So, if you haven’t noticed, we’re making a singing & dancing game and yes, making one does involve a lot of singing and dancing in the office, it’s a basic requirement to play the game as you make it. You’d think it would be daunting having to spend all day having to sing in front of people; well it kinda is, or at least it was.
The new recruits and I weren’t expected on our first day to stand in front of our new office mates and sing out Carly Rae to everyone. So instead, our lead booked us in for a singing lesson and a focus test with the Data Analyst and Researcher (and fellow blogger), Eva Swap. She had been running focus tests regularly for weeks with general public to test out the different levels of gameplay.
So singing lessons, that was always certainly going to be interesting, isn’t it? Not really what you expect to do when working on a computer game, but I suppose you need to get training in what you’re actually working on. At least I don’t work for Infinity Ward I guess, I’d imagine they’d have to pop over to do a tour in Iraq. We shuffled into the Karaoke Room, which we were told was nearly sound proof. It began with just some vocal tests as a group followed by some breathing exercises to help us not pull a vocal chord. Of course, at the end, we were required to do the dreaded task of singing. Don’t stop believing is where we started, and no, it was the Glee version (which I unashamedly stated I quite liked). Without even realising, I managed to be the loudest and was awarded with a party pack size of Maltesers. I didn’t share.
And then on the following day, we were with Eva again, this time for the focus test. She got us all laughing and messing around before asking which of us was going to take the plunge first. No, it wasn’t me.
We started with Party mode, which is the main feature of our SiNG game, where the main player holds the WiiU controller and stands in front of the remaining team who mimic the actions of the character on screen and sing along to lyrics that pop up (usually the chorus). Obviously a bit nervous to begin with, but it was fun and being beside four other rough looking men dancing to pop songs made it even funnier. You’d quickly overcome any fears or reservations you have and if you’re at all competitive like me, halfway through I was already trying to beat the other players.
The first song over, we were happy and making jokes and in my head I was declaring myself the winner. I volunteered to sing for the next and exchanged the gamepad and microphone with the previous singer and turned around, only to realise that singing to everyone is actually a bit daunting and having a go was a bad idea. The music started and I was dreading the moment the lyrics were going to pop up on the nice little touchpad. I sang the first line, that was alright. Sang the second, that was alright too, and then looked up at my backing dancers to judge their reaction to my bellowing. The awesome upside of being the singer is that you can watch all your mates who are distracted pulling silly poses, a big plus if you are not such a confident singer such as myself. I’d like to jump forward to the future to put this story now in comparison, the other guys in the office rib me for being a terrible singer, I struggle to hit some of the notes in the singing mode of the game. That said, I have no qualms with singing in front of anyone now, I regularly do it in middle of a 30 people office room, everyone else is the one who has to endure my inability to hold a note.
We had a few more rounds and agreed we felt a lot more confident about singing and felt more comfortable doing it around each other.
I’m still a terrible singer.