Posts Tagged ‘music’
Ludum Dare is starting to feel like a good way to measure the passage of time. Each event allows me to reflect on what I was able to accomplish before and compare it to now. It is such a wonderful feeling to look back at the work you have created and know now how much better you are at this moment.
I have continued to make music despite some serious life changes (Laid Off, Moving, New Baby). Each time I sit down to create I still feel like an amateur. A beginner. Nervous and scared about failure. And each time I impress myself by pushing through and finishing a song. Is the song perfect? No. But it’s mine and more importantly it tells a piece of story about who I am at this moment.
All the songs that I have created and posted to SoundCloud are free to use with attribution (My name and a link to my work will do). So please go ahead and use them if you are planning on entering the Jam competition. Message me if you decide to use them, I would love to see your awesome work.
Here are a few sets that I have selected but you can view the entire list for yourself. I have about 100 sounds uploaded.
Love and Loss
I was so inspired by the Gone Home game that I wanted to create different songs around centered around the theme of when we fall in love and when we fall out of it.
I mentioned this Space album in a previous entry, since then I have finished the album and added a few new tracks to this atmospheric story.
Bits Don’t Fail Me Now
A collection of the ChipTunes inspired songs that I have created. I have added the fun Super Hero music that I created during the last event and a few others.
Space is so hot right now. I recently purchased a NASA shirt from Target, the movie Gravity came out, I was playing through Strike Suit Zero and Lady Gaga is talking about performing in space. All of this inspired me to compose a few tracks with Space in mind.
The album is a single continuous song with a slow, atmospheric start that transitions into tension filled tracks and others with driving beats. All of the music is free to use in your games with attribution. And if you do use a song: message me (@franklinwebber); I would love to see your work.
During the long car rides, to see relatives, I drew 32×32 images to accompany each of the tracks. It was great fun. My first foray into the world of pixel art.
I just wanted to say, if you need a music for your game project or some other sound-like stuff, feel free to contact me via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will see what can I do for you. For free!!!
Seriously! I just love making soundtracks and sound design and I love Ludum Dare community! I want to improve my skills doing this great work for you, freely! ^_^
Ludum Dare 28 is coming to its end! Good luck to all developers and thank you for making our world full of great games!
P.S. Well… That’s my game: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=12085
I was away on some business this Ludum Dare. This one in particular is special as it was my first anniversary. Even though I was unable to celebrate by participating, I wanted to stay involved so I offered the music I have composed over the past year for anyone participating in the jam event.
These three games used my songs:
The Sidekicks in particular drew my attention when I saw it coming together. Ludipe reached out to me and asked what music would be fitting for a superhero inspired game. I had nothing, so I threw together a few tracks in the remaining hours before the deadline. Unfortunately, they did not make it into the final release but there are plans for their addition post competition.
One Gunman is my third official Ludum Dare entry, and it was my eleventh game developed for this site (including mini-LDs and warm-ups) since I registered in April 2013. I feel like I’ve learned a lot during that time, and these projects have definitely made me a better Unity developer. For this Ludum Dare, I knew I wanted to do something different.
After hearing the theme announced at our local Knoxville Game Design meetup, I knew I wanted to make the number “one” a central part of the game. Going with that approach, I decided to make the number “one” humanoid, since I knew how to quickly make meshes from text in Blender. I added eyes, arms, and legs, but the character was still sort of boring. I thought about some of the characters in my latest XBox Live Indie game TTY GFX ADVNTR, and remembered the character “Needles”, which is a humanoid cactus wearing a cowboy hat. Then I remembered playing the classic game GunSmoke at one of those 20-in-1 arcade machines not too long ago. There really haven’t been too many western themed games lately. Therefore, I gave my humanoid one a cowboy hat, boots, and a gun to shoot. I also went ahead and modeled a cactus in Blender as well as a background prop.
Another classic western game was Wild Gunman. I liked the Gunman name, so I decided to call this game “One Gunman”. The name is also sort of a play on the term “Lone Gunman”, which differs my game’s title name by just the leading “L”.
After creating the models, I got the main character imported into Blender and moving around. I also created some enemy boxes that moved around. Next, I implemented shooting projectiles. However, I quickly found that trying to aim on the X-Z plane with no lock-on could be quite difficult. Therefore, I limited the character to just being able to move left and right, and he is only able to shoot forward. This makes the game similar to other classic arcade shooters, except this game uses a third person view instead of a top-down birds eye view. Shooting enemies was fine, but it still seemed really boring.
One Gunman Time-lapse
Then I had the idea that One Gunman would shoot number sequences as the targets. For each enemy, I assigned a random digit value in the range of 2 through 9. First I decided to use evens and odds as the requirements. Once I got those working, I added a countdown so that the requirement would change periodically. I was really inspired by a game called Pig and Bullet, which makes the player switch between collecting red and blue bullets every few seconds. The problem with that game was that you never knew when the objective would change, so I added a visible countdown in my game. New objectives were added, such as Fibonaccis (2 3 5 8), Squares (4 9), and Perfects (6). I didn’t include 1 in the sequences, because that would mean that One Gunman would be wanted as well causing unneeded confusion. Each sequence also has a set reward associated with it, where the more complex sequences have higher reward values. For the lose condition, I made it so that the player lost a life if they run into a number or shoot an incorrect number. Finally, I rendered 3D numbers in Blender, which replaced the box enemy meshes in my game. I included statistics such as number of shots and accuracy percentage on the game over screen, which was inspired by other classic arcade shooters.
Since I had the core engine finished on the first day, I worked on polishing the game on the second day. A “WANTED” poster was added which displays the current objective in the lower right portion of the screen. The objective change countdown was converted into to a bar which shrinks as it nears zero. Like my previous entries, I used Garage Band on my laptop to make the music for the game. The piano and guitar sounds were primarily used to give the game a more western feel. Bxfr was used again for making the gunshot and other sound effects. Using my computer microphone, I recorded myself saying “Shoot X”, where X is the current objective. Then, the vocal recordings were modified a bit in Audacity to give it a better sound. The voice seems to really enhance gameplay, since it keeps the user’s attention on shooting the numbers, instead of looking at the Wanted poster. Finally, particle effects were added using a star texture that I made in Gimp. I tried changing the particle system color over time, but for some reason it just wasn’t working for me.
I learned a few lessons from this game. The first lesson is that people don’t like shooting at a perspective. I thought the controls were intuitive, but some people definitely found it difficult to shoot. The best I can explain the shooting controls is that it is similar to rolling a bowling ball on a bowling lane. The game could have included some additional visual cues to help line up the shots down range. I could have also used a top-down view, but then the player would not be able to see the details of the model that I had created. Using an orthographic projection may have helped as well, which would have kept the numbers and bullets traveling vertically on the monitor screen. Another option would be to highlight the number that the player is currently targeting, but I thought that may make the game too easy.
There was also some difficulty with getting the model moving correctly. When I assigned the armature, I used the default “with automatic weights” that I always use in Blender. However, since the arms and legs were so skinny, it didn’t properly weight paint all of the vertices. I’ve done manual weight painting before, but this model had some difficult to reach vertices. After some trail and error, I discovered that it is possible to pose the model while weight painting it. This made reaching some of the difficult to reach vertices much easier, and you can see the vertices snap into place while weight painting it.
Overall, I am satisfied with the game that I have created. I would have liked to made the other numbers humanoid as well, and I really needed to add more props to the environment. Things like buildings, dust, and tumbleweed could have really added to the environment. If I get the time to work on this game some more, I definitely think it could be turned into a great game.
(Posted to my blog as well)
This past weekend was another Ludum Dare game competition, and the second one I’ve taken part in (this first you can read about here). I also organized a local meetup with the Knox Game Design group and we had five games in total submitted by the deadline. So without further adieu, here is my wrap up of what went right, and what went wrong!
Theme “You Only Get One”
For my game, YoGo Burger, I used the theme in a few ways. The setup is, due to some budget cuts, you can only put one topping on a burger. The customer will either be okay with it, or hate it and this will affect the amount of tip you get. To make matters worse, if a single customer complains to management you’ll be fired. To keep this from happening you use your tip money for bribes.
In practice the game is like playing multiple games of Mastermind at the same time. Customers will get back in line and order a second burger and if you remember what they liked before you can use that to get it right the second (and third, forth, etc) time. To make it interesting I reset the customer preferences each day, added more customers, and I also upped the value weights behind what they like and don’t. The effect is you’ll probably be deep in debt and fired by the end.
The design was very emergent. The initial idea was a Burger Time / Tapper / Diner Dash clone with one ingredient. It’s fair to say I didn’t really have a strong direction at the start, but as I added mechanics it began to take shape. I’m very happy with where I wound up and think that this kind of creative exercise is what the Ludum Dare excels at (even if the game isn’t fun for very long).
Programming in Unity
Just like the last time, I used the competition as an excuse to learn new technology. You might say this is the wrong time to learn something new, but twice now I’ve done it and shipped a game so we’ll have to agree to disagree. The new tech this round was Unity 4.3’s new 2D support.
Having working in Unity before, and having read up on the new features, this wasn’t so bad. Prior to the competition I had started porting my XTiled library to Unity, so I wasn’t completely green for this project. I had to google an issue here and there, but for the most part things went smooth. For the most part. Let’s talk animation…
Unity revamped their animation system for the 4.x release, and it’s now called “Mecanim”. It’s a very complex, yet powerful setup allowing you to define animations then link them with a state engine and create smooth transitions procedurally. That’s all good, but I need to move a sprite a few steps to the right and this seemed impossible. I’m sure spending more time with the system is what’s needed, but I have reservations about any system that cannot handle a simple, common use case well. If you cannot do the simple well, how am I to trust you won’t make the complex a nightmare?
In the end I wrote a few lines of code to handle all animations. I’m a programmer, it’s what I do.
Nothing good to report here.
I am no longer satisfied making excuses that “I’m a developer” or hearing “not bad for developer art” or worse “it’s so bad it’s good – you nailed the MS Paint ironic art style!”. See, I’m not trying for that. I don’t expect to be amazing, but I think it’s perfectly fine to expect decent. I commonly tell people I’m not “talented” I’ve just spent a lot of time writing code and anyone can reach where I’m at. I believe this to be true of anything, and it’s time I took my own advice.
So next year I’ll be reading up on art 101 and spending quality time with Gimp, Inkscape, and even Blender. Check back with me after 10,000 hours.
I needed exactly one sound effect for my game, so why is this even a section? Because it was my favorite part of the whole competition!
I wanted a cash register sound when a customer paid for their order, but because of the rules I cannot use anything I didn’t make during the competition and this include sound effects. Normally I’d use the amazing bfxr app to generate game sounds, but it wasn’t really suited for this task. I grabbed a portable microphone and headed out to hunt samples Foley style!
In the end I used a bell from my daughter’s bicycle and the opening and slamming shut a wooden drawer full of screws, bolts, and nuts. I then edited and combined those samples in Audacity, speeding up the playback by about 150%. The end result was a very convincing cash register ca-ching!
While I’m a horrible graphic artist, I am “decent” at music. This time I wanted to use my own guitar playing (as Dylan and Levi have done), however I’ve never actually hooked up a live instrument to FL Studio with my current audio gear. This led to a frustrating session of attempted guitar recordings before I decided there wasn’t enough time left to keep fooling with it and went with all synths – something I’m pretty comfortable with. (Yesterday I tried again, and it turns out I made a very simple mixer error).
The music inspiration came from the depressing, you-can’t-win-gameplay and reminded me of Papers Please. To get in the mood I loaded up some depressing Russian folk songs and waltzes until I had the right state of mind. Not going to win a Grammy, but I think it fit the game well.
And finally, as it tradition, here is a time-lapse of me making the whole thing – 17 hours compressed into 3 minutes!
Two hours in and I haven’t touched started Ren’Py yet. This is a good thing, I think. I’ve planned things out, how I want them to work. Assigned priority to the different things I want to do. Still not feeling a 100% in control, but I will quote Mario Andretti on this one:
If you’re feeling in control, you’re not going fast enough.
The game is pretty much going to be set in a GrimDark future where the player is an assassin dropped deep behind enemy lines, sent to take out the most vital part of the enemy’s command structure: the Emperor General. The catch? It’s so hard to get behind enemy lines, you only get one piece of equipment to bring with you. The rest you will have to acquire on site.
I will leave you with a screenshot of my beautiful Trello board and a youtube link to the music that’s helping me create.
I was the one who made the unusually challenging 10 Second Paper Flight. This will probably be a hectic Ludum Dare for me since I’ll be at a Christmas Party on the Saturday and work on the Monday, but what the hell, I like making games and I can use some of Saturday to plan something interesting.
Anyways, I plan to use the following tools:
- GitHub (Source Control, my first ever solo project to use source control :O)
- HaxeFlixel (Game Libraries)
- Paint.Net (Graphics)
- Tiled (Possible Level Design)
- iNudge (Possible music)
- Bfxr (Sound Effects)
My plans/advice so far for the jam, based on last Ludum Dare:
- Plan well.
- Constantly show your progress.
- Graphics and Music are just as important as the game itself.
- Know how and where you will distribute your game.
- Everyone likes Time Lapse vids
- Follow the 621 (Sleep, Food and Clean Yourself :P)
Everyone have a good Ludum Dare!
Sadly, I am unable to participate in the upcoming Ludum Dare. But this event marks my one year anniversary for making music. The hobby started during the Ludum Dare last year. I have over the past year created 74 various sounds.
All the songs that I have created and posted to SoundCloud are free to use with attribution. So please go ahead and use them if you are planning on entering the Jam competition. Message me if you decide to use them, I would love to see your awesome work.
More atmospheric and noisy, this collection of sounds is probably suited for building tension.
Funkier Than Thou
The more instrumental tracks are more laid back and enjoyable. I keep picturing them being well suited for some kind of post-modern game or puzzle game.
Do Hairballs Dream of Dryer Sheets
Much more musical and melancholy. A few chiptunes tracks mixed in with a few songs that work well with a platformer game. I would love to see Golden Streets used as a title song for awesome retro X-bit game.
The songs that got me started making music last year. I think the song Escape is a great driving song for a level. Used in Reload by zn01wr in Ludum Dare 27.
My game TTY GFX ADVNTR is now available on the XBox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) marketplace. This game started as my mini LD45 entry, which was written in C and SDL. After receiving positive feedback from other Indie developers, I decided to port it to C Sharp and XNA, so it would be available to a wider audience. The XBLIG version also has many new enemies, different weapons, and a skill system for crushing attacks.
Buy the game today for only $1 (USD) on the XBox Live Indie Game marketplace. From the XBox360 home screen, select Games tab > Browse Games > Indie tab > New Releases or buy it on the web at TTY GFX ADVNTR (only for XBox 360)
While Ditto and I have been keeping the DreamTeam alive by working on an actual game for the October Challenge (our Indie Speed Run entry: The Old Man And The NSA), I’ve also decided to release a new compilation album that features all of the music I’ve made for Ludum Dare games, LD warmups, and other game jams in general.
GameJams Volume One
21 tracks and a super secret bonus track that will unlock when you download the album… all clocking in at around 50 minutes. Some of these games placed very high in the audio category, with two of them actually bringing home a Gold Medal… something that I never expected. You see, my first Ludum Dare entry had NO AUDIO AT ALL. I was very disappointed with myself and decided to try much harder in the audio category. I worked at it and worked at it until I actually ended up receiving a Gold Medal for audio during Ludum Dare’s 10th anniversary for my entry, ZUNZANDA. So I’m living proof that Ludum Dare is a wonderful way to push yourself into new territory, learn new things, and accomplish goals you never even dreamed of. I owe all of my current and future success to Ludum Dare, and GameJams Volume One is kind of like my ‘origin story‘ of game development, as this content dates all the way back to the very first game I ever released.
So what are you waiting for?! You can hear the entire album and PAY WHAT YOU WANT for the download right HERE.
You can also snag the official soundtrack to DreamTeam’s Ludum Dare 27 entry, EcoStar vs Aeronox right HERE.
Thanks for your support and LONG LIVE LUDUM DARE!
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who took the time to play and rate my game!
My previous entry (LD26) was a decent game but was rated very poorly in audio because I ran out of time and didn’t get around to adding any at all. I actually managed to score a 1.31 in Audio that time. I guess there were actually some reviewers out there who felt that silence was worth more than a 1. heh.
Anyway, I knew I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have a repeat of my audio performance this time for LD27. I wanted to make something where the audio was central to the experience of the game. So, I got all crazy and ended up deciding to make a music game with some original music that I’d record over the weekend.
I knew I’d do better in Audio this time around… but I still didn’t have a full complement of sounds – no UI sounds or anything – just 30 seconds of original music. I definitely didn’t expect to get 3rd place in Audio across all Jam entries, and I’m not entirely sure that I deserve it, but I appreciate it all the same!
Anyway, this has been a great 2nd Ludum Dare for me. I’m very happy with how everything turned out and am looking forward to the next one!
This is actually written in response to all the comments that were made on a previous post I made about the surprising (to me) amount of high-quality music in the compo division.
First of all, thanks for all the thoughts and feedback on my last post everyone! Always nice to hear good discussion on stuff like this. Sorry for the late reply on my part, I hadn’t realized the post received so many comments (would be nice if the site notified me somehow).
Anyway, first of all let me say that I wasn’t assuming most people or even anyone in particular was cheating. I just saw a very high level of quality in compo music and that made me a little suspicious if it was supposed to all be created from scratch. Maybe it was just a statistical fluke based on the particular 30 or so compo games I played… maybe there actually was a high level of musical talent in the compo… maybe the definition of “from scratch” was a bit more lenient than I originally thought. I didn’t know. I guess I just wanted things to make sense.
I hadn’t considered that music generators like Band in a Box or Abundant Music were legal, but that’s the impression I got from those that mentioned them. If that’s the case, then I think it’s safe to assume that they may be why so many compo entries have decent music that follows the conventions of popular music fairly well (similar to tools like bfxr/sfxr being the reason so many compo entries have decent sound).
Though that would explain why I see what I see, I have to admit I find the legality of music generators to be a bit odd. I have a Casio keyboard and it features dozens of different instrument samples and accompaniment in dozens of different musical styles. I can simply choose a musical style, give it a tempo, and it starts playing a 6-part track including bass, drums, piano, etc. including an intro, outro, bridges, and fills. I would feel like using that music would be cheating for the compo… yet, if Band in a Box is legal, I don’t see how using the keyboard’s features are that much different.
I guess the question is where does that line of “creating your own music” get drawn? Using music generators is kinda like taking a bunch of sound samples and musical patterns made by other people and rearranging and tweaking them to suit your tastes. Should that count as making your own music?
If you answered yes, I have a question for you. What do you think about this?
HeroMachine is another content generator. It’s a tool to generate a character portrait for you. There are dozens of options for creating your portrait from different body parts, clothing, and other pieces and tweaking those pieces to suit your taste. Should it also be legal for me to use HeroMachine to generate graphics for my compo entry? I would argue that music generators and tools like HeroMachine are no different. They should either both be legal or both be illegal… but I suspect people would be a lot more upset about the usage of HeroMachine in a compo entry.
Interestingly, bfxr/sfxr feel like they are in a slightly different category of content generator. I think the usage of them feels (to me at least) a little more “pure” and legitimate than other content generators because the core content that the generators are based on are simply mathematical functions. These generators are not simply combinations of various “snippets” of art that were created by someone else. Though you could maybe argue that even the presets of “Pickup”, “Explosion”, etc. required the artistic input of someone to decide the range of mathematical parameters that made those types of sounds.
Well, regardless of people’s opinions on the various aspects of this topic, there seems to be one common thread. Everyone seems to agree that there should be some clarification regarding the rules of music production for the compo division. I don’t really care much either way, but I would like those restrictions to be more clearly defined.