Category: Game Updates

Game Updates

“Inspiration is a funny thing.”: Interview with Hamsterdamm Composer,…

A chance message sent our way on our Twitter account, led to a creative working relationship with Will Dodson, composer for film, television, and gaming. He’s a busy guy! But he took some time out of his schedule to talk with us about his inspiration as a game composer, and what he’s most excited about for Hamsterdamm.

Check out our convo!

What got you started in the video game music composing business?

I’ve been a composer since 2007, and since then I’ve had the opportunity to write music for many different forms of media. This includes films, documentaries, themed attractions, escape rooms, interactive media, as well as radio dramas, podcasts, and stand-alone instrumental album releases. However, l recently made the transition to game music, almost exclusively.

What inspires you in the music creation process?

Inspiration is a funny thing. Occasionally, something as simple as the rhythm of my car’s wiper blades can inspire a new musical idea. Other times it can be a more thought-out process. I do find that the best ideas come quickly.

Will’s piano and lab space 😀

What is your favorite video game music genre?

This is a hard question! If I really have to pick just one genre, it’s the original NES music, specifically Mario Bros. 1-3, and The Legend of Zelda series. Anything Koji Kondo touched is a work of undeniable genius.

Our team is small but full of inspiration, and every person is really trying to create something unique…

What drew you to the Hamsterdamm project?

I love what Nerdy Bear stands for, and the projects in development are absolutely fascinating. When I read the description for Hamsterdamm, and saw that one piece of game art, depicting the game’s lead character, I knew I had to work on this game.

What are you most excited about regarding the Hamsterdamm soundtrack?

The possibilities. To have the opportunity to bring this type of sound to a game like this is super exciting for me. Our team is small but full of inspiration, and every person is really trying to create something unique and special with Hamsterdamm.

To hear more about Hamsterdamm, and Will’s ideas for the music, sign up for our email list to receive our next newsletter! 

What other types of projects have you worked on?

In terms of video game music, I’m also the composer for Exibyte Studio’s Isles of Pangaea, Kova Kreative’s Johnny Pompadouri, an upcoming fantasy RPG called Arcadia, as well as co-composer for Glyde the Dragon, from Valefor Games LTD.

I would argue that game music has contributed as much to the arts as film music has, at this point.

What has been the most rewarding thing about working in this industry?

The people. Game people are almost always incredibly talented, endlessly inspired, and focused on doing something cool. When you link up with the right dev, you’re simply making games with your friends. What could be better than that?

Why do you feel that music has such a profound impact on gamers?

Oh man….when done right, it can be that final layer of icing on an incredible immersive experience. I would argue that game music has contributed as much to the arts as film music has, at this point. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t get warm nostalgic feelings when they hear Kondo’s Mario theme, or Tetris, or Final Fantasy, or Zelda…the list goes on and on. Music is the heart and soul of many classic games.

Where can people connect with you online and find your work?

William Dodson, composer for film, television, and media
http://soundcloud.com/william-dodson
On Twitter: @Will_Dodson1

We asked Will a couple of more questions specifically related to Hamsterdamm, its development, and how he plans to bring creativity to the music used. We will share that awesome part of the convo in our next newsletter.

Events

What We Learned at Virtuous Con, Hamsterdamm Updates, and…

February has been a busy month at the NBS lair. From enjoying one of the coolest Cons we’ve ever attended to holding our first live Q&A, Feb was equal parts fun as it was hard work. We are on our way up the stairs of progress lol

Keep up-to-date with what’s happening at NBS below.

The Joy That Was Virtuous Con

A couple of months back, we kept seeing tweets for Virtuous Con (Twitter is an excellent place to find out about Cons). So, curiosity got the best of us (and we’re glad it did!), and we immediately dug deeper. What we found had us immediately adding this event to our already-packed Google calendar for Feb 20th through the 21st.

Virtuous Con is an event that celebrates the work of independent science fiction, fantasy, and comics creators. From virtual booths for vendors to interactive panels, this Con had it all.

Bonus: One of the most awesome and special things about this Con is that it spotlighted the work of BlPOC creators.

Here are a few of our takeaways from attending this excellent event: 

Virtuous Con Created an Immersive Virtual Experience

If you are working on a Con of any kind this year, Virtuous Con should definitely be a model. They created an immersive experience that mimicked what an in-person Con would feel and bypassed the limitations of COVID-19. First, the conference tool they used made it possible to easily engage in video conferences with other attendees and participate in Con-wide chats.

Additionally, the layout was reminiscent of a conference floor with virtual vendor booths, multiple floors, and the opportunity to enter a panel discussion room. You could even pick seats like at a real Con. The Virtuous Con team thought of it all when they created this immersive Con experience, and it totally showed.

The Importance of Supporting Diverse Creators

We had the pleasure of attending the Women of Color in Sci-Fi Television panel. And one of the takeaways that we took from this exceptional discussion was how important it is to have people of color at the table and support them when they come. Panelist, and owner of the Interspectional podcast, Latisha Jones, knocked it out of the park with this quote: “Put me in the room, but expect that I’ll be there.”

This session was a great look into how to take the steps to be inclusive and truly involve people of color in the creative process to ensure our voices are heard.

The Intersection of Hard Work and Looking Beyond Perfection

How many times have you brushed off a project because you felt you couldn’t reach the level of perfection you had in your head? We’ve been there! Making Our Way: A Guide to Independent Publishing provided some insight into how to get over this hump. This panel included some exceptional titans in the comic industry, and each of their stories was an inspiration. The two quotes that resonated with us from this session were:

“Anything good comes with sacrifice.” –  Roye Okupe, Founder of YouNeek Studios,

“Nothing is going to be perfect, just get it out there!” – Jamilla Rowser, Founder of Black Josei Press.

For us, these have been two ideals that we have had to stick close to in our push forward with NBS projects. It was confirmation that we have the right idea to reach the next rung on the ladder.

Virtuous Con Was The Highlight of This First Quarter of 2021

This experience was the highlight of the first part of 2021. It was fantastic to see other BlPOC creators discuss their evolution, and make a difference in the world through their creativity. Virtuous Con’s next event is coming up this June, so please check this exceptional team out!

Hamsterdamm Updates

Things are full-steam ahead with Hamsterdamm. If you have been keeping an eye on our Twitter and Instagram, you might have seen our: “By golly we’ve got a menu” post (We were clearly going for Gomer Pyle vibes here lol). The developer that we are working in collaboration with created an exceptional menu, and laid the groundwork for the prototype for movement and physics within the game.

Hamsterdamm Indie Game Menu
The beginnings of a gaming menu screen.

We also have a settings page (woot!). Now, our amazing composer Will Dodson, the developer, and ourselves are collaborating in Discord to begin combining the music, gameplay, and aesthetic elements.

Here are a few other quick updates that our team is working on:

  • The creation of a health system,
  • A basic enemy spawn system, and
  • A level selection screen

We should have more updates within the next two weeks.

We Had Our First Live Q&A on IG and Twitch!

This past Saturday (Feb 27th) we had our first ever Live Q&A! For a little over an hour, we spent some time talking with some awesome folks (you all!) about: finding funding as an indie game studio, the inspiration for Hamsterdamm, the potential for a shared universe (yeah..you heard that right ;-)), where you can play Hamsterdamm, and whether we get down to the Backstreet Boys or NSYNC (the convo took a fun turn lol).

We had an amazing time answering your questions and discussing what is up ahead! To take a look at the fun we had on IG, check out our IGTV post on Instagram.

There is a lot happening at NBS, so if you want to stay up-to-date, be sure to sign up for our email list to receive bi-weekly/monthly updates (and upcoming freebies). (link)

Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us today!

 

Feature image: Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

Devlogs

Songs, Ebooks, and a Gaming Mechanic Change-up – Dev…

Can you believe that it is January? Honestly, where in the world does the time go (January has always felt like the longest month to us). Nevertheless, when you are making an indie game, time starts to go at warp speed magically.

So, what are we up to at NBS these days? Well, we have some exciting things going on. Some of it is dev-related, while there are a few non-dev—but just as important—things going on regarding Hamsterdamm and our quest to make it an exceptional indie game experience. Check out our updates for early Feb:

What Will Hamsterdamm Sound Like?

As we all know, music—and audio in general—in a game matters. What would Silent Hill be like without that creepily ambient soundtrack? Would Mario still hit the same without that chime sound effect every time you get a coin? Well, we are one step closer to creating a sound that accurately conveys the vibe and story of Hamsterdamm.

We have the first song that is going to be included in the game. Will Dodson, music composer for countless video games, films, television projects, and other media, produced an exceptional track for our debut game.

Hamsterdamm has a film-noir/detective vibe, and we wanted the music to convey that. However, we didn’t want to go full-on Hollywood dramatic. While 1920s Old Hollywood and Dick Tracy influences the look and story, we still wanted it to have a whimsical feel. The final result was an eclectic electro-pop and swing mix (think Postmodern Jukebox). Music will be at the heart of this game, and Dodson gave us an exceptional piece to begin shaping the audio world of Hamsterdamm around.

Check out this sample 🙂

 

Dodson definitely captured our vision. We can’t wait to build on this and start to see how else music is going to be playing a role in this game 😉

Are You Signed Up to the Email List? An E-Book Awaits

We are still early in the process, but we have been discussing the idea for Hamsterdamm for the past few years. With that, we have gone through quite a few concept images. So, we took some of those drawings and pixel art and created a free mini-ebook that charts the journey we have made so far. We have included this ebook as a free gift for those who sign up for our email list.

Hamsterdamm Cover Art E-book
Hamsterdamm ebook cover art

If you are interested in the beginnings of a new indie game company or want to keep up-to-date on what’s happening with our projects, we invite you to sign-up. We only send updates twice a month (at the most), and you will be in the running for some freebies and have first dibs (do we even say that anymore? lol) on testing and demos. Again, as a thank you for signing up, we will be sending a free ebook your way.

Sign Up for the NBS Email List here

 

A New Gameplay Mechanic?

Well, we are happy to say that actual development has begun on the game. A schematic is being produced to test out the features. At first, we were going for a traditional 2D pixelated playing experience, where players control the characters and their movements. However, while the player’s actions will still impact the character, we have altered this gameplay dynamic a bit.

Who doesn’t? 😉

We have decided to really put the audio component of the game front-and-center, which means it will impact how you play. We don’t want to fully give away this new mechanic as we are still tweaking it and figuring out if it works, but rest assured that music will have a significant part to play in the gameplay.

That’s a lot to be excited about. As cool new things come along, we will be sharing them with you. Thanks for coming along on our journey!

 

 

Devlogs

Hamsterdamm Game Dev Updates 1/25- Prototypes and Menus

If you’ve been sleuthing around on our socials, you may have seen that we have announced our first game in development: Hamsterdamm.

We’re excited to be to the point of announcing this title finally. For details about the game itself and what to expect, slide on over to the Hamsterdamm game page (especially if you get hyped for comic-style noir games ;-D)

From now on, most of our dev logs are going to be related to this game, So, here is what we have to report:

Putting All the Puzzle Pieces Into Place

Sorta….lol 

While development is actively beginning on this 2D perspective-shifting infinite runner project, there were some questions that we had to ask before we started:

  • “What do we need to have in place before we begin?”
  • “Is the concept tight, or are there some missing parts?”
  • “What platforms is this game going to be playable on?”

Once those questions were answered, we started to look for designers to collaborate with to begin to set up the prototype to expand on. We found an awesome designer (who we will be sharing more information about in the coming month or so).

Game Creation and Game Menus

Game menus play a significant part in the gaming process. Think about some of your favorite game menus. What was one of the major qualities that made you stand up and take notice? Even if it didn’t look the greatest, the ease of navigation and usability was likely a major reason you felt good about it. Games like Destiny, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Metroid Prime come to mind.

This is something we are delving into for Hamsterdamm.

No one wants to spend time on a game they cannot navigate, and we wholeheartedly understand that. Therefore, we are putting our focus on this aspect within the next month. No one wants to feel like this guy after playing a game with poor UI:

We feel ya, buddy…

We have started drawing up in-game menus, designing the user interface, and setting up visual representations for how the game will play out. Additionally, we are also beginning to draw out the different perspectives the game will take on as players move through it.

On the non-game development front, we are ramping up our outreach. We can’t delve into detail right now, but if you are on our mailing list (which, if you haven’t already, we invite you to join), you know that some freebies and goodies are coming down the pipeline that reveals more of the Hamsterdamm story. Some of it will be exclusively for those on the email list, while others we will gladly share with everyone.

So, stay tuned! We will have even more updates to share by next week!