The Song of Aria is a game about a Songcrafter; a girl called Aria who can craft magic with her voice. She is also blind and uses her singing to listen to echoes allowing her to 'see' the world around her. Aria finds herself trapped in the ruins of an ancient power and must use her vocal talent as an 'unconventional weapon' against the dangers that she finds there.
The game was made for Ludum Dare 32, a competition to develop a full video game in 48 hours that meets the theme 'An Unconventional Weapon'. All of the game's content was created in that 2 day period except for a small collection of framework code.
The Song of Aria was well received by those rating the Ludum Dare entries, scoring in the top 50 out of over 1000 entered games.
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Between 6am and noon on the Saturday of Ludum Dare 32 I focused entirely upon prototyping the concept for The Song of Aria. At this time I hadn't yet worked out what the story was going to be and had only just decided that I wanted my unconventional weapon to be someone's voice.
I quickly setup a test scene in Unity and experimented with the core 'sound' mechanic. During the morning I aimed to iterate quickly around the design of the game's main theme until I felt comfortable to move on to art and level design, tweaking the range of the sound waves that Aria could create and the effect they had on enemies and the environment.
Much of Saturday evening and Sunday morning were spent hammering out the art for Aria, the scenes and the enemies (demonic floating eyes). I wanted Aria to have warm and striking colours to bring her to the foreground in the dark ruins. I also made sure that her main colour; orange, would give the player the sense that she is the only warm object in the scene. The bandages you find later on in the game, have a hue to reflect Aria's and help the player identify them.
Most of the rest of the art is designed to appear almost monochrome through various shades of blue. This is important as it reflects Aria's inability to assess the colour of objects around her. Lighter objects are intended to give off a stronger magical feedback or a better response to Aria's audio sense.
I was very careful with level design for The Song of Aria. I wanted the player to understand each mechanic at their own pace, especially as the maps that they enter start off completely hidden from them until the player has bounced their voice off the walls and explored a bit.
More than half of the levels teach the player simple concepts: sing to see the map, avoid geysers because they'll hurt you, trap enemies by leading them into geysers etc. The remaining levels test the player's knowledge while slowly developing the story surrounding Aria and lead towards the culmination of the games events.