Video Games

Tunic May Still Contain More Secrets, Depending on How You Define ‘Secret’, Says Creator

It’s been nine months since Tunic’s release. Tunic is a Zelda-like action-adventure game about a fox hero in a strange world. It took him nine months for that community to secretly mine its secrets, decipher its multiple hidden languages, and puzzle his curious ARG at its heart.

This jubilant community treasure hunt will please both Tunic creator Andrew Shouldice and PowerUp Audio co-founder Kevin Regamey. Secondary hidden “audio” languageThe tunic already has initially incomprehensible written language scattered across game signs, in-game manuals, and other places that the community has deciphered into an easy-to-read alphabet.

But its spoken language, discovered a little later, is a very different marvel. For those interested in the details, Regamey recently posted a massive Twitter account explaining how he created it, which is pure catnip for music theory, audio, and his ARG geeks. I created a thread.

This language (which the community calls “Tuneic”) is deeply embedded in Tunic, but you might be surprised to learn that it wasn’t part of Shouldice’s original plans for the game. He connected with his Regamey almost by accident through a mutual friend in 2015. A few years ago, Regamey created a game called Phonopath, as “a piece of his illustrious portfolio” for a job at Valve. says.

“Phonopath is basically a puzzle game based entirely on audio files,” says Regamey. “It’s 28 stages long, and the objective is to find hidden passwords within downloaded audio files. Through spectral analysis and signal processing, and knowledge of music theory, we can find them.”

It’s a real music geek thing specially designed for people working in audio, Notopron, Portal 2 ARGand the I love beads ARGBut what he felt they had missed was an opportunity to do more with the audio element. PhonoPath was intended as an exploration of what is possible.

“All the audio components in these ARGs have always been rudimentary,” says Regamey. “It’s like, ‘Reverse the file. Morse code,’ or whatever. It was very, very easy. I was like, ‘Oh, there’s more potential for puzzle gameplay in audio files. ”

“Content not for anyone”

The Regamey pitch went well, but six months later I was told to apply again and co-founded PowerUp instead. This goes back to his meeting with Shouldice, who had already planned visual elements for the secret language (in the community he is called Trunic).

“The visual elements of the language were part of the design very early on and were meant to make you feel like you weren’t in a place you didn’t belong,” Shouldice said. increase. “There’s a lot more going on here. It’s illegible. You often hear the feeling that you got an import manual and you can’t read it. That’s the feeling that was supposed to be evoked.”

Reggamey and Shouldice talked at a party, after which Shouldice sent Reggamey a very early game build. Regamey sent back a run of the game, including his own audio, as a mockup of what their working relationship might look like. Scholtis loved it.

“And finally, I saw a text on the screen called glyph text, which was the first glyph text written by anyone other than me,” Shouldice recalls. “And I’ve never read a text in this language that I didn’t write. So I don’t know how to translate this, wait. I hadn’t read it, I had only written it.”

Regamey interrupts: And in the corner he said, “Cool game, bro.” ”

The two knew they had to work together. Regamey stressed creating a complete audio language for Tunic. This was woven into some of the music tracks as well as his sound effects. It’s a very complex system, and both Regamey and Shouldice candidly admit that most players have never seen it. Regamey calls it “content that’s not for everyone,” but admits that it’s actually “not for everyone.”

Still, people conduct Discover these complex and deeply buried secrets. It makes sense for someone to do so when there are thousands of people playing.

“All you need is a crazy geek who says, ‘This game is perfect for me,’” says Regamey. “This puzzle is just what I need in my life. And they just put it online and now everyone knows.”

Hiding all the secret stuff was acknowledging the player from the designer’s point of view.

“It’s really hard to hide things in modern games…you can just dive in and decompile it. Some input sequences you find in the game, some kind of cheat codes, some Let’s say they hid some Konami Code style stuff.By figuring out some audio puzzles.Well, they don’t even listen to the audio puzzles.They just did data mining and found the code.This is The answer is, so hiding all the secrets was… acknowledging the player from a designer’s point of view. Thank you for looking down.”

Regamey then adds that his favorite experiences with communities delving into his musical language are being DMed on Twitter by people who want to point out typos. “They said, ‘It should be the A flat, not the B flat.’ You’re right. Absolutely. Well done.”

Secret discovery and definition

Ask the pair if there is anything the player hasn’t found in the tunic yet. There are nuances.

“At some point, what is considered secret changes,” Shouldice explains. “Anyway, there’s something in the game that literally has its own secrets that I’m not happy with. The only thing that means a lot to us is that we might know about it. This kind of torpedoes my previous statement, but in a game like this, you can never say, “Well done, the fun is over, everyone go home.” First of all, I think it would ruin the magic. But there are other things like meaning and connection. I’ve seen people watch the story of the game and see how it unfolds in a compelling way. I think you can consider it a secret. Maybe the gift that keeps on giving is people reinterpreting what exists, not just the bits on disc. ”

Tunic has been in development for at least seven years, and its success allowed Shouldice to take a well-deserved break. Fans are certainly curious as to what Shouldice will do next, but he’s not ready to answer that question just yet.

“Just kidding, I got married earlier this year,” says Regamey. [at Shouldice] He came out of the wedding and I was drunk on the dance floor and he whispered in my ear. “Tunic DLC?” And I asked him the next day and he said, “I don’t know if I was serious about it.” So no promises. ”

When I asked Shouldice directly what to expect, he said: fair enough.

These two will be explained in detail a little later. The length of time and enormity of layers into Tunic means that committing to something like that (DLC, sequel, etc.) would be a huge commitment. Audience expectations would be daunting given the layers.

For now, they’re happy to enjoy Tunic’s critical and popular success.It was nominated in three categories at The Game Awards: Best Action-Adventure, Best Indie, and Best Debut Indie.

Every day I hear a little voice in my head.

“It’s kind of surreal to be here and have our name on the list three times. You know what I mean?” he says. “We want you to experience the delta of work we’ve done so far and feel the difference, because it’s hard to fit it all in for too long.”

Regamey looks to Shouldice. “Do your parents now believe it’s a real job?”

Scholtis said, “I should ask them what they think I’m doing. It’s a tough question.”

After a while he continues: That I can breathe. Still, every day, a small voice echoes in his head: “Why don’t you rush to jump into the next game?” And that is the challenge at the moment. But it’s a good one. ”

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. you can find her on her twitter @duck valentine.

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