In my interview with Whitaker Trebella, we talked about the following:
- Why Whit went from composing game music to making his own games.
- His game Pivvot, a thrilling game of strategic avoidance. This game was heavily influenced by Super Hexagon.
- His influences for the music, Hydrogen from Hotline Miami, and Memories of the Future by Oliver.
- His challenge with Carter Dotson, Pivvot: Carter vs. the Developer where he was unable to beak Carter in the Berserk mode of Pivvot.
- How he live-streamed the composition of the Pivvot music, and what it was like composing for an audience.
- The use of a reference track to take a lot of ideas from. Will the new song sound too much like the original? Whit was concerned that Pivvot was too much like Super Hexagon.
- He created a palette of sounds for the first song, and used that as a template for the other songs in the game. A lot of the sounds use the Plogue chipsounds VST.
- How to learn synthesis, modifying synthesizer sounds. He started with a tutorial on subtractive synthesis that came with Logic.
- We both love the chord progression like Am9 – Cmaj7. Whit describes why he likes that so much.
- Whit went through the Logic project talking about the different tracks: kick, second kick added for louder section, distant hi-hat, extra percussion (kick on 1 and 3, snare on 2 and 4), 16th note pattern, bass with a big EQ cut in the middle, electric piano, and the choir-y sustain part.
- The use of “humanize” on hi-hat velocities and how that creates inspiration
- The use of side-chain compression with the kick drum, and how it makes the compressed instruments pulse to the beat. This led into how all the screen objects (the stick, the ball, the obstacles, the menus) pulse to the beat, even if the different songs have different tempos.
- We talked about his thoughts on looping. He thinks the song should be at least a minute and have different sections so that it isn’t boring.
- In Pivvot when you die, the song continues but at 1/4 speed, so the song is slower and two octaves lower. He also adds an EQ filter. Whit talks about “tweening” which is available in Unity Pro where he can switch from speed 1.0 to 0.25 but change it over a half of a second. It is similar when you pause and unpause.
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