IT consultant Nikola Lajic makes his debut in the independent games space this month with Run Die Retry, a free-to-play platformer for iOS 9.3+. Tasking players with surviving a linear, continually flowing pathway haunted by obstacles and enemies for as long as they can, the game’s endless-running style of play will be accompanied by a looping, synthwave composition by Higher Eclectic Ground’s Sam Oz.
Both game-play and the background music track can be previewed in the game’s launch trailer. With in-game obstacles taking the form of ghosts, boulders and vaporising laser beams —
- Each play-through of Run Die Retry promises to differ from the previous, thanks to randomisation of levels.
- Visuals come in retro-modern, pixel art graphics, accentuated by the use of real-time shadows.
- Future updates are slated to bring a greater variety of traps, enemies and environments.
Although seemingly rudimentary in concept and design, Run Die Retry’s value lies in the fact that it represents Lajic’s first, complete attempt at game development since being introduced to the realm in 2005.
A Novi Sad, Serbia resident, Lajic’s day job has involved the development of various iOS applications since 2009.
Starting with task manager TapDo before progressing to independent lifestyle app releases such as that of For The Next, his occasional experimentation with game design resulted in his first foray into Unity3D circa 2015.
Despite wanting to keep things simple however, Lajic found himself stressing too much over the details to sustain the newfound hobby and eventually burned out. In his own words — ‘“Perfect is the enemy of done”, this has been a problem for me most of my life. Starting something and then never finishing because I was never 100% satisfied with the result.’
By September, 2016, he returned with renewed intention to finish development of a game, however small, and has been documenting progress across a blog and social media ever since.
Via Higher Eclectic Ground in the month May, this year, the developer was put in touch with Winterthur, Switzerland based multi-genre, freelancing music composer for games, Sam Oz .
Oz had first experimented with the Synthwave genre at the time with his two-part composition, In The Stars, that instantly appealed to Lajic’s vision of a retro-sounding background music track for the game.
‘The melody for Run Die Retry’s game-play loop came to me quite quickly,’ Oz recounts. ‘It was one of those times; for usually, in cases such as these, it can take me a while to come up with something appropriate.’
To mark the upcoming launch, Lajic has now established a dedicated website for Run Die Retry that contains links to its App Store page, social media channels, various media and the developer’s blog should one wish to follow-up on his history.
Developers and Synthwave enthusiasts wishing to learn more of Sam Oz’s music services meanwhile, collaborate with the artist or connect with him on grounds of original music requests, may do so via his profile on Higher Eclectic Ground. Also present therein is a complete overview of his work history, software expertise, references and bio-data. Feel free to direct any queries you might have to myself, representative and manager of Oz’s freelance music services for games, via sean.b[at]highereg[dot]com.
Will you be adding Run Die Retry to your casual gaming collection? Did you enjoy Sam Oz’s work? Why/Why not? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.
From the 6th till the 20th of May ran this year’s Adventure Jam, a Cassie Benter & Stacy Davidson co-organized GameJam that invited avid game developers to create and showcase their best adventure themed creations on popular game sharing platform, GameJolt.
Its extended voting period, one that lasted between the 20th of May and the 1st of July, brought news earlier today that Luminy Studios’ submission of The Mystic Journey of Atriom secured an overall ranking of 36 amid 163 other adventure game entries. Contributing to this grade is its ranking of 14 within the Best Visuals category and that of 15 within the Best Music Category.
The game’s Best Music ranking bears special relevance to Higher Eclectic Ground by means of Network member Sam Oz; a France based musician proficient in a multitude of classical and modern genres, who had helmed the original soundtrack for the game under the request of its developer and friend Juanjo Barcelo Molina. Oz had first introduced the Network to The Mystic Journey on the 1st of June, wherein he described how the onus of developing up to three tracks, each of three variations, within a span of but a single week was picked up by him.
In doing so he debuted the game’s Main Menu theme on his Network Space — followed by variations of its gameplay and ending music on the 19th and 28th of June respectively — also describing their significance and his frustrations with them in the process. ‘As I was leaving on vacation at the time, I had to compose The Mystic Journey’s music without knowing anything about the game; I just knew it had to be Fantasy themed — I think it turned out satisfactory’, he had mentioned in conversation with Higher Eclectic Ground during the same time.
The Mystic Journey of Atriom fosters exploration and spirituality as its primary themes, narrating the tale of a young boy whose tribe demands that maturity be achieved only by making a Sacred journey to reconcile one’s soul with that of the Great Spirit. To this end, players are tasked with exploring the Sacred Forest in search of 10 Sacred Stones as the young boy — Atriom — amid inherent features such as hand-painted environments and day/night cycles.
‘I’m very happy with the result because is my first game with this aesthetics (handpainted textures), for me this JAM has been an experiment with a happy end!’, stated developer Molina who operates under the Luminy Studios moniker, when reached out to earlier today. ‘Working with Sam Oz has been a real pleasure, in one week he was able to create several themes perfectly synchronized with the history and atmosphere of the game; Sam is a great professional and a person with a lot of talent!’
In announcement of the rankings on The Mystic Journey’s GameJolt page however, Molina revealed that the game would unfortunately never be built upon due to him losing the game’s Unity files to hardware issues. ‘The only thing I can do is start over, but now I’m too immersed in important projects and do not have enough time to start from scratch’, he wrote. The game’s soundtrack meanwhile survives on both Oz’s YouTube channel and his Bandcamp, where from the entire album can be bought for a customer stated fee.
A member since February this year, musician Sam Oz has had the trailers of popular titles such as Valiant Hearts, Child of Light and The Division listed on his portfolio as an original music composer for Ubisoft. The years after his parting from the game development/publishing giant circa 2013 have seen him devote his energy towards conjuring the soundtracks of several independent game projects (Gadan Games’ My Last Friday, Simon Mesnard’s The Black Cube), when not devoting time to his ongoing musical tribute to Studio Ghibli and other personal ventures that is.
Adept at both traditional and computer based instruments, he continues to promote his independent services as a musician of extremely flexible rates via the Higher Eclectic Network, while also being open to revenue share agreements provided a game piques his interest. One can freely observe a brief portfolio of his work thus far, his contributions to Atriom’s OST and even get in touch with him at any instance of time with their own commissions via his Higher Eclectic Space.
Don’t forget to download and play The Mystic Journey of Atriom only via GameJolt.
With 20 years of experience in original music composition — inclusive of which has been work on Valiant Hearts, Child of Light, Assassins Creed & more recently, The Division — French composer Sam Oz is now a part of Higher Eclectic’s indie music fraternity.
Proficient in playing the Drums, Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Djembe and Xylophone among the more modern Computer-based music software, Oz will now be seen bringing the indie Game community herein his original music work from projects past & forthcoming with exclusive insight into their formation, in an attempt to appeal to its Game Developers, Artists, YouTubers & other game talent present.
It’s been over two years since Oz parted ways with Ubisoft, he states, choosing not to go into his reasons solely in respect of his agreement with the Game Development giant. In the months that ensued, Oz turned indie — working on numerous, as yet unreleased independent games & animated shorts that have spanned genres such as action-adventure, horror, futuristic, retro & even a personal tribute to Studio Ghibli.. His latest project, Gadan Games’ My Last Friday is set to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon.
‘The indie scene offers a lot more freedom and artistic expression — and free expression is what I’m constantly seeking. A large number of quality projects are created by the indie community alone and at this point of my life, I have a deep-rooted desire to be amidst it’, he confides. His relationship with music began by learning the Drums, which soon progressed to the Guitar, Ukulele and eventually, Computer Aided Music. ‘It has been a whole 20 years playing music in a multitude of styles. Despite being particularly fond of classical music, I also create pop-rock, metal, ethnic & electro music to name a few.’
As is customary of every artist here, Oz will now be seen building a presence within the community — opting to kick things off with a tune that couldn’t be more apt for this time of the year. Unnamed, this little number was composed by the maestro himself for one of The Division’s first trailers to hit the Internet back in 2014 after its E3 2013 debut.
Oz’s thoughts about the piece though, are surprising. ‘It was not my best project because I was leaving shortly after I started working on it. I still wanted to do more, add more to it so that it could match The Division’s universe — but sadly, I never got to finish it to my liking. Moreover, this track music is not in the final OST despite it being in one of Ubisoft’s first trailers for the game.’
Fascinating isn’t it? Expect a lot more insight into his work as he blends into the community here. ‘I’m comfortable with a variety of genres and look forward to collaborating with some of the other exceptional indie game musicians & game developers here’, he admits. Meanwhile, Oz now has his own Higher Eclectic Space, which contains an elaborate summary of his work & capabilities while also serving to document his posts on the community henceforth.
Of course, all of this is so that he can contribute to your own creations — Games, YouTube channels, you name it — at rates that he states are more than flexible and that vary on the basis of budget & size of the indie game entity hiring him. Be sure you get down there and give him a shout via the member forums, The Bulletin, now.