Games and prototypes by Ciro Continisio

Spotlight: Love

I’ve got a bunch of UFHO-related news, from the recap of the recent event I’ve been to, to minor improvements to the game. While I wrap my head trying to post about it, why don’t you check this other great game: it’s called Love, and it’s a first person shooter/action game, with a lot of strategic elements, an incredibly fresh graphic style, online team play, and what not.
Be sure to watch this video to understand what it’s all about. You’ll be blown away…

About the development of UFHO2 Soundtrack and sound design

Right now while I’m writing this post, Ciro is madly working to implement the music layers that I scored for the first level of the game, and some sound FXs that I gave to him last night.
As the composer for UFHO2, this was the most crucial moment of the production for me, because I knew that the first music piece that I was going to write was kind of defining the whole sound and ambience of the game, and of the entire soundtrack.

The first music is done. After introducing the setting, the music changes dynamically with the actions of the player: the more gems he gains, the more the music changes, introducing the main theme proposed in some variations. This happens because the UFHO inhabitants are divided into different alien races, each one playing the main theme by themselves, in their own way and personality. So you will hear the tune repeating with different instruments and orchestrations, from theremin to synths, as well as a Bosendorfer, ending with a choir of funny creatures and then a clarinet.
Through the layers you’ll hear a bass line continuum, which is the junction between layers.

For this and for most of the sounds I mainly used some synthesizers, like the FM8 and Massive. With these programs you can achieve some of the best, creamiest and punchiest sounds. I am using them through Cubase.
During the research of the sounds (I tried to avoid the use of old fashioned videogame synthetic quirks) I really enjoyed the indie VST scene. For an indie project, it makes sense.
I discovered a bunch of free plugins made by music enthusiasts, music forums are full of them, and there is a so immense panorama of sounds that you can easily go crazy choosing “yours”, combining them, and achieving your sound pretty much more easily than using the current major VST products alone, which are abused by everyone nowadays and sometimes flatten soundtracks’ personality.

Well, I decided not to post the music yet, just because I like the idea that you will hear it for the first time directly along with the entire experience of the game, at the event in Empoli which Ciro mentioned before. But as soon as UFHO2 will be revealed, I will be glad to put some mix of it and the other tracks here on this blog.
I hope you’ll love it!

Francesco

Various UFHO news

I bet the gaming world is really focused on the GDC these days, but there’s little news from the other side of the pond too.
Development on UFHO2 is going on nicely, this week I implemented the structure to support powerups, and the Block powerup as the first one.

As I said before, in the weekend I will be in Empoli for an event, where UFHO2 will be showed in public for the first time, and in playable form too!

Also, Francesco (the composer of UFHO’s score) has composed a beautiful music piece for the first level, he will post it here in a short while. By the way, did I tell you that UFHO’s music will be dynamic? Francesco is working hard to build layered musics which will evolve during the course of the game, to mirror the progression of the match.
I got the first layered tune today, and it rocks! It reminds a bit of the music from Spore, but it’s not a bad thing because I actually asked him to take inspiration from it! In the end though, he added some quirks with the use of a Theremin instrument, and the voices of the Gooys themselves. At the very end of the song then, there’s Francesco’s touch, for he is fond of classical instruments.
A very good mix in its whole, I ask you only to wait some days and I’ll post it here.

Ludicomix event

As I wrote before, the GDC has started and is going on nicely. There’s already a lot of reports on the speech detailing the Indie Fund, or how to make games without caring about your player (by Cactus).

Having said that, I won’t stay here in front of my PC for the whole month. On saturday 20 / sunday 21 of March, I will be in Empoli (near Firenze) to attend Ludicomix, an event about comics and videogames. I will be bringing UFHO2, as much playable as possible, and maybe even hold some improvised contest to hand UFHO t-shirts to the passers-by.
I will be there together with the guys of IndieVault.it, and other italian indie sensations, like Studio Evil and others. So come and say hi!
Ah, I will bring a big banner for the game to the expo, it’s almost as tall as I am! The image shown here is the graphics I made for it.

The GDC is starting!!

The Game Developer Conference has started in these hours… how I wish I was there! Italy seems to be far from every place where videogames things are happening.. Surely though I won’t miss this year’s GDC Europe!

In the meantime, it has been reported to me that Ron Carmel’s Indie Fund talk just ended… what did he say? Does anyone have insights?

Family portrait

Ok I know, you all think I am slacking, because I don’t update the blog as often as I used to do. If you took a glimpse at the calendar though, you would see that work on UFHO is going on and while I can’t show you the latest programmed features, I can show some graphics.

In this issue, a family portrait of all the races in UFHO2. Two of them (the foremost) have already been covered on the blog (Jeevils and Gooys), the other two will be soon. And the dark shapes on the back?
They are two extra races that will be revealed sometime soon, the only thing that I can say is that they are reference to characters of other indie games, but of course they have been reworked to fit into the UFHO2 universe. Stay tuned.

Indie Fund

Just a little bit late on the news bandwagon…
The day before yesterday, on the blog of 2DBoy a new announcement was made: a group of ‘indie superstars’ will begin a funding source initiative for indie game developers. From indies to indies, that is.
The authors of such a primer are Ron Carmel and Kyle Gabler, 2D Boy (World of Goo), Jonathan Blow, Number None (Braid), Kellee Santiago, thatgamecompany (flOwer), Nathan Vella, Capy (Critter Crunch), Matthew Wegner, Flashbang Studios (Off-Road Velociraptor Safari), Aaron Isaksen, AppAbove Games (Armadillo Gold Rush).

From the official site of the Indie Fund:

Indie Fund is a brand new funding source for independent developers, created by a group of successful indies looking to encourage the next wave of game developers. It was established as a serious alternative to the traditional publisher funding model. Our aim is to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get financially independent and stay financially independent.

The announcement made on the 2DBoy’s blog was soon followed by an interview to Ron Carmel. From what is known now, some games are already being funded and they were selected for the fund thanks to word of mouth and first hand friendships. In the future though, more indie devs will be able to ask the fund for, ehm, funding. (sorry I’m out of words).

Google Wave

By the way, I just noticed that I have got something like 15 Google Wave invitations left. If you still haven’t tried Wave and need an invite, email me at c [dot] continisio [at] gmail [dot] com
You can even ask me for 3-4 invites together, just send me all the addresses and make sure they are Google accounts.

I found only one practical use for Wave, but I can’t say that it’s a stupid tool. Maybe it will slowly get the attention of people, and indeed it is something to try at least once.

Navigate!

You may have noticed* that the blog has got a new navigation system, just below the header / trailer. Now you can get info on the game, and take a look at my/our everyday schedule.

By the way, if you think I spend too little time on UFHO, think again: I consume my head on it day and night, but like any ‘indie’ we have to divide ourselves between pleasure work, and money work. 🙂
Ciro

* = or you may have not, and that’s why I wrote this.