The Asteroid Base guys have talked about the inspirations and creation of Lovers at length, but I’d like to talk about the beginnings of the game from the audio perspective.
In 2012, I decided to take part in the Toronto Global Game Jam after being encouraged by a close audio friend. Audio people were in short supply, so I was responsible for developing the music and sound effects for an entire room of teams. In the end I composed music and designed sound for 5 games within the 48 hours of the jam. Lovers was the last game that I worked on, and I only had an hour or two to create and deliver. The first renditions of the opening and gameplay music were developed at this time, along with 8 sound effects.
Initially the gameplay music (now called “Launch Into Deep Space”) was just a one-minute loop. (In the final game, there are 19 pieces of music ranging from 4 to 6 minutes in length.) The genre of the music was completely out of my comfort zone–I had never composed happy spacey dance music before. Most of the time my compositions are kind of dark, so this was new to me. I started experimenting with different synthesizers and fell in love with Arturia‘s CS80 and Arp2600 plugins. These plugins are modeled off of the 1970s classics which have been featured in some popular science fiction films and shows such as Blade Runner and Doctor Who. I wanted the music to sound and feel vintage and not “chiptunes”, because a lot of games have been composing music in that timbre. The use of the vintage synthesizer rather than chip sounds gives it a 1970s science fiction feeling, which overall matches the design and inspiration of the game.
After the jam, Asteroid Base decided that they were going to continue to develop Lovers and I was excited to continue providing the sound design and music. The first thing I wanted to do was revise the music I had written at the jam. It was rushed at the time, so now I could go back and really sink my teeth into it. A lot of time was spent adjusting the performances, changing oscillator wave shapes and just generally messing around with settings until I found the sound I wanted. Before this project, I didn’t have much experience in using synthesizers for music. I had used them mostly to create sound effects and ambiences in animation television shows. At first I was slow at being able to compose exactly what I heard in my head, but that’s the fun of experimenting and learning. Throughout the composing of Lovers there were many creative mistakes that paid off.
There was one instance where I was using a chiptunes synthesizer and I was hoping to make it increasingly harsh so it would stick out of the mix more. I added a bit crusher to the process chain and instead of making the sound harsh, it actually calmed and smoothed it out. This worked better in the song than what I was expecting. So it stayed.
The original song from the game jam, “Launch Into Deep Space”, was extended to about two and half minutes before I moved on to composing the additional gameplay songs. During the development process we had decided that the music length didn’t need to be kept to a minimum, and I had free reign to make the songs as long as I wanted. With “Launch Into Deep Space” being rather short, I decided to try and extend it so that it wouldn’t be so repetitive and annoying to the player. I extended the song twice, and it ended up being close to 6 minutes long. While I was lengthening it, I wrote a great melody on the ARP2600 but I felt it didn’t particularly fit into that song. Ironically, the melody line cut from the first song became the main theme and inspiration for “Forever Space Love”, which is now the game’s ending song.
Holy moly you read it correctly, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime has a release date! SEPTEMBER 9! We know that some of you have been waiting years for this moment — believe you me, we’ve been waiting longer.
Pre-order Lovers now and save 10%!
While Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime will be available to play September 9, you can pre-order now for PC, Mac & Linux and save 10%. Pre-orders for Xbox One will start August 27.
Get the soundtrack!
Ryan Henwood, master composer, has assembled this intergalactic album of cosmic tunes from a distant dimension. Launching September 9, you can pre-order now and immediately get four bumpin’ tracks.
We can’t help but say thank you to the all the wonderful people who have helped us get to where we are today. THANK YOU!
We will have some big news coming this week, but first let’s talk about PAX Prime!
Come join us and play the unreleased Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime during PAX at booth 3017, on the 4th floor expo hall. Find us just south of The Behemoth, who, through their amazing Gold Egg Project have lovingly nestled our booth next to theirs and across from Supergiant Games.
Many have asked and we have finally listened. We will be selling a limited supply of t-shirts that we printed on super soft heather plum and heather black AA t-shirts. Many thanks to everyone on Twitter who helped us pick our design.
Microsoft’s Pre-PAX Open House
Thursday August 27, 5:00 – 9:00PM at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond – In addition to PAX, you will be able to play Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and more than 50 other games at Microsoft’s Pre-PAX Open House.
Toy Temp and Friends Showcase
Friday August 28, 7:30PM – 12:30AM at 1927 3rd Avenue, Seattle – Our friends at Toy Temp are hosting an awesome party that will be celebrating some great upcoming games from Toronto devs, including Lovers. Get tickets!
EMP Museum And don’t forget that you can play an arcade build Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime any day of the week at the EMP Museum, which is being exhibited as a part of the beautifully designed Indie Game Revolution exhibition.
We’ve been fans of Justin’s work for a while, and we were thrilled to have him create some art for the game. Seeing another person’s take on this universe is tremendously exciting, both because Justin is great (seriously, I mean look at his tumblr and youtube), and also because we’ve been living exclusively in the world of gameplay graphics for so long. New art is like a breath of fresh air! Or fresh cosmic vacuum.
Anyway, things are happening, and there will be more exciting info coming soon!
Since starting on Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime we’ve kinda been measuring time in Valentine’s Days, and with another one about to roll past it’s time to take stock and show you guys where we’re at. It’s been a while since the last update. February also marks one year since we started working full-time on the game, so there’d better be some major progress!
Since we started working on Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, we’ve been showing the game at as many events as we can, but one place we never expected it to end up in was a crazy amazing indie game museum exhibit.
Seattle’s EMP museum recently celebrated the opening of Indie Game Revolution, a gigantic playable exhibit-slash-arcade celebrating contemporary indie games, filled with info, interviews, and games, games, games. We’re honoured to have Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime be part of the show alongside wonderfulness like Tenya Wanya Teens, Monument Valley, Never Alone, Galak-Z, Gone Home, Papers Please, Quadrilateral Cowboy and tons more. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it across the continent for the opening, but Jacob McMurray from EMP sent us some terrific photos.
The Ceraf enemy uses timers to control its pre-shoot, shoot and post-shoot animations and actions.
Warning: Super dry, tool-focused devlog incoming!
One of the tasks we find ourselves doing quite frequently while working on Lovers is controlling the timing of things (loop an animation for x seconds, randomize AI behaviour every y seconds, etc.). There are many ways to accomplish these types of actions, for instance you could do something like this:
It’s been quite a busy summer here at Asteroid Base. We’ve mostly been hunkering down on development to get as much done as we can on the game. We had to miss a few opportunities to exhibit the game over the summer, but Microsoft was kind enough to show the game on our behalf at the San Diego Comic Con and Gamescom, and we’re now looking forward to some upcoming events where you can play our latest build.
PAX Prime 2014, Seattle, August 29 – Sept 1:
You will be able to play Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime at booth 863 within the Indie MEGABOOTH area on the 4th floor. We will be debuting some super new content such as our latest constellation level and the new boss, Cetus!
Fangamer ♥︎ Attract Mode, Seattle, August 30 @ 7pm:
Fangamer and Attract Mode will be hosting another fabulous art/games/music party on the Saturday night of PAX and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime will be playable along with Particle Mace, as well as scores of great art.
Bit Bash, Chicago, September 6:
Hosted at the Threadless HQ in Chicago, Bit Bash is a celebration of international and local Chicago-made independent games. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime will be playable during the evening.
FILE Festival, São Paulo, August 26 – Sept 7: FILE Festival is Brazil’s international festival for digital art/media. We’re pleased to be exhibiting Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime as a part of their programming for video games.
Joypad Super Warehouse Party, London, UK, Sept 13: Joypad Super Warehouse Gaming Party will feature a bunch of great multiplayer games including Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. Sweet tunes will be provided by Chipzel, Alice Ant and Ensnare.
Pop up Arcade, Brighton, Sept 19: The pop up arcade launch party will be taking place as part of Brighton Digital Festival. Not only will Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime be there, but also Gang Beasts. GANG BEASTS!
Fantastic Arcade, Austin, Sept 18 – 21: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime will be a spotlight game at this year’s Fantastic Arcade, which means you’ll be able to play it on a sweet arcade machine!