Screenshot Saturday

Good morning! Here’s a look at some of this week’s progress.

Screen capture of game progress in Unity. 2D pixel art dinosaur walking along the sidewalk past a flower shop. Music, graphics, animation, and editing by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved 2021.

Technical Hiccups

I’m still working out the overall music score/ sound design, and will be for some time. My laptop and some of the major DAWs are not on speaking terms at the moment, so much of this week was spent on tech boards looking up what’s going on with my audio drivers and dreading having to go out and purchase an audio interface.

I have also been arguing with the sound settings in Unity about triggering sounds only in proximity to the player, and not from the start of the scene. Imagine, if you will, the simultaneous cry of a million peeping stegos, and you understand why sound is not currently enabled in my game build.

However, I will not let technology win this war. To quote Flaming Lips:

[S]he knows that
It’s demanding
To defeat those evil machines
I know she can beat them

Process, Workarounds and Links

For those who are interested in learning more about my process, I made the music using a combination of two free programs, Beepbox and Audacity. The program I have been using to build the game, Unity, is free for those under a certain income threshold. I then used Adobe Premiere Pro to compile audio I’ve been kicking around for a while now with new in-engine footage from Unity. As I was already subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud for Photoshop, it makes sense for me to work in this software, but the price can be a barrier for those not fully invested in the field yet. If others have suggestions for free video editing software, please feel free to make suggestions in the comments. I know there are several great options out there.

If you want to see more behind the scenes work or receive updates, please follow this blog. You can also like and follow No, Mine! Studios (nominestudios) on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook.

Thank you for your support!

–Suzanne

Fun with Audio

While working on a new game animation sequence yesterday, I decided to take a go at some audio. Watch through the end for my voice acting debut. I may have made a few slight — major — adjustments to my voice using Audacity.

I don’t mean to brag, but usually I’m an alto.

I’m not even sure what range this would be.

I originally created individual sprites/ environmental elements in Photoshop and composited the scene/ set up the mechanics in Unity. Other sounds were made using BeepBox. Audio was added in Adobe Premiere Pro. This is still very much a work in progress.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day. Let me know what you think in the comments. If you’d like to show your support, please follow No Mine! Studios on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok!

Cheers,

Suzanne

Dinosaurs and other Updates

Summer has been fairly busy. On top of entertaining a kid during a pandemic and planning for homeschool, I’ve had other projects in the works. I was asked to submit work to a by invitation-only call for cyberpunk stories to a journal overseas. Regardless of whether my story gets picked up for publication, it was an honor to be asked, especially as I haven’t written in this genre before. I’ve been volunteering locally as I’ve been able. Remote meetings are a lifesaver for individuals with chronic illnesses/ conditions like migraines, arthritis, and motherhood (ahem), so I hope this trend continues after the pandemic. The ability to turn off the video and audio functions is especially appreciated. A laughing, streaking kid in the house did elicit momentary panic at one point.

In the relatively quiet moments and through the chaos, I have begun to make significant progress on my biggest project to date [Master’s thesis be damned]: an indie narrative game combining many of my favorite subjects.

Here is a peek at the main character:

Mini Dino Pixel Art.
Mini Dino Pixel Art (side view). Suzanne Skaar. 2020. All rights reserved.

Dino Front view Idle 8 19 2020
Front view Dino character, idle. Suzanne Skaar, 2020. Animation/ pixel art. Work in progress. All rights reserved.

My last programming class was in high school, more than 20 years ago, so I have been teaching myself Unity, a development platform which is free to users up to a certain revenue bracket. Brackeys tutorials on YouTube have been on repeat for months in the house. They are awesome: go check them out! Thanks to the site Beepbox, I have also been working on digital music composition for the first time. I first started using Audacity for podcasts a few years back, and it continues to be a great tool for artists. [While I’m not ready to share some of my serious attempts yet, my co-conspirator did willingly lend her vocals to this “parenting dance anthem.” It was created using Beepbox and Audacity.] 

Other snippets of the game art are up on the No Mine! Studios Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. I’ve set myself a soft deadline of December (6 months from when I started) to get basic art in place so I can focus on research, writing, and mechanics. This game is a one mother show. If you are on the above platforms, please follow for updates, like, and share. Your support means a lot!