How many farts must you endure in order to find the most fitting flatulence? For Capybara Games’ audio director and co-founder Sean Lohrisch, that number is about 700.
At the ID@Xbox event in San Francisco during Game Developers Conference last week, Lohrisch spoke fondly about the process of cooking up the most appropriate fart. After all, why settle for less than the best to complement Squirty Harry, one of 16 playable character in Capy’s hotly anticipated single-player co-op side-scroller Super Time Force, slated for a May/June release on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
“I try to be pretty exhaustive when searching through sounds so as not to regret missing out on the perfect sound (or in this case, the perfect fart),” recalled Lohrisch, whose standards include seeking the right level of comedy and quality. “One resource that I use shows about 700 results for the word ‘fart.’”
If there’s still confusion as to why a character named Squirty Harry requires flawless flatulence, Capy president and co-founder Nathan Vella summed it up succinctly: “You play a character who is a a piece of shit and farts, and has a magnum, and if you shoot the farts with the magnum, the farts explode and that’s the attack.”
Like most elements that wound up in STF, Squirty Harry was “just a dumb joke one of us made at 1 p.m. one day and by 3 p.m. he was in the game,” noted Capy writer and designer Dan Vader. Artist Kelly Smith had already conveniently conceived a “humanoid shit person” so the team “slapped a giant gun in his hand, prototyped a fart cloud, and that was that.”
Vader described a typical STF level as a “chaotic, nutzoid thing to behold,” peppered with constant death screams and explosions — adding the “hissing, wet fart sounds to the soundtrack cuts through the tension in a hilarious way.”
“It’s almost like Squirty is making fun of the game as you play through,” said Vader. “You can be in the middle of an epic, tense boss battle and then as soon as you pick Squirty Harry, you’ve got a piece of poo frantically farting on everything. It never fails to make me smile.”
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And once Lohrisch emerged from the fog of gaseous audio samples, he constructed “an epicly long fart. From a comedy level, farts never seem to get stale, literally and figuratively,” he explained. (See Eternal Fart video below.)
Players will also encounter a poo-shaped boss who turns out to be Squirty Harry’s mother, and the boss fight begins with other pieces of poo offspring on screen, calling out “Mama!”
Digital fecal matter aside, players would do well to remember that shooting the shit (so to speak) in STF is not as simple as it may sound. Capy’s tech director and the game’s lead programmer Kenneth Yeung reinforced that this is a game for a hardcore audience.
In keeping with the prevalent time themes, he’d love to see players streaming and uploading speed runs of the game on the likes of Twitch.tv and YouTube, and his dream is to see STF on Awesome Games Done Quick. To encourage speed runs, Yeung and the team have implemented hidden features to reward the players who dare to take on the challenge.
Does that mean faster farts, too? Only time will tell.
For more on the evolution and development of Super Time Force from its game jam origins, check out our past interview with Kenneth Yeung.