Putting on a Show

One of the weirder aspects of making Epic Sax Game so far (and there have been many) has been putting together the Eurovision level of the game. As soon as the game expanded beyond the simple idea of playing the basic loop, it became clear that the player should be able to take part in the Eurovision performance of the full song. But doing so would mean actually staging the Eurovision performance all by myself. With pixels.

And so I’ve been working away at it over the last few days, drawing dance moves and light shows and stage scenery with as much fidelity to the real show as I can manage without sacrificing my entire life to it. That process of working out which elements to take and which to invent has been an intriguing one. In particular, the whole time it’s felt like I am stage directing a show of my own – you go there, you guys jump in the air, let’s have a big flash of light now! I watch and rewatch videos of the real performance repeatedly, looking for subtleties that will help to make it feel like the real deal during gameplay. I get lost in questions of how important it is to have the violinist rotating at the beginning (Very Important) or whether people need to walk around on stage (hell no, too hard).

If nothing else, it’s given me a deep appreciation for how much work goes into putting on one of these events. We sit in front of Eurovision shows and chuckle away about how cheesy they are and shout “next!” at the TV and so on. But no, those people worked their asses off, and people planned the various moves, the lighting, the fireworks, and everything! Now that I am all those people, I feel an abiding sympathy and, perhaps perversely, I now really enjoy watching the Moldovan performance in Eurovision 2010, despite having watched it around 100 times by now perhaps.

In short, as ever, game making gives you these strange tastes of other occupations and lives. I’m pretty sure I never thought I’d find myself sympathising with Eurovision choreographers and stage directors, and yet here I am, watching their handiwork and thinking…

“My brothers. My sisters.”

6 March 2012
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