Game Jams are common among videogame developers. Programmers, designers, artists and writers get together to plan, design or create one or more games within a short space of time, usually 24-72 hours.
And this is what we came up with...
It was a brilliantly creative and collaborative process, considering we were all working from our own studios, independently and against the clock. So how did we do it? Here's how - in 10 steps...
1) Super organised Ally Murphy created a Facebook messenger group for our team and we met via a 4 way Skype chat to discuss plans face-to-face.
2) Ally also created a Dropbox folder for us to deposit images (for inspiration), plus clips of sound effects and music which we thought would work in the trailer.
3) We (obviously) elected Ally as Team leader. We each wrote a 1 minute script, and then shared it with each other via Dropbox.
4) We had another Skype meeting, (with various ill cats on various laps), where we discussed each other's scripts, took the best bits from everyone's versions, named our team and wrote an almost final script.
5) We all recorded all the voices for all the parts and shared those audio files.
6pm Saturday (less than 24 hours to go):
6) We decided whose voice worked best for each character. Chris Tester became the "Narrator/Elder" and "Arborach", Ally Murphy was the "Dao", Simon Johns was the "Blaonach" and I was the "Mallat". We re-recorded our lines.
Late late late on Saturday:
7) Ally put effects on some of the voices. Simon mixed and mastered the first version of our entry.
8) Much discussion ensued via our Facebook group about levels, fx and the mix.
10am Sunday (7 hours left):
9) Final Skype. I got picky about the clarity of the storytelling and signposting in our script. We tweaked it and Chris re-recorded the narrator lines. Simon tweaked the mix again... and again...
10) We all agreed on the final version and Ally submitted our entry - 4 hours ahead of the deadline! Phew.
Team GatoRoto met in person 5 days later, at The Voiceover Network's brilliant conference and workshop event "Get Your Game On 2017". There were 4 other teams competing in the Game Jam and we were excited and intrigued to hear what they'd come up with. Every entry was superb - it was fascinating to listen to the other team's creations and see how they had interpreted the brief. There was just 1 point between the 2nd placed team and the winners - but we did it!
The judges included Videogame Acting legend Dave Fennoy and Bafta Award winning Audio Director Adele Cutting.
The judges said: "The music edit took me on a journey - very nice. I like the ending - I can see that working with the visuals and felt that would keep up the viewing til the end." And:
[This trailer had] "the best storytelling... nice tag at the end".
As a self-styled Storyteller, this comment made me particularly happy!
Thanks to the judges, The Voiceover Network and also thanks to the sponsors who donated cool prizes to each member of our team - a box of chocolates, a T-Shirt and a RODE microphone! But I think the best prize was the amazing experience I gained by doing this Game Jam. It has really set me on track to make 2017 my Year of the Videogame.