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Animator - Life giver to the pixels

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Hello Ludum-Darees!

This is my first post-mortem butchery and I am very excited to share my experience doing the music and sound design for our entry:

“Cataphilla”

21417-shot0-1440484896

Given the fact that we started slightly off schedule and that we changed the mechanic and aim of the game in the course of only 2 days we were

slightly limited regarding fine tuning the game but we made due with the resources we had…

For this game we (tried) implementing Fmod into making the audio behave a lot more dynamically and react to inputs rather than just looping seamlessly from beginning to end.

 

 

This is only the 2nd time I have used Fmod inside a Unity game and I was relatively happy with what we achieved but I there are several hurdles that I would like to get over for future jams:

 

Challenges:

-Making instruments come in after each other

-Changing the snare-sound when switching between left arrow key and right arrow key

-Creating a “muffled” effect when entering the giant peaches

-Transitioning from the main beat to the transition and into the new section

Making things sound cool and glued together

-Switching between sound effect stings

fmod

Fmod for an audio person is fairly simple to use as it acts just like any other “DAW” (Digital Audio Workstation ie. Ableton/Fruity Loops/Pro Tools/Reason)

Its main purpose is to make the programmers life a bit easier by creating parameters that the programmer can tie to an event/instance in the gameplay, hopefully making

the programmers life a lot easier (in theory at least  :D)

It also serves to create a bit more interesting audio flow which is really essential because hearing a loop over and over is annoying.

fmod2

The music track is ssplit into 7 separate audio layers:

Layer 1: Basic Groove with Snare 1

Layer 2: Basic Groove with Snare 2

Layer 3: Synth Pad

Layer 4: Rhythmic Synth 2

Layer 5: Melodic Synth 1

Layer 6: Melodic Synth 2

Layer 7: Drop

 

These layers are “Events” in fmod and I have several parameters that affect these layers on the fly:

Parameter 1: Switch between Layer 1 + Layer 2

I wanted to have a different snare sound for when you go left with the catapillah then when you go right. This feature was purely experimental and maybe a bit unecessary but definitely added to the dynamic of the audio.

When you change the parameter, the audio layers should crossfade “smoothly” from one into the other.

fmod3

Parameter 2: Bring in layer 3-6

The different synths that you hear when you fly through the golden pips (located on the inside of the fruit) were initially meant to be 3D objects that you have to find but we ran into time constraints and just made them add to the track.

 

Parameter 3: Trigger “Drop sound”

Because the game was centered a lot around the music everything had to be synchronised to the tempo of the track; the transition time from the basic groove to the drop layer and back could be set in musical increments which was just what we needed. I set it to be 1 bar, which might be a bit too long but was the most musically pleasing variant.

 

What I learned :

-Transitioning between layers/events and having the transition happen rhythmically while maintaining a fairly immediate response is a very delicate task

-Too many dynamic changes in the audio can be positively tributing to the gameplay but shouldn’t be overused. Repetition is very important too.

-Learn your programs beforehand; knowing the ropes of Fmod/Wwise or even just Unity’s native audio mixer can help save time when you are crunching to get general gameplay polished before the deadline.

21417-shot3-1440455644.png-eq-900-500

We had a lot of fun making “Cataphilla” and there are so many more opportunities on the audio side that I would like to explore – maybe a post-jam version is soon to follow :)

If you are interested what I’m talking about check it out:

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=21417

 

Thanks for reading/scanning through!

-Mexicanopiumdog, Pomb, Brendon

Wrecked

Posted by (twitter: @pmlomb)
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 12:42 pm

Facestrip

My second LD experience and it was just as awesome as the first. This time around remote deving and using Git/BitBucket source control and it worked out awesomely for our workflow.

I really like how we planned our design out, because it had 3 distinct phases planned. If any 1 of the phases were complete there would be an experience there. Whilst we only managed to finish the first phase – which is quite a shallow experience – I’m pleased with how much content I managed to create. I don’t consider myself to be an artist that can work very fast but I find LD to be the perfect event to try increase my work speed. I phaff way too much and LD’s time restriction really helps you call “Done” faster, mostly because I think of Done as Done, for now. I’ll come back and clean you up if we got time, and we did.

The first iteration of the character animation was a two solid graphic states with wobble animations that lasted 10 frames or so, I then revisited the character to make a cut out animation with multiple graphic swaps for different body parts and I think it turned out awesomely. It’s the first time I’ve animated properly in the new unity animated editor, it’s far better than before, but still lacking BASIC functionality that all other 3d animation editors have.

That’s really the number one lesson I learned this time round: Make art fast and dirty that covers the extent of what you planned, then revisit and clean up the really bad stuff.

Iteration is King and spend your time where you’ll “see” it the most.  Because of whatever reasons your games scope isn’t as big as you first planned, the asteroids you painted didn’t get put in because of X. When you only spend 10 mins on it it’s not going to be so bad that it got cut, you also need to reassess every half day or so to find out what assets you should be making or not, figure out if you still in good standing to complete the scope you have planned.

We planned out  a ship phase in the first 20 mins of the dev which didn’t happen. Because of our reassessment on day 2 (at which point I had mostly completed what we needed for the suit phase) meant that I had the time that I would have been spent working the ship on improving the quality on what we already had going.I’m by no means the guru of time management, but I do believe I did a really good job this time round with where I spent my time.
Play Wrecked here

Watch my timelapse of the art for Wrecked dev here:

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