Matt Javanshir

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Into Blue Valley (and beyond)

A few days ago, Kuchalu‘s first major indie game was released on Steam. The game is called Into Blue Valley and is a first person exploration game drawing upon themes of mystery and curiosity.

IBVWe wanted to be as ambitious as we could with the scale and feel of the game whilst still giving the player a polished and enjoyable hour-long experience grounded in the indie roots it came from. We also had no dedicated in-game artist (which is where the wonderful Unity asset store came in helpful) and just my brother on the programming/development side – he certainly had his work cut out for him!

In August 2014, We put together a Steam Greenlight application together with a video of a (very) early build of the game. Around this time, following the advice of some friendly indies at one of the London Clapham meetups, we also decided to add Oculus Rift support to the game given the immersive/exploratory feel we were going for. To our amazement (given this was our first ever foray into Greenlight), Into Blue Valley was successfully greenlit in around 3 weeks. We were understandably thrilled with the news and it was a huge confidence boost for us.

The music for Into Blue Valley was written over the span of a few months. The soundtrack is predominantly piano based peppered with ambient sounds, choirs and strings. I actively avoided quantising the notes and instead opted for a more natural sound (recorded on my keyboard live where possible). The soundtrack is available to listen to on bandcamp here. Music aside, the sound effect production was more or less a brand new experience for me and I had a great time experimenting with different methods of Foley. If anybody ever feels that the wind is actually little more than me emphatically blowing out invisible candles, then you wouldn’t be too far off!

Listen to the soundtrack here:

We want the people who bought Into Blue Valley to enjoy themselves playing and experiencing it but regardless of the commercial or critical success it receives, I am really proud of the game and especially super proud of what my brother was able to achieve on the actual development side in such a relatively short space of time. Though it was in many ways a team effort (as we all had our parts to play), this is really his crowning achievement given he was the solo programmer/game designer/developer and worked solidly on this for a substantial amount of time. I had a great time working on it and I’m really looking forward to us starting work on our next title!

Into Blue Valley is available on Steam now!

Official Trailer for Into Blue Valley:

 

Smash Bros. Love – Retrospect

Super Smash Bros. is my favourite video game series for a number of reasons.

At the forefront of it all is the love I have for the series being intrinsically linked to the people I play it with. The anticipation of a new Smash Bros. game and the nostalgia I get from playing past and present games with the people closest to me remains my most prolonged and cherished video game experience to date. When I think of an individual Smash Bros. game on it’s own it reminds me of different parts of my life so far. The Nintendo 64 version harkens back to my childhood; I was just twelve when the original came out and I can remember playing it intently with my brother and friends. Both Melee and Brawl were a staple of spending time with my friends in my teenage years (the latter being the cornerstone of a University Computer Games Society where I met some of my best friends). Now that I commute daily it feels fitting that the latest iteration is on a heldheld device.

Sentimentality aside, I am also continuously amazed by the sheer volume and quality of content that each instalment brings. Every new release seems to transcend the one that has gone before. The music in particular leaves me in awe every time; a staggeringly large number of original arrangements of some of the most recognisable themes (by so many great industry composers) that encapsulates the beauty and wonder that I have come to associate with Nintendo games.

So here is a small token of my love and appreciation for Smash Bros. in the form of a chiptune remix. As I mention in the Soundcloud description, it’s more or less a fanboy-fuelled arrangement that highlights a selection of some iconic Nintendo themes (including the Pokemon theme song melody!) in a simple, clean, happy-go-lucky chiptune aesthetic centered around the opening melody of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl menu music. Aside from the actual melodies being arranged there is a homemade sound effect of ‘excellent’ from the WarioWare game series thrown in for good measure as well as a brief nod to the DK Jungle Japes drums.

Thanks for listening!