Come watch our producer Geoff!

Come watch our producer Geoff!


Geoff was already featured in an interesting blog post on last week, which we’d recommend taking a look at if you’re interested in games dev. This week you can get more insights into the We Were Here series and more as Geoff will be taking part in an Airmeet event organized by, happening today! What can you expect exactly? We’re glad you asked!

Two industry leaders in social gaming, Geoff van den Ouden, Producer of Total Mayhem Games, and Selcuk Atli, CEO of Bunch, will share their insights on how to make games more engaging through social connection, and why you should ditch Discord and add live voice and video directly inside your game

There will also be a Q/A session and a social networking time towards the end, as well as some tips and tricks to increase a game’s user base and session times!
If that sounds good to you, check out the event here!

Developer Diaries – Composing the We Were Here Together Theme

Developer Diaries

Composing the We Were Here Together Theme

Hi everyone!

My name is Leon van der Stel and I’ll be talking today about the creation of the main theme for We Were Here Together.
The first and second We Were Here games share the same main theme. For the third entry in the series, we wanted a new main theme – the classic We Were Here atmosphere in a new jacket. I would like to take you into the story behind the main theme and the choices that were made along the way. At different sections I’ll link to audio clips. These are interim versions and ideas for the main theme that show the development process well.

For the people who want to play the main theme themselves, I made sheet music, which you can find at the end of this dev diary. Finally, I want to thank Jos Platschorre for helping to compose the main theme with his grandiose guitar playing, and Tom Hartman for his support and feedback.

The author, making music.

The process

The most important thing with each piece of music is which feeling it must express. Since We Were Here Together is about two explorers alone in Antarctica, the terms cold, deserted and isolated occurred to me. Although these were good terms, there was still something missing in my opinion. In the story, the other two explorers become hopeful when their emergency signal is fired into the air. Therefore the word hope should also be included in the overall picture.

Now that the atmosphere has been determined, how do you implement this, and with which instruments? This is a question that you can only answer by getting started and carefully directing the result at every step. Having said that, I thought it would be cool to take the first steps with some guitar.

This idea was inspired by the OST of The Last of Us, and it was in line with the direction which the TMG team and I wanted to go. My goal was to raise the standard to produce a greater result and I felt that this could only be achieved by involving other musicians. Fortunately I knew a good guitarist, Jos Platschorre, whose playing style would fit well with what I had in mind. After a phone call he agreed to help me to make something beautiful.

Below are some of the first jams with Jos that had the most impact on the end result:

Jam 1A:
Jam 1B:
Jam 2:

When listening to the above jams, several parts immediately jumped out that fit well with the new main theme vibe. Keeping in mind the cold and isolated atmosphere, the start of jam 2 was very satisfying. This stayed into place since then. After jam 1A was recorded, I had the impression that a strum style could fit in boldly with this (jam 1B). Although the Total Mayhem Games team was delighted with the vibe of these early jams, a simple and recognizable melody was still missing. Based on these jams, I came up with the following melody, to be played on the piano. The chord changes, the guitar style and the melody were the starting point for the next step.

Jam 3 – Piano melody:

The following fragment contains the points above combined with the melody partially incorporated. In the second part I experimented with midi controller pads and vocals.

Jam 4:

At this point it was starting to become more viable and I was pleased with how the melody was incorporated with the guitar scrum. However, it still didn’t jive just yet; it sounded more like a loop. I was fortunate at this point to get some good advice from talented musician Tom Hartman on how it could potentially be turned into a good swinging melody that tells a story. Below is a take that he sent during a meeting. This recording inspired me during the composition of the end result.

Jam 5:

So with this new jam in mind, I went back to the drawing board. The following jam (which is divided into two audio clips) was created by editing the old jams to be closer to the feel of Tom’s recorded take (jam 5). Based on these new ideas, I selected a high pitched piano to incorporate into the theme – this piano with a lot of echo gave a hopeful feeling, which you’ll recall is one of the expressions I added to my list at the beginning.

Jam 6:
Jam 7:

This is NOT what the composition process looked like, for the record.

Fitting the pieces together

As you can see, every decision at each step has had a part in shaping the music into what it is today. Although many ideas were collected, a complete composition was still missing. Even though the individual parts sounded good, the overall composition is what makes or breaks it as a piece of music. From this point on, I didn’t want to create new content anymore, but instead wanted to use what I had.

During this stage, the guitarist and I tried various parts on the spot in different combinations and listened for what felt best. Afterwards the composition was recorded in six takes. The last addition that has been made to the main theme was done by not ending with the tonic. This gives a dissonant / out-of-place feeling that is also in line with some of our aforementioned expressions: cold, deserted and isolated.

And so, the final composition was:

Intro: Beginning of Jam 3
Section A: Main tune (Jam 6 + Jam 7)
Section B: Start Jam 2 with the main guitar style of the main tune
Section C: Section A, but layered with high pitched piano and pads

In summary, it has been a long journey. My secret ingredient is taking little steps, building upon things that feel right along the way, and to simply ask for help when necessary to get to the next stage. This is not just for music! The same strategy could be applied to all things and decisions in life.

If you are interested in playing the theme yourself, don’t forget to check the main theme sheet music below.
If you prefer just listening, you should visit our new Spotify channel! Peace out 😀

Main Theme sheet music links

Interactive online:

Cheers Leon

Walkie-Talk - Meet Alex


Meet Alex

Developer Interview

Previously on Walkie-Talk we looked at how we design puzzles for the We Were Here games.
However, even with the best ideas in the world a game doesn’t get far without technical developers.
Today we’re talking to one of our newest devs, Alex Leestemaker.

Walkie-Talk: Hi Alex! Let’s start with the basics. Who are you and what do you do?

Alex Leestemaker:
My name is Alex, and I’m the new programmer on the team. That means I listen to what the game designers would like in the game, I program exactly what they asked for, and then the next day it turned out that they meant something completely different and I can start from scratch.

What do you think of your work at Total Mayhem Games so far?
This is my first job in the game development industry, and I’m glad it’s at a studio that makes games I’m interested in myself. Puzzle games and co-op multiplayer have always been high up on my list of favorite mechanics in video games. Since I’m new to the industry, working in a smaller team like this also feels more familiar than getting thrown into a big sea of coworkers would probably have felt like.

I like it! I’ve been here for a little over half a year now, and it’s my first job straight out of university. It’s a big jump going from a giant university where everything is planned to hell and back to our small office in Rotterdam, but I like my coworkers here far more than the average uni student.

It’s much more cosy for sure! What are you working on right now?
I’ve been working on a lot of the alpha tests we’ve been releasing over the last few months.

Final question – what are you playing for fun right now?
Currently I’m dumping most of my free time into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Thanks for your time!

A short but sweet interview this week. We hope you liked it! If there are particular topics you think might make for a cool Walkie-Talk, let us know in the comments.

Total Mayhem Blog #3

Total Mayhem Blog #3

Let’s talk about you and me. No… sorry, just kidding. I will just talk about art. Don’t worry.  As I told you before, our team used to consist of 15 students who all came from different studies. Our minor as a whole consisted of 45 students, and nearly half of those students were part of the Willem de Kooning Academy: an Art Academy located in the city centre of Rotterdam. It’s not unusual that the love for art was floating in the air during the minor.

Total Mayham Games (yes, you read that right… our original name was a pun) had the honor to have 4 artists in the team. The artists worked very well together and made sure the game had a very consistent and unique atmosphere. Even though the artists all had very different styles, they managed to make the player feel he or she went through one experience. In the gallery below I’ll show you some of the (concept) art of We Were Here.

Total Mayhem Blog #2

Total Mayhem Blog #2

This week we’re celebrating the 23rd birthday of our ‘Sound Guy’ Leon van der Stel. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to bring up the subject we haven’t discussed too much of yet: the music and sound design of ‘We Were Here’ and ‘We Were Here Too’!

For us, the music of the game was very important. It had to create tension and keep players engaged as they were figuring out how to advance through the game. To get a certain musical ambience that matched our intentions, we had to miss Leon for quite some time during our minor ‘Game Design and Development’. When being surrounded by us in this crowded room with thirty other students, we knew we were just holding him and his creativity back. So most of the time Leon could be found in his ‘at-home’ studio!