Friday, November 22, 2019

Research

Research.

From the very beginning at Thinkspace you hear that research is vital and important. So maybe you think "Meh, this is just a school, of course they think research is important. Now out in the real world it's gotta be different..."
Scampr screenshot of lake

LOL No. JunkieXL says the first thing he does when approaching a new score is research.

This whale flies low so it's easier to hop on and go for a ride.
So I'm making a video game. I don't know how to treat stereo elements - whether they should be "2D" (meaning just stereo crickets and birds and whatever) or are they sounds generated by individual elements in the game that sit in specific locations. I think most sound designers are like "to heck with it" and make all the ambiances in stereo so that cricket is not actually locatable in the stereo field because the sound follows when you turn your virtual head in the game.
And I was thinking: after drilling into me the whole thing that I have to do differently as a composer, what's the other step I always need to do?

Research.

If you're trying to take the train while the whale is above you, you'll end up on the whale. 






Yeah, researching video games. Get over it. Here on the praxis side of art we need to research all the time. I think there are a lot of artists who whole their noses high in the sky and say "My only research is my aaaaaart." But if you want to be good at it? Do some research.

Right now I'm researching a commentary-free walkthrough of the underwater game ABZU. It has a lovely score. That's what takes up most of the sonic space.

So I'm making a video game. I don't know how to treat stereo elements - whether they should be "2D" (meaning just stereo crickets and birds and whatever) or are they sounds generated by individual elements in the game that sit in specific locations. I think most sound designers are like "to heck with it" and make all the ambiances in stereo so that cricket is not actually locatable in the stereo field because the sound follows when you turn your virtual head in the game.
And I was thinking: after drilling into me the whole thing that I have to do differently as a composer, what's the other step I always need to do?

Research.

Yes, if I'd done this research before starting the game I would have perhaps had an easier time. Instead I'm just embarrassed. Due to the nature of Scampr, I have a couple locations which have their own pieces of music, but mostly the player is left to their own devices to walk around. So I have to make, like, 90-minutes of ambient music that feels right.
So far I have music for the whales, a bunch of sounds for the miniature giraffes, the railroad, etc. It's kinda my wheelhouse.

Still, today I was on a webinar (even though I'm done with classes) and I got some great advice from both Spencer Bambrick and other students to make the music more interactive. And I'm down with that. In fact, I'd already set up some zones just for that. And by skipping music in the first 60 seconds or so, we get used to the environment a little before the music kicks in. I think that's good.

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