Day 1 – Basebol!
Jan 20th 20:09
Throughout the weekend I’ll be tracking the progress of the development of Crystallized Game’s jam game, Project Basebol, based on the jam theme, Waves.
Jan 20th 20:38
Jan 20th 21:22
Audio plan established. I’m exciting to work with some new techniques in the Unreal game engine. It’s time to bust out the Logic Pro X manual and learn about surround sounds and stereo up mixing.
Jan 20th 21:40
Jan 20th 23:20
Caffeine count: 300ml
Jan 20th 23:46
Caffeine count: 600ml
Jan 21st 10:30
Jamming resumes. Hot earl grey tea, oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, baby elephant walk.
Jan 21st 11:51
Some great reference material from the american composer Mancini, famous for other tunes like the Days of Wine and Roses.
Caffeine count: 900ml
Jan 21st 12:55
Caffeine count: 1.2L
First draft of the title theme is done! All the earl grey tea it done!
It’s crazy to look at how little of an idea needs to be implemented concretely in order for it to give a solid impression of where it’s headed. Composing is fun!
Jan 21st 14:08
The gameplay theme for Project Basebol is coming along nicely. This game’s soundtrack is going to be very silly.
Jan 21st 16:41
Development is racing ahead. I have a theme together for the game play section, the team got together in a a hallway to record shouting crowd noises, and the scope of our vision for the game is on course for completion.
Caffeine count: 1.91L
Jan 21st 17:07
Here’s a preview of what the game play music will sound like.
Jan 21st 19:05
Caffeine count: 2.62L
Composition has wrapped. Onto producing this hot mix tape.
Jan 22nd 10:07
Caffeine count: 2.92L
Welcome from Crystallized Games North. While laptop computers are nice and light, sometimes you need the heavy hitting of a desk top in order to deliver the goods.
Jan 22nd 13:07
Caffeine count: 3.83L
Back at Toronto Global Game Jam HQ at GBC on King, the new game is really taking shape.
Jan 22nd 12:33
WaveBall 20XX is finished! You can play it here!
I wrote a piece of music for this game as a part of GBCJam 3. You can download the game here. It’s a multiplayer arena game where the baddest axe wins in fast paced and short matches. The length of a match is 2 minutes and the shape of the music builds to the finish.
This is a demo of a set of programs I have written in the language ChucK. It’s a musical look at fighting games. It’s a duet where someone wins. It’s a fun way to make a noisy world.
You can find the code for my programs here. The audio needed is also found in the link.
My new project, Daily Video Game Reviews, has me reviewing video games on Twitter. Everybody I told about the idea before I kicked it off said the same thing: “How are you going to review a video game in 140 characters?”. If you’re curious you can go look now, but by and large the idea is to reduce the game down to what at its heart makes it successful and then make some silly gag about that with a funny picture. We’re not building rockets over here, but I hope you’ll go check out @DailyVGReviews and have a laugh.
So that’s the how. The why is to try to engage at a deeper level with the games I am playing and have played. I buy all these video games with my squirrelled up bottle caps and string and promise myself by playing them I’m learning more about games. Having to think of a punch line mans I actually have to have something insightful to say, or at least try to. I find myself thinking about what the core experience of the game was, how its mechanics compare in unlikely ways to other games, or what other life experiences compare to the in game ones.
One thing I don’t want to do while reviewing games is just list memes. Memes are great, no judgement, they’re just not the focus of this project. My hope is that I’ll be able to find an amusing angle on these games that is my own, and the very nature of meme based, snow clone, macro image style humour is to speak from the zeitgeist. Also I’m getting tired of meta humour, that’s just me though.
Hopefully @DailyVGReviews will make you laugh and help you to think a little deeper about games in the process. I know at the absolute least it has made think a little harder a little more regularly. A big thanks goes got to Brook Jensen and Ryan Tan for the artwork. Feel free to suggest games to review, let me know what you think of the reviews, and please share it with your friends if you find it funny.
Super Mario Maker has been a real treat to play over the last couple of weeks since its release. The game excelles in a lot of areas, but I think the thing that stands out the most for my musician brain is the little touches in the audio design that make playing the game a joyful musical experience. These are things that create gameplay out of music where other games just put dumpy sound effects. I’m not talking about the compositions in the game. As Super Mario Maker is able to draw on the best tracks from some of the best game music ever created the pedigree of the music is indisputable. I’m talking about the audio design.
The thing that’s great sounding that I want to talk about here is the pitch tracking in the game’s editor. Simply put the game auto tunes the names of each game element you place T Pain style. The game matches the pitch of the melody to the sound cue every time you place a game element. The result is identical to the thing that jazz musicians with minds addled by too many hours in the practice room do, sing the name of instrumental tunes to their melodies. I’ll post some audio of me singing a song in this way soon.
Honestly this goofy way of singing to a tune is a sort of folk game musicians play to keep their spirits up, to find another route into understanding the songs through the tongue twisters the “lyrics” often create, and to create a sense of community with the other musicians who do this silly thing. Super Mario Maker manages to encapsulate this whole other game within one aspect of the audio of its level editor. This is on par with the emergence of tower defence and MOBA games from the Warcraft 3 editing tools. In short, Nintendo has created tools that are as much a fun game as the game its self.
Here’s what happens when I’m building a course. I place a game element and I like the way it sounds. As I place more I start to try to line up the syllables of the game element’s name to phrase musically with the melody in interesting ways. Maybe I’m laying out the back beat more, maybe I’m trying to place elements with long names so that they phrase over the bar line, maybe I’m changing course elements to try to match syllables to the melody’s intended phrasing. What’s important is that the a mini feature of a feature is allowing me to do manny of the creative things I do when I compose music as just a tangent of playing the main game.
There’s plenty more fine touches in the game. The height of the note blocks determines their pitch when jumped on. The game allows you to record your own sound effects to be triggered during play. The list goes on. I can’t wait to see what the Super Mario Maker community manages to come up with in this audio rich environment. I’m so pleased to have my hands on a game that sounds as good as it plays.
Here are some codes that will let you access levels I’ve designed:
I Ran Contra: 9B67-0000-0043-DED6
Dog Fightin’ Aces: ADC3-0000-48F6
What Are They Up To?: 936A-0000-004D-A65E