We're really pleased to announce our new game, Hopiko!
We're showing the game publicly for the first time at Insomnia 54 this Easter weekend. If you're attending please stop by, have a play and let us know what you think! We're blasting out chiptunes from the soundtrack, there's plenty of free stickers and we'll no doubt have a competition to get involved with!
Have a look at the short but awesome teaser trailer below:
Like the music? Get the Hopiko sountrack EP below:
Here at Laser Dog HQ, we're working really hard on our next game. Simon is creating some truly awesome artwork right now, and I need to take a break from programming, so I thought I'd write a quick article on how we're making the music.
If you've visited my Twitter or Vine recently, you will have seen that I've become rather obsessed with Nintendo's retro handheld, the original Gameboy (DMG). Only last week I posted a 38 image gallery on reddit documenting my restoration and modification of the Gameboy my Grandma gave to me when I was 9 years old (it had spend the last ~15 years in a box of lego at my parents' house!). To my amazement, this gallery has had more than 1 million views! Just goes to show how many people grew up loving this brick shaped console.
As a child I spent countless hours playing Super Mario Land, Tetris and Pokémon red. The DMG's unlit screen is the main reason I first went to the opticians and started wearing glasses.
Skip 20 years ahead and here at Laser Dog Games, we're in need of chiptunes for our upcoming game. I've enjoyed chip music for a long time, and even created tracks myself but I had always found it difficult to make them sound "authentic". I've tried countless plugins and effects, but nothing sounded like real Gameboy/NES music.
I've been a fan of Chipzel ever since I first played Super Hexagon. In fact, her albums were played constantly when we were developing ALONE. Chipzel's music is full of energy and sounds fantastic but most importantly, it has that "authentic" sound. It wasn't until earlier this year when I saw this vine on her Twitter that I kinda had an "oh shit!" moment. "Wait, she actually makes the whole track on a Gameboy?!?". Feeling inspired, I opened a new tab in my browser and optimistically googled "How do you make music on a Gameboy?". This led me to the wonderful LSDJ.
LSDJ (or "Little Sound DJ") is a Tracker that can be loaded onto a special Gameboy cartridge and allows you to make music directly on the console, using its awesome sound chip. The music produced sounds exactly like it was made on a Gameboy, because it actually was.
Excited, I bought LSDJ, a couple of cartridges and ordered an old Gameboy from eBay. Soon enough, I was writing my own chiptune music on my old-new Gameboy.
Creating music on a gameboy is oddly freeing. When I was creating the soundtrack for ALONE, I had full orchestral arrangements, synthesisers, huge drums, sound effects, etc. When using LSDJ, you have 4 monophonic channels to work with. This limitation forces you to be creative in the way you produce rhythms, bass lines and melodies.
The tracks available are (very basic descriptions);
- 2 Pulse channels; Think of this as the typical chirpy chiptune sound
- 1 Noise Channel; Explosions, crashes, hi hats and snare drums
- 1 Wave channel; Used to create awesome synths, big kick drums and play actual .wav files.
The sound outputted by the Gameboy's headphone socket is really, really noisy and not very clear. This is a real problem when it comes to recording chiptune tracks for use on a computer. Luckily there's an easy fix called the "pro sound" mod.
This mod gives you an extra 1/8" output (you can also use RCA or 1/4" outputs) that gets the audio signal directly after (or before, depending on which pins you wire up) the volume potentiometer, basically giving you a direct line out.
I have created 9 tracks for our new game so far and it's possibly the most fun I've had making music. I'm a 29 year old guy who spends hours every day playing on a 20 year old Gameboy. Good times.
Wow, another nomination for ALONE!! Thank you Pocket Gamer!
Check out some of the other awesome finalists and if you like ALONE, don't forget to vote for us!
We're over the moon to tell you that ALONE has been nominated in both the Excellence in Audio, Visual, Art & Design and the Best Quickplay Game categories of the 2015 International Mobile Gaming Awards.
If you love ALONE as much as us then please vote
We're delighted to announce that ALONE... has been selected for the App Store Best of 2014 feature for several countries including the UK, Germany and France. Take a look at the feature and the other awesome games it includes!
We're so grateful for all the support and feedback we've received from friends, fans and industry professionals and we can't wait to bring more great games in 2015!!
Why we love Mountain
'Am I part of something amazing? - Nathan Barley' We can't decide if this 'game' is some kind of social experiment, a practical joke or a wonderful example of experiential design!? We love the fact that for about 24 hours the gaming world (and beyond!) seemed to be obsessed with Mountains (both desktop and mobile) in a kind of Tamagotchi, Cabbage Patch Kids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy kinda way. However you look at it, mountain is polished and refined, stylish and beautiful. We sat with our mountains (Derrick and Roberta) pleasantly revolving as we merrily plugged away at our keyboards occasionally looking up to check conditions (particularly when a musical note plays!) and then comparing notes. Its an unusual experience but there is something strangely compelling about the pace and feel, we couldn't recommend it more highly for that reason alone.
- Patience - what a great way to say loading!
- A pie landing
- When your 20% battery indicator pops up and ruins the experience (whilst highlighting just how good the experience is!!)
- 'All this shall come to pass' 'I'm tickled blue by today' ('playing' game whilst typing!)
- The wonderful gospel voices that call in the morning!
- The weather!
- The inspiring uniqueness
- Playing music faster seems to speed up time - does this mean something :D
Mountain is a unique and unusual experience, both wonderfully polished and refined. If you havent played it, it's fascinating - buy it!
Why we love Ready Steady Play
Ready Steady Play is a really nice game. The yeehaa cowboy style starts from the moment the game begins. Minimal visuals and the utterly amazing animation are the first things that hit you, but wait till you play! It's loads of fun, mixing a lovely bunch of classic touch screen genres into one tight little cowboy bundle. Each feels refined and each feels unique. The music is also really great and adds a huge amount to the feel of the game! Awesome!
- Misjudging a jump and hitting a corner in hobby hurdles
- Accidentally shooting your first civilian
- Basically any action that makes something move (ooh that animation!!)
- Hitting two coins with one shot and combining them
- The utterly awesome western soundtrack
- Hitting your first TNT jump
- The pick up and play mechanics
- The bullet holes (and the fact that every corner is so wonderfully polished!)
If your after a really good value, refined set of super cool games then this is perfect for you - buy it!
Why we love Kiwanuka
Kiwanaku is a gorgeous action puzzler with a near perfect touch screen play mechanic. Creating bridges and connections between islands to guide your followers to errr.... enlightenment?! is immensely satisfying and very unique feeling. The game is beautifully presented with gorgeous low poly islands dynamically lit with your leaders staff. We love the slick transitions between game and ui (particularly the in game tutorial sign posts) and the music and sound is also exceptionally good.
- The first time you run your followers off the edge
- The beautiful character focussed Ui
- All those wonderfully triply triangles
- The immensely good mix of dub step and stuitars!
- The wonderful and unique controls
- Stacking up guys and levels
Kiwanuka is a really nice game, well worth the money for its uniqueness alone, the fact that it's also immensely good makes it a must have - buy it!