fine with how things turned out and wouldn't change the experience at all. While it might be frustrating to some that they might "have nothing to show for it", the next project will certainly show what you've learned over that period of time.

I'm looking forward to the next game jam which will be the first ever Godot Fire Charity Jam! I've found a group and I'm writing in a completely different style to what I'm used to but that was the whole point - to tackle that unknown quantity and grow from the experience. I am incredibly excited to show what I'm made of and prove that I can come up with tracks that I can be proud of.

Tagged as: retrospective
Published on: Wednesday 13 October, 2021