Steady Drop – Log #12


In this post I will briefly describe my process to create sounds effects and music for Steady Drop. Nothing about development or code this time, sorry 🙂


The recording setup

Problem 1: how do I record sounds?

I started recording some sounds with my smartphone with an external mic plugged in. To achieve the best result I could with my “great and professional” gear, I used a folded blanket placed over the bed like a little camping tent, to make small recording room with no reverb, no echoes and limiting outer noises. Problem solved!


Problem 2: what do I record?

I literally looked around in my apartment and grubbed some random objects I thought could potentially produce some noise, like old CDs, some packaging boxes and some kitchen tools. With these I will produce sounds manipulating or letting them falling on a surface while I have the recorder on. Problem solved!


Problem 3: how do I mix?

To clean and mix the recordings of the sounds I chose Audacity which is a very popular software used for audio recording and editing. In this case I will use it only for the editing part, removing the background noise and isolating the individual sounds.


The sounds

I started with some weird high pitched sounds and some low-deep “blocky” sounds. I don’t have a list of sounds I have to produce in the game but I want to create like a little sound library that I might reuse in the future. If I need a very specific sound for Steady Drop I can record it later. For this first phase, I want to adopt a broad focus on sounds to narrow it step by step and to choose and produce very specific ones. However I will try and add sounds only if the gameplay needs it without putting sound effects for everything.


The Music

Meanwhile I started creating some music track with SoundTrap which is a very interesting site that provide a DAW, but you don’t have to install anything on your PC, it’s all onlineThey have different paid plans but you can choose to use the free plan with the only restriction on the number of projects, number of instruments and number of loops. So for now I’ll stay with an unpaid plan. For Steady Drop I want short music tracks (at least three) possibly suited for looping. The genre I want, I call it “dreamy electronic”, which is electronic music with a lot of echoes and delays in the pads, slow paced, clean and minimal percussions. I will try my best to achieve something like that, without going crazy, I hope.


Stay tuned for future posts of the series, and if you are interested on other post series don’t forget to visit the blog main page 🙂


I define myself as a creative developer.

6 ways to improve your game design


In this post I would like to give you some basic game design concepts to create better games and videogames. This are some of the notes and lesson I’ve learned watching talks and, more importantly, creating my own games. Coming from a programming background I tend to not give the proper importance to game design, so I’ve decided to give it the right importance and to try training myself to use game design concepts more easily, studying and going on depth in more and more aspects.


1 – Expand your background

The first advice I can give you is to expand your background, I mean your general knowledge. Since game design involves a creative process, the more things you know, have seen, have touched, have experienced, the more you can pop out ideas. Starting doing new experiences is a good way to start. You can start watching more films you haven’t watched yet, read more books, visit some art expositions, ect…Game design is creative but is also ruled by some essential rules and best practice, so to understand it more you can play different videogames and try to learn from them, for example how the thing works on the same genre of games, how the controls works, progression and so on…


2 – Try to give more, not just gameplay

Once you have a good mechanic and your game is fun to play, try to give more than that by creating a world to put the player in, work on immersivity and flow and give the player the right space to breath. The player has to acquire the will to play your game, once again to feel new sensations every time he plays. Giving more than a clear and guided goal but a more complex and variegated set of goals or purpose, can help to create the feel of an infinite play.


3 – Remember all types of players

When designing a game, keep in mind to visualize all possible scenario about the type of operation you allow and what the players can do with it. On this matter it is useful to remember yourself all the type of players. There are a lot of different types of players and some famous game designers categorized them in different ways, but the way I like the most is “The four types of players” (link). Try to design a progression that is suitable not for only one genre of player.


4 -Tune carefully your challenges

The progression of the players is one of the most important things that are not visible but are there, and the player can feel it very well. I mean the progression can be felt but not directly seen. Its sensation property makes the progression a crucial thing, and for this reason you have to carefully design the player progression, with the right challenges at the right time, and the gathered skills have to keep the mind flow of the player active. And remember this: easy to learn, difficult to master.


5 – Social Games

When designing a social game, think at all the tools you give to become social. Probably all of them are communication tools. Every communication tool lets the player use the tool in different ways. If you give too much space, you probably have to face problems of misuse of the tool. In the first place, you have to find the right tool for communication that can avoid misuses and secondly, think a proper way to both punish the misuse and reward the right use, in a fair way.


6 – Decide: game or market

A game can be a pure expression of art and technical skills or can be a mere selling product that has to satisfy the market in some specific ways. For me both sides are a little risky to make and they have both pros and cons, but I think that the truth is in the middle, as they say. A good game designer should find a good compromise between art and selling purposes.


I define myself as a creative developer.