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- | - Soundtracks
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-- Sea of Chaos, Original Soundtrack --
Sea of Chaos was my junior game project at Digipen. It is an action naval combat game, where you take the role of Captain Chaos and eventually lead a fleet to conquor the evil Vandamourians. I did most of the graphics programming on this project. The music in this game is much more percussive in general, as you spend almost the whole time in combat. Many of the themes have lower drum parts that help push the music on. To help counterbalance the intended heart-rate-increasing effect of the drum beat parts of the battle music, the music that plays between missions is a much more calm, but hinting that theres more to come.
I think the music in this soundtrack is some of the best I'd ever written up to this point. The first two songs (Prospective Waters and Too Many Options) were made like I had been making them for years, using my keyboard controller. However, I never was that great at playing piano type instruments. The Christmas of 2005 I got a wind MIDI controller, which resembles a clarinet but can use flute fingers that I was faimilar with. This made it much easier for me to figure out and play melodies. Additionally, it was much easier for me to control note velocities with wind pressure. Every song in this soundtrack after those first two were made using the wind MIDI controller, and I think the difference is made rather obvious, by just comparing this soundtrack to the quality of the previous ones.
Similar to when I made the previous soundtrack, before I began work on a song, I tried to decide how I wanted it to convey what was happening in the current mission. For example, "Hopeless Battle" plays in the first mission in the game, which is a huge battle where you fight to the end, trying to defend your homeland. Similarly "Midnight Disturbance" is intended to make it feel more like "what's going on?", as it plays when you are awakened in the middle of the night by pirates seeking revenge. Purposeful Approach is another one of those songs where I knew of two other songs from games that were very similar to how I wanted the two sections of this track to sound like. The chords in the start of it were inspired but how Final Fantasy VII used chords in one of the areas not too far from the beginning of the game. The last half started off being inspired by the opening to the song "Oracle" which plays very near the end of Secret of Mana, then just continued on into something more original.
-- Barren: Wasteland Memories, Original Soundtrack --
Barren: Wasteland Memories was a sophmore game project at Digipen. It is a 2D side scrolling action game with many elements of an RPG. I did most of the character animation and physics programming for the action mode of the game. This was the first larger-sized soundtrack I'd ever made, which was needed as the game had many different areas in it. I basically just tried to write music that fit the theme for the area. For example, "The Sewers" plays in an underground sewer part of the game, "A Suspicious Cave" plays in an isolated cave area, and "We March Onward" plays while you travel in the overworld mode.
Much of the soundtrack I just sat down and made, as I already knew what type of sound I wanted it to have. Oftentimes though, I would listen to music from various RPG's and other games that had a similar style to what I was after, before I begin work on a track. There were a few specific instances where I knew a song in another game that would just fit the spot perfectly. So I would often listen to that specific song, and try and figure out how the parts fit together in it. Then I would go construct an original melody with a similar style to that specific song. Probably the most obvious example of this is "The Uber Hotel", which plays in the wacky hotel area in the game. This one was very much inspired by Earthbound's hotel music. Another example is "Ice-Bound Village", which plays in a frozen city area of the game. I wanted this one to sound similar to the style of music that plays in Secret of Mana, in the ice forest area. Additionally on this song, I couldn't quite get the feel I wanted out of my keyboard controller and recorder samples, so I used actual live recording of me playing the part on a soprano recorder. That was the first time I ever tried mixing recording of an actual instrument with MIDI.
-- Forgotten World, Original Soundtrack --
I wrote this for Forgotten World, an online ad&d mmorpg type game. For a couple years somewhere around 2000-2002 I was an active programmer on the project, mostly doing graphics programming work. During this time, the game had no music at all (as far as I know it still doesn't?), so I wrote a title theme for it. "Variations on a Theme Long Forgotten" is mostly inspired by a couple of the melodies heard on the the title screen of the original old DOS PC game "Neverwinter Nights" (not the same as that new 3D game by the same name). The original theme played on the PC internal speaker, but used some advanced techniques to generate pseudo-polyphonic music. Unfortunatly I don't think this theme ever actually got put into a version of Forgotten World that was released to the pubilc, due to some unusual branching of code at the time.
-- BioBlaster, Original Soundtrack --
This was written for an early student project at Digipen called BioBlaster: Injected. It was a simple top-down shooter made using Digipen's Project FUN, which is something anyone in their right mind would avoid using at all costs. There was also a "title theme" in the game, but it's only about 6 seconds long, so it's not included here.
"Bad Briefing" plays during the mission briefing. While it is completely original, it was partially inspired by the mission briefing music in Descent. The "Main Level" music I don't think was influenced by anything in particular.
-- Other works --
The soundtrack for Spheredux (a single track) was perhaps the fastest real song I've ever made. Roughly a minute and twenty seconds long, and made in around 3 hours total. My roomate needed music for his game project, and I basically had 2 days before the presentation to make this track plus another full length full quality one for Brigades, on top of just working on and testing Brigades. Despite being made so fast though, it still turned out decent. The background parts are very repetative, but I tried to hide it as much as possible.
Erana's Hero is something I started in the summer of 2004. I then got busy with other things and never had time to finish it, until the early part of summer 2005. It is an arrangement of "Hero's March" and "Erana's Peace" from the old DOS PC game "Quest for Glory: So you want to be a hero?". Most of the first half was made on my keyboard controller, with the last half being made completely using my wind controller.