First Game: Way of the Bubble

The Way of the Bubble, Menu Screen

The Way of the Bubble (Beta), Menu Screen

The last few weeks have been a bit intense at times. I signed up for a game music composition course on Udemy in June – maybe not the sanest thing to do during a 30-day composition challenge, but I doubled up and used the homework as Tune-A-Day June tunes, which helped me crack on with it.

It’s the first Udemy course I’ve studied and it is going well. I wanted to write about what I’m learning for Code Like a Girl, because it involves Unity, a very popular game development ‘engine’*.  With the games industry being so buoyant it would be good to encourage more girls to get involved. But I needed to write a long-overdue article first to complete the story about making video using Processing 3 to write basic animations, so I ended up writing two articles quite close together.  The first article is about making the music visualiser used in the Silver Bird video; the second is about what I’ve been up to on the game music course, which teaches you to make your music adapt to what is happening inside a game and trigger music cues based on events occuring. It’s been really interesting so far and I feel like I’m much better prepared for making more music for games.

I’ve also spent some time trying to learn a little more than is covered on Unity by the game music course by looking at Unity tutorials and just playing around with it. (If you read the second recent article for Code Like A Girl, you’ll see I had some fun body-modding the player character and giving his glasses a makeover). I definitely want to learn more about using Unity, as I’d like to create a simple game that I can use for making video footage from.  This will involve learning to code in C#, however, so that will stretch the old grey matter more than a little when I get to grips with it properly. I’ve only really scratched the surface so far.  (Unity can also take Java scripts, but the tutorials look like they concentrate on C#, so I’ll just follow those – the two languages seem very similar from my perspective, anyway).

Unity gives you a fantastic platform to work with for making animations, from what I can see, and you can almost treat it like a filmset once you’re proficient, setting up camera angles, getting the camera to follow a character’s movements, or to zoom in to the action, etc. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit in all this learning though. It may be quite a long time before I can make something really decent – if I get that far.

New Game – Way of the Bubble

Meanwhile, I’ve had my first glimpse of the Way of the Bubble game, the first game in the TrickJazz chillout mobile games series, which I already mentioned a few times.  The game I was originally scheduled to be in, Dreamwalker, has been delayed, so they’ve included my tune Sunset Landscape as one of the tunes in Way of the Bubble. The game is now in beta testing, and I’ve had a go at playing it already, which I’m naturally quite excited about.

Footnotes:

*I’m not sure how they started calling these things engines – Unity is a development environment where you pull together and organise all the different elements that go into making a game and test it. It has built in elements, like a ‘physics engine’ so you can apply gravity to your objects and make them bounce back from walls, etc. You can also buy additional items to extend the possibilities, particularly of the graphics elements available.

TrickJazz Kickstarter: Update

Kickstarter LogoWith the Kickstarter sitting at 72% of its funding target, and 5 full days to go, I’ve received the news from TrickJazz that the Kickstarter is going to be cancelled, because a new source of funding has emerged which will set the project on a stronger footing going forward.

What happened?

Last month, after the Kickstarter had begun and a significant proportion of its funding had been raised, TrickJazz (aka Christian Facey) took part in a hackathon organised by IATA, and unexpectedly won one of the major prizes, for an idea unconnected to the mobile games Kickstarter. This win has brought him into contact with a group of software engineers, who want to progress both the chillout games and the idea that won the hackathon prize.  This will mean the Kickstarter campaign is now no longer needed to bring the chillout games to market.

The chillout games are still going to be made, and my music and those of the other artists that have been featured will still be included.

The games are actually going to be available sooner than previously, as the team will be able to concentrate fully on these rather than generating Kickstarter rewards. The first game, “Way of the Bubble”, should become available either later this month or early in July, and the games will now be available as free downloads, so anyone can access them.

As soon as I’ve got more news about this and the Dreamwalker game’s release, which is scheduled to have my Sunset Landscape in, I’ll let you know.

The announcement from TrickJazz can be seen on their Kickstarter updates page.

Kickstarter update – it’s off the blocks.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 21.13.14.png

I’ve spent quite a bit of my time the last week or so trying to raise awareness of the TrickJazz Kickstarter campaign I already mentioned.  Nearly a week in, and the Kickstarter is at almost 25%, with 30 backers, which looks fairly healthy at this stage of the campaign, but by no means ensures success – the way Kickstarter works is all or nothing. You have to get to 100%+ by the deadline (8th June), otherwise all the pledges made so far become meaningless.

Why would I spend so much time working for free? Well, this is an opportunity for me to have one of my best tunes used in an actual mobile game which will be downloadable from the App store (for iOS devices) and Google play (for android devices). That is a good thing of itself (especially as I haven’t had to devise and write a game to do it).

On top of that, the TrickJazz Chillout Series games are designed to help players find the music in them. My tune is scheduled to go on the Dreamwalker menu screen, which means that it should be played for a short while every time a player starts the game. So, if the Kickstarter fundraising is successful and the game gets launched, this could mean I find some more people who appreciate what I’m making.

I’m also finding that there are other benefits to putting the effort in promoting the Dreamwalker Kickstarter.  As well as learning more about how Kickstarter campaigns work, I’m discovering the existence of a lot of other game developers, so my knowledge and understanding of the sector is improving, too, which could, potentially, be useful in the future.