Author Topic: Arcen Games: Music/Sound  (Read 32493 times)

Offline PVega8

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Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« on: August 17, 2010, 10:39:51 AM »
Hello Everyone!

 My name is Pablo Vega and I'm the Composer and Sound Designer for Arcen Games. I'm starting this thread to talk about the music and sound of our games in more depth, and to have a place for everyone to ask questions.

 Working with Arcen has been a dream come true, and as we continue to work on more games, I'd love to share some insight on my work with all of you. So, feel free to post any questions and I will do my very best to respond quickly.

Thank you all again for your continued support.

There will also be continued discussion about music on my facebook music page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Pablo-Vega-Music/105436296179600?ref=mf

Be sure to check out the music page for previews of upcoming game soundtracks (including the re-mastered soundtrack of AI War: Fleet Command and AI War: The Zenith Remnant).
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 10:43:08 AM by PVega8 »
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2010, 11:20:28 AM »
Wooot! Awesome Pablo!

I've already told you this, but the intro themes for AI War and Tidalis (Tidalis in particular) are works of pure awesomeness. I, however, didn't like the intro to Zenith Remnant as much though. The AI War in game music is hit and miss really, with many I like and a few I cringe a bit at. All in all though I feel you are pretty epic as far as music goes ;)
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Offline PVega8

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2010, 11:24:12 AM »
Well, I appreciate all complements and criticisms. Being able to look at your music objectively is the only way to become better, so I appreciate your honesty! If you have any specific qualms about some tracks, I'd love to hear it! I don't get easily offended about negative comments (unless they're blatantly cruel, like "Your music sucks" haha), so I'd love to discuss!
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Offline RCIX

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2010, 05:35:11 PM »
Cool! If i ever have time, i'll go through and comment on some of your works for AI war and Tidalis.

One thing that does spring to mind is that the song for the cave levels in Tidalis sounds a lot like a christmas song, not sure which though.
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Offline PVega8

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2010, 05:36:59 PM »
Haha, I love Christmas music! If you can think of which song it is, let me know.
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Offline getter77

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 12:54:07 PM »
I'll be the one to post some obvious questions then....likely due to my still scrambling around trying to think on said obvious things:

1.  Software/tools/hardware  =  What is/has been used and what are your thoughts on them and other comparable ones out there?  Are there insane things you aspire to make use of at some point like this crazy thing?

http://www.symbolicsound.com/cgi-bin/bin/view/Company/WebHome

2.  For people looking to get into digital music composition/generation/etc, whom lack a musical background, what would be some recommended steps/methods to go about things?  Is specialized hardware beyond a modern Windows desktop PC pretty well essential or is that more of something to graduate to down the line?

3.  "insert obvious question I've forgotten about here"   8)
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2010, 01:04:48 PM »
I've done my fair share of electronic music myself...started in the nineties with Fasttracker and migrated to ModPlug when Fasttracker went the way of "Windows backward compability death" and since then moved on to Propellerheads Reason. I, too, would be intrigued to know what programs you use to make your music, and if it's any acoustic work involved at all (the Tidalis theme surely has a REAL guitar in it, no?)
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Offline PVega8

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2010, 02:16:05 PM »
Great questions!

1) I have a MacBook Pro that I use for all my music software. I use a combination of Logic Studio, ProTools LE, Melodyne, Garritan Live Orchestra, and some live recording (also through Logic and ProTools). There are also many music packages that come with Logic Studio and ProTools (like Reason, Amplitude, Trash, iZotope) that I also use for specific instruments. Trash is a great program for manipulating (and bringing to life) drum sounds, iZotope is a wonderful mastering program, etc...

Logic Studio comes with a bundle of stuff (pretty much the upgraded version of garageband). It's a set of about 7 DVD's of content, and is well worth the money. Not too expensive compared to what other programs (like ProTools) cost, but you can pretty much do everything with that.

ProTools is excellent for live recording and editing, and that's why I use it. I have a really nice Neumann Microphone that plugs into a Focusrite ISA One Pre-amp. That then plugs into the ProTools Digirack 003, which plugs into the computer.

Also have a pretty basic (OLD) Yamaha PF85, that has very limited live sounds, but has midi capabilities. So, I plug that into the digirack as well and use most of the midi sounds from Logic.

The live recording is mostly done on the microphone (aka vocals, sound effects, etc.). Then they're manipulated on ProTools using different effects that come with the program.

2) The best advice (and I hope you don't feel like this is cheap) is to get some kind of DAW software, and just play around. I have a couple friends who use Fruity Loops, and can make some insanely good beats for hip-hop. Some of those guys are really good at it, and can produce some high-quality stuff.

But, before I went to school to study composition, all I did was just play around with anything I could. I had no concept of what musical notes or notation were. I just sat down on a piano, and tried to figure it out. I would go outside and throw sticks on concrete, and then on clay, and then on grass, and played drums on trash cans, and tried to make music on literally anything I could get my hands on. It's all about experimentation and creativity. Trying new things, new sounds, etc.

A lot of those digital programs will allow you to record different things, and just mess around and see what you come up with.

If you have a chance, check out my facebook music page. I'm about to put up a piece I composed in college. The only thing I used to compose this piece was a sound clip of an audience cheering. Then, I manipulated it using ProTools, and came up with the final product. The piece is called "Invasion" as it's supposed to be an Alien Invasion. Once again, the only sound clip used (and manipulated) is the sound of a crowd cheering.

PS: No, the guitar on the theme is actually a midi guitar sample from Logic. They do good stuff ;)

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Offline getter77

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2010, 03:12:05 PM »
Thanks for the prompt answers thus far, I think I spot a few unfamiliar characters to Google up.  FLoops and Reaper seem to be gaining traction on the "from scratch with nothing else to plug into the PC" angle...

http://www.reaper.fm/
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Offline PVega8

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2010, 03:18:07 PM »
Definitely!

Like I said, there are many programs out there that you don't have to spend a lot of money on, but you can use to it's full potential and make some cool stuff!
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Offline strangelight

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2010, 10:01:52 PM »
I'm a music buff myself, and I really enjoy your work. Yours is one of the only game ost's I listen to outside or inside the game.

The only criticism I have is the Zenith Remnant vocal samples that play every single time I load the game, it gets annoying :D
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 01:19:45 AM by strangelight »

Offline Spikey00

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2010, 10:39:17 PM »
Just dropping by to offer words of praise for your works--a lot of the game atmosphere is derived from your music, and I'm eager to hear more from you Pablo!
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Offline PVega8

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2010, 03:51:05 AM »
Well I appreciate all the comments! I'm not sure what vocal samples you're talking about? Is it the ones in the "Heart Of Zenith" or "Fire And Iron" tracks? If so, they will be done much better in the re-mastered tracks which will be available to you in a couple months.

If it's the taunts, then those are just set in play, sorry about that.

Thanks again though for the compliments :)
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2010, 06:28:52 AM »
I think he's referring to the "noise" on startup of Zenith Remnant-only AI War. Then the vocal samples that say "We've discovered the Zenith Remnant"...

They are pretty much the reason I don't like the ZR theme song. Also, it's a lot more diminutive than the vanilla AI War theme. There was something very epic about the stock theme...with the background pads and strong cello. Actually a very compelling reason for me to originally buy the game after I downloaded the demo. The music was GREAT for an indy game. Tell Chris that, Pablo, and he'll be happy and give you a raise! xD
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Offline PVega8

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Re: Arcen Games: Music/Sound
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2010, 03:10:07 PM »
Haha, awesome!

The re-mastered tracks don't have the "We've discovered the Zenith Remnant" dialogue in it. As far as I knew, I thought that was only playing in the trailer and no longer in the actual track? Oh well, that's going to be fixed.

There is something to be said about having a very stoic melody/theme for the title music of a game. As Zenith Remnant was an expansion, I thought it more a continuation of the original soundtrack, and so didn't give it that same kind of feel. But, you've definitely given me a lot to think about.

I feel like a lot of my music is "underscoring" and would be great for film, but as I compose for video games more and more I realize how important it is to have those driving melodies. Chris and I had a very long discussion about that before composing for "Tidalis". And, as you can tell from the music, all those tracks are very melody driven.

Chris has told me he thinks I'm doing a good job haha, thanks though!
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