The blog is being migrated and merged with multiple Imphenzia blogs so the format and content will be inconsistent for a while.

Level Kits - New Concept for Game Music

It may not be a new concept in the game industry itself, but creating what I refer to as a Level Kit is a new concept for me. Previously I've mainly created full length tracks and seamless loops of various lengths and styles but I suspect that game developers may appreciate these new Level Kits.

The idea is to create variations of a track or theme which will cover most stages and situations of a game. Today I have composed and released Battle Zone Level Kit which is an orchestral military style set of music files:

Of course you can license each variation individually and it's the developers preference whether the Stage Short Loop should really be the Menu loop and so forth, but all the moods are for the various music hits and loops are custom designed to be suitable for the different game stages. As I continue to release Level Kits I hope to offer a very wide selections where you may license all the music necessary for your game.

Battle Zone from a composer's perspective

If you are interested to find out how the music was composed, read on. I use Cubase 5.5 with my full EastWest Symphonic Orchestra Gold keyswitch template (described in this post) along with Stormdrum 2 percussion, drone sounds from Quantum Leap Goliath, and additional patches from the Hollywood expansion for Nexus2 by ReFX.

Stage / Game Play Loops

The stage loops are fairly static and background like with marching drums, strong percussion, and tense strings and brass. The boss loop which could be used for especially hectic situations and, of course, boss encounters is 20 BPM faster with many french horn rips and violin effects to emphasize the danger.

Music Hits

The Stage Complete Music Hit is more melodic with a positive mood portraying success and accomplishment.

The Game Over Loop is a longer version of the Stage Complete Hit with more melodic and emotional strings and brass to emphasize pride and glory. String ensemble playing in marcato behind the lead instruments in both of these hits also establishes heroic courage.

The Life Lost hit is short with just failure written all over it due to the rips and crecendo strings and horns.

The Menu Loop is a very mysterious soundscape with drones from the Goliath library mentioned above. The same drones can also be found in the long stage loop. Plenty of reverb and a deep bass note playing adds to the tension.

The Get Ready hit is just a simple marching snare with some additional percussion and repeating double bass strings.

Fantasy RPG - a new set of orchestral loops

The latest addition to my library of Non-Exclusive game music is "Fantasy RPG" - a collection of 8 short seamless orchestral loops for games with a fantasy or medieval theme. The loops can, of course, be used for many other purposes as, for example, the battle loops are quite universal in time and game genres.

You can play the Intense Battle Full Loop to get an appreciation of what it sounds like (Note: the audio file is watermarked if you are wondering why my voice disturbs you gently half way through :)

The loops are very short, only between 10 and 32 seconds in length, making them especially suitable for small games with shorter gameplay. The short duration also makes them incredible cheap with excellent value for money as they are practically given away priced between $3 and $10 each for indie game developers.

Details for the curious

To create these loops I use Steinberg Cubase 5.5 as a sequencer. The orchestral library I use is Symphonic Orchestra Gold by EastWest Samples / Quantum Leap. I've set up a, for me, gigantic Cubase template with the full Orchestra and all instruments articulated with keyswitch instruments. The keyswitch means that I can select articulation for each midi note played to say how it should be played, e.g. the keyswitch for 18 Violins section contains no less than 23 articulations such as marcato, sustain, slur, tremolo, legato, lyrical, expressive, quick up down, etc.

[caption id="attachment_232" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Cubase with Symphonic Orchestra Gold Keyswitch template"]Cubase with Symphonic Orchestra Gold Keyswitch template[/caption]

The orchestral template is very memory hungry and to accomodate this I'm running a Intel i7 950  processor  @3.07 Ghz with 24 GB of RAM memory. I've stored all the orchestral library files on a 256 GB Crucial Solid State HDD because the library consists of 39983 files (32.3 GB) and it took forever to load it up on my previous 7200 RPM drive. This is running on Windows 7 x64 Ultimate and I must say that this combination works a treat. I can also take this opportunity to mention that the setup and music software is funded by my every day job as an IT Consultant and NOT from Imphenzia Soundtrack licenses - I've got a long way to go for that to happen =)

Here is also a screenshot of the Key Switch articulations I've configured. This one is for the 18 Violins sections so I had to configure the same thing for all instruments in the entire orchestra which took me the closest thing to forever.

[caption id="attachment_233" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Key Switch articulations for 18 Violins section"]Key Switch articulations for 18 Violins section[/caption]

I should also mention that this particular piece of music uses percussion from Stormdrum 2 and a little bit of choir from Symphonic Choirs.