When I'm not busy making music for games, one of my favourite ways to unwind is to make music for games very quickly.

This is why I love Game Jams, and why I've made this blog detailing my adventures. Enjoy! And please contact me if you need a musician for your team!

This 3 week jam finished on August 1st 2018, at 1:00 AM.

This was my second completed project with Love, and our most successful to date. The jam theme was "Unnecessary Sequels", so the team decided to make a game based on a nightmarish future in which Air Bud, having won the world cup in the movie "Air Bud: World Pup", has ushered in a new era wherein football ("soccer", henceforth referred to as "football") is only played at a professional level by ethnically homogeneous teams of dogs. The result is a fun, low level football manager game.

This game was super successful, and we won both best Unreal game, and best Audio. It generally received a positive response from streamers and people who played it. One of the tracks from this game, a hip hop track with melodies made from sampled dog barks (made by our voice actor Mihai Zetta), is actually one of my most played videos on YouTube;

This jam also represented my most successful foray into sound design and programming. I did a lot of work in Unreal Engine, making not only cues to randomly select through different sounds (eg, barks) but also making complex music cues.

You'll notice that the main orchestral theme in the Star Wars style intro starts with a small fade in that is absent when it loops around. I ended up doing this myself partly because it's hard on programmers to have to learn musical concepts in the middle of a jam, and to take the workload off a little. It wasn't too hard to do but getting at the point where Unreal's blueprints wasn't totally daunting was an accomplishment itself!

I also recorded a number of sounds myself, such as all the ball impacts, crowd, and UI sounds, as well as edited all of Mihai's announcements and barks to keep everything stable and consistent.

The above piece of music is my biggest regret from the jam. It seemed like people didn't believe that I had made the piece, with one streamer muting it from his channel, and where people DID believe I had made it, didn't think it was very good or memorable. It took a lot of time to make though, so I was a little sad. We learn though, eh? TEAM: Mihai Zetta (Voice) Love (Programming, various)

This 72 hour jam finished 15/05/18. The 2018 Spring UE4 Jam was my first of many collaborative projects with Love, a passionate young programmer, as as with the artist Lost Chibi, and my second game jam, ever. The theme was "Transformation", and the team crafted a beautiful story of a little girl rationalising the death of her father with help from a plushy dinosaur, who must save her from a wildfire in her mind. We were lucky enough to recieve an honourable mention in the official Unreal Engine livestream, with Amanda Bott commenting on the cute art style.

The Team.

Our artist, Lost Chibi, really came through for us. The design for the UI and the dinosaur were spectacular and eye catching, and almost certainly sealed our honourable mention. Love, our main programmer, did very well to develop not only the difficult physics that allowed our plushy hero to drag around a miniature firetruck, but also those necessary for him to hose his enemies. IrishKilter, our main environmental designer, developed a highly challenging platforming level involving jumping from a shelf, to a rotating ceiling fan, and then to a mantelpiece.

The Music.

Keen and perhaps overly-excited, I tried my best to make an adaptive, seemless score that would start with one loop during one section, and be able to cross fade relative to in-game events.

Musically, this was no problem whatsoever - the loops can be found in their entirety here. It was done by creating a sparse, diatonic melody, which sounded emotional and mournful by itself, and then recontextualising it to different modes by altering the rest of the arrangement.

The difficulty arose in this being my first time working with Unreal Engine, and while I knew perfectly well what I wanted to achieve, I knew not how to communicate it effectively to the programming element of the team or do it myself. Since this project, I've learned much, much more about Unreal Engine.

Result and some thoughts.

We didn't win anything, but that was OK. I learned a lot, and learned a lot about what I had to learn regarding programming, engines, and more. Play it for free here:

This 72 hour jam finished 23/04/18.

Ludum Dare 41 had a great theme; Combine two incompatible genres. I was lucky enough to come into contact with Belle and Simon Rahnasto of Windmill Games, who were planning to marry a Binding of Isaac style dungeon crawler with trading card game based strategy. The result was a huge success, and got 51st overall in the jam.

The Team.

For this jam, we had a great team. Apart from Belle and Simon, we had the talented Ben-Robert “Langotriel” French who not only does wonderful sound work but also contributed a fun rap for the theme tune I wrote. The final boss music was written by Michael Robinson and the voice work was done by Frankie “Hankshaw” Garpeman. Everyone really pulled through and did their bit and it showed.

Result and some thoughts.

This was one of my first completed game jams and I was super happy with the result. I felt I made great music and met some lovely people who I've been lucky enough to work with again too. 51st overall ranking isn't too bad either. Work is finally getting rolling on the full game, with release aimed around late '19, although the 72h version is still available here.

It was nice to be able to draw on my background of working with rock, funk and hip hop styles for this game. Simon fed me a very clear image of what he wanted, and I set about making some funky hooks ASAP. I really can't wait to grace you all with the completed version.