During GameCity 7 last month, David and I “performed” Proteus Live, along with a couple of other volunteers. We’d been invited to do a live playthrough, but we always feel rather stiff and self-conscious when walking around the game ourselves for the purposes of showing it to other people. We racked our brains (whilst walking around the Cambridgeshire fields) and figured it out: We’d get other people to play it for us. Well, OK, so that would be cheating. We’d get other people to play it whilst we played it:

We’d think up and implement a load of ways to tweak the game in realtime: shifting colour palettes, spawning animals, attracting animals to the player, switching seasons, changing time, triggering existing and new effects. I’d have the PC keyboard in front of me whilst our “explorer” played on an XBox pad. We’d also have controls to mix out the game music, and David would be mixing and improvising live to create a unique new reactive soundtrack. On the day before the event we picked Jon Brodsky as our accomplice: coder of the Mac OS version and experienced explorer.

It worked! As you can probably tell (especially in the Venus Patrol footage) David was working – playing – insanely hard whilst I was just pressing a few buttons – on the night itself anyway. If you’re familiar with how Proteus playthroughs go, I didn’t get to use many of the features I’d added, but that was fine. After the “live” run was over, we did a long and often intense Q&A whilst the game was played through again on the big screen in “normal” mode.

For more on Proteus Live, including two more videos and a sneaky photo of my near-illegible cheat-sheet, check out this Venus Patrol post. I think the whole things was being recorded “officially” too, so if that goes up I’ll post a link that.

Lots of people asked if we could somehow work this into the released version of the game, and this is definitely something we want to do. Some of the events and triggers are just THENs waiting for an IF so those will definitely be in the next release. On top of that, it seems like it would be pretty easy to clean up the code and make it available as a special mode: One person could play on mouse or joypad, whilst someone else controlled the environment via the keyboard. Making your own live soundtrack will be harder, but we’ll leave that up to enterprising and talented players! We haven’t exactly decided how we’re going to release this, but it’ll probably simply be part of the standard edition of the game.

Finally, David made a 60 minute mix to play whilst we were setting up. It’s an intense blend of some of the music that has been very inspiring to us, and in some cases sampled in the game audio.

Download here! (about 80MB)

1. synth 1 (b – synth 2) // 2. Alice Coltrane – Shiva Loka // 3. inchadney – Rain // 4. Nodeland Dreams & Memories // 5. A Hawk and A Hacksaw – Vasalisa Carries a Flaming Skull Through the Forest // 6. Belbury Poly – The Hidden Door // 7. Dakim – 7 // 8. Zomby – Digital Fauna // 9. David Kanaga – Gold // 10. The Advisory Circle – And The Cuckoo Comes // 11. Paul Giovanni – Willow’s Song // 12. Bibio – Quantock // 13. Ornette Coleman – The Man Who Live in the White House // 14. digifishmusic – Gentle Sea on Flat Beach // 15. BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Colour Radio // 16. The Beach Boys – Trombone Dixie // 17. autumn pads // 18. David Kanaga – Wombflash Forest 2 // 19. Brian Eno – Triennale // 20. Erik Satie – Sarabande No. 1 // 21. David Kanaga – The Crystal World // 22. The Advisory Circle – Learning Owl Reappears // 23. – Carlo Gesualdo – In te, Domine, speravi // 24. Maurice Ravel – Daphnis & Chloe part 3; sunrise; Daphnis prostrate at the grotto of the nymphs // 25. Friedrich Nietzsche – Da Geht Ein Bach // 26. J.S. Bach – A Musical Offering; canon 1 a 2 (cancrizans) // 27. J.S. Bach/Lorenzo Snow – A Musical Offering (stretched) // 28. Alice Coltrane – Jagadishwar // 29. low end peace