Two weeks ago we announced our new project, Pendulum. In todays IndieDev Diary we take a trip to the museum for bit of research.

When starting any project, research is such a huge part of the process. Last week I took a trip to London, specifically the Science Museum and British Museum, to browse their extensive collection of clocks – now theres a sentence I never thought i’d say. The purpose of the trip was to think about game mechanics, visual and sound design inspiration – and how real life clocks can influence our game. Taking my audio recording equipment, I wrongly assumed i’d be able to make useable recordings in the museums however swiftly realised these museums are vast warehouse like facilities with the acoustics of a cave – not great for close mic recordings of tiny clockwork mechanisms.

The collection of bizarre clocks was fascinating, and although it was hard to draw any game mechanics from them there was certainly a lot of visual inspiration. Something that caught my eye was the beautiful engravings of the pocket watches. When developing Fallen we originally had a similarly barren background to what Pendulum has right now, we changed this by adding detail – specifically a flashing wire pattern (read more about it here). Upon seeing these beautiful engravings, I was struck by how simply they’d fit into the background of the game, using a simple engraved text effect inside my vector art program of choice – Affinity Designer. This is definitely something I’ll be exploring in the near future, attempting to keep the games minimalist art style but with ornate engravings.

Another simple realisation from this collection of pocket watches was the chains used to latch them to your jacket. We’d previously been using a heavy line from the peg to ball, but have since begun experimenting with a chain link system that works using a tile sheet (Aidan will go into more detail on this in the coming weeks). Heres a preview with some slightly updated graphics!

As I wandered around the clock exhibits at these museums, I was struck (pun completely intended) by the acoustics of the spaces. Particularly in the British museum, there was a corner of the room where I was surrounded by grandfather clocks on three sides and the way the mechanisms were all our time was surprisingly pleasing. Again, its a shame the room was so noisy but a collection of softly ticking clocks would make beautiful music for the home screen of settings menu. As we progress further with the game, i’ll do a separate blog on the music and sound design of the game – but right now thats still being researched so in the meantime you can check out our spotify playlist of musical inspiration here. Thats all for now, we’re currently testing new game mechanics – specifically gravity obstacles and a colour switching mechanic. We’ll be releasing a new demo imminently, so be sure to sign up to the mailing list to be the first to get the demo!

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