Scout's Journey Development Blog
Very nice! Sounds quite good. In some ways, it slightly reminds me of Basil Poledouris’ Conan score. What DAW/VSTS are you using? Was the percussion VST or recorded in studio?
Oh, thanks for the compliment. Especially coming from someone who composes music as well. Someone else said “Chrono Trigger.”
I’ll have to upgrade to a really good commercial sample set before the game ships, but Sonatina is pretty adequate for getting the music done in the first place. And thanks for your Reaper recommendation, it is so much better. I’ll definitely buy a license once I can afford it. Runs fine under Linux / wine, even.
Ups, didn’t see the rest of the comment. Yes, it was done in Reaper, and the percussion is VST, from Sonatina, which is a free sample set. There are no effects used here, straight from the samples, only volume and pan and MIDI parameters tweaked. I use the sfz player VSTi to play the samples. All done with free tools, well except I’ll buy that Reaper license at some point just because it’s that good.
I see. Reaper certainly is a quality program, I haven’t used it in nearly a year and already there have been hundreds of fixes and feature additions.
Considering those samples are free, they sound very good, more than adequate for drafts and such. You may want to check out Miroslav Philharmonik by IK Multimedia. There are better sample sets, but for the price I don’t think any other package comes close. I’m trying not to gush, but I gotta say I’m really fond of this software.
Thank you, the Miroslav samples look like a really good option. I guess that could be an upgrade at some point down the line.
I have some nice free reverbs too, such as the EpicVerb which I find really nice sounding. It’s just that I sort of prefer a more immediate sound as opposed to the Hollywood Bombastic Reverborama(tm) style. I like stuff like string quartets, which might carry over into my music.
A lot of classical games really had a pretty tight sounding score.
I’m thinking that pizzicato section toward the end could benefit from some reverb, though. Hmm.
hmm, I’ve been out of the VST loop for a while, nice resources.
I’m partial to the Hollywood Bombastic Reverborama(tm) style in many cases, or maybe just reverb in general. Game music is pretty tight as you said, and liberal use of reverb is probably not appropriate. A game soundscape is pretty full as it is.
Typically, in every day mixing, even for a more upfront sound I’ll use just a drop of reverb as it helps everything ‘gel’, even though the reverb itself is not evident. But I prefer reverb even in metal, which is pretty much heresy these days. I love articulation and clarity as much as the next guy, but reverb gives a sense of size and space that sheer volume/compression/panning simply can’t.
I’m eager to experiment with and learn more about music in the context of game design, it’s one of the things that has been in the forefront of my mind the last few months.
My initial approach will probably be to thin out the music and really only have it inhabit the frequencies least used by the rest of the soundscape. The music will sound weak on its own, but should fit well in the game; be in the background but still discernible, be heard for lengths of time without ear fatigue and not take away from or mask other sounds. I’m sure there are plenty of good write-ups on this very topic, I just haven’t looked yet.
As far as inspirations go, I totally overlooked TR. I’ve always loved those games (particularity 1 & 2, I quite liked anniversary as well) and their soundtracks. I’m still not sure what that lead melody instrument is though (clarinet, oboe?). Pizzicato/harp arpeggios over a voice/string texture with a woodwind lead is always a great combo and something I find myself defaulting to a lot. French horn + cello and strings/voice is also always great (LOTR).
I’ve listened to more Baldur’s Gate music than I have played the actual games, it’s quite nice. I have no experience with Darkensang but the music is good. For some reason I just wanna listen to minstrel music now…
I’ve been finding myself referencing Koh Ohtani (Shadow of the Colossus) and Robyn Miller (Riven) lately. Might be worth a look.
I’m not sure how to embed videos, hope this works 😛
Good stuff. Yes, the idea of “thinning out” the music for ingame use is the right direction, unless it’s menu music or whatever. It all depends. Having patches and layers of minimalistic music in matching keys etc is also going to be useful to create a dynamic soundscape using triggers etc.
I read an interview with the Drakensang composer where he refers to exactly that technique – that’s why that soundtrack doesn’t use so many instruments at the same time.
The TR 1 melody is probably an oboe, probably from an early synthesizer or sample pack I’d say? In Anniversary I believe it’s a flute and violin combo instead? Possibly.
A dab of reverb is good, yeah. I just hear soundtracks on youtube sometimes that are absolutely drenched in it 🙂 Something from the Hobbit, IIRC, was doing that and I just thought it was too much.
This is a line of VST effects that I really like. (I don’t always use effects, but when I do…)
Regarding inspiration, I’m trying to not steal too obviously from the Tomb Raider themes (harp, melody) and Lord of the Rings (horns etc), but I’ve recently been influenced by Inon Zur’s amazing Throne of Bhaal soundtrack as well as stuff by Heinz Hoenig. 🙂
Here’s some of my musical universe:
^ Tomb Raider themes. TR was the game that convinced me that a classical soundtrack was the right thing for SJ. If it hadn’t been for Tomb Raider, Scout’s Journey might have a guitar heavy rock or folk score. But I bow towards Tomb Raider three times a day, anyway, since those games blazed the trail in so many ways despite their faults.
^ Inon Zur’s work
^ The Drakensang soundtrack by Tilman Silescu et al. – this is partly handmade and has a bit of a more European sound. I like it very much.
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