I’ve recently been working with an indie game developer and programmer on a music game for the newly released Flightdeck, a 3D tablet. Although the game is still a work-in-progress, I wanted to post here what it currently sounds like.
I’m going for a classical bit-runner sound, with a little dub-smash thrown in. The glockenspiel will likely represent pick-ups such as gold coins. I plan to clean-up the mix and adjust it to some game parameters, as well as insert a new bass plug-in I just picked up. :-D
All rights reserved- this is completely my own original composition.
This is a little overdue, but I’ve been super busy with ENO Traviata rehearsals!
Global Game Jam is the biggest game hackathon in the world, as you might have guessed from the name. I’d originally intended to do it remotely with a team from Silicon Valley, but found out that the rules required participants to be onsite. Luckily, I’ve met some awesome and smart and ridiculous Indie Devs in London, so I asked a couple if they’d like to team up.
The theme was announced Friday at 6:00PM: “What do we do now?”
For the next few hours, our team brainstormed, and finally decided to approach the “we” part from an unusual angle: dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder.
The game is set inside of a long corridor, symbolizing a hypnotherapy session. Like actual treatment for this mental condition, the goal is to put the pieces of the personality back together. Each room has a part of the personality, which we based on trends and research in DID. The personality piece needs an item or series of motions to help it move past a particularly critical moment in time, at which point it is then “solved.”
We decided to make each room completely black, save for the occasional significant object (like a teddy bear). This, combined with exact audio positioning from Visisonics, increased the impression that everything was really happening inside the player’s mind. Players use sound to locate objects they can’t otherwise see, or approach invisible characters.
The biggest chunk of audio work was actually the voice overs. We made all of the rooms/personalities the same female character, but at different periods of life. So- I recorded 8 different characters. Some I edited to be lower/higher, but most were just me and a mic, and a rather surprised escort. My favorite to record was probably the angry woman, because she yells and curses so much… I just don’t normally do that! It felt strangely liberating. You can listen to some of the voices below.
I used the same musical theme throughout the game. It appears in the music box (see below), radio, and end scene. I’d like to also have it be hummed somewhere in the future.
Overall, I think we accomplished tons during 48 hours. That said- there’s lot I would change. I think that I went too sappy on the end scene, and also perhaps too dark in the rooms. But it IS a heavy subject, and I was hoping for some sort of balance. Also- I had to complete the script in one night… not an easy task. You can listen to the over-sappy end scene below. ;-)
Sending out a huge thanks to Joe Bain, Robert Ramsay, Luke Thompson, and Mark Backler for working on this with me. Guys- I really hope we make a more finished version. I think this could go somewhere good.
After less than a week in London and some great-but-intense rehearsals of Traviata, I was so excited to learn that I had the whole weekend off, and also a last-minute pass for the King Game Jam. So, Friday evening I went down to the office of the company that made Candy Crush, and joined a team for a weekend of excellent work and creativity.
My team decided to design a music game, which of course thrilled me. We based it on some interesting gravity/infinite runner mechanics, and took the level design off of musical structure. Somehow, I combined the ideas and general feeling that the team wanted in 6 hours of composing, and came up with what I can only describe as chip-tune dubstep. Have a listen below. :-)
Highlights: Meeting tons of new, really nice people from London. Seeing my team members’ faces when they first heard the music. Learning and drawing the level for the first time in Tiled. Play-testing the game.
Link to youtube preview:
Sending out a huge thanks to Joe, Dom, and Richard- you guys are so positive and just nice. It was a pleasure to work with you- thanks for letting me join!
First thing I noticed about London: it’s super well-connected!
Wifi everywhere. SIM cards easily obtainable. Lots of public transportation (some of it even provides free wifi).
Second thing I noticed: it feels disturbingly cold. It’s not cold enough to be snowing, but the cold gets down underneath my jacket and scarf, and makes me shiver.
I’m here to sing my very first UK performance: Traviata, with English National Opera. I’ve performed Violetta before, but always in Italian. Many singers don’t like changing languages, but I find it particularly refreshing. I like having an instant, visceral connection to the text in my mother tongue. And while some singers dislike that the new translation changes musical inflection, I respond that this is a good thing- a new way to understand a masterpiece that was written 150 years ago.
While in the area, I intend to do some more networking for video game sound too. I’m really excited by all of the development meet-ups I’ve been finding online, and also for the global game jam coming up. And hopefully some of this will be combined with opera in a couple of projects that I can’t officially announce just yet…
After only 4 months of doing game audio, I never even dreamed of receiving recognition from a company as big as Dolby. But, together with Samuel Hun and his hardworking team (Drop Pod Games), we submitted Roshamboroo for the Dolby Audio challenge… and we won 2nd place!!!
The app was published last night on the Google Play store. You can download it for free here (Android, IOS coming soon): http://bit.ly/1BbhT2X
Ever since the Cardinal Game Jam three weeks ago, I’ve been working closely with this team of people to finish a fun, fast-paced mobile game called Roshamboroo. Finally, we released it for beta testing 4 days ago. Thank you, Sam, Dmitri, Anna, Big Mike & Little Mike for all of the hard work! Y’all went above and beyond, and it shows.
Roshamboroo is based on rock-paper-scissors, but playable on your mobile device. There are two adorable, but fierce little creatures which carry bombs in their tales, and battle to get to the other’s home base. Players must select rock, paper, or scissors at the same time as their opponent, and the winner moves forward while the loser explodes, then reappears to battle again in the next scene. Three wins= victory!
There are two main music tracks which I’m really proud of. I’ll post them below. Also, I recorded and mixed a number of sounds for explosions, countdown, and the creatures. (Recording creature growls at 4:00 in the morning got some strange looks from other teams, lol)
Forbes Magazine covered the Cardinal Game Jam, which I participated in a few weeks ago. I composed and wrote sound for 4 games over 27 hours of non-stop work, and two of those games are featured! See pages 6 & 7.
This weekend was the Cardinal Game Jam, a 27-hour mobile game hackathon in Palo Alto, CA. I decided to register with one team, and eventually ended up doing audio for 4 (!!!) teams, completing 7 compositions and many more SFX.
I won’t write about all of the projects that I worked on, because it looks like some of those projects are going to take more time and attention to eventually become something amazing, and I don’t want to spill their ideas. But I will post about those later, when they’re ready.
Right now, I want to direct attention to Bubble Pop, developed by George Deglin & Josh Kasten. The moment I saw their fun creation, a song idea popped into my head. A few hours later, I had gameplay music, UI, and scoreboard music all created. I also made some sounds for them, like the bubble popping and merging, and the wind (they really helped with that one- it was difficult to create different lengths of wind noise).
I had this idea a couple of months ago, and recorded, but never had time to go through all of the audio. Finally I had some time today, during a really long bus ride coming back from the GameSoundConference in L.A.
This arrangement is based on Faure’s song, Les Berceaux. I’ve always loved the lulling piano part, and hummed it to myself. I decided to divide the piano into 5 major vocal parts, which accompany a 6th part singing the melody as written. All of these are sung by myself with minimal editing.
This is just the first draft- I plan to continue refining, and I’m also going to put up a video with it, and post on youtube. Still, I thought y’all might enjoy a peek at the process.
About 2 months ago, I decided to join some meet-ups in Silicon Valley. The first one I attended was for Laptop Music Production, in a place called the Hacker’s Dojo. I was blown away by some of the music and sounds people compose on their computers! I also got some great feedback on my own previous computer compositions. I’ll definitely go back.
One of the best things that developed out of that meeting was an innovative collaboration with DJ Van Geaux, who often does dub step/trap/deephouse in clubs around the Bay Area , and in many other national and international scenes. He’s not only creative and easy to collaborate with- he also works super hard. I really, really appreciate that.
I think it’s so awesome how he layered in and filtered my voice. The drop still gives me chills.
Here’s the result of our first collaboration:
“The Night is Alive” by DJ Van Geaux, featuring Elizabeth Zharoff