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nsmadsen

Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Nov 21 2014 10:59 AM

#5193277 Tips for rescoring

Posted by nsmadsen on 17 November 2014 - 11:04 AM

This is the gray area, in my opinion. Because some companies/IPs don't care at all. Others are quite strict about taking down anything that they own and haven't given expressed permission for you to use. Youtube is also getting more aggressive about taking down stuff that violates copyright. Other sites, like Vimeo, have been more flexible... at least for now.

 

What I'd do is put a disclaimer, both in the video itself and in the info section, that details this was done purely as an exercise and isn't any part of the official property/brand/etc. Lots of people do this and I haven't seen someone get in legal trouble. But I have seen folks get in trouble (basically a cease and desist letter) when remaking a fan version of a game - like that fan Chrono Cross project several years back.




#5193099 How do you learn to compose different genres?

Posted by nsmadsen on 16 November 2014 - 10:15 AM

Listen, listen, listen. Then listen some more.

 

Identify one part of the track and listen all of the way through to see what it does. Then listen globally. Then again with another part. Listen actively and listen passively (like when you're jogging, driving or cooking, etc). If possible, get some sheet music in that style. Learn to play it. Study the chord changes and rhythms used.

 

Then do some more listening.

 

Then throw it all out and do what you think feels natural because you want to infuse you and this new genre together instead of being a carbon copy. After you've done your first draft, go back and see how close to that style/genre you were. You don't want to go way off the mark but having a cool twist on it could be the very thing that makes it your music. Makes it something that someone else would greatly appreciate instead of sounding generic. Make sense?




#5193098 Tips for rescoring

Posted by nsmadsen on 16 November 2014 - 10:11 AM

Rescore what inspires you. What you think could be a neat or interesting challenge. And sometimes score something where you've not heard the official music from that clip or sequence. This way, once you're done, you can see what you did differently and what you did similarily to the official music. It's also a VERY good exercising in comparing your production value. In some cases, mediorce music can become very impactful with great production whereas awesome music, with horrible production value can really be inhibited. So take time to look at both ends.




#5192146 Platform Specific Loudness Standards?

Posted by nsmadsen on 10 November 2014 - 03:25 PM

Sloppy typing - I am using compression with music along with several other mastering items. For SFX, I normalize.




#5192117 Platform Specific Loudness Standards?

Posted by nsmadsen on 10 November 2014 - 01:50 PM

Well in that case what do you guys generally shoot for when you master music for games? I've been going for -1Peak / -18RMS which I feel leaves enough room for 'dramatic' dynamics instead of crushing it that CD-Audio style.

 

I normalize everything and then via middleware or whatever system my client is using - set the appropriate volumes. Either by doing so directly or a bunch of emails/calls/chats back and forth if I'm remote. I don't have a standard -RMS setting for all games or anything but rather consider the device(s) it will be played on and then do a lot of A/B comparisons with other media for those same devices to make sure the audio works well. Too often, I don't really get much say in the implementation of audio, sadly.




#5192098 Platform Specific Loudness Standards?

Posted by nsmadsen on 10 November 2014 - 11:42 AM


Someone correct me if I am wrong but I think there is some "suggestions" (I remember reading a paper from Sony I think) but no rules.

 

Yup, this is my understanding as well. I've heard many-a-talks at GDC about this very topic.




#5191812 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 08 November 2014 - 12:35 PM


If you don't say there is nothing to do for untrained/ungifted "ear" , that's ok but if there are tips we can benefit and you can also benefit because we may stop or reduce asking wrong or stupid questions, I'd like to hear them.

 

While I value folks wanting to know what makes good versus bad music, it really comes down to what serves the game (and its players) the best. Some of the more concrete aspects about if a piece of music is good or bad relate to production:

 

- is it distorting due to clipping out?

- is it drastically softer or louder than any other cues or sounds in the game? (Could be either an implementation or production issue)

- is it set to the wrong sampling/bit rate so that it causes a bad listening experience (like the time a programmer downsampled my MP3s to 56kbps which made it sound horrible). This is the trade off between audio footprint/performance and sound quality.

 

These are just a few and it's much easier to define good versus bad here. These are less subjective than other criteria of a good song. A repetitive melody? Poor voicings? Less than steller sounding samples/fonts? Simple rhythms? These could be great or bad. They could add to your game or take away. These are things that a trained ear may pick up but the casual player may not even notice. So my advice to others wanting to know if the music/audio they're putting in their games is "good enough" - playtest it with a decent pool of people. If you feel the game has matched your vision for the narrative and you feel the player's getting the experience you set out to create - and 75% of your players are screaming that they hate the music - you're good!

 

What we need to get away from is the expectation that complex music automatically equals good music. Or that orchestral music automatically means higher quality. Especially in the arena of game audio.




#5191569 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 06 November 2014 - 03:04 PM


So I think you should also step up to teach us how to appreciate good from bad, very basics and some theory. I had asked about it briefly before ( http://www.gamedev.net/topic/651305-i-want-something-like-x/ ) but there is more way to go imo.

 

This is the hard thing about art (music, visual art, writing, etc) because so much of it is subjective. What some may consider bad, others might really enjoy. So while things which are more concrete, like coding, are more black and white (like if the game is crashing, that's obivously not working) music is more of a grey area. This is also the challenging (and exciting!) part of being a composer in this industry. Each time I work with a new client, I view it as a puzzle - trying to figure out what works best for them and their game while remaining true to myself. It can be quite fun when it's working well!




#5191518 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 06 November 2014 - 08:06 AM

I'm just going to say this outright - take what Matt Milne says with a grain of salt guys. This is the same guy who claimed to have narrowly missed scoring Harry Potter 7 several years ago on this site (along with many other outlandish claims):

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/457503-internationally-renowned-film-composer-looking-for-work/




#5191516 "Breaking into" the industry - questions

Posted by nsmadsen on 06 November 2014 - 08:00 AM

Another thing to consider is the whole concept of "breaking into" or "making it" the industry. When I first started in 2005 I thought I would have "made it" when X happened. Then it would happen and I still felt the drive - still felt like I hadn't "made it" yet. So then my target changed to Y and so on. Breaking into the industry has never been easier, especially with the mobile market and it's low bar of entry. Nearly 150 projects and nine years later I still feel like I'm trying to make it. I've had some success and feel I'm a part of the industry, sure, but I'm always striving for that next goal. That next hurdle. And that's not a bad thing!

 


Like any decent artist, I avoid trying to look like one.  I don't go to events or join organisations, because I'm not trying to pretend to belong.

 

Matt does things his own way - that's for sure. For some, attending events and organizations is crucial while it doesn't work for others. My advice - give all (or most) avenues a shot and see what pays off for you.

 

I listened to a few of your tracks and, honestly, I was surprised that you're struggling so much with confidence because you produce good work! Perhaps you're looking at this the wrong way. Nobody wants to work with a jerk and being egotistical is a massive turn off. Try to strike a balance between being humble and approachable while having confidence that you can deliver. I'd look for some projects that are already after the kind of music you can do really well organically. I'm talking about the type of music you'd write on a free Saturday afternoon just for fun. Something that already deeply aligns with your passions and talents. Once you've scored a few games that you're proud of - and can show off to other clients - I think you'll start to feel better about your own work.




#5191416 Making a track loop

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 November 2014 - 03:29 PM

Pops and clicks are usually related to looping points not being set to zero crossings. See if your DAW has a loop tuner and if it doesn't, buy one. They're usually very cheap.

 

Then you want to make your starting and ending points match, preferably over the X axis. And like the others have mentioned - a change in pitch, texture or amount of reverb on only one side of the loop can make it feel lopsided instead of even.

 

Thanks!

 

Nate




#5191373 "Breaking into" the industry - questions

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 November 2014 - 12:38 PM


I had always thought I could take most any style/genre, and with some research, make a passable imitation of it for a client.

 

If a client came to me asking for something I'm not good or experienced in, like hip hop/rap, then I'd refer them to someone who I feel could match their needs. One of the biggest mistakes I see young(er) composers make is try to write/produce every single kind of style/genre out there. Know your limits. Continue to keep learning and stretching yes, but realize and captalize on your strengths.




#5190940 Help with first Demo Reel please

Posted by nsmadsen on 03 November 2014 - 11:46 AM

Hey,

 

The music sounds pretty good! The MIDI saxophone had me cringing but that's mostly because I'm a saxophonist myself. :) When you can, consider hiring live soloist for key spots in your music. It really helps raises the overall production value!

 

Thanks,

 

Nate




#5190285 More Music Mondays

Posted by nsmadsen on 30 October 2014 - 09:20 PM

I would have though it would pick up too much of the low end but it sounds really good in your recording.

 

We EQed out quite a bit of the low end. You should have seen the percussion session! So many mics! So many toys... erm, I mean drums. Drums.




#5190151 More Music Mondays

Posted by nsmadsen on 30 October 2014 - 08:57 AM

I think he was using a Nueman and it was positioned above her. I should've taken a picture of it but didn't. I had a total of four sessions, each about two hours or so long and then one final 5 hour session with just the engineer. He has fantastic gear and plugs. I've got quite a bit of studio envy!






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