Thursday, 6 June 2013

I'm not a sound designer, but I need sound in my game

This is a recurring problem I encountered when developing Immortal Empire, a strategic role-playing game by my company Tactic Studios.  It required a lot of content to develop this game, and with few resources at my disposal, much of it had to be created by myself. The problem being of course, when it comes to certain fields like sound or art, I'm no professional. So I had to figure out something that would work.

This is no doubt a common situation among independent developers like myself, so I'm writing a series of articles sharing how I approached each facet of game development for Immortal Empire, and ended up with a finished game. Hopefully this will be useful for other indies who, like me, couldn't rely on professionals for everything.  The topics I will be covering are:
  • Sound Effects
  • Music
  • Art
  • Design
  • Code
  • Quality Assurance
  • Business Development
It might be useful to know a bit of information about myself and the game I developed. Immortal Empire is a throwback to mid 90s PC games when 320x200 resolution and 256 colours was the gold standard. Inspired by games like X-Com, Diablo, and Dota, it is a multiplayer, strategy-based role-playing game.  All the in-game artwork is hand drawn 2d pixel art, displayed in an isometric view.  It has a fully digital original soundtrack, co-op, single player, versus mode, the whole bit.  Everything is crammed into a web-browser and it is playable across Windows, Mac, and Linux.

My primary background and education is in programming, having worked professionally as a programmer in video game development for the past 8 years on larger games and franchises such as BioShock.  In my spare time I wanted to develop games on a smaller scale, to keep up my coding chops and because it was fun to create the types of games I played when growing up. 

This series of articles is meant to shed some light on my experience with this process, with the aim being that hopefully other developers in the same situation can benefit from the lessons I learned and apply them to their own projects.  If you have any stories to share, professional or amateur, about your experiences with the topics I'm covering, please comment! I'm sure myself and other readers would love to hear your perspective. 

Now onto the articles...

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