Look for help when you need it

August 9, 2010

Yes.

I studied piano from age 4 until I was 12. Every saturday of my childhood would involve waking up early, going to the city (a 50 minutes ride) and getting in a classroom to practice classical music in the Yamaha academy. I was supposedly pretty good at it. My parents would do nothing but praise me about it in every opportunity they found (and brag a bit about it with other people) and every family reunion would involve me overcoming my extreme shyness and playing something for a crowd of needy relatives. And at 12 my reaction to the need to play some other styles of music and rebel against my parents wishes translated into quitting piano entirely. So, the Clavinova would sit tight in my room, untouched for years to years to come. Until now.

When I started making Dependant I knew I would eventually stumble upon the doubt of what music it would have. After all, music is 50% of the experience. So, hanging to my now forgotten years of musical expertise, I trusted myself that I’d be able to come up with a decent soundtrack by having my dad bring the piano all over to my apartment in Buenos Aires, and after a few weeks I’d have an awesome sounding game. Except that was not the case.

I remember a few pointers from my years of playing but mostly I am absolutely rough on playing. I can get some tune I know and play it in a few minutes but that’s a long way of being able to get creative sounds flowing from the piano.

Then I fiddled around with some trackers, specially Fruity Loops. I got a Usb MIDI controller interface for my birthday from my boyfriend and I was sure that was the last step to finally being able to come up with awesome tracks: get some cool sounding instruments, improvise on the piano and get soundly awesomeness right out. Except that was not the case. I could do some pretty nifty effects but nothing close to a full nice track.

Then, I thought “Hey, the backgrounds in the game are generative, just a few particles and color schemes and I have awesome looking images. I can do the same with the music. A few samples, a base rhythm track, and the player makes the music as she plays! awesome”. Except that was not the case. I went into making a generative music system (wich in the first iteration I accidentaly erased the files). And, after spending quite a chunk of time in getting it to work with decent samples I realized it sounded quite far from what my imagination led me to believe.

So, I was at loss. Until I took in account the first thing that I scraped. Get a musician. I started this game with zero budget, feeding on my savings and trying to make a nice looking game that I could sell right away. Except, with all the effort I put into it I started to get quite fond of it. And I just couldn’t have my baby born with music that sounded awful or “just OK”. So I realized I could not provide and it was time to get some help. And boy, did help I got.

After browsing a little in the TIG forums, I found exactly what I was looking for. A couple of emails and a skype chat later, in just one day I got a couple of incredibly talented and friendly musicians to make the music for Dependant! How cool is that!

As of today, I’m teaming up with Kingsley Hine and Dickon Maciver, a.k.a. Leemus Music. Their music is awesome and I’m certain they will do a great job in coming up with a soundtrack for the game that I would’ve been far from making by myself. Check out their facebook page to listen to some of their tunes.

The indie scene is just awesome. Plain awesome.

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3 Responses to “Look for help when you need it”

  1. Noel Berry Says:

    That’s awesome!

    I’ve been in a similar situation. I played piano from age 6 to 14, and people said I was pretty good. Then I stopped. Now, when I try to make music, I simply can’t. It just never works. It definitely needs someone who has talent and skill for making music.

    Luckily I have a brother who, unlike me, kept on playing, so he handles the sounds for my games.

    Looking forward to hearing it now 😀

  2. Noel Berry Says:

    We moved from one city to another, but in between moving we traveled around Canada for a few months (just to have a vacation and such). During that time we didn’t have a piano with us, so I kind of lost interest. When we moved into our new home, I didn’t start playing again, but my brother did. Not sure why I didn’t pick it up again, I guess I just wasn’t interested enough anymore.

    I still play occasionally, but not nearly as much as my brother.

    Really want to get back into it though. 😛


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