In all honesty, I’m not especially on fire with passion at the news of free Dragon Age Inquisition song downloads, but I don’t often get to use the phrase “sheet music” in this line of work, so carpe diem.
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A Diary of Whispered Truths is a tool for creating images like the one above, which would be all very well and groovy, but as you paint, it sings. Well, in my case it coughs out rugged reams of chorduroy, unfashionable and about as smooth as sandpaper bog roll. It can make quite a racket. A Diary is controlled with mouse and keyboard, with the former ‘conducting’ the on-screen activity and the latter providing percussive punctuations. I did not conduct the images and sounds below. My compositions are much more erratic, experimental and ahead of their time.
Do you remember a time when msuic games were so rugged and wild that they required the use of a tiny plastic guitar peripheral? I certainly do. Some people formed bands during their university years and frittered away precious hours creating melancholy joy, entertaining the tune-hungry populace of bee-soaked university bars. Other people – people like me – perfected I Wanna Be Sedated on Guitar Hero while jumping up and down on a bed with a cig in my mouth. Health and safety be damned, this was rock ‘n’ roll and I liked it.
The pill is disintegrating, lodged in my throat like a swollen seed, sprouting dry and ticklish as it reaches back toward tongue and lips. I need a drink, to sluice it out, wash it down and carry myself away. The lights pulse like a migraine and the music is a song I recognise. Stumbling toward the stage, I grab at the singer, trying to tell him that I know the lyrics and how important it is that I know the lyrics, trying to drink him dry. And then it hits me – I just invaded Nick Cave’s personal space.
No Wave is short, free and noisy.
RPS Feature Making music with M.O.O.N., Scattle and Prunty
Music man David Valjalo follows-up his exploration of the big-budget orchestral soundtracks in the mainstream games industry with a look at the other end of the scale – the super-low-budget, ultra-catchy, sometimes kitschy scores of indie darlings. He rounds up the men behind Hotline Miami, Sweden-based Dennis Wedin and Jonatan Soderstrom, two of the soundtrack artists they hand-picked, US artists M.O.O.N. and Scattle, and FTL composer Ben Prunty, to get the scoop on making music for small games and, quite often, small change.
RPS Feature Good Gaming Conduct
Like a human q-tip David Valjalo embarks on a fantastical voyage into the realm of videogame music. Rounding up three of the most high-profile composers working today, let’s call them The Three J’s: Jason Graves (Dead Space, Tomb Raider), Jesper Kyd (Freedom Fighters, Assassin’s Creed) and Jack Wall (Splinter Cell, Black Ops 2), he gets the inside story on a revolution in game music budgets, practices and thinking that has changed our game soundscapes forever.
BLOPPITY, BUMP, TSSSHHH, BEEE BLOOP. I used to be in a band, but looking back I don’t think my instrument was ever plugged in. My job was to stand on a stage and look moody. Perhaps my lack of ability goes some way toward explaining why I’m so excited whenever I find a game or toy that lets me make music just by clicking a button or two. Acid Defender is a brilliant browser-based music-making experiment and I haven’t listened to anything else this morning. BEEP, BLOOP, BEEPITY, TSSSHHH. Play it here. Via @jennatar.
This is a thing to be treasured. Plink teams you up with strangers from an internet and demands that you make sweet music together. You can make discordant, ear-troubling ditties as well, that’s your choice, but the results tend toward the funky, perhaps even verging on groovy at times. It’s cheered me up no end this morning, moving a cursor up and down, clicking a button, even bopping my head in time to the beat at one point. If you find yourself playing with a plinker who seems hellbent on recreating the best of The Human League, you may well be sharing the decks with my good self. Chrome only, it seems.
As I mentioned before, I was at the One Life Left Christmas party last week. Which was quite the thing, as arriving into a room full of drunk people four hours into a session tends to be stressful. So I caught up. I also got into the other reason why they were having a party – launching their first CD, Music To Play Games By. It’s available to buy for seven quid, but you’ll find a review of it and what it’s like beneath the cut. And since this is a games blog, I’m going to keep tight reign on my usual bag of music-critic tricks. That is, I’m going to write-it-not-as-a-wanker. Well, as much not-as-a-wanker as I ever manage.
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This piece on the state of contemporary game audio was first published in Edge magazine, earlier this year. In it I talk to Marty “Halo” O’Donnell, CryTek’s Florian Füsslin, Introversion’s Chris Delay and the ledgendary George Sanger.
Game design lecturer Tom Betts is feeling pretty downbeat about the attitude of his students towards videogame audio. “I do a few lectures on this topic and unfortunately it often comes down to the fact that while you can play a game with the sound off, you can’t play a game with the screen off.” If you’re studying the things that make a videogame work, sound comes way down the list. Why should Betts’ students worry about what he has to say on the subject of audio when there are so many other things to worry about, like visual design, level design, or the nature of puzzles? “It’s been an underdog for years,” says Betts.
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Today is somewhat stressful. My one source of relief, bar relaxing bouts of onanism, has been the webgame which the ever-lovin’ Simon Parkin linked to me first thing this morning. It’s Music Catch. Shapes are thrown up from a line, arcing in the air before falling back to whence they came. You have to pick ‘em up. The yellow ones increase your multiplier. The red ones decrease it. The purple ones are a splendid super-weapon. The aim: Get as high a score as possible before the music stops. About the only thing I don’t like about is the over-pumped-and-excited words that flash up, breaking the contemplative little-book-of-calm mood. ” I heartily approve of Purple Power,” adds John Walker, before beating my best score effortlessly because I’m using a touchpad and he has a proper mouse.