Week 1: 11MON15JUL
The full group's first meeting. We piled into the screening room of K1 and sat in a circle introducing ourselves, our roles, and what we wanted to see out of the project. Out of the 9 third years (henceforth "old gods") i had talked to 5 which I thought was a pretty good wicket to start off on. All the second years were added to the discord server, which turned out to be their original Acolyte server thay had started back in March, which felt like a real privelage to be a part of, really.
The old gods consist of:
Brenna - producer and writer
Liam - assistant producer and generalist
James - creative director and 2D artist
Connor - lead programmer
Mat - writer, PR, and 2D art
Kent - lead 3D artist
Lydia - 3D artist
Nicole - 3D artist
Zu - 2D artist
The new acolytes then are:
Callum - programmer
Ebeney - programmer
Imogen - 3D animator
Andy - 3D animator
Angus - 3D modeller
Madiha - 3D modeller
Ben - 3D modeller
Clara - 2D artist
Newt - 2D artist
Cormac - complete mystery???
Will - sound + music
and myself, also on sound + music
An interesting note, having 12 extra people on the group is huge!
The meeting then split into departmental groups, so Will and I talked to Brenna about what we would be doing. She said that we pretty much have free reign over what we want to do with the soundscape. We can go completely nuts with it! IMG
We left too early to talk to Liam, who had previously done a bunch of sound work for the pitch, so he ended up messaging the sound channel on the discord to update us on the situation and give us some small challenges to see what our workflows are like and what we were capable of.
I redownloaded Reaper and got Logic back into working order after a series of half completed sketches from the past 18 or more months. I also started diving through freesound.org looking for metallic sounds to use for some tests, and looking into GDC talks on sound design within games.
That first weekend of semester was when KiwiJam was being held in the train station! All of my usual group save for Lauren ditched because of the huge influx of work over the course week 1. We (as in Lauren and I) found Liam, Mat, and James there. They let us join their group, with their game being about various instances involving Liam wanting golden avocados.
We joked at the end that it was Acolyte trial by fire. Liam speed modelled in Blender, James animated everything, Mat figured out the dialogue of each character and drew a cute picture of the whole crew near the end, Lauren did all the sound and music, including creating FMOD instances, and I re-learnt UE4 & Blueprints in that weekend. I personally really enjoyed it, and it was good to get to know some of the team better. IMG
Week 2: 11MON22JUL
This week we went over to K2 as the K1 screening room was being used. We get to see everyone's work, update everyone on what's up, and Will and I finally got to talk to Liam in person together. This week was mostly a repeat of last week's work, just continuing on with what we started.
This week marked our first sound specific meeting on Friday so Will, Liam, Brenna, and I met up in the Acolyte corner of K1 and went over what we had done (very little) and what we would be doing in the coming week. We decided that we'd start on
Week 3: 11MON29JUL
This week things finally started to take off. I made a proper start on a telescope sound effect made from various freesound pieces. There was a production hui on Wednesday which i might have only just gotten to them in time to show it? It was only half complete if even that, still lots of work to do on it.
Later that same Wedneday Will and I had the ADR room in Block 1 booked out, so we headed in there with a Rode NTG2 (not the best mic for voice work but it's early days) and recorded us making strange vocal noises in to the microphone for an hour or so. What we came out with was a really cool sounding God of Death vocal which we'll likely end up tweaking some more and using in the final thing. Horay for our first full sound! The team also really liked it which was fantastic to hear.IMG
Friday's sound meeting went really well. We talked through the fact that we need voice actors for the other acolyte voices, and asked a big list of questions we had in relation to those voices and the other sounds we were yet to record.
Week 4: 11MON5AUG
Our Monday morning meeting was good. Will wasn't there but I got to show off the death vocals which was fun. There wasn't much to say on sound, other than that I needed to really give it a push for the coming week.
I ended up recording 15 minutes of raw piano improv on Monday afternoon, and slowly picked away at it throughout the week, trying to figure out a good sound for the various zones of the game. Along with that i found a second Aulos video which sounded really good as reference.
I ended up missing this weeks sound meeting, but i checked in over Discord just to clear up on what we want to have done by the 25AUG milestone and to ask about the voice actors who have expressed their interest in being on the project to me. The plan is to meet after Monday's meeting to discuss everything missed in the Friday meeting.
Week 5: 11MON12AUG
This week's all hands meeting was good. Fairly brief as a fair few of the old gods were missing. Brenna, Liam, Will and I were all there so we talked through what we needed to do in the coming week.
As far as production went that week, I did fuck all! Keeping up with everything was a struggle. Not only that, but I was in Auckland for Friday so I ended up missing the department meeting. An uneventful week overall.
Week 6: 11MON19AUG
Coming back to the all hands meeting I felt as though I was completely out of the loop. James had taken on far more leadership in light of the upcoming deadline on the 25th so things were slightly more to the point than usual. Splitting into departmental groups Liam, Brenna, James and I talked over what we needed to do in the coming week. My plan was to get the voice recording done which was slightly nerve wracking but also exciting to get going with it again. The last time it had happened was the 31st of July.
On Wednesday, I got Hayden and Paris into the Foley room (the only room I could book at the time, I wanted the ADR room) with an NTG kit (I would've rathered an NT2000) and recorded voice lines for roughly 3 - 5 characters each. It was lots of fun! Something interesting was that we weren't using the blimp at times, and when either of them got into their voice acting and got closer to the mic there tended to be some noticeable wind noise, a lesson learned honestly, and going back it was present in our older recordings too.
Hayden stuck around afterwards to record some footsteps with me, which was good!
On Thursday I got Imogen, and James got Nikita, to record some more voice lines for some more characters. This time we were in the ADR room, and I had the blimp on the mic from the beginning. We got some really good stuff! I hadn't worked with Nikita before but she was really good! Big thanks to her and James there.
I found out during the first recording that Will wasn't coming back to the project for various personal health reasons, so
On Friday with our departmental meeting we discussed the fact that Will was no longer on the project, the fact that we probably weren't going to make the deadline on the 25th, and the minimum amount of stuff to get to the team by certain times. We cleaned up the Trello a little bit, assigned shit, and broke off.
MID SEMESTER BREAK
First thing first, pretty much every assignment I had got extended into the break. This ended up making things harder as I had to get those done first, which took way too long, and then get my audio done too.
At the start of the holiday I got some of the voice work in to the team, they seemed to really like it which was nice to hear. I ended up listening to the clips not long after I sent them and they sounded slightly too reverby, but i still like the sound.
Lydia sent some ambiences a music student called Calvin had made. They were stunning ambiences, really deep and evocative, but the lingering criticism I have is that they feel slightly removed from the tone of the game, there's a lack of certain instruments which i'd like to hear, maybe the echo of a melody, and at times they feel either too synthy or too heavy. Otherwise, they're stunning and sound great. I'll definitely pull some inspo from them for some of the tracks I end up making
Speaking of making stuff though, my progress stalled to a halt after I got an extension for VFX. As of writing the start of this paragraph (5SEP) I'm nearly done with VFX, and am hoping to get as much audio as I can get done before playtesting on the 10th.
Week 7: 11MON9SEP
With this meeting came the realisation of what we already knew, we now only have 6 weeks left. Had some good chats with the old gods before a meeting with one of our music guys, Calvin! He had sent through a bunch of ambiences (on 3SEP), asking for feedback on how to fit them better into the context of the game. SO today we finally got to meet him in person, a really chill guy! He showed us a newer demo for a different zone of the game (post-calamity) and we talked to him about getting payed, because he's not doing this as part of his music major project assessment.
This week was void of any work, which finally changed after the departmental meeting on Friday. The last time I had sent something was now 3 weeks ago so things weren't looking too hot. I had some leftover voices to send over (and would still like to send some more given the time) so that weekend I got them in. Our playtest had been delayed from the 10th to the 17th which was nice, so we had a week of extra time to get things done. We also found out that the playtest had been moved last minute due to some faculty level bullshit.
Week 8: 11MON16SEP
This meeting was fairly uneventful. Brenna felt like shit and wasn't there for most of the meeting. Connor was at maccas. We pretty much immediately split into departmental groups, so I talked to Liam about FMOD while he showed me some cool audio he had made up. We had our playtest tomorrow evening so everyone left fairly quickly to get going with things.
As for the playtest itself, things went really well! James had created a quick but nice looking menu screen with a little animation of the acolyte looking out over the view. The game had some basic footstep sounds, some introductory voice clips with some instructions on what to do. The whole world so far was explorable, aside from Death's secret place. Glitches were found, people from outside of Massey came in, and there was pizza! It was a good time. We got a hefty chunk of feedback forms, and went to maccas afterwards. It was a great night.
The departmental meeting was fairly short as I hadn't made much work since sending in the voices. James and Liam were both really keen to record the intro dialogue and implement it alongside the final animatic and Calvin's music for it. Hopefuly we'll be getting Nikita and a nice vocal microphone to use for that on Monday, but we'll see what happens.
Week 9: 11MON23SEP
The pressure can really be felt now. Our all hands meeting was brief as was to be expected. Liam is adding FMOD to the UE4 project and is also creating FMOD banks to simply slot my sounds into. With everything else ramping up, i've been putting Acolyte behind the rest in terms of priority.
I skipped the departmental meeting as the climate strike was on
Week 10: 11MON30SEP
Three weeks to go. Everyone was collectively losing it at the all hands meeting. Connor came in late. No one wanted to lead the meeting. I ended up hanging out with the group afterwards for a while, and after going to an anti-TERFs on capus hui I got to talk to Liam about his progress with FMOD and audio in general. I wanted to ideally get the audio done this week, early at that, but it's not looking all that likely.
We had a fairly uneventful departmental meeting, I had fuck all to show so we just outlined what to get done before the playtest the coming Wednesday.
Week 11: 11MON7OCT
Today's all hands meeting was hilarious. Only three 2nd years showed up, and half of the third years showed up. We briefly talked about stuff, but it ended up in Brenna trying to show us music being interrupted by Connor playing Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate on his Switch running through the projector. The meetings had reached peak goblin. No one could stop him, Connor looked thrilled.
We took the team over to the Massey Digital meeting where they got to talk about the Real Shit to do with major projects, to help inform the future second and third years. It actually went really well, many good tips were shared.
I missed our departmental meeting once again, as I felt like arse. However, I did end up sending a first revision of the edited intro dialogue and got some good feedback from James. I also made a list of leftover sounds to knock off, it looks intimidating but I think it can be done by the end of week 12.