Continually progressing is what I do. Finally catching up with the rest of the world, today I cracked open the wallet and got the internet going at home.. That's right, up until now I was using it wherever I could find it!
I also bought a new computer to use as a DAW which is good since I used an old Power Mac G4 for most of my internet browsing which was deathly slow, so now the prior DAW will become the new internet machine!
The new DAW is another Mac mini; I know, not the best choice with the HD speed being a factor but in my current price range for now. Installed is Logic Pro 9 and EWQLSO Gold. It's specs are 2.53 Ghz Core2Duo, 4 gb DDR3 ram, and 320 GB HD. As of now, it is my most powerful system to date. It seems to be handling most tasks ok at the moment; still the ideal would be to get a Mac tower of the pro variety sometime in the future.
Four to Five years ago, my primary do it all DAW/internet computer was a Pentium 2, if anyone remembers those. I made music with that computer easily for five years ;) nowadays, we're sending dual core machines better than any PC I own now to the recyclers.
But on the topic of audio, I tossed a couple of works in progress that I am working on with the new mini. I will have to return my attention to 'mastering' some tracks in the new year and speaking of the new year..
I do wish you all, everybody, a happy holiday and much prosperity for the new year to you and yours!
Hello to all who read this and thank you if you do.
But if you don't want to read, there is some music at the bottom :)
I suppose I am still fairly new here and not to be so mysterious, I thought I would share a bit.
It has been over 10 years now since I first composed a song using a computer; quite incredibly so using the DOS based program called "Impulse Tracker". Prior to that I used looping software, but "IT" really allowed me to compose something from what seemed like scratch..
It was also ten years ago that I first used Fruity Loops 3 which ultimately gave me the bug!
It took me a couple of years to learn and teach myself all the new things that I wanted learn; starting with simple techno songs; now aiming for something that resembles soundtracks; often inspired by all the video game music made by the many G.A.N.G members here.
I began putting some of these 'songs' I made to use around five years ago or so. That was when my music really began to take shape and a style was formed. By 2006, I made my music public online and even got some stuff into a couple of games.
I worked with a lot of bands in the later part of the last decade recording and such and also began making a couple of video games of my own. I didn't promote much and still have a lot of music that even now has not yet been heard.
This year, I made a challenge for myself. I had to publicize more which ultimately helped me out. Seeing as how I am so soundtrack driven; especially game soundtracks, I knew I had to do something a bit different and learned a lot through adapting what I already knew and combining it with online resources.
I made a realization while playing Mass Effect. I was thinking that the soundtrack was amazing and really liked how it contained both electronic and classical instrumentation - I did a lot of electronic stuff, but wanted to do something orchestral so this union of genres seemed like something I wanted to pursue. This also lead me here to G.A.N.G.
..So this year I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit, bought a Mac, and started using programs that I didn't know but it really didn't take long to learn how to use these programs such as Logic since it shares some similarities with FL Studio.
I made just over 100 mp3s this year to date in my free time. Before going out and buying a bunch of expensive programs and stuff, since many of you know how much one can get into, I put my old stuff to work and gave it one good last run to see what sorts of things I could do.
One of the challenges I made for myself was to give myself a limit whilst attempting to produce some soundtrack-like material. For those who know their computer hardware, the orchestral samples do tend to eat up quite a bit of resource.
Below are some songs that I made this year. The first six were made entirely on a computer running Fruity Loops 3.56, Edirol Orchestral, and only 256 MB of ram on an over ten year old budget Duron chip clocked at 700 Mhz. For the fun of it! That was a challenge of patience ;)
The following six are more electronic on a Celeron computer with FL Studio 6. Both sets of six tracks were made from start to finish in one week per set. I have high standards for myself however these do not showcase anything in terms of high quality and were intended more for demoing purposes. Some of them are a bit shrill sounding.
The last track Overpass was one of my early tracks using the new Mac Mini and Logic Pro Studio 9 with the default instruments.
Feel free to listen to some of these 'sketches' skip through them, download them, whatever you would like. The goal here was to play around with orchestral samples before buying higher quality and more updated stuff as well as combining the genres of orchestral and electronic; inspired by the ambient, spacey, and epic stuff as heard in Mass Effect:
Please enjoy and feel free to drop a comment!
Well that is sort of what this is like, except it's not hilarious at all (well maybe a tiny bit sometimes), also it's not a publicity gimmick, also it doesn't have an '-a-' in the middle.
So, I guess it's completely different short of that it requires regular creativity and dedication. I've dubbed my endeavor "Just for Fun" and it mostly is, but it's also for exploring new composition styles.
Essentially, I've challenged myself to compose a new song every two weeks. The rules of engagement are as follows:
I have managed to keep at it since January 1st 2010, and I'm working on my 10th at the moment. It's been an awesome exercise for doing some informal personal development while relaxing and thinking a bit outside-the-box.
Is there anyone else out there with a little personal project outside their regular work day? If there is, I'd love to hear what you're working on.
If you want to see the silly stuff I've generated, you can take a listen here.
From what I can see on the forums, Toronto has a fun group of GANG members. It also has, as you may have read in my last post, a burgeoning and active indie game development community.
Probably one of the most spectacular testaments to the creativity of this community is the annual Toronto Independent Game Development Jam (fondly dubbed TOJam). For those of you in or near the GTA, it's a can't miss.
What is it? Basically it is a public game making event. Local game makers come out for a crazy 3-day, around-the-clock game making binge. Participants have from 3:00pm Friday to 11:00pm Sunday to complete a good, small game.
This year's event brought out 180 jammers, with 25 additional people working remotely. I was one of four audio designers that attended.
It was interesting to see how other local designers approached the trade. We were all very different in our focus. There was one focused only on SFX, a film musician, a techno/hip-hop composer, and I represented the single-stop, full-spectrum game audio design side of things.
Just to give you a taste of what an Audio Designer can expect there, over the three days my work included sounds/music for six different games:
1. Macabre Mystery Game
2. Scrolling Shooter Puzzle Game
3. Psychedelic Deterioration of Your Senses Game
or "The Particle of Infinite Wonder"
4. Redneck Missing Fish in a Barrel Game
5. Hungry Hungry Cats, Nomnomnomnom
6. Film Noir Game
A total of ~15 minutes of music, 40+ SFX and a handful of voice recordings.
As you can see, not only is it a great exercise in speed-audio-design, but it's a chance to work in a wide variety of styles all in one weekend.
This is my first GANG blog, but I’ve been trying my hand at blogging elsewhere for a few years now. I’ll be short on my introduction, but if you’re interested in checking out the blogspace that I use to share news about my games and other career-related things, you can check it out here.
My name is Harry Mack and I love indie game culture. That is not to disparage the bigger, shinier, 3Der mission of the mainstream industry. However, I definitely belong where the hands-on passion, interesting games, and unique industry visionaries are.
I have been in the industry for about ten years, a fifty-fifty split between in-house and out-house (or freelance if that’s too lavatoryesque). I’ve been a pianist for twice that time, with a formal background in music and a little game design education for bonus marks.
This year’s GDC brought me a fun blast from the past. I’d like to take a moment to use it to highlight some of the stepping stones that originally led me into the indie game world.
Those of you in attendance at the GDC this year may have caught a great little panel titled “What you Need to Know About Casual Games 2010 .” Speakers Nick Fortugno and Juan Gril did an excellent job rapidly reviewing some of the innovative and dominant trends in casual game space over the last year.
Just to clarify, from Nick and Juan’s perspective ‘casual’ game really means ‘super-awesome indie’ game. They shared a lot of insight and perspective into experimental design choices, and it was also a source for leads on some new games to try out.
I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to do some looking back into their presentations at past GDCs. I got quite the surprise when I found out that examples chosen for two of four of the 2009 categories were games that I worked on. Corpse Craft was selected to highlight new themes and mechanics in multiplayer games. To show a trend in the evolution of arcade games they recognized Braid ’s innovation and brilliant level design.
Even if it took place a year ago, it was nice to see these very creative games getting recognition. If you’re interested in checking out the session transcript, it is still posted on Gamasutra.
For me it was a chance to reflect on some of the excellent memories that began my serious love affair with indie games. I mean we flirted before, but those games were the moment where it became really serious. Now that I am completely immersed, I look constantly forward to being one of a sea of participants playing a role in creatively shaping the indie community, both locally and globally.
It would be great to hear from any other game audio designers out there with a similar focus.
...Of diligently trying to purchase EWQL Symphonic Choirs, only to have to put it aside for a more immediate money problem, I finally bought it (and at a price that I can afford)! Thank you NAMM deal! Only half a month in, and this year's already looking up!
Hey everyone! It's been a busy busy week for me - I've been finishing up the soundtrack to the independent game "The Spirit Engine 2," by Mark Pay. (Check it out at www.thespiritengine.com). I've been working on this project for over four and a half years! (Excuse any following spelling or gramatically errors, I'm flying to NYC in a few hours to celebrate with my girlfriend and have a nice dinner with some great champagne that I've been saving)
I'm just writing to let everyone know that I just FINALLY finished and uploaded my standalone soundtrack CDs, and I wanted to share a bit of my experience.
The soundtrack itself is massive - over 3 hours of music spanning 101 tracks. I bet that you're probably thinking, well, it can't have been very GOOD music to be that long. Perhaps thats the case, but I like to think otherwise (obviously). I put together the CDs in a few weeks time - it turns out that mastering audio CDs is much different than mastering the actual game music, so I really had to do production on everything twice! Now, I'm certainly no guru at this... I am but a student, but I tried my best and put my whole heart into it, and I think it shows.
Back in April I advertised a "Cancer Donation" drive to the indie-scene at Tigsource.com and in other places. The idea was that anyone who donated $5 would receive the full soundtrack to TSE2 for free (as a digital download). Turned out pretty well, I think, because we raised over $825. That may seem small to some of your pros (;D), but for a small community it was astonishing!
Anyway, with the CDs done and everything ready to go I thought the last thing to do would be to put a post up here.
For those curious, you can check out the albums (there is a full album and a shorter "best of" album) here: