MMOM is now Inside Video Game Music

Inside Video Game Music

I have re-branded the “Making My Own Music” podcast. The new name is “Inside Video Game Music” and you can find it at InsideVGM.com.

“Inside Video Game Music” gives you a behind the scenes look into your favorite video game music. On this podcast I talk with game composers about their background, their composing process, and how their music fits into the game. My goal is to learn, and to share knowledge with a community of game players, creators, and any who are passionate about video games and their music.

Is there a game composer you’d like to hear from? Let me know and I will reach out to them for an interview. Email tom@InsideVGM.com or on Twitter @TomSnively.

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028 MMOM – Molecular Music Box

MMoM-1400-blueIn this episode, I talk about Molecular Music Box, a music app that I wrote that creates algorithmic solo piano music, and two songs that I composed using the app.

I started by talking about my entry for the August 2014 Ludum Dare. I worked by myself but used clip art from MyCuteGraphics.com, so it was a “jam” entry. The theme was “Connected Worlds” and I made a game called The Circle Of Life. It is about the life cycle:

In the food chain, we are all connected. The butterflies eat from the flowers, but the birds eat the butterflies, but the foxes eat the birds.

In “The Circle Of Life” your place in the food chain keeps changing. You are the purple butterfly and have to eat from the flowers. But don’t get eaten by the birds. But then you are a blue bird and have to eat the butterflies. But don’t get eaten by the fox!

I had fun with the audio. When the animals eat the other animals, you here me or my son saying “Nom nom nom!” in the correct place in the stereo field. I got top 11% ratings in humor and top 34% in audio. You can play or download The Circle Of Life.

So, I originally saw a video for Molecular Music Box by Dr. Duncan Lockerby, a professor in the UK. With an algorithm, you can create solo piano music using 2 numbers and a starting note, for example 4 E 3. 4 is the “initial length” and 3 is the “secondary length.” The algorithm is hard to explain in the just audio, so I wanted to play a song first to demonstrate. I then played 9 D 1 1/2.

So you start with a low D and hold it for 9 beats. You then play the next white key up, an E, and hold that for 9 beats. You continue up the white keys. While this is happening, you use a “loop pedal” to record and repeat 4-measure loops. So, whatever sounded during the first 4 measures gets played again in the 5th measure while you add new notes. Each time you loop the 4 measures, there will be additional notes played.

You continue doing this until you are starting a new note at the same exact time an existing note is schedule to sound. In that case, you change from the initial length (9) to the secondary length (1 1/2), and play all the notes for 1 1/2 beats each until you again have a note already starting at that time. When that happens you switch back to the initial length (9 beats).

If you’d like to try Molecular Music Box, you can play around at MakingMyOwnMusic.com/mmb. The program has sliders for initial length and secondary length so you can make them go from 1/2 to 16, and the initial length can go from C2 (two octaves below middle C) to C4 (middle C). I also added three advanced features. You can adjust tempo from 60 to 300. I also added a “key” slider so you can have the song use any key instead of all white keys. I also allow you to change the loop length to go from 8 beats up to 32 beats.

The piano sounds come from Mildon Studios; he published a free SFZ library.

In 8 C 14 1/2, I am using the key of Eb making the song in natural minor. I also changed the loop length to 15, so the song has 3 measures of 4/4 followed by 1 measure of 3/4. I then played 8 C 14 1/2.

Down the line, I might release this app for iOS or Android, and maybe can allow users to save their songs as MP3s. Composer Michael Chadwick used Molecular Music Box as one part in a larger song called Chemical Music.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com.

I am also going to re-brand this podcast; it will no longer be called “Making My Own Music.” The new podcast will have a slightly different focus, and I will try to make an effort to release episodes every week.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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9 D 1 1/2 – by Tom Snively

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This is a song for solo piano written by the Molecular Music Box app.

For more information, please see Episode 28.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer.

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8 C 14 1/2 – by Tom Snively

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This is a song for solo piano written by the Molecular Music Box app.

For more information, please see Episode 28.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer.

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027 MMOM-RPSwipe

MMoM-1400-blueIn this episode, I talk about RPSwipe, a mobile game available now for iOS and Android, and the song and sounds I made for the game.

RPSwipe is a mobile game written by Amidos, an Egyptian game developer Ahmed Khalifa. It is inspired by the games Threes! and 2048, and uses the rules from Rock, Paper, Scissors.

I started by making an audio track from the iOS Musyk app. I moved the track into my Cubase project and added reverb and a ping-pong delay. The track plays an Eb pentatonic scale (Eb F G Bb C) so it goes with Eb major chords and C minor chords.

I talked about and played the electronic sounds, all from the Omnisphere synthesizer. I used two tracks of “Singing Reality DRPSwipeistorted,” and tracks of “The Buzz In Jack’s Head,” “Dynamic Crystal Bottle Hits,” “Enyaesque Pad,” and “Waxing Downsaw.” My favorite Enya song is Orinoco Flow. I also recorded a rainstick, and added reverb and delay.

The song has different-sounding sections, and lasts four minutes before it loops. The soundtrack version loops and then fades and is about 4 1/2 minutes. I then played RPSwipe.

I also made sound effects for the game, including paper covering rock, and scissors cutting paper. I also used some of the synthesizer sounds and made sounds that fit in with the song.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

I have a couple new versions of Match Em available. Here is the Indie Quilt version and here is a 10-difficulty challenge version.

You can find my past broadcasts on Twitch.tv/jively or on my YouTube channel, youtube.com/TomSnively. You can also find me on Facebook.com/makingmyownmusic or Twitter.com/TomSnively.

My album, Major 7ths and Minor 9ths is available on Bandcamp at tomsnively.bandcamp.com. You can listen to the whole album for free. To download it, click “Buy now, pay what you want” and choose $0 or more to “purchase” the album.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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RPSwipe OST – by Tom Snively

RPSwipeThis is the soundtrack to the mobile game RPSwipe available now for iOS and Android. To download a high-quality version, see my Bandcamp page. Click here for info on RPSwipe.

For more information, please see Episode 27.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer.

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026 MMOM-IndieQuilt Clips

MMoM-1400-blueIn this episode, I talk about Indie Quilt, an online game jam for charity, and about 15 30-second songs I wrote to be used in the game.

My album, Major 7ths and Minor 9ths is available on Bandcamp at tomsnively.bandcamp.com. You can listen to the whole album for free. To download it, click “Buy now, pay what you want” and choose $0 or more to “purchase” the album.

I found out about Indie Quilt which is an online game jam organized by Eric Hornby. Developers have about two months to submit a 30-second “mini-games” for Eric to “quilt” together into one large game. I volunteered to provide music and sounds for any Indie Quilt game developer who needs it. I also wrote and published 15 30-ish-second songs for developers to choose from.

I wrote these songs using the iOS Figure app which I talked about in episode 13. Developers have chosen four of these songs and included them in their games:

Hoops by Kitsune Gaming, wrote the music
SHOOT_THINGS by Security Porpoise, wrote one of the two songs in the game
Asteroid Storm by Kitsune Gaming, wrote the music
Sprint by Kitsune Gaming, wrote the music and sound. I also assisted in the coding to speed up the music based on the horizontal velocity.

Hoops by Kitsune GamingSHOOT_THINGS by Security PorpoiseAsteroid Storm by Kitsune GamingSprint by Kitsune Gaming

I played IndieQuilt Clips which includes clips 1, 2, 14, 5, 6 and 9. You can find the full playlist of all the IndieQuilt clips on my SoundCloud page. If you would like to use one of these songs for your IndieQuilt submission, please email me at tsnivelymusic@gmail.com.

I made a new game mode for my Match Em game. In this mode, you have to match as many as you can in 30 seconds. I will soon make a standalone version of this to submit to Indie Quilt.

RPSwipe is coming out for iOS and Android this Friday (8/8/2014).  I wrote the song and made the sounds for this game. I will talk about the game and song in my next episode.

I’m also excited about my newest project which is music composition tool called Molecular Music Box. I’ll talk about this two episodes from now. You can try it on tomsnively.com.

I’m also testing out live-streaming on Twitch. You can find my past broadcasts on Twitch.tv/jively.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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IndieQuilt Samples

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This is a collection of six 30-ish-second samples available for the Indie Quilt project. For the full playlist of all available clips, please see the SoundCloud playlist.

For more information, please see Episode 26.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer.

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025 Making My Own Music – I Love Pivvot

Maj7thMin9thsIn this episode, I talk about a video game, Match Em that I designed, developed and published. I talk about my debut album, Major 7ths and Minor 9ths that I released on Bandcamp. I talk about how I put together and mastered the album. I also talk about my song “I Love Pivvot.”

In May I got a bit of a “coding bug” where I was really enjoying doing computer programming, and I created my own video game. It is called Match Em and you can play it at http://makingmyownmusic.com/match.

At this time, my best score is 58.3. Can you beat it? I want to set up a “leaderboard” that captures everybody’s best score. I am also going to try to make as iOS version for iPhone and iPad and may try to put it on the Apple Store.

This is the game description:MatchEm

Match Em is a fun but somewhat frustrating game where all you have to do is find matching items.

During gameplay, there are two rows of pictures and images. There are five pictures and three words in each row.

The first row and second row will have exactly one item that matches. It might be two words, two pictures, or one word and one picture. Find the match, and click on one of the items. You must find 10 matches to complete the game. Find the matches as quickly as possible. There is a 3 second penalty for incorrect clicks. Click ‘skip to the next one’ if you just can’t find the match and want to try again. There is a 1 second penalty for each one skipped.

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I released my debut album, Major 7ths and Minor 9ths, which is named after my two favorite chord types.

I decided on the following song and song order:

  1. Rue’s Whistle
  2. Follow The Advice Of Your Heart
  3. I Love Pivvot
  4. Escape!
  5. Pill
  6. Rise Above
  7. Revolution Fan Podcast Theme
  8. Fusion
  9. Sleepy
  10. Rondo Quest
  11. Elephant’s Feet
  12. Summer Strut
  13. Funk (for solo piano)
  14. Tremble
  15. Late Day Storm
  16. Fountain
  17. Low Earth Orbit

dRD Accepted

I talked about small mix changes I made to six of the songs. I talked about how I mastered the album, using Graham Cochrane’s three-part series on mastering with stock plugins, EQ, compression and multi-band compression, and limiting. I got the stock plugins from Reaper which worked really well. I also got Voxengo SPAN spectrum equalizer.

I talked about the Loudness Wars, and how much dynamic range the final album should have. A really good resource about this is Dynamic Range Day. I had to go through my process a couple of times, lessening the limiting until the dynamic range, according to the Offline TT Dynamic Range Meter was 10.

I talked about the reference tracks I used for many of my songs to make sure the volumes were similar. I talked about the fades and the gaps between songs.

I published this album on Bandcamp at tomsnively.bandcamp.com. You can listen to the whole album for free. To download it, click “Buy now, pay what you want” and choose $0 or more to “purchase” the album.

I next talk about my song, I Love Pivvot. I bought the chipsounds synthesizer from Plogue. I stretched the Zaxxon audio using Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch.

I then played I Love Pivvot.

I was hired this month to write three songs and make sound effects for an archaeology game. The developer will probably be launching a Kickstarter in the next month or two. I will let you know when that Kickstarter is running and I will talk about the game and the work I did on it.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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I Love Pivvot – by Tom Snively

Maj7thMin9thsThis is a video game song inspired by Whitaker Trabella’s “Voyage” song from the Pivvot soundtrack. It is from the album “Major 7ths and Minor 9ths” available for download at Bandcamp.com.

For more information, please see Episode 25.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer.

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