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zircon_st

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About zircon_st

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  1. Bump, the game is nearing completion, so we made an over-the-top trailer :)
  2. Hi all! I've been participating on this forum for years (on and off) as a musician and composer, but I'm proud to say that Space Whale Studios, the Philly-based game developer I co-founded last year, is about to release its first game, Return All Robots! This game started out as an entry into the 2009 Philly Gamejam at GameX, where teams of local developers (typically hobbyists) were given 48 hours to produce a game from scratch. Our entry, "The Shovelnose Screamer", was a pretty simple game with only a handful of levels, simple cartoony graphics and music atop spaghetti Flash code. However, it took Best In Show and inspired us to create a new game in XNA based on Shovelnose's central gameplay mechanic of moving around a single character who can loosely 'control' both good and bad units by calling them over to him. Teaser Video #1 (starring one of our main characters and Aaron Chapin, our programmer) Teaser Video #2 (this one stars our producer/technical director, Jordan Santell) Return All Robots! is influenced by classic retro titles like Lemmings, Bomberman and Pac-Man. The setting places the player in the role of "The Intern", a green-haired intern on his first day at a major robotics corporation. Not long after he arrives, all hell breaks loose in the facility as it becomes full of deadly hazards like fire, acid, ice blocks, liquid nitrogen, lava and mutated tentacles. The Intern's task is to use a remote control to rescue all the 'good' (blue) robots that were vital to the company's research, while avoiding or destroying the 'bad' (red) robots that have malfunctioned. To do this, the Intern travels to dozens of levels in 6 different worlds (labs), each of which is basically its own puzzle with a number of robots, obstacles and hazards. The goal of each is to lead the good robots into a teleporter square. Sounds simple, but there are a few catches: 1. Robots only move in cardinal directions. If you're diagonal from a robot, they won't know what to do and won't move at all. 2. ALL robots - good and bad - respond to the player's call at the same time. 3. You can't call robots while they're moving - in other words, you can't change their direction at all. Only when they've stopped (hitting a barrier) can you call them again. Of course, the remote has its own energy meter meaning you can't make a series of extremely rapid calls, either. 4. Bad robots can't touch good robots, the teleporter or the player, or the level ends. The player must also avoid (and help the good robots to avoid) hazardous tiles, as those will end the level as well. Furthermore, as the game progresses, new mechanics are unlocked. In Lab 2, the Cryogenics Lab, ice blocks can be found in all of the levels. The player can melt these objects, but once melted, they can't be recreated. In some situations, the player might want (or need) to melt a series of ice blocks to clear a path, while in others they want to leave particular ice blocks frozen to block bad robots. In Lab 4, the Weapons Research Lab, turret robots are introduced that can move like normal robots, but also have a constantly-firing laser cannon that can make any one direction very deadly. Narrated Gameplay Walkthrough Video! The idea here was to set up a style of addictive, puzzle-based gameplay that also integrates some action elements (in some cases, quick reflexes and calls are needed to move robots in the right manner) while also encouraging creativity. There are a variety of ways to solve any given level. In our testing, we noticed some players worked to destroy all bad robots first before rescuing the good ones. While this is a good strategy, the game does track individual level statistics - # of calls used to beat the level, # of red robots destroyed, and clear time. Thus, a 'safe' strategy might be effective, but result in poor overall stats. More advanced players may try to destroy none of the bad robots while manuevering the good ones through them carefully. RAR! is a game that definitely encourages multiple approaches to problem-solving. As you can see by the screenshots + video, the aesthetic is basically a mix of 50s kitsch and 16-bit retro-style combined with our lead artist Zachary Brooks' bizarre taste (which only partially shows through in the brief previews posted here.) Musically, the soundtrack is basically pure retro style, but not in the chiptune/8-bit sense. Instead, myself and composer Mike Worth went back to 80s pop and rock to design the electro-pop soundscape, along with catchy hooks, SNES-style sound effects and a synthetic sheen on everything. At this point, we're wrapping up the game - adding levels, polish, and QA - and shooting for an XBIG/PC release in October. We've showcased the game a couple times already (once at an IGDA meeting and earlier at Artscape in Baltimore) and gathered some great feedback from that, but I'd love to get some feedback based on the screenshots + videos that we have thus far. On behalf of the whole Space Whale team, thanks in advance!
  3. Impact Soundworks is proud to announce the release of our newest sample library, Groove Bias: Vintage Drum Sounds! We've been working on these phat sounds for over half a year, and now you too can play 'em. The goal of this project was to create a set of deeply sampled acoustic drumkits inspired by classic 50s, 60s and 70s records and the timeless breakbeats we all know and love. For decades, these sounds have been imitated and sampled over and over, but many producers have preferred to try and capture old kits with pristine, modern recording methods. Not so with this library. Our motto was "the more tubes, the better," and we armed ourselves to the teeth with beat-up mics, analog gear, vintage drums and tape machines. Key Features: * Three custom drum kits and a set of percussion recorded at three separate studios * Only classic kits, gear, mics and techniques used for a true vintage sound. * 3,500 samples (4gb) of unlocked audio content for your editing pleasure. * Recorded into Pro Tools|HD in 24/96 format (16/44.1 for NNXT) * Intensive sampling - a minimum of 5 RRs and 5 velos per kit part, up to 10 RRs and 16 velos! * Full kit patches AND individual components so you can construct your own Frankenstein kits. * Custom scripted patches for Kontakt and combis in NN-XT. * Intuitive GM mapping for compatibility with any project or MIDI. * Simplified mixing; designed with a great sound right out of the box. * Additional overhead/room patches for user-controllable ambiance. * A total of five snares, four kicks, nine toms, three hats (closed, loose, open, pedal), two rides, two crashes, two splashes, two rims, handclaps, tambourine, shaker, agogo, bongos, woodblocks, cowbell and triangle! A little about the kits... --- "Superfreak" (Milkboy Studios, Ardmore, PA) - As the name suggests, most of this 60s Ludwig 'Silver Comet' kit is rumored to have originally belonged to a certain funk music icon. The drums were recorded using high-end ribbon mics into an all-analog signal path, most notably a 70s Neve console with a few busted channels and lots of character. Outboard processors in the chain included gear by Empirical Labs, Tube-Tech, and Anthony DeMaria Labs. The saturation present on the higher velocities of some of the sounds, like the kick and snare, came solely from high gain running through all the tubes; no overdrive, distortion, or compressor saturation was applied! "Tape" (The Audio Lab, Milville, NJ) - This one was a real hybrid, the centerpiece being a 30s Ludwig Pioneer Black Beauty snare. The kicks and toms were Tamburo original series, along with an extra 22" Tama kick. Our hats, cymbals and rides were a mishmash of faded, junked up old metal… just what we wanted. Everything in the kit was recorded through an analog signal path then finally to an authentic, 24-track Otari tape machine before being dumped into Pro Tools. Mics used for this kit ranged in age and manufacturer. Various workhorse mics from EV, Sennheiser, Shure and Audix were used throughout, and to get the trashy, crunchy room sound, we used a trashy 70s General Electric cassette recorder mic along with an RCA SK-30. "Herodotus" (Real Music Media, Minneapolis, MN)) - John Gump (a.k.a. KVRAudio member Herodotus) recorded this drum set, which is the same make and model as Cream drummer Ginger Baker's drums! Mics used were a pair of Neumann KM-184s and Sennheiser 441s plus a Royer R-121. All of this went into some serious outboard gear like a classic UA 1176, Manley Labs VOXBOX, UA 2-610S and Manley Vari-Mu before finally going to a TASCAM reel-to-reel tape machine to seal the deal. --- You can purchase Groove Bias today for $99 (KT/Hal/EXS) or $89 (NNXT) at our website and get your download link within 24 hours! While you're waiting, check out the PDF product manual and the video/audio demos below! Jake Kaufman - "Slap Them Skins" / Drums Only (classic 60s funk) Brandon Bush - "Spies Like Us" (Spy Hunter remix) / Drums Only (secret agent funk) Andrew Aversa - "Ragol Weather" / Drums Only (synth/jazz fusion) Andrew Aversa - "Acoustic DNB" Virt (Jake Kaufman) - "World's Most Wanted Wiener" (GB Edit) (MJ-style funk) tefnek - "Big n' Nasty" (big beat) Enjoy! -Andrew
  4. Starting today, Impact Soundworks (which consists of myself and composer Will Roget, II) is hosting a sale of our highly ergonomic, composer-oriented sample libraries, Impact: Steel and Sitar Nation: Classical Instruments of India! Just visit our website at www.impactsoundworks.com to read more about these products, listen to demos and read testimonials, or read on below... Common features of our libraries include very deep sampling with extensive velocity layers and round robins, intuitive mapping that does not require any external controllers outside of the mod wheel, 24-bit/44.1khz recordings, and special FX patches that use both offline and sampler-based processing to reshape the base audio content. Our libraries are primarily designed for Kontakt 2, though Impact: Steel is also available in Kontakt 1, Halion 3, and Gigastudio formats. Nothing is locked; all audio is available in WAV format. Both Will and myself design and develop our libraries from the perspective of video game, film and TV composers - I've been a freelance game composer and electronic musician for years, and Will now works at LucasArts as a music editor there. We make products that we would actually want to use frequently in our projects, so hopefully you all will find them just as useful! :) IMPACT: STEEL: $79 -> $59 (downloadable) Our highly acclaimed cinematic metallic percussion library, designed and produced by Will Roget, II. Features a range of "found" metal percussive instruments that have been struck and played in a very musical way with multiple articulations. This is a great library to compliment traditional drum libraries. SITAR NATION: CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTS OF INDIA: $119 -> $99 (downloadable) The most detailed and expressive sitar, tampura and tabla library ever to be released! We spent over a year recording and editing performances from some truly skilled classical instrumentalists with custom-made instruments, and the result is something we're very proud of. Includes all important playing techniques for each instrument with three mic positions, MIDI percussion grooves, core phrases, and over 2.5gb of content total. IMPACT: STEEL & SITAR NATION (bundle) - $198 -> $149 An outstanding value! 25% off our normal sale price if you pick up both libraries at once. This sale will be available until the end of this month (December 31st) at our online store, accessible here: http://www.impactsoundworks.com/purchase/ Payment is handled through Paypal - orders are fulfilled within 24 hours from when they are placed. Enjoy! Post any questions/comments here.
  5. It might be slightly over your budget, but I'm selling my copy of Sony Acid Pro 6 (MSRP: $375) for $130+ship. The only catch; it's an academic license, which means you need to be a student or educator to get it. However, this DOESN'T mean you can't use it for commercial purposes - it is not limited in any way otherwise. I called Sony and asked them this directly. It's a wonderful program, easily able to compete with DAWs like Sonar and Cubase, with extensive audio/MIDI capabilities. I got it initially to work with video (which it does) but I no longer need it for that. Let me know if you're interested. :)
  6. zircon_st

    Songs written by pro. musicians

    I agree that this guy should definitely just get someone to write original music in that style. It's not like there's a shortage of composers around these parts.
  7. zircon_st

    Songs written by pro. musicians

    There is a lot of misinformation in this thread. I have been working in music publishing for years and it is my area of study at a university level. Here's the breakdown. First thing is that you must remember you are dealing with two separate copyrights; the SOUND RECORDING (SR) and UNDERLYING COMPOSITION. These are almost always controlled by separate parties in the case of popular/commercial music. Rarely is the songwriter or performer the person you actually need to speak with. In a typical situation, a publishing company controls the rights to the composition, and a record label controls the rights to the sound recording. The Harry Fox Agency does not deal in sound recordings. They deal in negotiated mechanical licenses for the underlying composition. Additionally, not all publishers work with HFA. However, you do not need a mechanical license in this case, because you are not recording and distributing the composition on a CD (or via digital download, etc). Instead, you need a synchronization license for the composition. Video games are considered audio/visual works, and the right to synchronize a piece of music to video in some fashion is exclusive to the copyright holder. Thus, you will need to find out who owns the rights to the Sufan Stevens' song you are interested in (once again, we are talking about the underlying competition) and request a synch license. Chances are you will need to talk to a publishing company directly. It is unlikely they will grant one for free. Additionally, you will need to approach Sufan Stevens' record label directly and ask who holds the sound recording copyright for the song you want. In all likelihood, that label will own it. If that is the case, you will need to ask for a master use license to use the sound recording for that particular song. This is essentially what is meant by "asking for permission". An email saying "sure, you can use it" is not sufficient. You need a non-exclusive license for the master use rights to the recording to use in a specific context. Hope that helped.
  8. zircon_st

    Soundfont cards?

    That's ridiculous! CPU usage by a soundfont player (like "sfz") is absolutely negligible on modern PCs. You'd have to load hundreds and play them all simultaneously to have any impact. Since this is all in-the-box (software) latency is not an issue either. There's a reason why the overwhelming majority of professional media composers use software synths and samplers as their primary platform for sound generation.
  9. zircon_st

    very BEST audio software?

    DarkMortar, Jeremy Soule did not use GPO w/ KOTOR. Soule uses Garritan Orchestral Strings which is a dedicated string library that is more expensive than GPO, requires GigaStudio to use, and is generally a much higher end product. He also has numerous other orchestral libraries at his disposal.
  10. zircon_st

    very BEST audio software?

    If you really want "serious" sounds, you should probably just hire someone who has already spent the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars on them and knows how to use them properly. Trust me, it takes awhile to learn how to make use of high end samples & software.
  11. zircon_st

    Mastering in reason?

    Right off the bat you have a TON of high end. It's like you put a highpass filter at 2khz on everything, almost entirely removing the bass and lower-mid content. It's a very annoying sound. Your hats and snare sound almost no different. Texturally, this is very sparse as well.. you have a handful of lo-fi samples and instruments that really don't work well together. Put simply, the problem is not with the mastering, it's with the song. Once you fix some core issues with your texture and instrumentation then you can start worrying about production/mastering.
  12. zircon_st

    Space Shooter music...comments please.

    Thanks. Just to be absolutely clear, my comments only apply to the production values here. Not the composition, instrumentation, arrangement etc. Luckily it's really easy to fix, unlike problems in those other areas. Sorry if I seemed a little blunt!
  13. zircon_st

    Space Shooter music...comments please.

    Quote:The piece needs to be pretty crazy and that is kinda what I was going for. The distortion really's not that bad is it? Yes, it really is absolutely terrible. A friend of mine (Will Roget, a fellow composer who also frequents these forums) was equally shocked and appalled. Even heavy metal and power metal is not mixed this hot. Trust me, TONE IT DOWN.
  14. zircon_st

    Space Shooter music...comments please.

    DUDE!!! LOUD!!!! Man, I don't know what you're mixing on, headphones or monitors, but GET SOME NEW ONES. It sounds like you put the entire thing through some sort of distortion plugin.. no offense dude, but that's absolutely horrible. You GOTTA fix that. I loaded up the song in Wavelab and it looks like just one big squarewave. The sounds and arrangement underneath sound OK but I really just can't get past the loudness issue. Please go much, much easier on your volume, tone down EVERYTHING a good 15dB or so, take off any distortion/saturation you have on, and then re-upload. [Edited by - zircon_st on March 12, 2006 9:13:16 PM]
  15. zircon_st

    what do you use to make music?

    Sean out of curiosity, why would you get Silver, Gold, AND Platinum.. and then the Pro versions of each? Platinum has all of Silver and Gold's content, same goes for the Pro editions..
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