Head on over to the Jazzpunk: Director’s Cut page on the PSN store. It’s currently 20% off! Tell ‘em Necrophone sent ya!
*In North America. The European region version of JP is launching soon, hopefully in a week or two. stay tuned for that!
This is several months old, but I (Luis Hernandez, one half of necrophone games) was interviewed on Destructoid’s web-tv-interview show, Sup Holmes. We disuss Void One, Jazzpunk, comedy in games, and level design. If you enjoy looong tangents and lots of off-topic banter, this is the interview for you.
Check it out to see a peek into Necrophone studios!
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Hey everyone! Apologies for the lack of updates on this blog, Jess and I have been working our guts out to get some exciting new stuff into the game. However, I was able to take a mini-break from my regular schedule to bring you an official Necrophone Games Christmas Card. Oh Boy. Print it out and hold onto it for 50-60 years, its Guaranteed™ to depreciate in value!
Various people that I’ve been discussing Jazzpunk with , in particular the audio side of JP, keep saying that I should write about my unique approach to sound design in games. Deal. So I guess I’ll start by saying that in addition to doing all of the art and visual design for the game, I’m also in charge of all the sound design and music. Little known fact about me is that I make my own electronic music instruments and effects, and its these tools that I use to create the particular JP audio ‘flavour’.
While I use a computer for all final mixdown, cleanup, or formatting, I try to stay on the analog side of things for everything else I do. Obviously, everything I record needs to become digital at some point (still haven’t mastered how to make an all-analog videogame :)
I use this approach in an attempt to capture the feeling of old sci-fi, experimental horror, and spy movies, which used a lot of analog synthesizers, spring reverb, and tape echo for their monsters, computers, gadgets, and sound effects. Jazzpunk takes place in an alternate reality 1950s, so I wanted to mimic the production style from that era. Also, by using tape and analog filters, eq, compression, you get a much different dynamic range and noise floor than you’d get with more contemporary “in the box” (ie: digital) production.
Most game soundtracks these days are done with programs like Logic, Ableton, Protools, etc. Personally, I find this approach very sterile and counter-intuitive to how I think about music production, its just too damn perfect. For Jazzpunk, I’ve settled on a much weirder approach; I use analog step sequencers to control a bank of 1980s Japanese 12-bit sampling delays. This equipment arrangement is decidedly baroque, but I chose it because I believe it fits the style of Jazzpunk; a overly complex network of machines working in concert, attempting to create something for human consumption.
I want players to envision the hum and pulse of a Univac, the rhythmic clicking behaviour of an old telecom routing system.
One of the big influences behind the stylized design of Jazzpunk has been my favourite german isotype designer, Gerd Arntz. Pictograms are great for game designers as they’re all about iconic (recognizable) design and readability at a distance. For example, players should be able to recognize there’s a phone on the other side of the room, so that they’ll approach it and perhaps try to use it. Were I to design some crazy space phone, the player might ignore it because its so unrecognizable as a functional object.
Sometimes I would doodle captions or dialogue onto Gerd Arntz pictograms. I recently realized I had a bunch of these sitting around. So I present to you, the first in a series of Arntz We Hilarious ‘comics’: