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nsmadsen

Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Aug 19 2016 06:20 AM

#5131741 Small puzzle game: Do I even have to bother with music?

Posted by on 16 February 2014 - 10:54 AM


Well don't get me wrong I'm not saying it's a good thing, but I do think that what I said is true.

 

I mean it would deserve it's own thread and I don't want to use this one to talk a lot about this, but considering the amount of competition there is for audio even for the shittiest mod ever you could find, when you're a student you already have to be crazy good to ask for money else that's just like killing your career in the egg.

No one will ever take you because they can take people for free, and no company will ever hire you because you don't have anything to show. That's just the death loop. So most people including me do it for free. And I can't even complain because I feel I'm a little bit lucky since I do have some people coming to me for sounds instead of only me trying to get a project.

 

I mean, hell, even some pros who already work try to get projects and they do it for free too. I actually had one who worked with me in one of my project who failed. So you're a student, you just want to make a little game for experience and you have pros trying to take the same jobs for free "because it's my passion and it's fun". True story, the guy worked on AAA titles. At the end of the day it was nice I learned stuff but it's still a little bit annoying in my opinion.

 

Ask yourself why? How did we get here in the first place? The entertainment industry is the ONLY industry I know of that offers so many unpaid internships. My wife's industry pays their interns more than I've made at salaried jobs.

 

If audio folks don't make your craft worth something - then it's always going to be like this. You cannot make a living off of exposure. Not really. There has to be some sort of sustainable business model behind that exposure. Billy Corgin makes this point in this video interview (some rough language but hey... it's Billy Corgin): http://blip.tv/revolution/billy-corgan-why-musicians-need-more-than-viral-videos-to-succeed-6257082 And frankly, very few projects reach the level of exposure where an audio guy could do something with it. 

 

Plus when there's a tangible exhance of goods/services it keeps the relationship professional. I cannot tell you how many times I've lost out on a gig because the client wanted to get the "free guy" only to have that same client come back 4 months later and beg me to work on his project for a fee. Why? Because so often free work is unreliable. Folks vanish. They refuse to do revisions. Etc. I've seen it time and time again.

 

This is why I try to mentor young(er) audio folks to always charge something for their work. Even a tiny amount keeps that transaction professional. You want to make a business out of game audio? You want to be considered a professional? Then you should act like one. smile.png If you don't want a career in game audio, then it's really up to you. But understand that what you do and how you do it DOES impact other audio guys. Guys (and gals!) who may be seeking a career/living in game audio.

 

And I'd like to point out this specific statement: No one will ever take you because they can take people for free, and no company will ever hire you because you don't have anything to show. That's just the death loop.

 

Then how did anyone, anywhere, ever get to the point of charging for work? Let alone some really established people who, eventually, could charge thousands of dollars for their work? If they had taken the approach you're talking about... then the answer is they probably wouldn't have ever made it to that point. The very first project I landed, I charged for my services. Sure, I've worked for free on a few projects for example one was a hobby project and another one was an activist project against overfishing where nobody was getting paid. I've also helped out a few friends here and there but that's because they were friends. Trust me - I've seen some devs go from free guy to free guy. Almost always they talk about "I'll pay you the next time!" or "the exposure will be huge!" I fell for this a few times early on but then I discovered that once I put a fee to my work, even a very tiny one, they dropped me so fast and went to the next free guy.

 

 

 

I mean, hell, even some pros who already work try to get projects and they do it for free too.

 

Who are these pros? Because every single one I know charges for most of the projects they take on. Same with me. They may do some free ones - like the types I listed above (friends, hobbyist, activist, etc). You cannot make a living working for free. Period.

 

So... tying this back into the OP's topic: you can find audio work from all kinds of places! Some expensive and some cheap. Some of it is great and some isn't so great. I'd consider hiring a young(er) audio guy that's willing to work for something you can afford. Or if that's not possible, go with a library track which you can license - often for very cheap.




#5131606 Small puzzle game: Do I even have to bother with music?

Posted by on 15 February 2014 - 02:11 PM

So, puzzle game developers out there. Is background music really something you have to do? Does it actually add to the fun

 

Good audio can make any expeirence more immersive. You might not need looping, ever-present background music. Perhaps short(er) musical cues that play depending on game events would be better? That or just sound effects?

 

The best way to find out is to do some testing - why not do a private build with and without music. Test it over many people and see how the scores rank. It could be especially effective if you don't tell them what you're testing after - just see if the fun factor or desire to keep playing the game is higher with the music build. And like others have mentioned, the right music can make all of the difference.

 

Composers (especially) and sound designers are probably the easiest people to find for free when you make a game. I'm not saying they will be great (they might be tho) but a lot of students are trying to get experience and hoping to get int the game industry this way.

 

Really wish this wasn't the case. Too often audio folks get devalued for their craft, talents and time. I do my best to promote the idea that even first time audio student should make their work have tangible value: be it a trade of services, some pizza, a few bucks. Working for free is rarely a good thing, in my experience.

 

You could also license a sample library(or get a free one) and use that to "record" some classical compositions that are in the public domain.

 

Not a bad idea just make sure that whatever recording is being....recorded again is ALSO public domain. While it's true that classical pieces, like Beethoven's 5th Symphony is public domain, a recording of the New York Philharmonic performing that symphony may NOT be.




#5129835 Getting started...

Posted by on 08 February 2014 - 08:45 AM

This page might really be helpful: http://www.williamkage.com/snes_soundfonts




#5129071 Mac or PC for Game Audio?

Posted by on 05 February 2014 - 11:02 AM

Sounds more like an issue with your system specs and less with Logic. Even with Logic 9, I could create full, highly complex arrangements. What I hated about Logic 9, more than anything else, was having a 32-bit and 64-bit version with different feature sets. Thankfully, Logic Pro X fixes that.




#5128741 Getting started...

Posted by on 04 February 2014 - 09:16 AM


But If you prefer why not try Reaper?

It really similar to these DAWs and it is free. You will learn how to set up the soundcard, buffers and more stuff that is basic in every DAW.

Also the handling and workspace are similar.

 

Reaper is NOT free! http://www.reaper.fm/purchase.php But it IS very affordable!

 

You can find some SNES/NES-like VST instruments that could emulate the sound you're after. This series of instruments/sounds comes to mind: http://tweakbench.com/peach.

 

I view different DAWs like different brands of cars. Many of them do the same things but the cost, labels and steps to do those things may differ. Take several DAWs out for test drives with their demo/trial periods and watch Youtube tutorials to get a handle on things.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Nate




#5128325 Mac or PC for Game Audio?

Posted by on 02 February 2014 - 10:21 PM

Hi there, I'm looking at investing in a sort of small (and cheap) home studio. And with that, a desktop computer to replace my fairly cheap Windows laptop.

 

If you're looking for cheap, then PC or an old(er) Mac is the way to go.

 

 

 

What I'm looking to know is are there any specific benefits to game audio for either Mac or PC? I would assume that PC's might have an advantage due to game developers tending to use PC's as well, but looking at Logic also tempts me towards a Mac.

 

Mac's OS handles memory, as it relates to audio processing, better than PCs do. PCs can get the job done, for sure, but when I was running two studios, one at home and one at work, I found my PC didn't perform as well as the Mac computers. Both systems were about the same specs and age so it was a somewhat even comparison.

 

What are your thoughts / experiences with this? (And please say PC so I don't have to pay out for a Mac tongue.png)

 

I'd get a Mac if you're making home audio a business. If you have a proven track record of getting clients and (most importantly) getting paid. Otherwise if this is just a hobby or the start of a possible business, then I'd work with what you have or what you can more easily afford. When I started my audio business, I went with what I had then slowly added or replace gear over the years. It took a while but now I've gone into zero business debt and have built a pretty respectable studio.




#5128043 Mock ups?

Posted by on 01 February 2014 - 04:57 PM

I would love to hear people's thoughts on audio mock ups. We seen them all of the time, especially at the Demo Derbies and such and the general thought is as long as you clearly notate that it's a mock up and for demonstative purposes only, you're mostly okay. What about some of you more seasoned devs out there?

 

Have you ever seen someone get a C&D letter related to an audio mock up? During my free time, I love to write mock up stuff but have generally refrained from posting it directly to my website just as a percaution.

 

Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

Thanks,

 

Nate




#5128041 Audio reImagined - Don't Starve (Sampler)

Posted by on 01 February 2014 - 04:51 PM

I posted my comments to the actual Youtube video first but here they are (for the sake of discussion) here as well:

 

Hi Daniel, nice stuff. The piano was too dry, in my opinion at the beginning. It's my opinion that really dry instruments work with there's a lot of other textures going on or very active counterpoint. But when it's solo, add some reverb/delay to it so it speaks a bit more. Has more sheen. Then, once you add in more instruments later, you can automate that reverb/delay to be less if you want to keep a really clean mix.

Also the strings at around 1:16 could be bigger. You have good instincts to make the music change at that part! Those string samples leave a bit to be desired but perhaps with a doubling of octaves and a bit of production love - you could thicken up that sound. It's a pretty dangerous part of the trailer (for Laura) and the music isn't reflected that as much as it could. Same with the percussion here. Stop thinking so literally with your instrumentation and incorporate more sound design INTO your music.

Finally, to be quite honest, your music started to lose me around the 2:08 mark. The strings glissando was nice but felt like an after though as it didn't really lead anywhere, to my ears. It sounded like an effect that you had in the library so you stuck it in instead of it being an intentional part of the music and how it would evolve. Then the rest of the video, although some percussion synced to some of the action, didn't really reflect the mood and pacing of the video. It felt, at least to me, disjointed.

The ending could be better prepped to give the listener more of a pay off. Leave them wanting more. In this ending it felt like you just ran out of time/footage to write for. Overall, I felt there could be more low end in your mix and, again, if you're going to write to video then it really has to serve the video 100% of the time. There are points where this trailer did that and other spots where it missed the mark. At least to my ears and eyes. It's a great starting point and I think, with some editing and polishing, could really be something special!

Thanks for sharing!




#5125971 Audio reImagined - Don't Starve (Sampler)

Posted by on 23 January 2014 - 03:18 PM


I'm unfortunately a self-taught musician and composer, so I never went to school or lessons for it; just a whole lot of practice.

 

I understand that but surely there's a college or school nearby which has trained musicians who could help you out. Or remotely even. I've provided saxophone recordings (my native instrument) for bands I've never actually met in person thanks to the internet. It would really bring your music more to life. I think it would definitely be worth it.




#5125948 Audio reImagined - Don't Starve (Sampler)

Posted by on 23 January 2014 - 02:04 PM

Edit - also the flute is a bit too loud and up front in the mix in relation to the violin and the other instruments.




#5125945 Audio reImagined - Don't Starve (Sampler)

Posted by on 23 January 2014 - 02:03 PM

Regarding the Village theme - some really beautiful music! The only drawback is the production/automation/performance of the actual violin and flute was pretty stale to my ears. To solve this I'd either:

- select a different violin patch that didn't always do the same vibrato swell with each new note

- pay more attention to the volume at the start and end of your phrases. They just sit there instead of going somewhere.

- select a more dynamic flute patch and really tweak the volume automation

 

Of course, another option, would be to have someone record these lines for you on actual instruments if you have the space and funds. If you're in school, I'd go talk to some music majors. I bet they'd be willing to do it for a small amount of cash and some pizza. :P

 

But the actual composition was great.




#5125494 Film & video game music composer

Posted by on 21 January 2014 - 03:56 PM

Please use the Classifieds section when looking for work.

 

Thanks,

 

Nathan




#5124949 Electronic Rock Boss

Posted by on 19 January 2014 - 08:22 PM

(Disclaimer: I'm listening on a laptop right now so take that into consideration)

 

I liked the energy and drive of the track. Works for a boss fight. To my ears, on this set up, I felt there could be a bit more bass (both in frequencies and in bass guitar itself) in the mix. It lacked depth on the lower end. But that might be these laptop speakers as well. :) Assuming this is for a video game, does it loop well? I did think you could have come up with another section for a bit more diversity but perhaps the client only had budget (or bandwidth) for a certain amount of music.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Nate




#5122622 Introduction

Posted by on 10 January 2014 - 10:21 AM

Hey Keith, 

 

Welcome! Nice to have you here. The Music and Sound forum is mainly for discussion and sharing one's work for feedback and constructive criticism. Looking for work (either paid or hobbyist) is restricted to the Classifieds section. You'll probably get more bites there but please feel free to post more here when discussing or sharing your work!

 

Thanks,

 

Nate




#5121551 New blog entry about listening as a composer.

Posted by on 05 January 2014 - 09:46 PM

Excellent point! I should have touched on this actually because it's very valid. I've run across composers who were excellent in the film/stage realm but had zero understanding of the technical/interactive aspect when it comes to games.

 

 

 

Will it interfere with the gameplay and irritate people?

 

Of course some of this is out of our controls as composers. I've had clients that literally had 15 seconds worth of streamable music as their audio data budget. It doesn't matter how great 15 seconds of music is... after a while it's gonna get irritating! So in these situations I try to advocate most instance based music cues instead of streaming/looping music that's ever present.

 

Implementation is such a huge part of game audio... much more critical than the content in many ways. What I'm getting at is a decent track implemented well can do fine for and support the gaming experience. A great track implemented poorly can easily get in the way.






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