Written by Jared Haworth on
As a fledgling iOS developer myself, I'm always interested to see the new and interesting ways that the platform is being used. Last month's release of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP inspired a whole bunch of coverage, including a great article by Geraldo Nascimento.
Geraldo's article focuses on how the team behind S:S&S EP managed to time their release and subsequent in-game tweet drive with the days and hours leading up to the iPad 2's international launch. Personally, I'm not the world's biggest fan of Twitter. I've been viewing the continuing push of Twitter-integration in web and iOS applications as something of a necessary evil, but after reading Geraldo's article and seeing myself how well the integration is handled in S:S&S EP, I'll be a little less apprehensive about building social features into my applications in the future. As a non-Twitter user, I never felt pressured by the game to participate in the social media side of things, and I think that's the important take-away lesson here; social integration can be handled gracefully.
Also, last week featured the release of the Sword & Sworcery soundtrack album, titled Sword & Sworcery LP - The Ballad of the Space Babies. Given how much I enjoyed the game and Jim Guthrie's haunting music therein, I actually waited up on Thursday night so I could purchase the album as soon as it went on sale.
Those fans who happened to be awake and following the1console on Twitter were treated to something of a live album release listening party, which I have yet to see duplicated anywhere else. Given the impermanent nature of Twitter, I'm going to preserve that information here, because I think it provides some really neat insight into both the game development and soundtrack development process. While I've done a bit of editing (removed unrelated tweets and placed these in chronological order), all the following content is property of Superbrothers:
- So what's the first song on Jim Guthrie's Sword & Sworcery LP - The Ballad of the Space Babies, I hear you ask? Excellent question.
- It's a song called Dark Flute... the song-sketch predates the project, it suggested a hazy sunlit meadow in a haunted forest...
- ...so I painted an idyllic little homestead & a sheep-filled meadow, which was eventually rejiggered to contain gloomy, suspicious things.
- The song in S:S&S EP is a kind of funky background tune that plays right near the start... but on the record it's something else entirely.
- The song on the record starts the same only Jim added a soaring melody with epic flourishes, conjuring up a world of myth & adventure.
- Seriously folks, I'm sorry to do this to you, but I'm listening to Dark Flute right now... if you like S:S&S EP it's going to slay you.
- "So what's the second song?" Well that's a good if perfectly predictable question. It's Lonestar, of course. You will be humming it forever.
- Ba-da-bum-ba-da-bum-badabadabadabum. We've been humming this song to ourselves for like two years now, for reals. Lonestar is hella catchy.
- The third song on Jim Guthrie's new record has the name Doom Sock, which is a portmanteau of 'Poop Sock' & 'Doom Rock'. #portmanteau #wtf
- Doom Sock is coooool.... it's basically 70s John Carpenter + Ennio Morricone's horror scores, filtered through Jim Guthrie's strange mind.
- The reward for surviving Doom Sock is The Prettiest Weed aka The Downslope Song... only it has the craziest proggiest space sax-synth solo.
- So once you've survived Doom Sock & The Prettiest Weed you're left to ponder the eerie mysteries of The Cloud, the eeriest song of them all.
- The Cloud predates S:S&S EP by a few years. Jim recorded it with some friends including Owen Pallett aka @owenpallett aka Final Fantasy.
- Bits & pieces of The Cloud are scattered around the meta-spaces of S:S&S EP... the whole thing can be heard in the 'info' section.
- And then... folks... and then... the song after The Cloud. Oh my dear fucking lord... this takes me back... this gets the dreams going...
- The song after The Cloud is Under a Tree. It was on a record Jim gave me before we met back in like 2005. It's pure deep old magic.
- Under a Tree was the foundation for the GDC 2010 playable, it ended up in the final project on Side B... this song was the start of it all.
- Listening to Under a Tree now freaks me out. I've been listening to it for like six years, dreaming about it, imagining what it would be.
- There's this lazy hazy section towards the end... it goes on for a while... that's the stillness before dawn, the first pink sunrays...
- ...and then... the phrase at the end... coming home after walking all night long to a warm hut with a warm hearth... then sleep.
- END OF SIDE A
- START OF SIDE B
- The first song on Side B is [The Maelstrom]*... this was technically the first song in S:S&S EP, in that it was the first to be implemented.
- Unsettled Mood was in the barebones S:S&S EP prototype we submitted to the IGF in fall of 2009... a stormy, gloomy, heart-breaking affair...
- Oh sh*t... now it's The Ballad of the Space Babies. BLISSSSSSS
- SPACE BABIES HAUNT MY DREAMS
- SPACE BABIES ARE FROM HEAVEN THEY ARE FROM OUTER SPACE THEY LIVE WITHIN US THEY WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US I LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM
- Oh... I know that sound... that badass synth... it's time for Unknowable Geometry aka The Trigon Song... do you feel the glorious pain?!
- Just want to take a moment and give a shout-out to @brandonnn who faced The Gold Trigon in an early & infuriatingly hard build of S:S&S EP.
- To this day, the song of the Trigon causes Brandon to shudder & convulse as vivid of his violent rage-quitting erupt from his psyche. :)
- Oh & now we're listening to Bones McCoy... the most danceable song on the record - 100 points to anyone who knows where in S:S&S EP this is!
- Can't tweet, dancing for a bit.
- Ok now we're on Ode to a Room. Which room, I hear you ask? The Pink Room, apologies to Angelo Bandalamente: http://vimeo.com/7107269
- If you know Twin Peaks & you've played S:S&S EP then you know what's up. The owls are not what they seem, amirite?
- The Prettiest Remix will remind you that you are awesome, smart & super badass.
- The less said about The Whirling Infinite the better, to discuss it is to enter the mouth of madness... never to return.
- And now here we are, at long last... the last song on the LP, the last song on S:S&S EP, the transcendent & heartbreaking Little Furnace.
- If Little Furnace doesn't absolutely slay you then I don't know what will, it's shockingly beautiful & also actually kinda moving...
- If you played S:S&S EP to the finish you knows what's up. This is an old song, I listened to it a million times while crafting the epilogue.
- Once Little Furnace is over the LP is done, it's the end of Side B... it's time to stop & think & wonder & reflect on all that came before.
- So that was Jim Guthrie's Sword & Sworcery LP - The Ballad of the Space Babies official live-tweet, fifteen minutes to go before launch!
*The Maelstrom was originally known as "Unsettled Mood" -- this correction was pointed out in the livestream.