Captain’s Log #7 – Meet Nikolas the Composer

This is an archived Kickstarter update, originally only available to Nelly’s Backers:

In this update I’m going to introduce you to Nelly’s composer.

Haul on the Bow Line!

As well as being an important part of adventure gaming, music was also essential to seafaring life. Sailors used sea shanties as working songs and foc’sle songs for entertainment and storytelling. So it would be remiss of me to neglect music in the making of Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet!

If you have played Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! You’ll have heard a theme and soundtrack composed by the wonderful Mark ‘m0ds’ Lovegrove of Screen 7. (Also the composer for the brilliant Chzo Mythos adventure games).

For The Fowl Fleet, you’ll hear music by Nikolas Sideris, who composed the soundtrack for Wadjet Eye’s fantastic game Resonance. He’s going to begin composing soon, so I look forward to playing you snippets in future updates. As well as video game composition, Nikolas is a classical composer and music publisher. Nikolas is currently running a Kickstarter to produce beautifully illustrated musical manuscripts.

Beauty & Hope in the 21st Century

Beauty & Hope in the 21st Century

Nikolas, real-world Nelly and I met up last week to discuss the approach he will take to the music. He’s aiming to strike a balance between what I’m going to call environmental music (i.e. different locations have different tunes) and contextual music (i.e. the music depends upon character and events). Environmental music is very common in adventure games, whereas contextual music is more usual in action-based games (often used to indicate when the player is under attack).

ABK, Nelly and Nikolas

Nik and I went through all the locations in the game, talking about the mood each of them should have. He proposed a technique used in Resonance to allow a seamless transition from one mood to another. In special cases, Nikolas will compose two complementary tracks with the same tempo, but contrasting moods. This will allow me to cue a shift in mood at any time, depending on the player’s actions.

This will allow for a seamless transition, rather than a hard cut or a crossfade between clashing tracks. So while Nelly is in the forest clearing, the player will be listening to peaceful music. But that will shift to something more frightening when the Abominable Snowbird stumbles out of the pines…

Rewards Progress Report

“Spoonbeaks! They're being forced to mine gold! Lovely, lovely gold!” (Gold-coloured metal, that is.)

“Spoonbeaks! They’re being forced to mine gold! Lovely, lovely gold!” (Gold-coloured metal, that is.)

Nelly’s doubloons are nearly ready. They’re taking longer than expected because of a manufacturing error with the first batch. Fortunately, the mistake was not at my end so I didn’t have to pay twice! (These babies don’t come cheap.) They’re 40mm in diameter with an ‘antique gold’ finish, and they handle very nicely.

Casting the Net

We’ve also opened casting for voice actors through www.thestage.co.uk, and the applications are now coming in. The game currently has 4500+ lines of dialogue, so recording is a big task. But it’s one of the things I’ve been looking forward to the most, so I will keep you posted on our progress. For now, you’ll just have to appreciate how good a nautical pun ‘Casting the Net’ is.

Because we’re casting using the ‘net, you see.

Yep.

-Alasdair

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