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Member Since 18 Sep 2010
Offline Last Active Apr 24 2016 05:20 PM

#5285164 Dealing with unstable contractors?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 04 April 2016 - 08:07 PM

Another recommendation when dealing with contractors who don't speak English very well... Use very simple sentence structure and vocabulary. "It is quite possible you misunderstood my reasons for clarification" is pretty tough vocab for a non-native speaker..

Simpler is: "I think you did not understand me."  

I learned this (the hard way) when I did a lot of work with Japanese game companies. It may sound very harsh and abrupt to our ears, but it is far less likely to be mis-understood.


And, yes, unless it is crystal clear that you're asking for a 'demo' (which has been pointed out is not without some controversy), it could easily cause some hard feelings.


That all said, the advice from frob, etc is spot-on. Best to just let this go and let it die down

#5259810 Which to learn first: Wwise or FMOD?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 30 October 2015 - 05:05 PM

I've been giving this some thought. Where would be a good place for a novice to start on audio coding? 



I would start with C# on Unity.  It's a pretty easy language, and the tutorials on the Unity web site are pretty good.


Now, if by "audio coding" you mean "I want to be able to write my own EQ's and DSP effects," then you'd want to learn C++ (and a lot more..).


A good resource can be your local community college-- look for intro to programming courses.

#5259640 Which to learn first: Wwise or FMOD?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 29 October 2015 - 05:15 PM

Got my first job mostly because I know how to code pretty well for a junior sound designer.



Hi Valoon-- can you ping me offline (brian at gamesoundcon dot com)?  I'd love to get more of that story.  It's something I've seen in the industry, have explained to people, but another  specific example is always good!



#5259275 Which to learn first: Wwise or FMOD?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 27 October 2015 - 09:15 AM

Slight disagreement with CCH...


A lot of games don't use any middleware, so it's important to learn the concepts behind what the tools have to offer as much (or moreso) than the tools themselves.


That said, since your question was "Which to learn first" (and not just "Which to learn"), I'm going to say FMOD.. Get familiar with it, and then move on to Wwise.


The reason is that FMOD's somewhat more popular for smaller or indie games than Wwise (according to the GameSoundCon Audio Industry Survey).  Their pricing is a bit more indie friendly than WWise's, which may be why it's used a bit more.


But definitely learn both-- The thing with games is that it's not up to the sound designer/composer what middleware will be used; it's up to the game developer.

#5258751 Aspiring audio for games producer here...

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 23 October 2015 - 05:24 PM

Small plug..  I was interviewed by Electronic Musician mag on this about a month ago:




Networking is key to working in game audio. You want to build personal relationships with people in the industry-- personal relationships can take time to make, but they will serve you very well in the long run.


I don't know where you live, but if you're in CA, right this very moment, indiecade is going on in Los Angeles.  .  GameSoundCon is a week after that, also in LA.  GDC in March is a must-attend. 


You might also be interested in this survey of game audio professionals on the state of salaries, how they got their last gig, contract terms, etc.


(edit..fixed a link that this forum didn't like)


It's also possible to a certain extent to 'network' online.  facebook groups like Game Audio Network Guild, Game Audio Denizens, Video Game Composers and Sound Designers, etc are all good places.  One note there, though.  The very last thing people want to see in those groups are "Hey, check out my cool track" posts.  If (when) you join these communities, you'll gain respect by contributing to the conversation, not to polluting it.


I'd also make sure you're set up to do SFX work as well.  If you look at that survey, a huge percentage of people in games do both music and sound design.

Smaller studios (where you're likely to make your start) are more likely either to only have a single audio person or no audio person, and use only contractors.  In that case, make sure that you have both music AND sound design skills. 


And re-iterating previous good advice above.  Only work for free if others on the team are working for free--i.e. a student project or a hobbyist project.  Note that "for free" might mean "for no cash"--i.e. maybe you can barter your music/sound design for a new logo, etc.  

#5256259 Reducing the number of octaves in a song

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 08 October 2015 - 01:08 PM

Awesome project...


As a first quick pass, I'd suggest your MIDI parsing routine just force the pitches into the range of your glockenspiel by doing an octave transpose.

It would sound a bit strange on some pieces (i.e it wouldn't make a 'complex aesthetic judgement'), but would let let all the notes be played and it would have the benefit of letting you give it any MIDI file.

The alternative would be to just ignore out-of-range notes.


For example



if (NotePitch > MAXGLOCKPITCH) {       // are we out of range, too high?

   While (NotePitch> MAXGLOCKPITCH) do {  // yes, keep transposing down an octave until we're in range.

      NotePitch -= 12;      // transpose down an octave



if (NotePitch < MINGLOCKPITCH) { // are we out of range, too low

  While (NotePitch < MAXGLOCKPITCH) do {  // yes, keep transposing UP an octave until we're in range

      NotePitch += 12;    // tranpose it up an octave



// at this point we have a valid NotePitch within range of the glockenspiel

#5256256 GameSoundCon 2015 discount for gamedev.net readers?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 08 October 2015 - 12:58 PM

Yes, there is!

The code, GAMEDEV100 will knock $100 off registration.


You can register online at www.GameSoundCon.com




#5255043 Best free software for producing movie-like music?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 October 2015 - 02:30 PM

One thing to note (and first of all, I think it's awesome that you're a game developer writing their own score!)..


Even with a "great" library, it takes practice to make the music sound real.  The best libraries have various control parameters, alternative articulations, that all need to be programmed (or better, performed) in, and practicing with your virtual orchestra makes a big difference in the final sound.


In fact, I've heard some great "virtual orchestrators" make really convincing music even with so-so libraries, and I've heard less practiced composers make  music that sounded virtual even with the most expensive libraries.

#5254526 Referencing other media in video games...law issues?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 28 September 2015 - 07:37 PM

Here is a blurb from Stanford's fairuse.stanford.edu page. http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/

This sounds more like the second case below (which was ruled not to be a De Minimus use). (bold highlight mine).


Too Small for Fair Use: The De Minimis Defense
In some cases, the amount of material copied is so small (or “de minimis”) that the court permits it without even conducting a fair use analysis. For example, in the motion picture Seven, several copyrighted photographs appeared in the film, prompting the copyright owner of the photographs to sue the producer of the movie. The court held that the photos “appear fleetingly and are obscured, severely out of focus, and virtually unidentifiable.” The court excused the use of the photographs as “de minimis” and didn’t require a fair use analysis. (Sandoval v. New Line Cinema Corp., 147 F.3d 215 (2d Cir. 1998).)
As with fair use, there is no bright line test for determining a de minimis use. For example, in another case, a court determined that the use of a copyrighted poster for a total of 27 seconds in the background of the TV show Roc was not de minimis. What distinguished the use of the poster from the use of the photographs in the Seven case? The court stated that the poster was clearly visible and recognizable with sufficient observable detail for the “average lay observer” to view the artist’s imagery and colorful style. (Ringgold v. Black Entertainment Television, Inc., 126 F.3d 70 (2d Cir. 1997).)



#5242793 How Do I Become A Video Game Composer?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 26 July 2015 - 12:09 PM

And remember the only thing that matters is how good your audio sounds!



I'm going to disagree with my esteemed colleague, from Austin (recently transplanted from colorado..)


That's actually only one of a number of things that matter.

Among the others

1) Being able to deliver to spec, on time

2) Being easy and a pleasure to work with

3) underpromising and overdelivering

4) Getting yourself out there enough so that people will know you

5) being able to take criticism and not take it personally

6) understanding that your role first and foremost is to make the game more fun to play (not necessarily showcase your music).

and several others :)


You mentioned not being able to find a lot of info on the "game music business.".  

Check out last year's Game Audio Industry survey.


Also, coincidentally, I'm doing a live guest appearance on a "For Film Composers Only" webinar to talk about music for games; when I did this about a year ago, most of the questions were business questions.


Its this coming Friday, July 31, at noon PST.


You don't say what city/country you're located in, but try to find local (or online) indie game dev communities; search out "game jams".



#5226773 Is it necessary to license your game?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 May 2015 - 04:26 PM

A composer who has much experience in the films industry and none in the games industry insists that i license the current game I'm developing.


Any thoughts?



Trying to get back to the original question.


I believe what you meant to ask is "the composer wants me to license the music he writes for the game."


When you hire a composer, there are 2 possibilities:

1) you pay him/her, and then you own the music s/he writes for you

2) you pay him/her, but he continues to own the music s/he writes for you, but they give you permission to use the music in your game


#1 is called "Work for Hire." (you own the music)

#2 is called "licensing the music." (you are given permission to use the music)


Obviously it costs more for #1 than #2, because you get more (the ownership of the music)

In small indy games that don't pay a lot, licensing is not uncommon.  And in small films it is very common.


So my thought is that what the composer is asking for is not unusual, but you should understand exactly what it is you are getting for paying him/her.

#5226771 Using existing game footage for my showreel

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 May 2015 - 04:17 PM

Technically speaking, what you would then be making would be a 'derivative work'.  I.e. you are 'deriving' your version of the movie (with your music) from an already existing video which someone owns the copyright to--probably whoever posted it.

So technically, you would need permission from whomever made the video.


Practically speaking, a zillion composers do this all the time, so I wouldn't worry about it.  Just go ahead and make it, and stick it on your demo reel.

#5226767 GameSoundCon: Call For Speakers

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 May 2015 - 04:07 PM

Hi Everyone.


I've just opened up speaker submissions for GameSoundCon.


GameSoundCon is November 3-4, 2015, in downtown Los Angeles.


We are accepting submissions on all topics, but some of the 'hot' ones might include:

Audio for VR/AR

Advanced technolgy in games (Physical modelling, environmental simulation, etc)

Plus of course post morta of games with interesting or unique audio challenges you overcame.


Submissions can be made at GameSoundCon, and going to the "Submissions" menu item.


Submissions can be made through June 1.


Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.



#5211302 3D sound engine for a super realistic sound sources localization

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 17 February 2015 - 05:46 PM

If you want binaural audio effects, you will either have to

1) write your own binaural sound processor.  (which, yes, generally involves convolution :))

2) licensing a binaural engine from a 3rd party


X3DAudio doesn't do binaural audio processing--it just transforms x,y,z into speaker volumes (if you're doing surround sound over speakers).


If you really want to jump in with both feet and do 1, then you will need to find some dummy head HRTF data sets (there are a few around the 'net).  Then you'll need to write filtering algorithms.  
it's not rocket science, but does require a bit of specialized knowledge to get it right.

You may also want to look into OpenALSoft, which IIRC includes an HRTF implementation.

#5201008 Radio Chatter and Computer Voices

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 31 December 2014 - 11:19 AM

If your budget is really tight, and you have a manageable number of lines, for the radio voice, try recording your voice into your cell phone voice mail.  Then record the playback with a close directional mic.


If you want to record full fidelity , then try using audacity, etc and putting a narrow band filter on the sound.  Get rid of everything below about 400Hz, and above 3kHz.  Then compress the heck out of the sound using any dynamic range compressor.