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Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:47 PM

#5019580 Back again, posted new works!

Posted by nsmadsen on 09 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

Lake House: Children of Silence (Alawar) - main theme is absolutely beautiful and a joy to listen to! Well done! I didn't want the track to end. This is also a perfect example of how effective a track can be even with some so-so samples in the mix. I don't mean that to sound like a compliment combined with a jab but rather illustrate how a well produced/well composed music can stand on it's own even with some artificial elements (like the cello part).


Thanks for sharing!



#5019476 Will you save the kittens from FIRE?!

Posted by nsmadsen on 09 January 2013 - 09:23 AM

Hey folks,


Hope everyone's having a great 2013 so far! I'd like to share with you all two of my more recent tracks which are a retro/chip tunes-ish vibe. I wrote these songs for a cute, quirky retro game called Jones on Fire, developed by Glass Bottom Games. 




Here's a bit more about the game:




(The trailer features music by another composer, just to make sure I'm not taking credit for work I didn't do. :P) Hope you enjoy it!





#5018673 Good sound recorder? Anyone have a Zoom H1?

Posted by nsmadsen on 07 January 2013 - 12:37 PM

I have an old Edirol R-09 (not the HR model). All in all, it was solid although I've heard the new model made quite a few substancial improvements to the design plus they had a custom wind shield which doesn't fit my older model. I've never used the Zoom personally but I've heard good things about it.

#5018065 How do I Replace Game Sounds?

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

Lol! Parts of this really crack me up! :)


No problem Olliepm. I'm a composer-sound designer who first started in 2005 (professionally) but has been doing digital music composition since 2000. But I assume you found all of that out by clicking on my sig. I also like the color blue, long walks on the beach and Tex Mex. :P


But back to your original topic:


Does anyone feel confident enough to give a rough overview of the potentially complicated process of replacing game sounds?


It really depends on what system the game used. For example I've done this where all I had to do was locate the files, change all of the original assets to a file_name_old naming convention and then make sure whatever new sounds were named and located in the right spot. The easiest way to check is to find a really unique sound and test it out. I used a "boing" sound for the first pistol you get in the game. But if you're wanting to reverse engineer FMOD files... well, that's something I've not done. I've used FMOD in several of the projects I've worked on officially so I can certainly explain how FMOD works but I've never tried to reverse engineer it, honestly.


Hope that helps... somewhat.



#5017818 How do I Replace Game Sounds?

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 January 2013 - 12:02 PM

I don't want to derail this thread into a discussion of rates too much but my caution about working for free is:


1) In most other industries even start ups charge for services. It's only in the "fun", entertainment industries do you commonly see folks expecting folks to work just for the experience of it.


2) I've seen, first hand, developers jump from beginner to beginner while promising great returns and future work. It almost never happens, the beginner ends up feeling burned and the developer moves on to the next eager, naive beginner. (Thankfully most developers are good, solid folks but there are scammers out there.)


3) Having a tangible exchange (be it goods or services) changes the working relationship. When a working relationship is free both the provider and the client can begin to abuse the situation. I've seen folks offering free work just flake out and drop a project. I've seen clients abuse the situation. Having a set contract in place with a tangible exhance can help avoid negative situations.... but not always! tongue.png Doesn't have to be a large amount but make it something so the working relationship feels more professional.


Slight tangent: In all of the profit shares jobs I took on early in my career I've seen exactly zero cents from all of them. Something to consider next time you hear "we'll offer you X amount of profits!"

#5017805 How do I Replace Game Sounds?

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 January 2013 - 11:42 AM

Interesting. I would judge potential employees on their abilities to create sounds and music, rather then to reverse engineer games, but I'm not the one hiring. Maybe they are looking for an individual who can adapt to different situations.


This is actually my (and their) point. Too many people think good game audio is solely the creation when actually the implementation of that audio is a much larger part of the job. I've heard it said that good content creation is roughly 25% of the job and implementation is the other 75%. When I was working on LEGO Universe much of our job was implementing or trying out how best to implement sounds with other systems. It can (and does) get much more complicated than just X plays this sound at Y volume. So the better you can understand implementation and how other game systems work, the better you can make the audio behave as you intended.


My recommendation would be to find an open source project, which will likely give you easy access to its files, or joint a team and develop sounds for them for free.


I do not recommend working for free, unless the entire project is a hobby project where nobody will ever get paid. Working for free on a commercial project just undermines the rest of the audio industry who is trying to make some kind of living in games. It gives the continued impression to some game developers that audio is either a very low valued resource or one that shouldn't even cost anything. Instead I'd recommend charging a very low rate or an exchange of services (i.e. I do audio for your game and you do my audio website, etc).

#5017790 How do I Replace Game Sounds?

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

Why do you want (or think you need) to do this?



You don't add sound to a game that way when developing. Reverse engineering games to find out how to change sounds like this seems pointless if your goal is to study how sound works in game engines. 


Every single year I've attended the Demo Derby at San Fran's GDC, each judge panelist has suggested doing this - replace game sounds with your own in a functional, working game (be it open source or what). In fact they often would ask submitters if their video capture was all "in-game" sounds they put in themselves or just a video that was stripped of all audio and then done via post production (like in Pro Tools, etc). Each time they've said it's a highly worthwhile and impressive task and when done well enough can get you a job on the spot.


It's illegal to modify and distribute someone else's copyrighted work. You aren't going about this in a good way. If you want to demo your own audio in a game environment, do it the proper way. Download the UDK or UNITY3D and learn how to include your audio into one of their example game projects that you can open up at the source level and modify properly.


Very true. It is illegal to distribute another's work. This should be done as an educational practice and not shared publicly on the web. Once you get good enough at it, start doing stuff that you can legally distribute like Daaark's suggestion.

#5017789 Adjusting levels in-game?

Posted by nsmadsen on 05 January 2013 - 10:46 AM

Instead of juggling multiple versions of assets, have the programmer lessen the volume via code. It's pretty simple to change the playback volume of an asset and keeps file management much more simple.

#5017122 Demo reel 2012 - Do you think I'm ready for contract work?

Posted by nsmadsen on 03 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

Sure thing!


For my own reel I chose the former because you have no idea what potential clients are after and this gives them the ability to hone in on the specific feel/genre they're after.

#5016857 Demo reel 2012 - Do you think I'm ready for contract work?

Posted by nsmadsen on 02 January 2013 - 03:58 PM

Oh and reconsider doing a shorter demo reel that is between 2-4 minutes total. Too many folks forget that demo reels are simple introductions and not full conversations with clients. The average time a client or audio director spends on a demo reel is about 10-45 seconds so giving them 10+ minutes of stuff to listen to isn't the best approach. Hook them right from the get-go, be succinct.

#5016856 Demo reel 2012 - Do you think I'm ready for contract work?

Posted by nsmadsen on 02 January 2013 - 03:57 PM

I have to be super quick as I have a meeting in six minutes. Yep, you're ready to start doing audio for games. There's plenty to prep and learn before you start taking on gigs but rest assured the learning doesn't stop there. You'll learn a great deal more ON the job and that's not a bad thing! :P I cannot tell you how many times I've told a client "yep, I can do that." then googled it right after our meeting. Part of this crazy job is taking that plunge and just trying it while studying and learning as much as you can. 


The key to know if you're ready or not is pretty simple:

- does your audio make the player feel something?


- can you meet a client's needs on time?


Especially with more.... entry level, indie projects timeframes and budgets can be more nebulous so you have more flexibility. Is there stuff I hear that can be improved upon? Yep. But that never stops. Do some A/B comparions of your music to stuff you admire and want to emulate. Gotta run!


Best of luck! Go get it!



#5014867 Feedback required

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 December 2012 - 03:42 PM



While I enjoyed the track itself to me it didn't really convey battle to me. Or at least much danger... it definitely conveyed energy which is good. The mix is pretty muddy with lots of stuff happening in the mid. Consider doing a bit more automation with volume, velocity settings as well as panning instruments left or right to create more space. Finally there's not much low end, at least that's how it's coming off on my set up. You mentioned this isn't the finalized version so perhaps those steps have not been done yet. These are just my quick thoughts on the piece but thanks for sharing!


Edit: It sounds like you have a strings or cello patch holding long tones when the action gears up a bit. Instead of long tones how about an ostinato? The long tones are contributing to the muddiness of the track as well as contradicting the battle vibe.


Keep it up!



#5014860 Branching Into A More Professional Audio Sound

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

I remember what a professor said once during undergraduate: "It's time to upgrade your horn. That one is fighting you now."

I had been playing on a student model horn all the way through public school and half of college. My skills and demands as a player had exceeded what the student model horn could do. So I sold it and got a pro level horn and what I could do with it as well as my inspiration for that instrument increased greatly. It's akin to this: you have professional aspirations but are working with free/low quality gear. 

#5014314 Experienced composer and sound designer

Posted by nsmadsen on 25 December 2012 - 09:06 PM

Please use the Classifieds section to recruit for work. The Music and Sound forum is for discussion and feedback on one's work.





#5014208 Happy Holidays and Thanks!

Posted by nsmadsen on 25 December 2012 - 01:15 PM

Ouch! Hope you feel better Moritz!