nsmadsenMember Since 22 Feb 2006
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- Member Title Moderator - Music and Sound
- Age 101 years old
- Birthday May 6, 1912
Everything and anything related to audio in video games.
Posted by nsmadsen on 30 November 2012 - 08:22 AM
Posted by nsmadsen on 15 November 2012 - 03:37 PM
Nate, what is FMOD? Is it an engine for the audio?
Yes, it's a middleware solution for audio. A fantastic program, too! Another option would be Wwise or Xact if you're working with MS projects. Some companies have their own proprietary engines as well.
Posted by nsmadsen on 15 November 2012 - 11:12 AM
What I've learned over the years is that each team is very different and the toolsets they have differ too. As much as you can, be involved and have you hand in all things audio. I remember with one team things were so back logged that I actually started editing ActionScript in the front end (title screen, menu, character build, etc) myself. I knew the basic play or stop commands in ActionScript and fiddled my way through the code. I'd get a code review and test everything with someone who actually knew coding before checking it back in. Was that technically part of my job? Nope. But I was tired of waiting for simple hook ups to my sounds and just did it anyway. Plus it was kinda fun.
I'm rambling somewhat but my point here is game development is fluid. Sure you have the job description as it relates to HR and such, but once you're hired on - do EVERYTHING you can to make the audio awesome (and early and under budget if at all possible).
Posted by nsmadsen on 11 November 2012 - 09:35 AM
Exploring the Plains was also nice - reminded me of Chrono Cross. I do feel like you could experiment more with the note velocities in the harp as well as play around with tempos and note placement so it's not so.... perfect all of the time. Humans don't play that perfectly so when writing with acoustic instrumentations I strive to make it as organic as possible. The term I usually use is humanistic.
Thanks for sharing!
Posted by nsmadsen on 11 November 2012 - 09:26 AM
Top of the game: ProTools 10. Should go for about 700 USD if I'm not mistaken. This is a hollywood-level solution.
But you can do wonders with Adobe Audition CS6 or Nuendo 5.5 as well, which are about half that price.
Uh... Nuendo is a great deal more than $700. You can usually pick that up for about $1,700 or so but it's MSRP is around $2,400. http://www.sweetwate...detail/Nuendo5/ Perhaps you're mistaking Pro Tools HD versions, which can go up to $20K depending on the card set up you use.
Have you done sound editing before? I'm just asking because it seems like you are about to go on this task yourself and sound design is a very specific area and requires a lot of skill and experience.
Agreed! It sounds like you've either never done audio production or had very limited experience in it. I'm all for folks learning new skills but if you're looking for high quality audio for good bang for the buck (and at a faster turn around) then I'd highly suggest two options:
1) Hire a sound guy on here. Odds are you'll find someone who would cost about the same as it would cost you to purchase the software and the gear to record your source files (if you're making these from scratch).
2) Purchase royalty free sound effects from sites like http://www.soundrangers.com/ or http://www.sounddogs.com/.
You could even do both and have someone more experienced in audio do the complex sounds while you handle the simple sounds (like a button UI click) via the a la carte method. Of course if you're looking to create a game 100% by yourself, then that's understandable (and admirable). It really depends on what your goals and intentions are with this project.
Hope that helps!
Posted by nsmadsen on 09 November 2012 - 03:56 PM
Posted by nsmadsen on 08 November 2012 - 12:32 PM
There is no set, standard rate across the entire industry but there are norms or trends. I've heard the "common" rate for exclusive rights can be as high as $1,000 - $1,250 per minute of music composed. I've even heard as high as $2,500. But for "normal" indie budgets this can quickly exceed what's realistic. So you have to focus on the average price point of the end product. A typical iPhone app isn't going to have the same price point as a PS3 title. This is why it gets tricky when discussing standard rates... plus, to my knowledge there's no mass email or publication going out to (non-union) composers saying "okay, now X is the new set rate." At least not yet.
It's hard to say what the average indie game producer(s) can pay these days because that label encompasses a much larger range of folks and projects. Before the app store and such, most indie game producers were smaller, non-major companies that still had a decent amount of dough. These days an indie game producer could be a programmer in a basement who pays the $100 dev fee to Apple and uploads his game.
in short - I've charged more than $600/min and I've charged a whole lot less. Many of the factors already discussed in this thread would explain why.
Here's the contact page if you still need to speak to someone directly on staff about the Marketplace: http://www.gamedev.n...ut/contact.html
Posted by nsmadsen on 06 November 2012 - 11:13 AM
Far be it from the newbie to suggest this, but as the Music and Sound forum is almost half locked classified ads, perhaps something stricter would help? Or perhaps just deleting the post and sending the user a private message to save space?
Your opinions and feedback are always welcomed! I'm choosing to keep them on the board because:
- some potential posters can read these closed posts and see that it's not the right spot. I do have some PM chats with posters when they have specific questions but leave the closed post public so others can (hopefully) see how the forum is moderated.
- there's still not enough traffic to really warrant keeping the board even more clean. Once traffic increases, I'll adapt my approach. But as such, I think we have plenty of space right now.
Thanks for your input!
Posted by nsmadsen on 03 November 2012 - 06:05 PM
Posted by nsmadsen on 31 October 2012 - 11:49 AM
First of all, nobody forces you to make all your content public. Just say "hey, I'm making this <short description> game, contact me if you're interested", you don't need an nda to do that.
Agreed. Too often teams/managers get excited or to eager to fill out documents instead of taking time to evaluate potential audio vendors with vague info. The initial evaluation should be focused on if my audio content/talents fit your needs, am I available and do the numbers work out for both parties. More specific, sensitive info can be shared later, once a vendor is selected and on board.
- Of course the nda is mainly about that person then revealing all of the content. Fortunately, our brains are quite capable of evaluating whom we can trust. If the other one is someone trustworthy, you can simply ask them to please not reveal anything and they most likely won't. If on the other hand the other one is someone out to screw you, they will do so with or without an nda, there's always a way.
Hmmm, not so much. Without an NDA it makes it harder to show a clear case of violating trust. For example if I over hear someone in a public place talking about a cool game project and I blog about this new, neat idea - have I violated that person's trust? I say no because the discussion was held in public, without any documentation and no shared expectation of privacy. Just asking someone to keep a secret often doesn't pan out and is poor business.
- The above is even more true considering that an nda is nothing but a piece of paper with a little bit of ink applied if you're not willing or able to enforce it. If someone actually breaks the nda, it will cost time, energy and money to actually hold them accountable for that. Even if you are willing to move time and energy from the gamedevelopment to the courtroom, being an indie-team, you most likely won't have the funding to pay a lawyer.
Could be but just because funds or available interest/time may be low, are you actually advocating indie projects simply ignore the common business practices and standards? That hardly seems appropriate. I agree with your first point regarding the timing but I disagree with your later points.
- "But what if someone steals my idea?". That is certainly the most-asked question in this context. And even though it's been said countless times, let's repeat once again: ideas are cheap. They're a dime a dozen and anyone working in gamedevelopment has more ideas in their head than they'll ever be able to produce. What makes a good game is the execution, not the initial idea. The only reason someone in indie would prefer to steal your idea instead of working together or making one of his own, is that they don't have any. But if that is the case, they'll hardly be capable of making that idea into a game any better or faster than you.
True, implementation is what maters but surely even you can agree having all of the legal documents in hand can make it much easier to prove malice/copying/cheating happened. Also the stronger the case, the easier it is to settle and not end up going to court in the first place. I'm not a lawyer but I've heard the amount/type of damages that can be sought change with what kind of documentation and set up is in place.
- The other main reason for NDAs is marketing. The trick with mystery-marketing however is that, while no one knows what the answer is, everyone knows that there is a 'mystery' (in this case, the content). The big industry can pull that off pretty easily, they can just push content into the media until everybody is sure to have heard about that at some point. Indie teams on the other hand do not have the budget for that and mainly rely on word of mouth advertisement, and it's just really hard to get people to say "I've seen this cool upcoming game. I've never heard of the guys who make it and I don't really know what it's about, but you should definitely check it out." Maybe there are examples where it worked and it would be great to hear of them, but most of the time, indie-gaming is still too small and at least I wouldn't know of any cases where that really worked on a large scale.
Wrong. An NDA is a mutually binding agreement where we can evaluate and "audition" each other. For example the NDAs that I sign state that I'll not release sensitive info on the company and it's project and they'll not release my info such as rates, test pieces I may have provided or other nonpublic materials I provided so they could help evalute me. Every NDA I've signed remained private and I never once say the company use my NDA as marketing. In fact for months and months no public discussion whatsoever took place. It wasn't until the project reached a certain maturity that marketing started putting out teasers and such - and that was related to marketing and PR not NDAs.
- Methods and standards have evolved in game design and continue to do so, but in it's core, it is a creative process. And like any creative process, it relies heavily on the dynamic within the team and the motivation of the individual members (even if money keeps them working, motivation is what produces quality). NDAs damage these dynamics by introducing yourself with two basic premises: Even though you might make a 180°-turn from outside the team to inside, the very first connection between the team members on which anything else is built will be distrust. Secondly, even before the new guy is joining, you define an unhealthy hierarchy: You are the boss and you alone decide the rules under which one might work with you. While I certainly don't say there shouldn't be any hierarchy at all, the role of the team leader should be a supporting one, not the bad boss that want's to control everything.
Interesting take but, again, I find fault with your logic. First off ANY job requires you agree not to share company secrets. This applies to jobs in and outside of the game dev industry. Secondly every single job I've taken on had a boss. Zero jobs have hired me on without at least one person to report to, who holds me accountable. Also having a clear hierarchy can help creativity instead of hurting it. I've been on teams where there wasn't a defined vision and there was weak leadership. That project ended up missing deadlines, lacked a coherent vision and morale fell drastically. This didn't help creativity, it hinder and blocked it. Folks often do best when there is a clear vision, a defined leader (or leaders) and a set standard.
While there might not be many that are higly opposed against ndas in indie-teams, the simple fact that they have to make quite an effort to only view the most basic content of the game and thus even consider joining the project is a huge inconvenience for many people when looking for a team. The result is that quite a few of them simply won't and stick with a project that tell's them what they're up to from the beginning instead, resulting in fewer that are even contacting you. Those that do contact you are then likely to contact the other teams with ndas as well, resulting in them having lot's of options which project to join. All in all, it will result in you having a much harder time finding members than you would have had otherwise.
I've never experienced this as both and employee or a freelancer.
- As Katz already said, this will also take away the exchange with other developers and the community. While many might do well enough without input from other developers, a quick glance at the gamedesign forum shows that most of the people that ask for advice there get tons of ideas they wouldn't have ever thought about on their own. Even more important might be that this doesn't apply to design-questions only, but also to tech-questions. So especially if someone on the team is inexperienced or trying out something new, they won't be able to ask "I'm trying to <do this>, how do I accomplish that?", making work much harder for them and lowering the quality of the product.
There are many interviews, articles and guides (often as post mortems) that show the good, bad and ugly behind a project's development. The only trick is they're often after the game is out... which makes sense because during development the team is too busy and still figuring stuff out. Also there are many ways to discuss problems and their solutions without violating NDA. I do it all of the time on here. It could just be me but I do not find NDAs a hinderence or harmful factor to the industry. In fact, I would encourage more people to behave like professionals so we have fewer clients expeceting free-yet-Hollywood-quality audio for their games. It would also help deter people stealing audio work or flaking out on their committments to the folks they hire for their indie projects.
- Finally, a game idea evolves and changes heavily during production. While it's always good to have a design document, an nda requires you to have a very detailed one so that as many of your ideas as possible are covered by the nda, and then reinforces the notion that those ideas are "worth protecting". This leads to a very static design process, where many deferring roads remain unexplored and lots of potential goes unused.
I'm not sure what NDAs you're signing or talking about but every NDA I've signed had a blacket clause that covered project X as well as a time frame. That allowed the game (and it's design) to change as needed.
Posted by nsmadsen on 30 October 2012 - 02:13 PM
Posted by nsmadsen on 26 October 2012 - 07:11 AM
Posted by nsmadsen on 26 October 2012 - 06:19 AM
What qualities in a composer (and their music), can lead to an acceptable rate of music as high as $600/ per minute, and what aspects of a composer and their ability would lead you to persuade a composer to possibly lower their prices? Or is it all based on personal preference and what developer is willing to negotiate and work with you?
I wanted to address this point specifically.
Charles Deenen, the audio director for EA Blackbox for a good long while, once said that he'd gladly pay tens of thousands of dollars more to have a guy he knows and trusts do the job over someone he doesn't. Consider the client's task list, especially the large ones, and you'll quickly realize most of these folks want to hire someone they know will deliver on time, on budget and on the mark. If one of these top tier guys has to spend time going back and forth with a composer, it takes time away from other tasks. It might even make them miss their own deadlines if they have to invest too much time and attention on someone not getting the job done.
Of course, this is for top tier projects and more "indie" projects don't have the same level of expectation and stress (usually!!!). Remember so much more goes into being a successful, sought after audio dude than just making good audio. A short list would be:
- understand current tech tricks/limitations (really helpful when talking with other depts)
- be an excellent communicator (especially for interacting with those who know little to nothing about music but have to sign off on content)
- be able to hit deadlines without fail
- be a pleasure to work with
- be a solid networker
If you're freelancing then you can also add:
- finding work
- read/write and negoitate contracts
- accounting (creating invoices, collecting monies owed, budgeting for your personal and business needs, etc)
- develop sound business/marketing plans to grow your business
Too often some just focus on if the music is good enough and forget all of the rest. Best of luck to you!
Posted by nsmadsen on 26 October 2012 - 06:11 AM
You've asked a pretty tough question because so much goes into it, which I'll try to explain below:
- Part of it relies on how much cash the client has to pay. It doesn't make much sense to charge them $500,000 if they can only spend $1,000.
- Part of it relies on how much money you need to make right now. If this is your side gig and you're not relying on this money to pay bills and feed yourself, then you have more flexibility. Take a look at your personal and business finances and scope out how much you'd need to make all of your needs as well as some of your wants. (After all... nobody wants to just scrape by!)
- Another factor is credentials, as you get more stature you can charge more.
- The terms presented are another element. For example a client needing music tomorrow is going to pay more than another client not needing music for 3 months from now. What kind of rights are required? Do they require live musicians or are virtual ones okay?
- Finally what you can charge and still feel good about the situation. You never want to end up working in a situation where you feel like you're being ripped off. Trust me, I've been in those and your inspiration, motivation and energy take a direct hit.
There is no set figure. Reality check: the client is usually trying to figure out what's the lowest figure you're willing to work for and you're trying to figure out what's the highest rate they'd be willing to pay. It can be an interesting game of cat and mouse sometimes. What I do each year is establish my "normal" rates based on what I *think* the market will handle. From there I treat each client as a individual case with it's own unique situation and needs. There's a real balance because you don't want to come off super desperate but you do want to come off as accommodating. Having said all of that, you'll find clients that will want unrealistic or unreasonable terms and it's more than okay to simply say no. It's alright to politely refuse and walk away.
Perfect example, I had a client that wanted a 3 minute song, at exclusive rights, within 4 days and wanted to pay me $25 for it. When I refused he upped the offer to $35. I explained to him, politely, that the rate he was willing to pay was drastically below what I could afford to take on at the time and wished him the best of luck on his project.
Starting out can be hard but don't let your desire for projects and need for cash make you sign on to situations that make you feel uncomfortable or negative.
Hope that helps,
Posted by nsmadsen on 22 October 2012 - 05:17 PM
But crashing and stability issues almost never happen for me with PLAY. Getting multiple libraries is often not possible so you'd most likely have to do it one or two at a time but I agree with the other posts, each brings something good to the table.