Join host Todd Mitchell for game development talk as he speaks with notable game industry professionals, upcoming indies, and noteworthy authors on a variety of topics including game dev news, philosophy, career advice, and more.
Adam Fligsten of Silen Audio
Adam Fligsten of Silen Audio calls in to discuss his process, his projects, and his path into music and audio composition for TV, film, and games. His credits include Marvel vs. Capcom, Saturday Night Live, NBC Olympics, and much, much more.
I think that people put these tools on a pedestal and they shouldn't. It should be accessible to everybody...- Adam Fligsten
Adam Fligsten has been composing music for decades. After working in the music industry in both New York and Los Angeles, he's leveraging his incredible resume including tons of highly visible work in TV and film to get more heavily involved in video game sound design and composition.
While Adam is presently under a number of NDAs, his recent contribution to the Marvel vs. Capcom series suggests that, once again, he's making a beeline for the coolest projects around. When the pandemic kept most of us in isolation, he turned to Twitch where he streamed the entire process of composing Ceres Station, a Super Metroid tribute album.
Make no mistake: Silen Audio would love nothing more than to provide music and audio services for just about any game in development, but Adam maintains a refreshing philosophy about approachability and fun when it comes to making music.
"You shouldn't be afraid to mess up," he says. "That's what practicing an instrument is. You just keep doing it over and over again until it sounds good. If you're trying to record something, you usually have enough time to get it right. I think that people put these tools on a pedestal and they shouldn't. It should be accessible to everybody. Just pick it up, make some noise until it sounds the way you want it to sound, and that's it. That's making music."
Silen Audio was founded in 2016 in Los Angeles, California, and provides both sound design and composition services for indie and AAA studios.
* Silen Audio* AdamFligsten.com* Adam Fligsten on Twitter
Jesse Attard of Tactic Studios
Tactic Studios developer and CEO, Jesse Attard (BioShock, BioShock 2, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (2006)), calls in for a podcast chat about the studio's new Portal-style puzzle adventure game, Claire de Lune. We discuss his transition from major AAA teams to heading up an indie studio, parenting at publish time, best pandemic home office purchases, and more.
A "Fantastic" Transition to Indie Development
It's difficult to imagine a triple-A veteran more optimistic than Jesse Attard. Since 2005, he's contributed to major projects at Ubisoft, Capcom, and Digital Extremes, putting him in the right places at the right times to work on everything from old flip phone games up to the BioShock series and even a late port of Street Fighter II. You'd be right to anticipate a story about burnout and the evisceration of hope in a notoriously brutal industry, yet Attard simply describes the move to indie development as a nice change of pace.
"Oh, it's fantastic. It's great. I love doing it," Attard says about the move from the major-budget studios. "I love having my own engine. I loved working on [Digital Extremes'] engine as well...because you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can do and add to it."
Tactic's upcoming title, Claire de Lune, uses the studio's own proprietary engine that the team started building back when the major game engine terms weren't nearly as inviting as they are now. The graphics and gameplay seen in the game's trailers look right at home alongside just about any modern title.
Attard has stories about why game engine freedom is important to him.
"BioShock was on [Unreal Engine]," he says. "And so we worked on BioShock, and you're terrified about touching any of the Epic code because if Epic decides to change that code, now you've got to merge them and it's just a big nightmare. Having your own engine, you have 100% flexibility. You can make it do exactly what you want. It's much easier to work with, from our standpoint. So that's been great."
Beyond leveraging his technical experience, Attard is enjoying the additional creative influence he has as part of a small team. He wrote and took care of the full sound design for Claire de Lune.
Tactic Studios is targeting a June 14th release date for Claire de Lune.
* Claire de Lune on Steam* TacticStudios.com
Christopher Arnold of Crowned Daemon Studios
Christopher Arnold of Crowned Daemon Studios calls in to talk about the studio's mental health-focused game, Syntherapy, the inspiration behind its development, and its reception in the community.
Crowned Daemon Studios wants to guide you through an exploration of therapy and mental health issues unique from just about any other. Its visual novel adventure game, Syntherapy, places you (a therapist) in charge of the diagnosis and treatment of an artificial intelligence in a story with over 30 possible endings. This is not your average visual novel; Crowned Daemon leveraged publisher support to put together a fully voice-acted experience, and the sense of dramatic immersion is real.
While you'll interact with an artificial patient in the game, the story's influence is both real and personal.
"A lot of it's just personal history," says Arnold. "This actually started as sort of a cathartic exercise of sort of externalizing thoughts and feelings and things that I was trying to figure out in a format where I could read it back a little bit later and it wasn't just on my mind all the time." He says the idea of making the game's patient an AI came from the realization that we look at mental health in terms of functionality, much the way we tend to troubleshoot technology.
In terms of professional consulting and research, Arnold says the writing of psychologist blogger Scott Alexander provided an eye-opening look at the mindset of a practicing therapist. Arnold credits Alexander's work with his understanding of the field's complicated relationship to society and its problems that don't always have perfectly clinical answers.
Syntherapy is available now on Steam.
* Syntherapy on Steam* SyntherapyGame on Twitter
AEXLAB CEO Jonathan Ovadia
Jonathan Ovadia of AEXLAB calls in to discuss the progress and the story behind the studio's upcoming virtual reality multiplayer competitive shooter, VAIL. He shares insight into a relatively new funding model for games, his team's vision for a connected, persistent VR experience, and more.
AEXLAB aims to bring competitive multiplayer tactical gunplay to VR
Jonathan Ovadia has been playing video games all of his life. What started as a love of Pokémon and other classic video games has resulted in his co-founding and leading AEXLAB, a virtual reality technologies and game studio. AEXLAB is currently aiming to bring the quality and polish of shooters like Halo, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike to VR to create a truly immersive competitive multiplayer experience, and he wants to work with other gamers to do it.
The team funded VAIL VR out-of-pocket for years before seeking external funding and, eventually, allowing members of the game's community to become direct investors in the game. Since that time, AEXLAB has successfully raised a million dollars in funding toward the game's continued development.
"We're definitely not start-up guys," Ovadia says of his team. While he has an aggressive vision for the future of VAIL and AEXLAB, he says he prefers very slow and deliberate growth and that he doesn't care how long the game has to stay in development before it's ready.
* VAIL VR on Steam* PlayVAILVR.com* VAIL VR Discord
Virtual Book Tour: Podcast vs Player
The Inside Video Game Creation virtual book tour continues with a segment for the always-entertaining Podcast vs Player podcast crew. We discuss the book, unusual interview experiences, balance and sacrifice in the industry, and more.
Show Notes and Links:
* Podcast vs Player on the web* @PODCASTvPlayer on Twitter* Inside Video Game Creation on Amazon
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Virtual Book Tour: Zero to Play
Todd appears on Carl Leducq's podcast, Zero to Play, to discuss his new book, Inside Video Game Creation, indie game development, trends in the game industry, and more.
Show Notes and Links:
* The Zero to Play podcast* Carl Leducq on Twitter* Inside Video Game Creation on Amazon
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