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Topic: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

  1. #1

    Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Hey everyone,

    Lately I've been scoring quite a few Half Life 2 mods in my spare time.... alot of them are getting alot of press. One of them was a mod I scored while attending the Guildhall at SMU, a new grad program revolving around video game development. The piece I've linked to here was for my senior project at the guildhall called Eclipse... some of you may have heard about this game through a steam update some time ago. This cue in particular was for the trailer of the game and it can be heard here:


    Libs used in this cue are as follows:

    Complete Celt (for the enya esque vocals)
    Project SAM brass
    Voices of the Apocalypse
    and Stormdrum for the percussion

    Hope you guys like it!

    Some of the other projects Ive been working on:


    No More Room In Hell

    the batman begins cell phone game
    and a casino game for the DS


  2. #2

    Thumbs up Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Sounds great Rich. Well done. You've gone the right away about getting into the games industry, before you know it, you'll be scoring big name titles.
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Burbank, CA. US of Mexico

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Sounds good. You clearly know how to make your samples sound good technically. I would really suggest going for something a little more unique though. What you've got there is a pretty generic approach, Carmina Bore-ana typical fluff that all of the games are doing and quite frankly, sounds totally cliche. LOTS of guys doing that, in fact almost ALL of the demos I hear from "game composers" these days have a piece that sounds pretty much identical to what you've posted. I think the VOA library has worn out its welcome. I've heard that celtic voice several time before as well...pieced together almost exactly as you've got here.

    If you're really to have some success, you should really be thinking about coming up with a sound that is uniquely your own and then search for venues under which that sound would be most appropriate. May take years for this approach to actually pan out, but the industry is so impacted that it's going to be very difficult for you to get anywhere without it.

  4. #4

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Rich -

    As someone new to the industry and walking a similar path (working on independent games to gain experience and exposure) I'm going to come at this from two angles.

    Firstly - overall I very much like the piece. It is well orchestrated, sounds 'authentic' for someone not able to afford the Tommy Tallarico Players (i.e. the LSO or LA Philharmonic). As a game player, or audience member, I'm certain that the piece would work well and fall into the 'better than most' audio category that is unfortunately pervasive in much of today's music. Moreover, as a composer, the level of quality and attention to detail in your piece is excellent and something to which I personally aspire. I'm still gaining experience with my tools, and composing in a new medium and new genre(s) for myself, so to hear your work is inspiring.

    That said, I agree with Jamey. As much as I love the sound of the Hans Zimmer school of hard-hitting, percussive/ethnic and epic sounds coming forth in today's films and games, I do have to admit that the sound is quickly losing its intrigue. I don't say this because I have any valuable advice to offer other than to, as Jamey noted, work hard at developing your own sound, your own flair. This is, perhaps, the greatest task that any composer is faced with in today's music environment. We all have access to similar tools and applications, so it is the creative spirit and the muse which set us apart from the rest.

    This is something I'm personally struggling with on a daily basis. Though I'm very pleased with my progress, I realize how very far I have to go before I can truly express my personal vision through my music.

    In summary - excellent work. Keep it up, and keep searching for unique ways to express yourself and your voice.

  5. #5

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Quote Originally Posted by IOComposer
    What you've got there is a pretty generic approach, Carmina Bore-ana typical fluff that all of the games are doing and quite frankly, sounds totally cliche.
    HAHA. Jamey, do you know Lennie Moore? He's got a funny "Carmina Bore-ana" story that actually involves a project I was involved in.
    Chris Rickwood

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Burbank, CA. US of Mexico

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Hey Chris.
    No, I don't know Lennie, but I know his music. He's great!

  7. #7

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Thank you for your comments guys, they are very much appreciated! Believe me, the last thing I wanted to do was a carmina burana rip off, however that is what the Mod producers wanted, and I agreed that it would fit the vibe of the video footage very well. As for using Complete Celt, I really hate having to use really noticable loops like the vocals heard in that set, but I didnt have the budget nor the time to hire a live singer (an idea that I played with for a good while). It seems that alot of producers want that typical hollywood sound, and lately... that Hans Zimmer sound (which Im doing for the Insurgency Mod), It's a style I can also replicate very well. Here is a cue I just finished up for Insurgency which utilizes the Media Ventures sound for you guys to chew on: http://www.commanderbond.net/~rich/r...nFull_Menu.mp3

    At this stage, I cant really say no to what the producers want, which is fine, I have alot of fun replicating the vibe of another composer and it's a heck of an educational experience, especially since Im self taught and have no official training. I'm definately still trying to find my own sound, and as I just got started scoring games a year ago I feel I have plenty of time though the sooner the better. The last couple of years Ive been mainly focusing on technique and mastering my mixes to get the most out of the sample libs Im using, so now I think it's time to move on to really finding my own style of music. Thanks again guys, and good luck Indicator... hopefully you and I will both make it and be talking shop at GDC in the not to distant future!


  8. #8

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Hi Rich. First of all nice music, you use your samples well.
    The only complaint I have is that you used an existing theme on the celtic intro voice. I believe it's originally created by Inon Zur or Bill Brown. Did the modmakers asked you to do this or was it your own initiative?
    On the second track I like the percussion. The theme is catchy as well.

  9. #9

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    Thanks, glad you liked my music! Complete Celt has been used by Bill Brown for Lineage 2 I believe... so he may have used the same vocal phrase that I did. Honestly, they all sound fairly similar in the set. So it's not a matter of me ripping off a theme, just using the same phrase lib... hence the reason why we all like to stay as far away from those as possible... this is case and point. Unfortunately when it comes to celtic vocals there are VERY few choices, and other than hiring a singer (which I couldnt do) CC was really my only option. I just picked up Atmosphere tonight and have been playing around with it, with stylus it's a vicious combo.. going to take me a while to learn how to sequence them both properly though.


  10. #10

    Re: Epic Game Piece.. please comment

    First, I think the piece is strong. It has an excellent sound to it. It sounds like current game music.

    That being said, I am among the group of people who are about ready to rip our ears off the next time we hear yet another piece with heavy percussion and shouting choirs. Or orchestras and shouting choirs for that matter. Or maybe just any choirs? Ha! The funny thing is that I wish I had a piece on my demo that has that kind of sound. IMHO the reason everyone is writing these pieces is because that's the current sound game designers want. It's a "keep up with the other guy" kind of industry. It's not just in games either, I hear that kind of sound in tons of movies... and even TV shows and commercials. Most people fear innovation. The few times I've actually gotten the attention of someone making a game who was willing to pay real dollars for music, they each basically asked if I could do that same kind of heavy percussion, orchestra, choir sound. I don't have it on my demo, and it's not something easy for me to piece together (I don't have a good choir library yet), so I lost out.

    I think that ultimately having your own unique sound could be the ticket to a big career... but in the short term, being able to produce the current "in" sound seems like a useful and profitable talent to have.

    I did manage to find an indie game designer who wanted something other than the "in" sound, and I did manage to get my first true game credit recently ( http://www.delawarestjohn.com/ ), BUT I definitely missed out on a few opportunities in the past two years by not having that "in" sound in my repertoire. You can bet it's a situation I'm going to rectify.

    Best of luck to you in the post-university world!!
    Todd Kinsley
    Sound Designer


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