Stephen Ddungu didn’t know a great deal about TikTok at all when a clip of his approaching video game project, Sword of Symphony, commenced circulating on the video clip platform final thirty day period.
A clip of a younger boy attacking an enemy utilizing musical combos that Ddungu experienced earlier posted on other social channels was reposted on TikTok by an account named @gamedevblaster on August 2. As of the publication of this piece, it has gotten above 335,000 views, and the opinions are entire of praise and pleasure.
Ddungu tells me he was alerted to the sudden reputation of his clip by a pal, so he manufactured an account and posted his have video, introducing himself to his freshly-observed followers. That movie has now been viewed 1.6 million instances, and a second follow-up he posted later has been observed just about 3 million occasions.
“It can be nuts how rapid things gets out there and will get well-liked so swiftly on TikTok,” Ddungu suggests. “And just the variety of things that get preferred unusual factors get so numerous sights. Other people are doing the job for written content and only get a couple of views below, and then you get someone undertaking a random, strange-wanting dance and it truly is getting thousands and thousands of sights. I guess individuals like what persons like.”
Ddungu has normally been a musician, and loves to equally play and compose. He has a tunes channel on YouTube where by he posts orchestral covers of video clip recreation music, and its success instantly led to his eventual work on Sword of Symphony.
In 2018, Ddungu’s channel achieved 1000 subscribers, and he needed to do some thing particular to celebrate the milestone. So he created an animation to go with his latest composition, despite under no circumstances getting animated anything at all prior to. He admits that this very first foray into animation wasn’t extraordinary, but he savored the approach of experimenting in the new medium. And he got a ton of constructive suggestions on his work, inspiring him to do improved. So Ddungu saved doing work at it.
“All my selections are down to me just believing that I can do it,” he says. “Just jumping in and making the leap, mainly because you never actually know the extent of your opportunity except if you dive in. And then you shock oneself.”
Ddungu took his newfound curiosity in animation to remarkable lengths. He labored on it alongside his university research in music engineering, and at some point designed his own animation task called Function: VERSA, motivated by activity collection he loved like Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, and Nier. Then, the moment again, as he was operating on a single type of challenge, a new notion manifested by itself. What if he employed a distinctive medium to support his present animation work? So he begun dabbling in activity creation as a result of Blender, and ultimately spun off Intent: VERSA into an action-RPG video clip match job, called Purpose: Versus.
But as tough as Ddungu worked on all of this, his timing was off. He finished a cinematic trailer for Goal: Vs . just prior to he was supplied his final school assignment, and consequently wasn’t in a position to turn that in. So he begun sketching out Sword of Symphony, a minimal video game strategy he had about utilizing new music as magic.
“I needed to just do some thing smaller, like a minor prototype that was just a hand-in assignment and then forget about about it,” he states. “I was about to scrap the project later on, mainly because there was no will need for it.”
But then, Ddungu manufactured a social media site for Sword of Symphony, which he related to the existing accounts for Objective VERSA — just to permit people today who had been fascinated in his other work know that he was continue to doing work on jobs. Unexpectedly, Sword of Symphony commenced attaining traction much, considerably more rapidly than possibly of the Reason titles.
So Ddungu held uploading new footage as he went. When he achieved 1000 followers, he made a decision he’d publish a tale for Sword of Symphony as a substitute of limiting it to the overcome prototype. Desire only saved growing.
However Ddungu at first began Sword of Symphony in 2020, he experienced to hurry his operate on it to make faculty deadlines. So in June of this 12 months, spurred on by the project’s recognition and discussions he’d previously experienced with potential publishers, he scrapped the whole detail and began from scratch. Now, Sword of Symphony is four to 5 decades absent (though hopefully faster, he states), but it has a clear route.
The authentic pitch for Sword of Symphony was a recreation exactly where you fight with the electric power of songs, and that’s nonetheless the scenario. Now, while, it follows the story of a youthful person named Stefān, a wielder of musical magic, who lives in a magical earth identified as Sonata styled right after 18th century London. Stefān is a member of a team of genius detectives who are employed by a royal council to remedy musical mysteries, a lot of of which Ddungu claims will subtly teach audio principle as gamers try out to solve them.
Ddungu is limited-lipped about significantly else, as Sword of Symphony is even now so early in advancement, so it truly is not quite very clear how the battle things in just nevertheless. But component in it does, with the musical combos demonstrated off in Ddungu’s TikToks functioning a bit like “rhythmic phrases,” where you can do much more destruction to enemies by tapping buttons in time with the rhythm of the combo.
He also tells me about a group of mates he’s a portion of that calls by itself the “Internal Circle.” The group is composed of 7 creatives all performing on jobs they hope to connection collectively, crossover, and cross-encourage once they’re prepared to start them. Ddungu states he is invested in not just the achievements of his individual task, but the results of the team — he wants them to prosper collectively.
TikTok good results has not modified a great deal for Ddungu, he suggests, nevertheless he acknowledges a large amount additional people now know about the video game than he anticipated. He operates a Discord for Sword of Symphony, that he states obtained around 800 new customers on the working day his TikTok blew up, and then all around 400 the pursuing day. He ran it by itself at the time, so for a though he was struggling to approve all the new members separately, and sooner or later experienced to check with a close friend for assist. He expects that matters like Discord group management and social media administration will now take up more of his time, which he thinks will force him to create much better t
ime administration techniques.
“It really is in fact fantastic, in the feeling of character advancement, discovering new points…receiving into this method of staying a improved particular person,” Ddungu suggests. “I’m delighted that this has occur from anything that I adore undertaking. What I appreciate undertaking is training me to be a improved man or woman.”
With school concluded and a new challenge beloved by a increasing community, Ddungu is now fully commited to generating video games. He reiterates to me his before remark about how he — and anyone — hardly ever know what abilities they may have till they dive in and try out, which can usually outcome in exploring hidden, unpredicted abilities and passions.
“You’ve got bought to emphasis and set in the effort and hard work and the operate and hustle and things, even if it usually means sacrifices right here and there, but it really is truly like a examination of strength,” he states. “That type of lets you know regardless of whether this is for you or not…But when you dive in, if you come to feel that you might be inclined to be dedicated inspite of the sacrifices, that’s when you know it is really for you. I have tried using other items in the earlier but never ever truly obtained that [feeling] but with [Sword of Symphony], I know that this is something I want to do extensive term. I experience so inspired right now.”
Rebekah Valentine is a information reporter for IGN. You can discover her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
This posting was amended immediately after publication to accurately detect Ddungu’s field of research as new music technological innovation.