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Before bashing me, just realize that I have never worked with sound before. So what should I do first? I know there are many different programs out there for many different reasons, and the above stickies didn't help me any because I don't know what any of those programs do. Are there any step processes that I should do to get better at composing, like a programmer would progressively move up in his pong....tetris... and finally full fledged MMORPG -- :) lol Massive-war

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Well, the answer to the question, "How do I start" largely depends on where you want to go with this, I suppose. I noticed in the other thread you were interested in metal. If this is your forte, focus on it by all means, but is there any other direction you want to branch out into? Say, electronica or even classical? There are specialized software apps and sound libraries for any and all of the above that you could work with. Another question is, how well do you know your music theory? That's the foundation everything else is built upon. I prefer a balance between left brain and right brain when composing my own music. I struggle to imbue it with feeling and meaning, and at the same time there is a very scientific way I go about making it sound right. It's kinda like rocket science, really. If you want to blast a man into orbit, that's a tremendously challenging, lofty, and noble goal to work towards. But NASA wouldn't get anyone off the ground alive (much less safely home) if they were staffed only by romantic idealists, with no one that had a firm grip on the hardcore math that makes it all tick.

Hopefully this makes an ounce of sense. I just woke up and it's probably the coffee talking more than me right now! It's a potentially vague question you've put forth, I'm just trying to cover most of the bases in answering it, and hopefully there's something of value in my response. Let me know your thoughts. I too am starting out in this business and I think it's important to be in contact with kindred spirits.

Brian

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thanks Brian

I don't know why I re-brought up that metal post.... lol look what I wrote (can you say tired?)

What I'm looking for is dark, gloomy music. Something that, no matter where you listen to it, it sounds creepy.

Now put that into a game where you're in some dark alley and nothing's moving, and you're just anticipating something to come out and eat you. Just some wigged out dark music.

I said metal because I felt that I could shape metal (heavy, fast, whatever) into something dark, but then, after seeing some of the 'stalker' music clips, I realized it's better to go with more effects than actual music.

Stalker is a game in development, you can check it out here www.stalker-game.com

I guess I just want something to fit my game... scary. I just don't know where to go with it.

Massive-war

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You want something scary, put this in your game.

In all seriousness though, I think you'll get more results if you're a little more specific--are you looking for advice on composing dark music, or what software to buy? If you need advice on composing, what genre are you looking to do? Orchestral? Ambient? If you can give us a little more information, that would be helpful.

Here's my two cents: I completely second Brian--there is NOTHING more valuable than getting your music theory knowledge solid. Nothing. Let me say it again: know your theory. This is where everything comes from. There are a million guys out there who can make great sounds because they are audio engineering whizzes, but the music they write is utter crap, and hurts to listen to. I don't give a flying bucket of crap about fancy sounds unless they serve the purpose of enhancing an already-well-crafted composition.

That said! If you are looking for an orchestral sound bank, I've heard lots of good things about Garritan Personal Orchestra. I personally use Reason 3 (Propellerhead software). Reason is a good choice if you want to do a wide variety of styles--it also has an excellent orchestral library, as well as extensive synthesis, sampling, and realtime effects for other electronic music. Many people also like to begin with Fruity Loops Studio, because it's cheap and works pretty well for a low price.

Hope this is helpful!

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Sounds like you probably want a lot of dissonace in the overall sound. Here's where music theory can be used as a springboard. On whatver instrument you have handy (hopefully a piano or guitar) try using fully diminished chords or anything built on a tritone interval. The tritone is six half steps up from the root of whatever chord or note you're using as your tonic, or base key signature. If C is the root of your chord, play an F# on top of that. It's the single most dissonant interval there is because it divides the octave cleanly in half, leaving the sound totally ambiguous and on-edge. No matter whether you move six half steps up or down from C, you will always land on F#. This interval is so dissonant in fact, it was avoided like the plague by most during the Common Practice era (1600-1900) and many in the Middle Ages believed it summoned the devil.

Here's how to build fully diminshed chords, which incorporate that interval. In C, the chord spelling is C, Eb, Gb (the enharmonic equivalent of F#, just using G to illustrate that it's a chord still built off the triad system). Pretty nasty sounding, eh? From there, try inverting the chord, not necessarily using the C as the root but using another note at the bottom instead. Next try doubling a note in another octave above or below your starting point or just altering the order and rhythm you play them in. Just be careful not to overdo it with either of these approaches. Just some regular minor chords will suffice most of the time. I'd only use the extreme dissonances for the most tense moments of the game to heighten the effect. If the music sounds like a relentlessly tortured orchestra from hell 100% of the time, you lose a lot of the effect you would otherwise have during a critical dramatic moment, and in the very worst case scenario, the gamer decides their ears just can't take it and they stop playing your game altogether.

Hope this helps.

Brian

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First off...HEY m4G buddies, Brian and Blaise!

Secondly, your goal should necessitate your actions towards this endeavour. Find out what you want to do and WHY you want to do it. Everything else will fall into place...it's just how it works.

You'll find a program to use, and method of instrumentation naturally. If it doesn't come naturally, you simply may want to try something else. Start slow if you have to.

Acid makes a neat free version of their popular software called Acid Express for download.

http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/download/step2.asp?DID=551

That can get you started by just playing with music and finding out what you want it to do for you. If you want to go further then it's time for an investment of some kind...Reason or Fruityloops like Brian and Blaise mentioned.

This is kind of general advice for everyone interested in "starting up" so...

Find your voice, your groove, and you'll hopefully find your niche/market whether it's a paying one or not.

Just keep playing/writing music. Theory and theory classes help, but if there isn't something inside of you wanting to get out to begin with, no language of any kind will ever get it out. Zero translates to zero in any language.

And with that piece of pseudo-New Age wisdom I wish you good luck.

And obviously keep asking questions, there's always someone willing to help! Or contract one of us to write for you! IT's what we do!!!

I swear I'm not really this fruity all the time!

Tony
___________________________
http://www.anthem-audio.com

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Quote:
Original post by Blaise Douros
You want something scary, put this in your game.


What...the...fk.....? lol

seriously though, I'm 17 years old and I've played music all my life. I have no degree in composition or anything, but I know tons about notes, rhythms, patterns, etc.

I guess I don't really need to know about how to make harmonics and such with music (like the actual music itself) because I'm a good experimenter anyway and I'd make it sound good. I was just wondering how people make all the cool effects in game music you hear, and how to replicate sounds and stuff like that.

Will froot loop do that for me?

Jason



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Are you asking more about composition or SFX design?

Frootyloops and Reason will help with composition but you'll want something else for making SFX and other "cool" effects.

You want to learn how to make any cool sound? Try and copy it. Try and copy it exactly. Record it and listen to it over and over and try to break down each part of the sound. Then recreate it with what you have.

You can learn a lot by this process.

Is there any one effect or sounds you have in mind?

Tony
___________________________
http://www.anthem-audio.com

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Quote:

Will froot loop do that for me?


No, but you can do that with FL. Sorry, I had to take the shot ;)

But seriously, are you talking about Jean Michel Jarre kinda sounds? If so, any kind of FM syth can make some pretty funky stuff like that. Some are better than others. I really can't make a recommendation becuase I'm only familiar with one at the time. Also, some of these 'cool effects' are recordings that are put through sound processor software (to add effects like reverb, flange, tremolo, cut, etc ...)

If that is not what you are talking about when you say 'cool effects' then please clarifiy a bit.

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if someone has an email or something, I could send you something that I'm looking for...

if not I'll set up a link to the site with downloadables for what I'm looking at


Post emails here or wait 5 minutes while I add the directory

Massive-war

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(How do you post links?)

-stalker-game.com
-english version
-downloads
-fan media
-fan music
-"17" (that's the song name, and it's about halfway down the page)

it's 2.5 Mbs, and just save target as to get the whole song



See how it's eery? Granted, this is fan music (and it could be better), but I like that whole eery/weird effect that it has.

Just listen to it and think deeply. This could be a title theme or something with things going on in the background (like when you put a DVD into your player and there's the starting screen, asking you for input. That input is either play, special features, options... etc. There's like a menu with stuff moving and going on in the background)

That's how I'd have my title screen. There's be things moving in the background or whatever with some sort of music like this playing.

It's not really scary, but it makes you wonder what the hell is going on.

Something to that effect.... just real weird/different/disturbing music for the scenes I'm going to be presenting.

Massive-war

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I'm at the point in music creation (the very beginning) as I was a year ago in programming. I understand games are made from computer language, I know certain computers need requirements for games, and I know that games are really hard to make.

But I needed to ask the question.... HOW do you make a game? Not what you go about doing to develop the game, but just how do you make it?

That's like music now. I have no previous experience, and rather than just having a compiler and a c++ book in front of me with loads of time, I'd like to know where to start in that book and how I can apply it to projects that involve graphics.

Does that make sense?

Massive-war

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Sounds to me like "17" was created with Fruity Loops, just from the overall sound of it. I think the best thing for you to start with would be to get a demo version of Fruity Loops and just play with it--in order to find what software you work with best, you'll need to shop around anyway to see what you like. Download the demo version of Fruity Loops, the demo of Reason, and the demo of Sonar. Play around with these and see if you like them--if you don't, there are plenty more choices, these are just the ones that come with the best recommendations.

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What about learning these programs? I'm not much for reading a manual, but experimenting with the interface. Are there any tutorials (those I can do) on any of these programs that you know off the top of your head (like that people did), or should I go search the site in hopes of getting something I need?

Thank You,

Massive-war

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I just started fiddling around with FL about a month ago. Yes, you can learn most of what you need just by using it (of course, for me that applies to most software, so it may be different for you). Having some math skills and a knowledge of sound-theory can certainly make things easier as you will know what to expect before you start sliding thoes bars and turning those knobs.

FL also comes with many demostration songs. Some are just to show you what can be done. Others are designed as tutorials for certain effects. All of them are usful for learning if you watch closely and take them apart and examine the pieces.

I can't say much for the others, but I figure it is pretty much the same story.

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Massive-war,

Another thing I'd recommend is reading some professional music criticism, if for nothing else than expanding your musical vocabulary and being able to describe something to the letter. I listened to your piece, 17, that you had used the word "eerie" to describe. If I was a game developer and I had asked for eerie music from a composer I was thinking of bidding the contract to, based upon hearing that sample I would have turned it down. It's fine for what it is, but "eerie" is not a word I would pick to describe it.
To take a cue from our cousin the film world, my definition of eerie music is what is heard in The Shining (Bartok is always enough to scare my socks off), and The Exorcist (the orchestral music from Penderecki, not that god-awful minimalist piano riff that everyone rips off). From video game music, when you mentioned the game you're writing for is called "Stalker", immediately I thought of the dark-as-all-hell scores for the "Hitman" series.
To answer the question, "well Brian, what word WOULD you pick to describe it?", the first thing that comes to mind is "funky". It has an almost hip-hop beat to it that pushes the piece forward, and although there are unusual samples floating around to spice it up, the rhythm itself makes the piece very predictable. Sometimes predictable music is good, if the cue calls for something unobtrusive. What makes scary music scary is that it's *not* predictable. Tonal instability and screwy rhythms are usually enough to disorient the average listener. A title like "Stalker" to me speaks volumes of what the game should convey: a sense of ever-present dread and outright terror. The drum groove you've laid down makes creating that mood impossible because the listener will be focusing on the beat, because it's comfortable. Ultimately it sounds like an action cue that you might hear in Unreal Tournament, but never in a horror game.

Brian

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And that exorcist song doesn't scare me whatsoever. Every time I hear it I think of a beginning of a mideval battle.

Hard for some people to imagine, but that's how I role.

It just goes to show you that there is no right way to make music, because not everyone will experience it the same. And again, it has to be set into context. I could easily put '17' into the title song, and make it good. It all depends on what I'm working it into

Massive-war

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Of course that Exorcist theme doesn't scare you, it's a cheesy motif. Note when I mentioned that movie I also included the huge addendum "(the orchestral music from Penderecki, not that god-awful minimalist piano riff that everyone rips off)". What I mentioned is heard towards the beginning of the movie while the old priest guy is in the desert, it's this shrieking, arhythmic cacaphonous noise from the strings that would rattle your bones, not the sort of thing that reminds one of a medieval battle. It's so jarring to most that they write it off as a sound effect and not the score, so I can see how you might have overlooked it.

Here's an example of creepy music used in games. It's from the intro movie of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. It has its moments where it's highly thematic, but it's interspersed with these dissonant blasts from the low brass and grating shrill runs from the piccolos and violins. Notice how when you listen to the creepier parts you're almost scared of what note comes next. This is what I envision when playing a thriller-horror type game.

http://www.billbrownmusic.com/soundBB/RTCW_Intro_Movie_BB.mp3

Brian

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Thanks. And sorry about that. I was reading it last night and totally missed over what you typed. I saw exorcist.... song....scary, and concluded that it was the piano riff, lol.

Thanks for the link. When I get home from school I'll take a look

Anxious,

Massive-war

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Dude, brian, I don't know what you're smoking, but that wasn't scary whatsoever.

Maybe it's because I play classical in band, and I'm used to it, but if I heard that while some monster was chasing me I'd be laughing.

No offense, but my god you're taste in music is horrible.

Massive-war

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