Amanita

Amanita is a playformer game created by Muchakombucha Studio, for the Game Design, Prototype, and Production class, taught by professor Thomas Corbett, at Carnegie Mellon University.

With the genre limitation on “platformer”, we settled our world setting in a post-apocalypse world where the fungus has taken over earth and trying to eliminate every other living form. The hero is a self-conscious robot, named Amanita, whose mission is to preserve life. Originally, the story was about our hero successfully saving the last life form and destroy the evil fungus. But that’s boring.

 

The alternative story, however, was full of irony. The robot is powered by fungus and he wasn’t even aware of the fungus’ evil plan; his mission remains unchanged to save the last life form, a tree sanctioned in a glass vault; Amanita was guided by a weakened voice which he thought was the tree’s while, in fact, was the fungus’, which eventually tricked him into breaking the protective glass and let the fungus destroys the last life on earth, which completes the irony.

The game consists of 3 levels: wasted street, sewage, and forest. The objective is to move to the right and proceed to the next scene to “search for the last tree”, which is asked by the mysterious voice. 

 

While I was planning the whole story and setting with the team, I was also planning on my sound design. The world was a mess and our robot was build by scraps, so it would make sense for our hero to sound like old and loose metals bumping on various surfaces. I once visited a film production site and observed how their sound designer produced the sound of horses running and thunder cracking. In a similar fashion, I used a metal badge, dropped and hit it on various surfaces, and recorded the sounds to put into Audacity and modified it with effects such as low-pass filter.

From a seminar video about sound design, I learned about the necessity of producing multiple versions for a single sound effect with slight differences, for the purpose of reducing dullness. As a result, all the repetitive sounds, such as footsteps and landing, have two different versions and they are run by codes to be randomly played.

The music for this game, which is also my original pieces, is played and recorded by myself, using guitar and cello. Since the game features a desolate background, the music should be simple in texture and a bit loose in melody. So I used a windy ambient sound as the background material, or canvas as I prefer to put it, and my guitar solo (mostly single pucks) loosely runs over the canvas. The track for the sewage level follows the same logic: a water ambient with a modifies reverb plus my cello solo makes a good audio scene for the wasted underground. As for the last level, I increased the layers of music, using both cello and guitar and also harmonized the melody to create an enriched audio environment for the finale. And after Amanita broke the glass, there’s another guitar solo that concludes the sad ending.