Jeff Hangartner – Revealing the Path Less Travelled in Video Game Industry

Jeff HangartnerJeff Hangartner, the founder of the gaming start-up, Bulletproof Outlaws has been a professional developer of games over the last half a decade. Creator of Pixelation, the 1st Pixel Art Forum and also originator of the Pixel tutorials which have been published in the form of a book. Jeff has always been a pioneer of the gaming industry.

CG Today is proud to present Jeff’s exploration as he shares the whole process of creating a start-up right from day 1. With the belief that gaming development is coming back to its original “one programmer in the basement roots” idea, Bulletproof Outlaws is chronicling every step of its start-up process from strategies, to marketing, setting goals and outsourcing, successes and failures. The aim is to help other developers who have ideas but are intimidated by the whole start-up process and are not sure how to go about it.

You can visit his website Bulletproof Outlaws to know more about him or send an email to get connected.

And so after that last huge catching up update, where are we at today? This week I’ve finished up the Sound Effects, which were a blast to do. I had to search for hours through sites like soundsnap, and for most of the sound effects I’d mush various sounds together (like for a death stab sound effect I’d combine a sword slash sound with a juicy squishing fruit sound and a grunt, etc.). I tried using Adobe Soundbooth, but it doesn’t seem too user-friendly for mixing tracks together quickly (but admittedly I have zero experience with the program), so I grabbed Audacity because it’s free, and that turned out to be a great little program.

For music, I want to keep a kind of actiony/energetic feel so I didn’t want to go with the traditional “asian music” where it’s all slow-paced with a gong in the background and a few tinkly effects and then the sound of a babbling brook and a flute zzzzzzzzz…I found a cool little song that’s got a Dance Dance Revolution feel to it for the menus, kind of a dance beat but with asian instruments but I gotta’ see if I can chop it down a bit first.

For the in-game music, David Omoyele from Ink Audio contacted me offering to compose a song in exchange for credit/promotion because he wants to get his name out there and videogames are a great modern medium for musicians to reach a lot of people. I’m always a big fan of cross-promotion type stuff, and he’s got some awesome skills, so I’m more than happy to make a trade like this. Check out Ink Audio’s royalty free music portfolio on Audiojungle.net.

Elusive Ninja: The Shadowy Thief - Audio

No one in the game really talks, but I was fooling around with audio stuff so I decided to record myself announcing the title of the game. I fooled around with different tones of voice and pronunciation and stuff and I remembered back to when I was a kid…I rented a Sega-CD for my birthday once and rented this awesome Dragon’s Lair style game called Revenge of the Ninja:

For some reason the way the announcer goes “REVENGE…of the NEEEEENJAAAA!” always stuck with me. It’s so cheesy and so 80s, but so awesome. So I was inspired by that, and went for kind of an evil sounding voice, then added a bunch of pitch/speed/etc. effects to it so it wouldn’t just sound like me saying it ’cause that trips me out when I can tell it’s obviously my own voice.

I was having fun with it so I started saying other stuff and in the end I ended up recording stuff like “READY…” and “GAME OVER!!” in the voice, so now the game has kind of an announcer going on which is something I hadn’t planned on at all haha

The sound effects still need tweaking, but the majority of them are final. When you record the sounds independant of eachother, they can sound good but when you hear them in-game on the device with sounds overlapping eachother or mixing together you run into “oh, that needs to be more subtle it overpowers everything else” or “oops that sound needs a delay because that other sound covers it up” etc. I also want to add a little tinkle sound of some kind to the Riceball and Sushi so that there’s an audio cue that those two are the ones that give you lives back…I was actually going to color-code everything back at the start. Like the dangerous items would glow red and the healing ones would glow blue, but I felt like that was overkill and it ruined the art itself and I want the in-game art to look like a snapshot out of an anime cartoon.

It’s amazing how much of a difference sound effects can make in terms of adding a level of polish/professionalism to a game. It’s really feeling like a full out game now…I’m psyched!! :)

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