Update #36 - Preparing the next build update and special guest appearance by our composer!
This week the team continued working on various aspects of the game including: the intro, the environment, the NPC voice overs and of course, the next build update!
We’ve been keeping quiet about the next update, because we were not 100% sure when we’d complete the work. It’s a very technically important update, because it is all about alleys and filler buildings in the Village and the new biome. “Why does that matter, you say?” Well, it completely changes the game. No more running away from people and hiding in random woods behind houses, no more easy escapes into the wilderness. Plus, it makes the Village and the new biome look significantly better - and much more in line with the first trailer that you guys saw. However, it has been a technically difficult thing to implement, and required a huge amount of work from Matt and the artists. Hopefully you’ll like it as much as we do.
The next update should be released next week, although that will depend on whether our office move goes according to plan. We’re moving just down the hall to a slightly bigger space next Tuesday, which should help us from stepping on each others’ toes as the team expands.
We also have a surprise guest this week!
This is a blog post by Nicolas Marquis, the composer working on We Happy Few. Nic also composed the score for Contrast, and we’re delighted to be able to share some of his behind the scenes work. This is Nic’s second post about his musical research for the We Happy Few score, you can read the first one here.
As a second post on this music blog about the 60's, I wanted to talk about one crazy beast… The Moog Modular (an emblematic synthesizer of the 60's) and also about some electronic pioneers of the era!
As you can see on the pic, there's a lot of controls! In fact, these are modules mounted in a cabinet. And to actually have a sound coming out of it, well you need to connect some of those various modules with patch cords (see on the table on the same pic). What was outstanding at the time, is that there was a lot of flexibility and controls to modify the sound, from experimental noise to something really punchy. The sound was mono meaning that you couldn't have more than one note playing at a time. As of now, you're lucky if you can put your hands on one, there are few available around the globe that are still working! For example, there's one at the Toronto University if you want to take a look ;-)
The name comes from his inventor, Robert Moog and the first to order a prototype was choreographer Alwin Nikolais (who was also composing his own electronic soundtracks). But the very first commercial Moog Modular was available in 1964. Eric Siday, considered to be one of the the pioneers of psychoacoustics, was also an important figure in the development of the Moog Synthesizer. Check this very informative video from the BBC archive:
The first band to use a Moog was Lothar and The Hand People, but their first recording actually using one was released later on (in 1968). Have a listen to this extract (somehow it makes me think about Pink Floyd, in their Syd Barrett era):
In fact, the very first recording by a music band was in 1967 by... The Monkees!
But it was Wendy Carlos in 1968 that first brought the Modular to world-wide attention with her interpretation of some famous J.S. Bach works on his album "Switched-On Bach". It was one of the first classical recordings to sell over 500 000 copies. By the way, she's the same composer famous for her soundtrack on Stanley Kubrick’s "ClockWork Orange".
On the other side of things, Perrey and Kingsley for example made use of it in a more ludic - almost schizophrenic - way (this track was released in 1967):
By the way, you may have heard them before: one of their tracks was sampled by the band Smash Mouth for their opening of their 1997 hit "Walking On The Sun"…without their permission!
Also, Perrey worked with Andy Badale aka Angelo Badalamenti (yes, the composer for David Lynch's movies) on the track "E.V.A." which will end up later on being, well, simply one of the most sampled track in hip hop and rap history!
Finally, The Beastie Boys released an instrumental album called "The In Sound From Way Out" as a tribute to Perrey and Kingsley.
Then later on there will be Emerson, Lake and Palmer with "Lucky Man" in the 70s (where you hear the famous Moog portamento sound at the end) and Tangerine Dream, but ok, ok, I digress!
As to finish this post, I wanted to add that Mr Moog was also distributing the Theremin (created by Leon Theremin), another worthy instrument used by many movie composers in the 50s like Bernard Herrmann on The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951).
Next post is going to be about some more electronic music, musique concrete and… Delia Derbyshire!
This week I worked on a bunch of little things. I integrated various elements into the game, made pretty signs and optimized collisions.
Still working on the intro, fixing all the little bugs and adding the last functionalities. It is now playable from start to end. I also integrated some of the key objects and animations as soon as the others were done with them to make sure everything still works as intended. I also tested spawning it in the actual game world, and it works…sometimes. I’ll need some of Matt’s magic.
To give me a little break on the intro stuff, (and to give you guys something to tackle in the next update), I also did a little Village encounter! The Overdosing Wellie. Yeah, who said there’s such a thing as too much Joy, right? This poor Wellie learned it the hard way. At least some other good citizens are watching over him, caring for him… or are they?
This week I have worked on several new encounters for the game. These special events are meant to add variations and content all around the world of We Happy Few. Here is one of them:
Mysterious special event!
Two wastrels are digging a hole in the ground… but for what reason?
New crafting recipes!
I added new chemical crafting recipes to the game:
They can all be crafted, or found at some places in the game.
I have also worked on a big, multi-objective quest that we will reveal later. ;)
I split this week between editing barks, and working on narrative content for the opening scene.
I selected audio takes for the bobby and the doctor. I also built audio for the opening scene.
We’ve been building the opening scene. Although the full narrative won’t come out until the game’s released, the game will start with a bang -- a bang full of details about Arthur, and about his world, and what he needs to do and why he needs to do it. There will be gameplay, and there will be narrative cutscenes, and there will be narrative audio that responds to the gameplay.
So I’ve been building that audio; and I’ve been filling Arthur’s opening with characters and items, so that if the player wants, he or she can not only explore a bit, s/he can unravel some mysteries about who they are and what they’re up to.
By “filling,” I mean writing lists of things that could be in places. Then I discuss them with the art department, and we talk about what can be done and what can’t. (It turns out we could do Uncle Jack bobbleheads! But we thought that was too Fallout-y/Borderlands-y.)
The more we develop the characters in the opening, the more likely we’ll want to see them again later...
Thank you for tuning in!