“Play Your Music”
Vinyl is a dynamic indie music game created by graduate students at the University of Utah EAE program, that experiments with the aesthetic distance between gameplay and music.
About This Game
Every Song is Unique:
– Load your own music.
– Your music procedurally generates the world…
– The way you play changes the music!
– Pick a music genre and let Vinyl remix your song how you choose.
Arcade Styled Runner:
– Dodge all of the obstacles to see your music in vibrant neon synesthesia.
– Make mistakes and your music will be taken back in time.
– Rewind to undo your mistakes, and your score.
– Collect audio filters to manipulate your music even more, and score more points!
– Too easy to dodge obstacles? Boost to increase your multiplier and gain the ultimate score!
– Use all of your abilities to rack up points.
– Challenge the online leaderboards.
– Enter your initials to claim the number one spot!
Minimum System Requirements
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: 2 Core 2.2ghz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: 2gb graphics card
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 300 MB available space
Release Date on Steam: July, 2016
Release Date on Desura: April, 2014
Engine/Dev Tools: Unity, Photoshop, Illustrator, Puredata
Game Dev Cycle: 2 Years (Concept to Publish on both Steam and Desura)
- EAE (Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program)
- The University of Utah
- Zeph Fagergren – Lead Art Producer/Artist
- Michael Heiberger – Lead Designer and Engineering Producer
- Brianne Christiansen – Organization Producer
- JJ Wang – Audio Producer
- Chunran Wang – Character Artist/Engineer
- Alice Owens – Artist
- Cody Hansen – Engineer
- Jason Kanagaratnam – Engineer
- Jason Thummel – Engineer
- Sherly Yunita – Engineer
The Vinyl Game Website
Summary: The Vinyl Game Website was designed and developed to be the spot where Manipulation Machine, LLC can post news about their video game and provide information to it’s followers. This website has the game’s download links and is still used to update news about The Vinyl Game to this day.
Website Link: http://www.thevinylgame.com
Website Type: An Indie-Video Game Information Website
Website Dev Cycle: 4 Weeks
Release Date: January, 2013
Client: Manipulation Machine, LLC
Credits: Designer / Engineer / Artist – Zeph Fagergren
Vinyl – Unlike Any Music Game You Have Ever Played: March 22, 2013
Since Rover Rescue didn’t get picked to continue on to the next level of production, Team Dawgs was going to be split up and put on either Co-Signers or Vinyl (the two games that were chosen to get made for IGF). I thought long and hard over the weekend which team I wanted to be a part of since this was going to be the game I first publish and work on for the next year and a half. I chose to join the Vinyl team since I have a natural love for music, I have played a lot of music games in the past, and I felt this was a project that had the best potential to win at IGF. So before the weekend was over, I told the Vinyl team I wanted to join there team and they invited me over for a quick welcoming/future plans meeting at one of my new teammates homes.
Although I was welcomed to the Vinyl team with open arms, I didn’t have an exact fit with what role I would play on the team right away. Unlike the other few Team Dawgz members that had joined Vinyl and could easy keep there role as an Artist or Engineer, I had to go from the only Producer of a small team, to one of four producers on a team that was now double the size. After talking with the other Producers on our team, we discussed the different roles we will all play during the development of Vinyl. For me, I will be in charge of a PR work, marketing, and publishing. So far, this includes the following: Build the team website, build and manage the team blog and social media, make sure the website is always up to date with the most recent info about Vinyl and finally, finding everything we need to know about getting our game published.
Here is the Prezi we presented to our cohort and faculty members about the development plan we have for Vinyl:
After we presented our Prezi to our peers, we really sat down as a team to discuss design of Vinyl. This was an exciting experience since we were all coming together for the first time as a team to talk about the next moves for the game. After figuring out a lot of the design of our game as a team, we all started to get to work on a new prototype of Vinyl while I started the sketches, wireframes, and hosting of the team website.
The week for GDC approached us very quick and we found ourselves as a team suddenly preparing frantically to be ready to talk about our game when we meet people out in San Francisco. We practiced pitching our game several times to each other in class and then were told to practice talking to as many people as possible about Vinyl so that we could be fully prepared to talk to anyone about it at GDC.
After much practice throughout the week, we all came up with a pitch similar to this one:
Vinyl is a new music game being developed by students that is unlike any music game that has ever been made before. This game combines exciting gameplay with music that you bring into the game from your own personal library to experience music in games in a whole new way!
This is the video that we will be showing for our game at GDC
The vinylgame.com: April 15, 2013
The design process for thevinylgame.com is complete. For the past few weeks I have been designing out the team’s website for our thesis game: Vinyl. After going through several sketches, wireframes, and different designs, the site is finally live online for anyone to check out.
I developed, designed, and built this site was from the ground up for our entire team to be able to manage and blog on. We will all be using this site together to share our news about Vinyl to the world. Feel free to check out thevinylgame.com and be sure to like and share us!
EAE Fest 2013: April 27, 2013
EAE Fest is a pretty big deal to the Entertainment Arts and Engineering program at the University of Utah. Not only do we get to get to playtest and show off our games, but we also get a lot of local attention from the state and university press. We had what seemed like hundreds of people come through are North Lab Studio at the school to come see what our program is all about! Free food, networking, video games, and fun all day!
This event was a little special to me because I had previously gone to EAE Fest 2012 exactly a year before this to see what the EAE program at the University of Utah was all about! When I left the festival last year, I was convinced that I was going to go to the University of Utah and apply to this awesome program at the U! From that point on, I have been immersed in the EAE program and to be able to share what I have been through in exactly one year felt great to reflect back on and share with others.
During EAE Fest 2013 I was able to show off Vinyl to multiple people that came through to visit. We were able to get feedback from local industry professionals from companies like Smartbomb, EA, Chair, Disney, and other local companies looking to see what our games were all about. It was awesome being able to sit down and get some advice from some of the industry panel that I presented Rover Rescue to a couple months ago. Seeing how they liked the progress of Vinyl and telling us what they liked and disliked was awesome because now our team can work together to figure out what we can work on over the summer break.
I talked to a lot of people that were interested in the program as well. I had the chance to talk to someone that was hard of hearing and enjoyed talking with him and his translator about the program as well as why I loved it. After about a thirty minute conversation, he told me he was extremely interested in switching his major over to the EAE program and after talking with me, he was convinced he wanted to be an engineer. This made me feel pretty good knowing that I can pass on my good experiences I’ve had so far with someone else that might come into the program and be the next guy to make something new and amazing!
Along with our cohorts games, Vinyl and Co-Signers, EAE Fest also displayed both the other Cohort and the undergrad students games. Soon after EAE Fest was over, two of the undergraduate games were released to Xbox Live Arcade.
Check them out to support them here:
Changing Team Roles on Vinyl: October 19, 2013
After a long summer, the Vinyl team was finally all back together. We had all worked separate hours on the game over the summer break but this was the first time we had been together as a ground since April. About three weeks into the semester, it was clear that something on Vinyl needed to change. I was doing public relations stuff, social media and the website and it didn’t feel like enough work to me. I felt that my skills and experience from my undergrad degree in Digital Media wasn’t being put to work. I decided that maybe it would be best for me to use my background from my undergrad to help out with the art for Vinyl. I talked with the person on our team who had currently been working with some of the art, Brianne, and she was more then happy for me to help her out with the art since she was already having a problem with getting art completed and on time from our artists.
Another week went by and it became very clear that Brianne and I were focusing on the same work. We both developed a style guide together for the art team to attempt to reach the goal of having cohesive art in our game. This style guide failed. Brianne and I had different views on how the game should look and the artists didn’t seem to care too much about this style guide too much. Even though we were all doing work, there clearly was still conflict in figuring out the art direction Vinyl was heading in.
One of our professors, Amy Adkins, pulled all of the Vinyl Producers into a meeting to discuss where Vinyl currently stood. She quickly pointed out that as Producers, we didn’t have clearly defined roles on our team. What she seemed to feel the problem stood at was the fact that we were either stepping on each others toes and not realizing it, or afraid to step on each others toes causing work to not be done or done very inefficiently. Even though we didn’t really see this as a team previously, it made perfect sense to me that was part of the problem. Amy quickly made it clear to us that we needed to define our roles and start being responsible for parts of the game individually so that every asset of the game can be accounted for. This let to JJ being over audio, Brianne over marketing and business stuff, Mike was declared Lead Designer, and I was going to be the new Art Lead / Art Direction.
This was an exciting switch for me because it gave me the chance to practice digital media with Vinyl and be in charge of a newly formed art team. The art team included Alice Owens and Wang Chunran. We began the first Art Team meeting by brainstorming the new style guide. My main goal was to understand what the two artists on the team think the game should look like and then flow off their ideas. We did happen to gather a collection of ideas, however after a combined effort of making a style guide, it still felt like something was missing. I gave Alice the opportunity to make a style guide on her own but it seemed like she had a lot of questions and was unsure of some decisions. During this process from Brianne overlooking the art to me forming the Art Team, there was a total of three style guides that were made that eventually didn’t end up getting used.
Many of these styles had plenty of assets built for them and many processes implemented to get art tasks completed. We went from using Hansoft, to Asana to a Post-It Note KonBon board on the wall, to finally the software the art team stuck with in the end, Trello.
After the failed style guides and a meeting with Craig Caldwell who is the Art Professor of our program, I learned very quick that our game needed one last epic style guide to give Vinyl an executive decision on what a new art style would be and that style would be the one we would all stand by. I decided to take on the push for this new style by listing out all the assets with the art team and basing the new look off of an 80’s Club Scene.
But right before I started on this final style guide, our whole cohort was surprised with a Post Mortem process we did in class that changed a lot of our processes for the team.
Here are examples of some of the different Style Guide changes Vinyl has gone through at the beginning of the semester:
Mid-Semester Post-Mortem: November 14, 2013
At the beginning of the month we had a Mid Semester Post Mortem between both Cyber Heist and Vinyl. Both teams did a separate Post Mortem and then reviewed what both teams learned together as one group. I felt our team came together very well after this Post Moretm process and we all seemed to learn a lot about how people really felt about the project.
For Team Vinyl, we individually wrote our positive and negative comments on sticky notes and then placed them on three separate white boards. Each whiteboard was labeled with a separate month with a timeline of milestones that ran through all the months.
We found that our team had a rough time in September. There seemed to be a lot of sticky notes in the negative section for September with a minority being on the top side of the timeline. This seemed to be around the time that there wasn’t a lot of cohesive art coming because of a lack of a solid style guide. There were definitely some things that were both good and bad on the Engineer and Producer side of things but in general things started to pick up in October and our sticky notes showed it. We had hit our bottom and now were headed uphill.
Talking about all our sticky notes, good and bad, made the team realize that there were some things we needed to work on. Here is a quick review of the four things we decided we needed to change or work on as a team:
Meetings: As a team we noticed that we had a lot of negative comments about our meetings and the the time they took up. Instead of having so many meetings spread out throughout the week. We decided to have a weekly meeting on Tuesdays that is designed to quickly bring up things that may or may not need to be discussed and vote on them quickly if they need to be addressed or not. If they don’t need to be addressed we won’t talk about it. Prior to this Post Mortem, we were talking about every feature every week and it would waste a lot of our time. We are also going to make it so that if there is something that gets brought up in the meeting that doesn’t require the whole team, we will take that conversation offline and discuss it outside the meeting with the appropriate producers and people that need to hear that specific discussion.
Art Pipeline: We have had problems in the past with the Art not going through the right pipeline to get into the game. Previously people were scattered on how to get the art to the Producers or the Engineers were having trouble finding out where some of the art was. Also, art was being implemented into the game without the Producers or the right people being informed on what art was going in. From now on, we have decided that all art goes through the Art Producer (me) before it is implemented into the game.
Game Design Document: The game design document was previously half bible half not so detailed. People were having a problem understanding what task should be concrete and follow the game design doc word for word and what tasks can have autonomy. We have decided that if the task doesn’t specifically have values, descriptions or details of what it is, the person that checks out that tasks has full autonomy to complete that task to the best of their knowledge and then bring it back to the team for review.
Voting Process: This process was a big success for us. This system allowed the whole team to vote if assets are good enough to stay in the game or if they needed a 2nd pass. This allowed us to come together and discuss our game as a team quite often. Once we brought this system in, we started to see a huge success in team decisions, team moral, and we successfully pushed hard toward our IGF build deadline.
The Art Push to EAE Day: December 17, 2013
Starting at the beginning of November, Vinyl’s Art Team went for a final art push to prepare the final build for EAE Day on December 12th, 2013. Vinyl had just submitted its first build to IGF giving the team just over one month to change or polish any engineering features. Along with tuning the game, this time frame gave the Art Team one last chance to attempt to implement a style guide change to the game along with all the assets that come with that change.
Alice, our Lead Artist, met with Dameon Lyons (one of the other artists in our Cohort) to discuss some concepts for our new style and they both ran their ideas across me to see what I thought. Almost immediately I began thinking of new ideas for this concept and could see what the final version could potentially look like in my head. I loved where the concept was at and thought it would be a great idea to form a meeting with the Art Team plus Brianne to go over every art asset in the game and get everyone on board with the new look.
From the above concept art from Dameon of the concepts, the Art Team came up with a new slogan behind our new art style” Everything is late 80’s club feel!
All four of us discuss how every asset should look in the game fitting the late 80’s club feel and after a half day meeting, we covered every asset and how they should look in the game. That weekend, I spent plenty of free time immersed in building a final style guide for Vinyl. This style guide already felt like it was going to be a lot more successful then it’s predecessors before it was even created because of the excitement we had coming out of the art asset meeting. After doing much researching and referencing over the long weekend, I finished the Post IGF Style Guide with heavy confidence that it would be a huge hit.
That following Monday, I brought the Post IGF Style Guide to the other Producers and they all loved it. We all agreed we needed to start building tasks for the art team to start implementing this new art style right away for the next team sprint. What we set up was a five week “Art Push” that would be divided up into weekly art tasks that each artist would be fully responsible for. Using Trello, we were able to put plenty of pictures and notes from our meeting (plus the style guide) for references on what the assets should look like. We front loaded the first two weeks for the artists so that we could get all of the harder work out of the way first, leaving the easier stuff and 2nd passes to the later weeks. This strategy brought the Art Team and Vinyl as a whole great success! We immediately started seeing cohesive artwork coming from the artists and communication picked up whenever there were questions. All the art assets started coming in on time during the end of our sprints and each week became easier and easier to track since our system was working.
When it came down to the week before EAE Day, were ahead of schedule with the art and we had an art asset completed for everything we discussed in our original asset meeting we had a month ago. So with less then a week to polish, we decided as a team to have Alice go over some assets and 2nd Pass some UI stuff. Our 3D Character Artist, Wang, began focusing on our main character. In our meeting a month prior, we discussed having a character with big headphones that looks like she might be going to an 80’s night club. Although we had to have a couple debates and executive decisions on some of the clothing our character had and what kind of board she would be riding down the Vinyl track, we eventually came out with an awesome looking character! I was very proud of how far Wang had come along since the beginning of the semester and his work ethic was starting to reflect in his work. We were able to put in his character and all of the animations he made for it just in time for EAE Day.
By the time EAE Day came around, Vinyl had already shown off it’s most recent build around to the Art Showcase a couple nights before and was ready to show off a year’s worth of hard work on our thesis game. Vinyl was a huge hit at EAE Day! We had people constantly surrounding Vinyl on the big screen TV and many more gathered around to play on the computer’s the game was set up on. Some people were stuck to the same computer playing the game for over 45 mins without saying a word to anyone else! They were hooked! By the end of the night, it felt like 100’s had the chance to play our game and you could overhear many people talking about Vinyl by the end of the night! It was a great way to end the semester for Vinyl!
Press for Vinyl:
As well as some love for Bob Kessler in Utah Business: http://www.parkrecord.com/news/ci_23116973/park-citys-high-tech-connections