Sound Designer - Composer - Music Artist

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Tiktik - First Game Jam! - Jam #1

 

TLDR; Participated in a game jam, audio implementation hard, must learn more. Play the game here! - https://itch.io/jam/mini-jam-25-spirits/rate/402572

Post GDC blues hit me hard but I knew that I wanted to keep honing my audio skills in game-making. It felt like most of the advice going around for starting out was to do game jams, redesign game trailers/gameplay/film scenes. So that’s what I did, I started looking for game jams and it brought me to itch.io.

I hit up Kent (@kent_yam97) for programming, along with Soo (@kwonsoodva) and Jack for level design. We joined the Mini Game Jam, the theme was Spirits. It was 72 hours long so it was nice and short to get myself into game development.

We got together on Discord to brainstorm a couple of ideas for the game.

1. Have an astral spirit battle through the seven sins to return to the land of the living.

2. There was also an idea inspired by Dororo (where the boy’s father sold him off to the demons and he was left with an empty shell body, requiring him to kill demons to reclaim his body parts).

3. Be the compassionate grim reaper where he takes souls. (yes a compassionate one)

4. Reverse audio feature for the enemy - based on the Filipino creature, Tiktik.

It’s not that we didn’t want to work with new people, we just didn’t feel like we would be at a point where we can solve conflicts if we didn’t know each other.

Along the way from pre-production to the day of the jam, we wanted to have an animator and a scriptwriter come onboard. The issue was finding one that we trusted. This trust usually stems from asking people within your circle of friends. It’s not that we didn’t want to work with new people, we just didn’t feel like we would be at a point where we can solve conflicts if we didn’t know each other. And at the end, we were left with just the four of us.


SOUND DESIGN

We convened two hours before the jam started and decided on the Tiktik idea. I got to work and research what it should look like to get an idea how it should sound like. Harpie-like, day-walker but is like the beast in Beauty and the Beast, where it transform and gets it’s power when nightfalls. The Tiktik was sort of born out the colonial periods of the Philippines where the Spaniards took over. Witnesses say that if the creature is far, they can hear clicking but when it’s close they can’t. So this was particularly cool to audio implement.

In my mind, I knew that there was no way a creature could be entirely silent so somewhere along the lines I had to make a sound that was logical for when the Tiktik was close. I thought of footsteps and wing flaps when it’s close by but it seemed ordinary. Then I thought maybe no one could hear it because it was communicating beyond the frequencies of human hearing.


BATS. Brilliant, Duncan.

I went on Youtube, opened up a documentary about bats, routed the audio through Loopback and recorded it at 192kHz sample rate. I have no idea whether that would work or not but in theory that should at least give me some leeway when I need to stretch them out for sound design.

I knew I wanted something to resemble the clicking in The Last the of Us, so I pitched down and stretched the audio out and audiosuite it. This was tweaked to taste and ended up with two satisfactory files, Tiktik_Far and Tiktik_Close.

Since the limitation was no text, we had to record dialog to give the player clues to know how to avoid the Tiktik. I came up with a line that says,

“One can only know that they are safe, when the hear it.”

Looking back, it should be “if” the hear it and not “when” they hear it.

He hadn’t a clue on how audio game calls work, I don’t either.

At this point, I wanted to put it in the game quick so I asked Kent to how we can get the game to talk to Wwise while working in Unity. He hadn’t a clue on how audio game calls work, I don’t either. I tried the Wwise integration with Unity but then I couldn’t get any audio to work along with getting Unity to call audio from Wwise. Something something about AkAmbiance, Aklistener, along with using the Wwise picker to drag and drop. But it sort of work when we input a Post Event line in the script. I still don’t understand what’s happening but it works, terribly. It’s like how my friend Wing put it, I know how a car works but I don’t know how the engine works. That means we can’t do many iterations or anything extra. In the end, I wasn’t able to implement footsteps on different surfaces but we managed to input the fundamental Tiktik sound gameplay.


MUSIC

There was potential for music and as a composer at hard. I couldn’t resist. The process was simple, it was gamelan inspired since location is in the rural villages of Philippines. So there were lots of cyclical motifs. However, I wanted to build upon that, I get bored with the same idea real quick and tend to change/develop ideas every 4 bars. It also features a cello solo so definitely check it out.


LESSONS LEARNT

  • Not everyone in the game development side of things know how to code to call audio from middleware. I will have to look that up.

  • Think big so that you know what you’re skills you’re missing to achieve the end goal.

  • Making sounds is easy, but implementing them? oof.

NEXT STEPS

  • Understanding of audio implementation, audio game calls from Unity engine.

  • File naming conventions and organization for audio files.

  • Ambiance implementation