Devlog 12 – The Music of Shwip

Welcome! Today we’ll dive right in.

What would an arcade game be without a soundtrack? Explosions and the firing of weapons certainly isn’t enough to immerse yourself in the experience. Today we’ll unearth the problem of not having a soundtrack, obtaining the music of Shwip, how it changed the game, the person behind the music, and finally what we learned in the process.

we’re missing something…

In the early days, Shwip was just a small project we would work on seldom when the chance arose. It was our way to be creative outside of our day to day jobs. What began as a collection of components quickly turned into what could possibly be a full working video game.

New features would be added here and there and after about a year ( mind you, this was a few hours a week ) we had a game worth showing off. I began to work on a trailer for Steam Greenlight by editing together royalty free music and a few gameplay clips. It was passable for the time and garnered a few upvotes.

At this time Shwip had very basic sound effects and it lacked a key cornerstone of arcade gaming – the soundtrack. Geometry Wars, Resogun, and any shmup from the beginning of time has a soundtrack you could tap your feet to – and we didn’t have that… yet.

the unread inbox ( 1 )

We received an email a few days after releasing the trailer with a sample track from a prospective composer. Firstly, we couldn’t believe someone was interested in the game – enough so to take time out of their day to compose something for the us. Secondly, it wasn’t for us. While we appreciated the tracks and thanked the person immensely, it just didn’t suit what we were setting out to create. Thankfully, this person took another stab at it, and ultimately gave us the base for the soundtrack of Shwip.

I distinctly remember the goosebumps as we listened for the first time; the title screen running in the background. The visuals and the sounds combined together to formulate what we had in our heads for the first time. The sound of Shwip was born.

Here are a few samples from the soundtrack.

What we learned

We learned Scott, aka Elezeid is an amazing composer, producer and person in general. He’s given Shwip a sound like no other – a soundtrack that compliments the game in indescribable ways. You can visit his page on soundcloud, youtube, twitter, & facebook.

Integrate sound early in your game. I remember watching a youtube clip of the creation process behind Dead Space. The lead game designer partnered with his composer friend and ultimately made a masterpiece by allowing the sound to be a gameplay element.

Sound is just as important in an arcade game. The low hits and upbeat drums compliment the intensity of what’s on screen and helps the player get into the groove.

Overlapping soundtracks helps modes like Style convey a sense of power and urgency as the player powers up and demolishes everything in sight. Minefield features melodic tones to help guide the player as they carve routes around a trecherous field of mines. Arcade, a three minute escape brings players the most intense track of the game – feeding their ears information while pumping them up.

Each track has a a specific use and compliments the game perfectly.

What’s up next time?

Shwip is just about ready to leave early access and grow up. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, head on over to our Steam page and join the discussion over on Discord.