We feel like this describes every indie game dev at some point lol @the_datababe
You would be surprised how many people use movies , TV shows , streams , and YouTube videos to learn English! So instead of asking someone to stop typing in their native language, you or a mod can use Google translate and connect with them. Make them still feel welcomed!
— Janey O’ the Laney | #BLACKMINECRAFT (@_JaneyLaney) July 9, 2021
It’s a beautiful thing that the gaming and streaming community has become so diverse. However, it’s always important to keep in mind how crucial it is to make others feel welcome — regardless of the language they speak or where they’re from. We can all put in the effort to do this. We love that this tweet by @_JaneyLaney conveys this.
— Mia Amare | ENVArtist – working on coms… slowly (@MiaAmareVT) June 27, 2021
Honestly, there is nothing to add to this one. We all come to a point where we need to hear a message like this, so soak this one up. 🙂 Thanks for this one @MiaAmareVT
Again, the beauty of the #indiegamedev community on Twitter (and even IG) is the support and advice given from other indie game developers. So, if you aren’t already plugged in (or you are a non-dev who wants to stay up on creative games), track that hashtag and stay plugged in 😀
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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).