AmpHead is a first-person indie horror game built in Unreal Engine and Wwise, set in a deserted subway station, you are tasked with boarding the last train home, but just like any horror setting, something doesn’t seem quite right… you are not alone. As you try to escape the subway, you’ll hear a range of implemented audio including and diegetic dependent character sounds, and an interactive score scripted to the state of the AI.

Initially, this project began as a prototype to showcase my research of the psychological effect of repetition killing tension in horror games. My interactive music system, is designed to communicate the state of the AI to the player, and sometimes including red herrings to keep the player tense. Thus, not to reaveal a linear system of music.

It started as my masters major project whilst studying an MSc in Sound and Music for Interactive games over in Leeds and has continued to develop over time. Having been learning Unreal Engine for audio + basic gameplay scripting the past year previously, this project presented a new set of challenges which included learning how to use Unreal Engine for level design, AI, and scripting gameplay states to communicate to events in Wwise. At the same time while writing and recording the music, and building the soundscape, the development and recording process stared to inform the narrative.

Most of the score was produced with using sounds which are in congruence with the Amphead character, and subway setting – using the guitar in a unconventional ways to produce sounds with variations of string tensions for underscores, feedback, amp hum and buzz, ebow (handheld electromagnetic string driver), and blending these with layers of distorted train screeches for different levels of intensities.

Since the early days of the development, the level has taken on a life of it’s own and now incorporates a short gameplay narrative. I am working towards a playable 1.0 build.

More information coming soon.

In the mean time, please follow the AmpHead game account on twitter to keep up to date with the development process, while also supporting, sharing, and discussing indie horror dev works for inspiration!

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