A Question On Sound Design

Recently I had one someone ask me about the nature of my sound work on Starbound and by the time I was done writing my comment, I realized I’d provided such a detailed answer that I may as well share it here in case it was of interest to anybody else.

“So, what kind of sound design do you do for Starbound? Just any random sounds that need to be made? It would be awesome to see a Starbound development video of you doing some sound mixing or whatever it is you do.

Also, why aren’t you a music composer for Starbound too? :3″
– Sol Ritzow

Right now, sound design is one of those duties I tackle whenever there’s a pressing need or can afford to spare the time to do it. It tends to be deemed one of the less critical areas at this stage of the game’s development, and I almost always have my hands full with a tasks that are critical to getting the game to a finished state. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Design, Games, Starbound | 1 Comment »

Time for a refresh!

A Proud Display

Today I was struck with the realization that many pages on this site were years out of date, most notably my portfolio. Well I simply couldn’t let that stand, so I’ve spent some time updating things! It’s interesting seeing how my photography and video editing have developed in the past few years; the quality difference is pretty pronounced, in my eyes. But don’t take my word for it, you should check them out for yourself!

Later folks!

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Feels good to make a change!

People who’ve not been to my site for a while may have noticed that I finally updated my banner for the first time in three years. I’m honestly quite proud of it, as I feel it fits my lighthearted personality a great deal better than the somewhat serious-looking photo and old illustrations from my early uni days. It also seems to better reflect my interests, particularly my love of games and, of course, my work on Starbound. Even my immense appreciation of Japan played a crucial part in this redesign, as my new pixel art avatar is based heavily off the illustration I had drawn of me by a charming mangaka in Osaka.

My Caricature: It's really very good!
Yup this one.

I also I finally got around to replacing my old portfolio from my uni days with a fully integrated one that now better represents my current quality of work, particularly in regards to my photography and video editing. If you’re not familiar with my work, please head on over and take a look! Feel free to get in touch with me via email if you’d like to enlist my services! In any case, it feels good to have finally freshened things up around here!

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Starbound: Digging a little deeper…

Stick 'em up!

Development on Starbound is still progressing at a healthy pace. Everyone’s really crunching down and it’s quickly starting to come together as a game. Pretty much any time I’m not at my real life workplace, I’m working on this game alongside the others. Some of you may be wondering what exactly am I bringing to the table for Starbound, so I’d like to clarify that for you today.

Originally I was invited by Tiyuri to help with the game’s development as early as May, as we’ve been good friends for many years and we had previously collaborated on Hedgewars (a game which I provided all the voiceovers and some of the trailers for). I initially passed on his offer as at the time I felt I wouldn’t be able to put in the necessary effort to do the job right due to our time differences and my day job. I was also admittedly worried that I would find game development boring, or that I wouldn’t be able to live up to everyone’s expectations.

As the weeks went by, I continued to keep an eye on Tiyuri’s budding project (which at the time was codenamed among the developers as “Space Hobo”). I wondered if I had made a grave mistake in turning my friend down. Eventually, as I began to glimpse Starbound’s potential as a game, I found myself being drawn in and decided to try things out and see what happened.

As originally I had been asked to provide assistance with sound for the game, I set about making some test samples. At this point in time there wasn’t really a lot of stuff to specifically create sounds for, so I decided to aim for things like general machine noises and monster sounds. A lot of the machine noises ended up being a bit too retro-styled to fit Tiyuri’s vision for the game, but some of the test robot vocals and the quality of the other machine sounds seemed to convince him that I had the ability to get the job done. His confidence in me was the push I needed.

Early Robot Enemy Tests

Since sound is typically something not done until much later in a production, Tiyuri asked me to pitch in with the game’s dungeons. He walked me through how it all was set up and then more or less left me to my own devices. As I experimented with the setup, I came to realize that I could make meaningful contributions to this project. As I got more and more invested in the dungeon room creation, I had to pester coder Bartwe into adding more handy features to give me better control over the room placement. Before long the game was taking my handful of rooms to create sweeping dungeons like the one below.

An example of a procedurally generated dungeon in Starbound!

So over the past few of months I’ve primarily been working to get dungeons set up with the constant stream of new content our talented artists have been churning out. In between dungeon work I’ve also been finding, mixing and recording sounds for the game as the need has presented itself. Recent examples include the sound on the work-in-progress teleporter many of you likely have seen on Tiyuri’s twitter. We’re not sure if we’re going to be sticking with this sound at this point but here it is for those of you who haven’t seen it yet!

And for readers curious as to what passes for music in Apex culture, I whipped up this little ditty. There are two other tracks of the same ilk that you will only be able to find in the game when it’s released!

Big Ape – Jungle Love

Most signficantly, I’ve spent the last few days converting our existing dungeons over to a new system. If you’ve been led here from the Starbound forums, chances are good you’ve seen the dungeon generation post Tiyuri made a couple of weeks ago. Whilst the core of the system is still largely the same as that which Tiyuri demonstrated, we have made one very important change that will slightly alter the workflow, but give us a better, more consistent visual experience in the game, not to mention that it will make it easier for us to add new objects to our existing dungeons post-release.

At some point after the game is launched, if time allows, I would like to put together a video tutorial showing how the system works in detail, and just how easy it will be for our players to create their own unique dungeons for their private servers!

For now, I’ll continue to do whatever I can to make Starbound the best game it possibly can be. To those of you who stuck around to the end of this post, thank you for taking such an interest in our game! I look forward to being able to share more with you in the future!

Posted in Art, Chucklefish, Design, Games, Life, Starbound | 2 Comments »

Dungeons & Avians!

In Starbound, players will be able to visit a wide variety of worlds that are procedurally generated with multiple biomes to explore, each with their own unique and interesting creatures. On some of these worlds, there will be dungeons to explore that will hide valuable treasures. Like the worlds themselves, the dungeons are procedurally generated. This is done by calling upon a random assortment of rooms, crafted by the level designers and artists. This allows us to ensure that quality is consistently high whilst still keeping that element of unpredictability.

Since this is now media that has been put out publicly via Starbound lead developer Tiy, I am now free to show this sample of the Avian Temple dungeon I’ve been working on over the past few weeks.

An example of a procedurally generated dungeon in Starbound!

I look forward to being able to share more with you guys soon! If you’d like to see more of what’s going on with Starbound, please head on over to playstarbound.com.

Posted in Chucklefish, Design, Games, Starbound | No Comments »