Skeleton Hand is a Chicago-based company that is currently in the process of creating their first game titled Incarnate: Body Mind and Soul. With their unique game concept, Skeleton Hand will redefine how both turn-based strategy and living-card games are played. Incarnate will be released on PC and Tablet digitally, as well as a tabletop board game edition. Skeleton Hand worked with PreviewLabs to develop the prototype of their concept. Thanks to Bernard Francois from PreviewLabs for providing us with the links at the bottom of this blog post.
Character Artwork (“female Voidwatcher”) from Incarnate: Body Mind and Soul
SomaTone has been working with the team to shape and create custom interactive music for the game, It has been a fun process with lots of moving parts. Tempo, key signature and layered stems that can be mixed and matched were all important factors in shaping the music. It has been a wild ride so far– we are stoked to see where this is heading – especially with voicing the characters!
We’ve asked Hisham Saleh, Founder and CEO of Skeleton Hand a few questions about his game…
How did the creative process start with SomaTone?
When Dirk (Heidecke) and I started hashing out the details of the modular theme songs, we asked Bernard from PreviewLabs, who was working on the prototype with us, if he had any recommendations. He said he knew the SomaTone crew, and that we should look into them. He introduced us via email, and next thing we knew, we were in a Skype call with SomaTone later that same day!
Was this your first time working with an Audio team?
My father was actually a talented songwriter and when we owned a restaurant in Oak Park, we would do a lot of parties that required sound setup for the bands that played there. That would be the only real adjacent exposure to working with an audio team that I would have. Dirk (Game Designer, Partner) on the other hand used to be in a band…you should all definitely ask him about that.
Who had the idea of interactive music on your side and why?
Well, the initial concept that I came up with was classes with interchangeable parts (Body, Mind and Soul). Those parts give you access to your stats, your look, the cards that you can make your deck with, and the mix of unique abilities that you can use regardless of the cards that you have in your hand. Dirk and I were sitting in the car driving to my place, talking about how we wanted the music and the voice acting to work, and it just hit us! Why wouldn’t we have it so that your individual theme song was also based on the mix of classes you had chosen? At that point, we had just a frenzy of ideas and ended up with the three-part composition that you guys helped us make with the Melody, the Bassline, and the beat connected to those pieces.
What was your experience like at GDC and with the SomaTone team?
GDC was a whole new world. I have been interested in entrepreneurship since I was in college, but I have been running a small rock climbing gym, and personal training, so the jump back into the business and video game world was quite an interesting one. Basically, we were expecting to get a couple of minutes to show off what we had done, maybe talk to a few people and then have SomaTone send us off. That was COMPLETELY not the case. We hung out, set things up with them, and had our game on display at the booth of the top SFX companies in the business every day for all three days…It was surprising to say the least. They made sure that we knew what we were doing (which may or may not have been debatable otherwise), but also gave us the freedom to present the game and what they had done in our own way, which was amazing.
Skeleton Hand showcasing their game at the SomaTone booth, GDC 2014
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing now with your game?
We are heading straight to fully playable demo right now. Getting ready for the IndieCade deadline is going to be tight, but I am confident that we can make it happen. Once we gather up all of the 3D art assets, animations, and tweak the abilities, I feel like we will be ready to head off and start to promote what we have done. Incarnate started out as a board game, and we thought: “This thing would be WAYYY better as a video game.” Boy, were we right. If I had to name the single biggest challenge that we face, and that other independent developers are going to pretty much always face, it’s managing the scope of the project so that the scope reflects the resources we have. Then again, limited resources mean creativity, and creativity leads us to better games.
To learn more about Incarnate and Skeleton Hand, please visit…
Check out this highlight video from the Skeleton Hand presentation at the SomaTone booth during GDC 2014!
Incarnate Prototype – GDC Presentation
Check out the character selection process while listening to the game’s music!
Check out the PreviewLabs blog page for regular updates and content from Incarnate! http://www.previewlabs.com/blog/Tags: Audio / Creative Partnership / Developer / Dirk Heidecke / Game sound design / Game Sound Effects / Gaming / GDC / Hisham Saleh / indie / indie games / Mobile / Mobile Game / partnerships / SFX / skeleton hand / Somatone / sound design / soundtrack / video game audio