Thursday, August 17, 2006

Week 4

  • Practical 1 - Audio Arts - Audio Engine Analysis [1]
This week we were asked to do a "macro asset stratification map". As I understand it this is a fancy word for spotting notes, or at least the game equivalent of spotting notes. The current list is currently incomplete as we haven't finalised how much we'll be able to get done in out given time period. Anything mentioned 'IN GAME' are currently ideas that we may or may not get to.

Title Screen
Here is a description taken from my brief.
"The User Interface will have a background of a fully real time image of a river and bridge scene over-looking a forest or a looping video of the same scene. The time of day will be just after midday. The river will be quite deep, but flowing gently down stream. Birds could be hidden in the trees and there will be a slight breeze blowing through the forest/trees."

There will also be button clicks I will need to create for when buttons are pressed on the title screen Interface.

- light bird ambience
- Occasional bird screech from particular types of birds (perhaps this environment is something like our own in which case, what part of the world is it, and what type of birds occupy this area?)
- light stream
- heavy deep stream

- trees blowing in the wind

- insect sounds

Interface button clicks:
- possible combination of
- mouth click
- door closing (+reverb)
- footsteps on wood

Options Screen
When the user wants to change the sound effect volume a sound will need to be either looped on mouse down, or triggered when the volume slider is moved. This could be a sound of anything really.


NPC's (Non-Player Characters)
The NPC's will need voices when clicked upon to buy things, or if the player needs to talk to them to retrieve information.


The PC (Player Character) will be able to equip a number of different armour types. When the armour is clicked upon and equiped, a sound will need to accompany this. The body will be divided up into certain segments and these given segments will define the type of armour used.

Miscellaneous Items
- Potions,
- Gold
- Quest Items

Anything else that can be dropped from monsters or found throughout the world. Each will need their own sound.

Attack sounds and dropping
- Axe
- Bow
- Sword (etc...)
- Hand to Hand weapon slashes

- Idle
- Noticed PC and Incoming
- Monster Hit
- Monster Die
  • Practical 2 - Creative Computing - GUI [2]
  • Music Technology Forum - Presentation - Presentations by Henry Reed, Matthew Mazzone, and Daniel Murtagh [3]
Henry Reed - “Lucky”

Henry presented us this week with a touching piece he wrote for his grandfather who used to be an aerial photographer in World War II. The piece was written with SuperCollider which he used to scrub samples back and forth at various speeds. The sample playback was triggered by prime numbers, and various other parameters such as playback speed, volume, and instrument note sequence were controlled via random procedures. The samples he chose imbued vivid imagery inside my mind. I especially like his choice of the “camera shutter”, and the “jazz music” sample. The evolving ambient backdrop was also good.

Matthew Mazzone - 3 pieces of music

The first piece Matthew played was for a game he is writing for. It gave me vivid imagery of lush swamps with rain and plentiful insect wildlife. Very well produced, although I think the piano may have been a little loud in some spots. The second piece he played us was an “Ableton Live” piece he apparently wrote in about 30 mins. I quite like it and reminded me of the game music composer Alexander Brandon who did the score for Deus Ex, Unreal 1, Jazz jackrabbit, Tyrian, and other greats. I especially like the sparse contrast of the Electric Piano and Guitar. The third and final piece he presented us was a piece he wrote whilst attending another private institution. This piece was well produced and sounded good for a while, but I mostly found it to be too repetitive, and lacked variation.

Daniel Murtagh – A Heavy Metal piece

Daniel’s recorded heavy metal piece of which he co-wrote was a little shocking to my ears. I must admit I'm not really used to hearing heavy metal. I soon got over it though and as my ears began to adjust, I started to appreciate it a lot more. Unfortunately by this point it finished soon after. Daniel mentioned the synth, “Drum kit for Hell Superior”, which he used for the midi drum kit. He claimed that it used a technology that simulated mic positions on the drum kit, and also allowed drum kit bleed. All this was supposed to make it sound like it was more so in an acoustic space. Personally the result didn’t really impress me and even though I know he used it, to me it sounded like any other midi drum track, but with better samples. The music was pretty good, but I thought the bass end needed a bit of a boost. The bass drum in particular I thought sounded a bit dead, the other drums that occupied the higher frequency range such as the high hat and crash I thought sounded pretty good. Overall it still sounded like a midi drum kit to me, and I'm not at all inspired to go out and buy the synth myself.
  • Music Technology Forum - Workshop - Improvisation Groups!
Ok we all made some more progress this week, and some of us got to play some music too. Luke got out his Jupiter-4 and Poppi her turntables. Seb and Luke were the only people who were able to improvise together. Seb improvised with his Wacom tablet max patch which was controlling Luke's audio signal from the Jupiter-4. I am still trying to work out my networking idea, but I'm getting there. I didn't have a lot of time to work on the max patch this week, but thankfully Seb had taken the initiative to program two systems of data mapping integral to the patch; the allocation of the max data dependant on the incoming pitch of the audio, and also the amplitude scaling of participating clients. Today I applied some programming glue to stick them both together. Seb thought of the idea of using the Mac closest to the turntables as a gateway for the turntable audio. It was a good idea, but unfortunately I encountered a problem with the 'netsend~' object. For some reason I couldn't get the audio sending over the network. However I got the 'netsend' object to work. I didn't get enough time to troubleshoot the 'netsend~' object, so hopefully I can get it working next week. The original idea was to use laptops wirelessly in a network environment with Max/MSP. The reason we have retreated to the Mac lab is that only Vinny and Seb have Max, Poppi doesn't have an airport card, and I only have PD (which I'll need to learn if this wireless idea is to come to fruition).

UPDATE: Ok, after considering the feedback from Stephen and David, and after speaking to Ms. Doser, I have decided to scrap the whole idea of max and netsend. It got me thinking about why I am actually doing this netsend idea, how it will make me feel, and ultimately what I want to get out of these improvisation sessions. Poppi seemed to be feeling the same as me about nothing getting done and this feeling of lack of togetherness. I was thinking that the netsend idea was more intellectual than emotional and it reminded me of how I felt doing the max patches last year for my assessment. It brought me back to my issue of interesting vs fun and enjoyable. Netsend is interesting, but ultimately I'll be having more fun with my new focus. I figured that I want to target the more "emotional" side of music. All I want to do now is grab an analogue synth and play around with it just like what Luke is doing. Actually I was really inspired by Chris Williams who played a Moog at one of the EarPoke concerts during ACMC. He knew that synth back to front. I have made that my new aim for these improvisation sessions; to be able to express myself completely with one of these synths, and to break away from the 'binary' I have immersed myself in these last two years.
  • References
    [1] Haines, Christian. 2006. Lecture on Game Audio. University of Adelaide, 15 August.
    [2] Haines, Christian. 2006. Lecture on SuperCollider. University of Adelaide, 17 August.
    [3] Reed, Henry. Mazzone, Matthew. Murtagh, Daniel. 2006. Student Presentations. University of Adelaide, 17 August.


Blogger Martin said...

Your macro asset stratification map is quite thorough. Do you think you will do field recordings to obtain realistic nature sounds (eg. birds, water, rustling leaves)?

10:26 am, August 26, 2006  
Blogger Tyrell Blackburn said...

I plan to use a combination of various sources. I obtained some tapes of New Zealand birds from my game director, so I'll check them out. I plan to source sounds from my own collection of sample CD's, and also try and record some of my own.

I went out on the holidays to try and get some sounds with the Marantz flash recorder. The day turned out to be very windy so unfortunately I couldn't get most of the sounds I set out to record such as footsteps, birds, etc. The only useful sound I got was a recording of a fire burning in a fireplace which I planned to use for the casting of a fireball or burning sounds. I say 'planned', because when I got and loaded the sounds up, I realised how bad the hiss from the Marantz was.

I haven't done any post-processing on the sounds yet, but it's possible I may not be able to use any of them.

The Marantz only records at 16/48, so you're better off using a DAT with less hiss.

I really dont understand why the Uni bought the unit.

1) because of the hiss, and
2) because it records at no better quality than a DAT

8:33 am, October 03, 2006  

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