3 DEAF MICE – sound and story in a game – Part 2

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Why mice and what’s behind their listening, sound and music

3 Deaf Mice started with the idea of the nursery rhyme 3 Blind Mice adapted as the three deaf musical mice, but having to deal with the difficulties of hearing loss from listening to loud music too long, and I thought that would make a cool sound game. It sets up the challenge for the player to improve their own hearing so they can help the mice create the song.  And once that happens, it opens the door for a whole bunch of fun audio challenges and creativity. We’ve already got six more songs written around the lives of these three mice, all to do with sound and music creation, while also dealing with the rodents’ real world issues of finding food and avoiding getting caught as prey. Like mice, we humans can relate to these basic survival needs, and it certainly will add motivation to the game play. Lots of drama!

Characters and Story

Music has been a driving force in my life, and I like lots of different genres. So when I began thinking about these mice, it seemed that each one could have their own  origin and specialties, having mastered different areas of the world of sound that they will share during the game play. I gathered images from the animal and music world to create their visuals (top of this post).

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Ratatat, the albino Punk drummer, is a hyper physics professor, answering vibrational mysteries from the atom to the universe.

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Shred, the Metal guitarist, takes us on a psychedelic acoustic journey of the brain and how it processes and converts noise into art.

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Woofer, the Rasta bassist, expresses the spirit of musical invention, connecting with animal communication and the musical story of humanity.

Through the lyrics and game play, we’ll be going on this adventure with them, how they got together, formed their band, became famous and had to confront the challenges of stardom.

How the community will be involved

I think that having contests is a very engaging communal activity, so I’m planning to have players remixing the song, creating new graphics and submitting new song lyrics. I love the sound design contests that we’ve been seeing for the past few years, with the participants both submitting entries and voting on one another’s best selection.  It’s a great way for people to get to know each other, and to acknowledge quality work, whether it is humorous, intellectually stimulating, or just weird, whatever is out there for people to express. I’d like to contribute to the audio contest offerings that have been made by my inspired colleagues like Ric Viers and Shaun Farley, which have been such a success for our community.

In more advanced versions, players will be invited to share their sounds inside the game, so that these sounds can create something beyond any single game developer’s imagination, with the community itself participating as to what the game can become. We’ll support this at first by creating templates and parameters for the players, but intend to go more open source as the community becomes more involved.

Goals and rewards

This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, both in terms of game development and a Kickstarter campaign, so I feel a little awkward in the role of a marketing person, and posting about that sensitive subject of funding on John’s blog here. But I really hope that it generates a lot of joy in playing with sound and in the collaborative nature of making this game happen.

The Kickstarter campaign is about generating community awareness and support for developing the very basic game play, with a minimum funding goal to pay for programming, music and graphics. I’m deferring all my fees so we can make this happen. On the upside we have “stretch goals” that will allow us to release on more platforms (iOS, Android, OUYA), and publish an e-book, record more songs and incorporate more social interactivity with the contests. I’m offering relevant rewards like my 12-hour webinar series Sound Design for Pros, signed copies of my book,  and participation in the game content.

As a kind of preview of the 3 Deaf Mice game play, I’m currently running a Facebook contest for people to identify specific sounds in the Kickstarter video and be eligible for game related prizes.

The biggest reward for me is to have lots of people open their ears in new ways to the amazing world of sound. I’d love to hear any feedback on this project. Please keep in touch!

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