The Malkavian - Retrospective (Yogscast Game Jam 2021)
Music: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube
Game jam: Entries, Results
As we're winding down towards the end of another year, I wanted to see if I could squeeze in a few more game jam projects to further extend that experience and remembered that the Yogscast Jingle Jam was in full flow and last year, they had a weekend game jam alongside which they extended to an entire week this time around! As they have a dedicated Discord server for this aspect, I was able to post in there and managed to get a swift response from another developer.
I asked them to elaborate on the general game idea that they had for their project and I thought it would be a good fit after our conversation so I gladly accepted. It was going to be a deck building game in a similar vein to that of Slay the Spire, where each card had two effects that could be used, representing the protaganist's multiple personality disorder. The background was a vampiric would where the Malkavians have a mental sickness. I found it to be a really interesting take on the game jam's overall theme and works well with the card game premise.
I quickly received a couple of portrait ideas for the protagonist which helped me to start doing some world-building in my head and start creating a landscape in my brain. It's hard to explain but sometimes when someone explains a scene, game premise or art ideas, a few hours later my mind throws an entire "screenshot" of a scene to me, front and centre. A very bizarre experience but a helpful one at that. I couldn't get down on paper what I've just seen but I'd be able to either describe out loud or discuss with others about said scene.
I was able to nail something down early that would end up being used for the menus and a potential battle preparation screen. It's why I like to just put something together quickly, between thirty and sixty seconds, so I can more accurately gauge what the team is really looking for. In this case, they were looking for a little more pace and urgency for a battle scene and/or phase - I'd written something that was far slower and atmospheric.
Four days later, I shared some works in progress that would soon become the final tracks with a few tweaks and finishes - "Normal" and "Chaotic" battle themes to represent the two mental states of the player and a preparation track to compliment and thinking time and menu screens that the player might have to navigate. I got some positive feedback for them but not a huge amount more from the development perspective, unfortunately.
While a lot of progress had been made with the audio, we didn't have anything to show for the game itself that could be any semblance of an entry for the jam itself. I did reach out when I had shared my (almost) final tracks for the project to check in to see if everything's okay but got a short response. I didn't want to pry or push any further so I left things alone for the remainder of the jam as to not get in the way as I can't assume anything that might be going on in their world(s).
While I never heard back, I hope that things are okay for them and they aren't going through too much (if any) turmoil right now. Things are scary for everyone as another year passes by and there's a lot of general anger and angry folk going around but I prefer to keep myself as neutral as possible when it comes to both sides of each coin that's out there.
As expected, the eventuality that proceeded was that no entry was submitted.
I thought that what I produced actually came together really well, going back to SunVox for some more atmospehric FM electronic tracks. I don't think that I've been able to bring together multiple tracks of an electronic nature this coherently so I'm pleased on that front. While they were far more minimalist, that's what I was going for as I feel that when the player needs to make strategic decisions, the last thing you want is extremely active background music that could potentially distract you altogether. Imagine trying to make your next move in a game of chess while you've got some drum & bass shouting at you.
Coincidentally, writing these three tracks while participating in the project has completely burnt me out. Maybe it's the end-of-the-year blues but this one has wiped me out - just that incredibly tired and lethargic feeling in the chest and muscles overall. I'll be taking a couple of days out to do some problem-solving activities to try and give myself a reboot while I have a think about my plans and potential for next year.
Discipline and perseverance will keep me going through this, keeping the things at bay that attempt to sabotage my self-improvement and enlightenment journey. Bring on the next challenge.Tagged as: retrospective
Published on: Monday 13 December, 2021