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Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Oct 03 2015 08:52 PM

#5224538 Advice for a Firsttimer

Posted by nsmadsen on 20 April 2015 - 12:53 PM

Another example - it would be a waste of time for me to compose 10 minutes of highly interactive music based on the speculation that a client would be able to implement such a system. It would be better to do 1 mock up to show the intent and direction I'd have, then wait to ensure that such tech actually came to light and worked. I once worked on a project where they wanted 7-8 tiers of music for interactive music via the iPhone. This was several years ago so some of the tech hadn't really been fleshed out to the point it is now. So I wrote the music and broke out all of the tiers.


In the ends, the client couldn't make it work and I ended up wasting some time. (Not a lot but some.) Thankfully, it was just ONE song. Imagine if I had done all of that work upfront for a whole sound track, only to find out the tech got in our way. This is why I say it's better to let most of the game be set in stone. So you know exactly what you're dealing with and what's possible. But, again, I agree about setting direction and intent early on.

#5224536 Advice for a Firsttimer

Posted by nsmadsen on 20 April 2015 - 12:50 PM

I don't agree with this.

I never said that a tone or direction shouldn't be set on the early side of a project. In fact, I completely agree with you - a direction should be set! But both people and projects you mentioned had full time, in-house audio people. That's VERY different than most indie folks who have to use freelancers. In those cases you want to ensure that as much of the foundation is there so when you do pay a freelancer, they're working on as assets that are close to finalized as possible. Edit: so to clarify the point I was making earlier, full audio production should be later in the dev cycle.


And it COULD impact budget in a freelancing tyle of situation, if you're having crew work on assets that could change later on. I've had to rebill clients before for redo work because they brought me in too early and the game changed. I gave them a break but explained that my work had already been done and approved before a redirection occurred.

#5224504 Advice for a Firsttimer

Posted by nsmadsen on 20 April 2015 - 09:51 AM

Music, and sound in general, should be one of the last things you put into a game, which it sounds like you're at this stage. This is because you need to have established how the game will look, feel and play before adding in the music. At least, this is how it works with larger teams but if you're a one-man shop then there's nothing preventing you from trying out music now to see if it fits. But one bit of advice:


For now I'd grab a bunch of reference tracks and try them inside your game. Then playtest with a decent sized pool. See what music tracks do better and give better feedback. Creating music for games is a tricky thing because you're not only composing but you're also having to produce, which can heavily impact how your music is received. From there, once you've narrowed down what type of music seems to work best, I'd study that style and do your best to create something original which emulatesthat style.


For sound design, I'd look into a la carte websites like sounddogs, soundrangers, pond5 to grab resources. There's also digital sound makers (in-browser) which help create retro sounds.


Best of luck!







#5222928 Video Game Composing Software

Posted by nsmadsen on 13 April 2015 - 07:55 AM

And while budget is certainly gonna be a factor, workflow (preferences) will be a huge factor as well. For example FL Studio and Reason does things quite differently than Cubase or Logic, etc.

#5222926 Video Game Composing Software

Posted by nsmadsen on 13 April 2015 - 07:54 AM

It all depends on your budget. If you have a lower budget; there's FL Studio and Reaper. If you have a higher budget; there's stuff like Reason, Ableton Live and Cubase. Personally I've only used FL Studio and it's great if you want a program with an easy to use piano roll. It goes for about $99. Combine it with a couple good sample libraries and you can pretty much create any type of music.


While Young is mostly correct, you need to factor in buying 3rd party libraries and even some 3rd party plugs when using Reaper. It does have some built in plugs but no built in sounds. This is where the cost savings (when comparing Reaper to other DAWs) actually gets skewed. FL Studio does have lots of it's own sounds but if you wanna buy a large amount of sounds then you could end up spending just as much if not more than other DAWs.

#5222639 Video Game Composing Software

Posted by nsmadsen on 11 April 2015 - 01:45 PM

Just about all DAWs out there come with a demo/trial mode. Some of them limit features, others limit the amount of time you can use them while in demo/trial mode. But this will help you get an idea of what you like and don't like. Then I'd recommend checking out Youtube for plenty of tutorial videos. From there, once you've learned how to make good music with the program, you'll need to learn about audio engines so check out Fmod, Wwise and others. Again, Youtube has a ton tutorials.

#5220078 "Epic Boss Battle" my attempt at a JRPG Boss Battle Theme.

Posted by nsmadsen on 29 March 2015 - 08:49 PM

Doesn't feel as epic as the title would let on, but for the most part, an interesting track.

Personally, I feel the 'lead melody' gets stranded very quickly (doesn't sound totally on pitch, and is somewhat random).


Promising rhythmic though!


Agreed. It feels more retro than epic. The lead melody didn't bother me as much until the very end.

#5218790 Introduction: Looking for answers

Posted by nsmadsen on 24 March 2015 - 09:38 AM

Would you recommend doing unpaid jobs if (an only if) that's the ONLY way of getting a proper portfolio?


Nope, I wouldn't. I'd recommend REALLY cheap jobs instead because at least then there's still an exchange happening. Working for free just hurts the overall impression of audio people's worth.


Edit: Start cheap to build up some credentials and experience. Then raise your rates. Don't fall for the "this will be huge exposure" line that some devs throw out there because, too often, the game isn't nearly as successful as they think/hope. And that's if the game is even finished!

#5218786 New article is now up!

Posted by nsmadsen on 24 March 2015 - 09:36 AM

Here's a new article which focuses on how clients also need to impress freelancers:



It's full of tips and examples which can serve both as a reminder to freelancers and helpful tips to clients as to what to avoid!


Hope it's helpful.



#5218756 Introduction: Looking for answers

Posted by nsmadsen on 24 March 2015 - 08:13 AM

I am curious about the "gving talk" part. If you're a beginner and most importantly not in the industry who really wants to ear your talk? I mean, I just started in the industry and I don't feel like I am "legit" enough to give talks.


Not each thing I listed can be started right way, obviously. To a degree, I STILL feel this way after ten years and 150+ projects. But there are certainly things I've learned along the way that others would (I hope) like to hear about. And CCH is right, if you're landing work and getting paid for it, have finished at least one game then folks who are just looking to get started would most likely be interested!

#5218536 [COMPETITION] Enter to win 200GB (!) of royalty-free sound FX from Sonniss

Posted by nsmadsen on 23 March 2015 - 12:28 PM

This is all cool and stuff, but I really need to know how many fart sounds the library has. I mean, I'm hoping for at least a good 20-30 gigs worth.



#5218535 Introduction: Looking for answers

Posted by nsmadsen on 23 March 2015 - 12:27 PM

Could anyone tell me what I am doing wrong?

Is it there any strategy to follow when looking for projects?


You're not doing anything wrong per say, but cold emailing is easy to ignore. It's, as others have said, hard to stand out when it's just an email. I do cold emailing (to some degree) myself but it's not the only part of my networking strategy. In fact, it's probably the smallest amount because of the low ROI. So add in meeting face to face with people, attending conferences, giving talks, doing tutorial videos, taking part in online communities (like GD.net) and really creating relationships with clients (via social networks, etc).


People hire their friends before hiring complete strangers.

#5217779 How many songs should I put in an album?

Posted by nsmadsen on 19 March 2015 - 05:39 PM

12,000 tracks.




Of course, I'm kidding. Instead, I'd be more concerned with:


- what is the message(s) of the album?

- how many songs can fulfil that message?

- what's a good amount of songs to give the album enough value that people would want to buy it?

- how long will it take to create/produce all of those tracks and when do I expect to release the album?

- etc


I've never set out to say an album would be X amount of tracks. Instead, I just wrote and kept working on it until it felt complete to me.

#5215899 Chaos of Cthulhu

Posted by nsmadsen on 11 March 2015 - 02:00 PM



I always allow folks to share their work! It just so happens that this work is a kickstarter video.

#5215872 Chaos of Cthulhu

Posted by nsmadsen on 11 March 2015 - 12:01 PM

Hey everyone,


Here's a kickstarter that I had the pleasure of scoring:




This is game related just not video game related... :P It's a strategy dice game based on the Cthulhu mythos. Check it out if you can!