Big Ol' Development Update #2 - Speadsheets, Animation, Tendershoot, and E3!
The last two months have been pretty hectic in the best possible way. In an effort to get the game to Alpha by May, we've kicked everything up a notch. It'd really exciting to see the elements start to come together.
The soundtrack is nearly complete! Chris Schlarb and his band of minstrels went into the studio three weeks ago and recorded for eleven hours. The draft mixes I've heard are incredible, and are exactly what I'd hoped for. He still has a few overdubs to record and mixing/mastering to do, but it's largely done. If this soundtrack doesn't win some kind of award, I'm going to pull a Kanye.
I'll be posting a video on that process next Monday. In the meantime, here's a little snippet of them fiddling with a real-life fricking Mellotron:
We've made the decision to keep the soundtrack for the main gameworld relatively organic sounding, with very few synthesized instruments. The crusty FM/OPL tones will be present in the Dreamworld, and during certain cutscenes. After Chris finalizes the soundtrack, I'll take his stems, re-arrange them, dirty them up, and wrap em' a thick, lush layer of soundblaster. Yum.
As our alpha date approached, it became clear that I'd have to tighten up the game a bit and prune a few things. As much as I dreaded the thought of cutting content, it ended up being a positive experience. I'm very much a maximalist in my approach to design. If I'm working on music, I must completely fill the frequency spectrum or it feels incomplete. For visual art, I pack as many hues into a piece as possible, and so on.
As I went over the design documents and schedule for the game, it became apparent that I'd done the same thing with the project as a whole. So, I started from the bottom and revamped the design. The game is still expansive, but it has crystal clear focus now, and I'm really proud of the result. Every aspect of the game is now imbued with meaning, and that's a good feeling.
Animation has, by far, taken the most amount of time to complete. Especially Dropsy's walk cycle. We wanted to ensure that the thing players are constantly looking at is as rad as possible. Here's an example of the process Acacia and I have worked out:
1. Acacia starts by sketching out the basic movements:
2. She then blocks out the basic colors:
3: I take over to apply detail and finishing touches (like bouncy clown-boob):
Mmmm, look at that booty crack. Best 8 direction walk cycle of all time. Here's another animation she recently finished. This one is triggered when someone quickly dodges your attempt at hugging them. Poor Dropsy:
My official developer name is now Tendershoot. I wasn't big on the idea of releasing the game under my real name, and I've always wanted to start my own game studio, so there you go. Here's a snazzy intro cinematic thing I whipped up:
E3 and PAX Prime!
I'm super excited to announce that we'll be showing the game with Devolver Digital at E3 and PAX Prime. E3 takes place in Los Angeles on June 10-12, and Prime is in Seattle in late August/early September.
Custom Content, Posters, and other stuff!
I sent a bunch of emails to everyone who pledged for custom in-game content. Please respond if you haven't! I'm still sitting on some of those dadgummed posters, so if you haven't received yours, you will shortly. The coloring book is about ~60% complete. We may send them out in May.
Check back next Monday for the aforementioned video update.
PS - Please check out DEAD SYNCHRONICITY: Tomorrow Comes Today. The developers are passionate and talented and I dig the cut of their jib. Their campaign ends in just under four days!