Robinson Cruising - Retrospective (Godot Wild Jam no.41)
Music: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube
Gameplay: Game link
In an attempt to keep the ball rolling throughout January, it was time for yet another crack at the Godot Wild Jam which currently runs on a monthly basis, with two weeks between end and beginning dates giving participants a healthy break before doing it all over again next time around if they so please. That's exactly what Dmitriy, Gabriel and myself decided to do by giving things another shot after our third place result last time out.
The fourty-first theme for the jam was Ocean, giving way for many different interpretations for all participants. An early influence for what the game was potentially going to be themed around was Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, where players operate a craft using multiple stations that you must walk between, creating a short simulation-like gameplay loop, while avoiding any obstacles along your path.
To put our personal touch on this, the craft was pulled underwater and turned into a craft that delves the deeps for any treasure. Moving at a steady pace, the player could move the submarine up and down as well as utilising any powerups collected along the way. It was a nice idea that allows the scope to be kept small, with some flexibility over new modular functionality.
With each of us going back to our stations, I started to have a think about and list possible sound effects that we would potentially require going forward, as well as existing songs that I wanted to reference for inspiration and ideas for ambience. As with our previous title, a prototype with some already impressive art was being shared very quickly indeed, allowing for me to do some world building before even beginning to think about the landscape of the main gameplay theme. A beautiful submarine craft with intriguing sprites and enemy animations helps to generate a very obvious point of interest for all of my subsequent musical ideas.
In a way, it was quite similar to how things went down with our previous title Mocha Cabin, which is in no way a bad thing at all. That helped to remove a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability with the whole process, in a similar way to the familiarity you get when working with your colleagues for a number of years on a day-to-day basis. You come to appreciate that familiarity but must also have the awareness to not take advantage of or use it as an excuse to not give my all for my fellow teammates. I hope I achieved that by tackling something completely out of my comfort zone that, personally, was unique to me.
It was nice to be working with something outside of my usual chiptune and "synthesised" aesthetic, still applying limitations where I could to ensure that I didn't get overwhelmed with the entire process of coming up with music in a very limited timeframe. I made sure to keep any recording time short and to a single day, with the results from that day being all of the assets I could work with, manipulate and turn into something unique.
I don't really have much to say surrounding the submission period. We've reached the point where we trust in each other's abilities to get the work done and produce to a standard that we can all be very happy with. It seems that we have a solid workflow that works for us right now that can be implemented once again if we decide to make another entry together, which I sincerely hope that we do.
My audio assets were shared well ahead of time, allowing time and space for the implementation to happen around that, as well as any feedback or further requests, one being removing reverb from one of the SFX samples when collecting gems. There were a few hiccups with the technical implementation, with some functionality being lost here and there but Dmitriy was on top of things as always, fixing any bugs that were brought up and delivering a technically sound title for the jam.
All of our hard work brought us to a sixteenth placed finish out of ninety-one which isn't too bad after the jam had almost double the entrants compared to the previous outing! A personal milestone for me was getting sixth place in audio, making me glad that I had tackled a completely different style in an attempt to fit the theme and overall aesthetic more cleanly. Seemingly apt with the amount of cans we have sitting at the bottom of the ocean in the game!
I had particular enjoyment and satisfaction with doing some weird and wonderful recordings and altering the shapes, pitches and tempos to come up with something completely original for this game jam. With the use of echo and reverb to get some underwater vibes going, being permitted to apply effects to your mouth sounds gave way for endless possibilities - somehow coming up with bubbles, crickets-like sounds, beatboxing and everything in between was quite the surprise.
Somehow, what came of this discordance was actually something relatively coherent, well-structured and overall, interesting to the palette. In an attempt to not downplay any personal achievements, I hope to do more acapella work and it's really opened my eyes to what new seemingly different sounds can be generated when one's willing to play around with pitch, speed and modulation. Maybe even a personal drum kit, who knows.
A relatively short retrospective in comparison to the other gigantic essays that I've posted prior to this but that isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. It doesn't mean any less was learned from the process. Experience was gained, possibly even a level-up.
While things have been rather exhausting recently, I hope to slowly ramp things up again very soon, with a new standalone original track coming soon. Watch this space and all the best as always. Take care of yourselves.Tagged as: retrospective
Published on: Sunday 30 January, 2022