The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event hosted by the creators of Pocket Gamer and PC Games Insider. It sees indie developers engaging in a speed-dating style pitch competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.
The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry experts. The judges then choose three winners and everyone receives valuable feedback.
The independent view
The Big Indie Pitch gets bigger and bigger as we take it to events all over the world. To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the featured events and games, we sat down with a number of former Big Indie Pitch contestants to give their perspective.
Today we talk to Floppy Club, who submitted Rytmos to The Digital Big Indie Pitch (PC + Console Edition) #16 and walked away as a finalist.
Sophia Aubrey Drake: Tell us a bit about yourself and your independent studio – who is on the team and what are their inspirations?
Floppy Club: Our studio, Floppy Club, is a small game studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. Our current focus is to develop games with a strong focus on sound and music.
Floppy Club was founded by Niels Böttcher and Asger Strandby in 2019. Niels Böttcher is the sound designer and project lead and Asger is the lead game developer and designer. It’s a small studio, but we’re lucky to have an additional graphic designer, tech artist, game designer and more to help out.
When we started the company, we had known each other for almost 20 years. Not from game making, but from the music scene in Denmark. Niels had a label called Jenka Music for almost 20 years where he released a lot of music. It is also from there that he and Asger know each other, as Asger has played in bands that Niels has released and managed. Some of you may be familiar with the band Analogik, who also made a lot of music for video games. Games like Max & the Magic Marker, Kalimba, BattleBlock Theater and more recently Rubber Bandits.
We both have been developing games for many years in different companies and for different clients. In 2019, we both had a natural break from some of our previous companies, and then it felt natural to try to combine game and music making in some way. And that’s when we decided to do Rytmos.
Tell us about the Floppy Club that you presented during the competition.
Rytmos is a music-based galactic puzzle game. The game’s very simple storyline is that a huge big bang has scattered all musical genres, instruments and elements throughout the universe, and now it’s up to you to travel from one solar system to another and restructure the cosmos in the universe. .
The basic gameplay is that you have to create small loops in a puzzle maze. These labyrinths that you find on each side of a cubic planet. When creating the loops, you need to hit as many so-called “sound emitters” as possible. A “sound emitter” is a small thing that produces a sound each time your cursor touches it, and it can contain a percussion hit, a tone on an instrument, or a full musical chord.
When you have successfully solved a puzzle and created a loop, you will begin to hear your first musical sequence. Solving more sides on the planets will then add more and more musical sequences to the music and in the end you will have 6 sequences playing on top of each other and a small piece of music.
After solving a complete planet, you will be rewarded with different types of instruments, so you can jam along to the music of the planets.
The music and visuals of the different solar systems in the game are inspired by different musical genres from around the world. For example, you can find planets inspired by Ethiopian jazz music from the 60s, German electronic music from the 70s, traditional Indonesian gamelan music and much more.
In addition to creating an enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing puzzle game, we also hope to inspire players to listen to new music and get interested in different genres in the game. While playing the game, you will receive music recommendations from time to time , small historical notes on the genres and explanations of some of the most interesting instruments. So, if you want, you can also learn a bit more about music while playing the game.
Upon completion, the game will also come with a website where you can find inspirational playlists and more.
What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Floppy Club that players may not have seen before.
There are many rhythm games where you as the player react to the pre-recorded music, but not so many games where you can create the music while playing the game. This is probably the most unique thing about the game.
The game is actually a massive music sequencer, which you can tune, play in different tempos, scales and more, and I don’t think you’ll find so many games where music and gameplay are so deeply intertwined. It also made game development super complex, as the music changed completely when a puzzle was redesigned. Very often this meant that the structure of the music had to be completely redone.
We also think the game sounds and looks a bit different from many other games. We think our graphic designer Niels Fyrst has done a really good job of making the game look good and a bit different from the majority of other games.
Rytmos is a relaxing music-based puzzle game. What made you choose this genre, and what do you think you can bring to it that might not have been seen before?
We chose this genre because we (Niels & Asger) both have a long history of music. It was kind of a natural step to combine our interest in music and games.
In music, you will also find many rules and structures, related to musical scales, steps, etc. We found that it might actually have a lot in common with puzzle games.
How did you come to choose the platforms for which you would develop Floppy Club?
Besides making the game for PC, it was obvious that the Nintendo Switch console was a great fit for a music-based game. Nintendo has a long history of musical games and the creative use of sound in general. Games like Electroplankton for example are a good example. Later, the game will also be released on mobile platforms.
Looking at the studio a bit more now. Is it difficult to survive as an independent developer?
Being an independent game developer is, of course, hard work. You have to constantly look for investments and spend a lot of time pitching and trying to sell the game (and future games) to investors, publishers, etc.
This of course takes away a lot of time that could be spent on game development. But after working in the game industry as an employee for other companies for many years, it can also be interesting to learn about a bit more on the business side of the industry. It’s probably better if you think like that.
Are there any tips and advice you would give to an indie developer just starting out?
Don’t forget to think about releasing the game to the world. It’s such a shame to see that many nice games and studios are collapsing because they focused entirely on game development and forgot to develop game marketing and promotion. Fingers crossed that this doesn’t happen to us not
How did you find your pitching experience within the framework of the Big Indie Pitch?
Being part of the pitching was fun. It was also a bit intense and you had to stay focused to get there in time. I felt a little like I was in an exam again, but that was a good thing. You really had to prepare well and rehearse the presentation.
We had very good feedback on the short time spent with the judges and it was a very good way to prepare us to make an elevator pitch for investors, conferences and others.
What do you think you got out of the experience and what do you still hope to gain?
We received a badge. As players that we are, we are always on the lookout for badges. We have also become much clearer in our communication about the game. We hope to get many more badges in the future.
What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for future projects?
Our hope is that the game will sell so well that we can keep running our game studio and create the next game. We also hope that this game will inspire people to go and listen to lots of new music from around the world.
We have some ideas for future projects, which will most likely be around music/sound in some way, but nothing concrete to discuss yet.
Want to to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye on our events page for an event near you, or even our new digital locations.
All of our upcoming pitches, including how to participate, can be found on our upcoming events page on BigIndiePitch.com.
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