creating Conduit

after the success of Bomb Dolls, Girl Software was excited to make more games! but being sick made it difficult to get a lot of gamedev work done, so for a while we just released music and experimented with weird stuff like netcode and procgen.

conduit

prototype for Meet Hot Single Girls In Your Multiverse, a game where you use a dating app to visit a procgen world and then you have to jetpack around looking your procgen alien date while she sends you selfies from wherever she's waiting? and then you go back to her place and make out on procgen furniture? honestly this was a great idea, thanks brain fog

conduit

Jessica helped us write a system for generating random palettes using color theory

meanwhile rook was releasing a series of videos for her new album 2,020 Knives and asked if we were feeling well enough to make one for Conduit. we listened to the song and immediately had a vision of a lonely mousegirl in a glowy electronic world.

conduit

rook said there was no deadline and we were like "oh cool we can probably get this done in a few months" and that was absolutely not true! Long Covid continued to disrupt our lives. we ended up moving so we could take care of ourselves and recover, and it wasn't an easy process. but it was fun to have a video to keep us occupied. rook was very nice and always reminded us to take breaks and not work too hard.

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this is what the storyboards looked like in september 2020

the project was ambitious. whereas Dreams Come True was recorded in an actual game with existing visuals and scripts, Conduit was an entirely new creation. we had to draw concept sketches, build all the sets, and learn for the first time how to use Unity's animation timeline, which had all kinds of technical quirks we weren't accustomed to. (usually our character animations are scripted so they're easier to manipulate directly.)

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another complication: halfway through the project, our ThinkPad stopped working! the files were okay, but it took some time to transfer them to a desktop computer, and from that point on we could only work when we were feeling well enough to sit at a desk

we also shot all the outdoor scenes in procedurally generated worlds with procedurally generated materials that turned out to be unsavable, so each time we started recording, we had to get every possible take before exiting the scene and watching it disappear forever. this meant we ended up with a LOT of footage, which is both a blessing and a curse when you're making a music video.

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you never know when you'll need more clips!

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but they take a long time to look through and edit

somehow it wasn't enough, though. we finished the first draft and it still felt like it was missing something. we'd talked about playing the whole video on a laptop, using a phone to take a video of the screen, and then combining both versions in the style of Dreams Come True, but the ThinkPad was broken and we wanted something different anyway.

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as usual, Jessica saved the project. she bought a bunch of conduit tubes and we took them to Girl Software Film Studio, a place originally intended for making frogsongs videos. we synced up some lights to the music and filmed the tubes and got all the material we needed.

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maybe frogmovie will be done someday

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thankfully Eileen was there to held us hold the tubes, our arms got tired pretty fast

after about a year of working on and off, the Conduit video was done, and Girl Software was back in business! like a wandering mousegirl, we found ourselves in a beautiful and mysterious place, far from home but ready to start a new life with a new computer.

conduit

bye ThinkPad