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Topic: Feedback: Orc City Sample

  1. #1

    Feedback: Orc City Sample

    One of the indie games I'm working on is a throwback to the oldschool-C64-style sprite-based RPGs. However, we've decided to use fully-arranged OGG audio files for the soundtrack.

    I've been working on the project for quite awhile and wanted to share a little cue I'm working on. This one is for one of the Orc Cities. I wanted to avoid the really cliched 'grotesque' sound for the Orcs, because they have a somewhat different role in our game that what you'd expect from a Tolkien-esque world. I wanted the music for the orcs to be strange, somewhat exotic, a bit earthy, and still have its own beauty to it. So I started developing a sound pallette that contains some middle eastern ideas, some tribal drum sounds, and some plucked strings.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate feedback or comments on this one. I do believe this is the first piece I've officially shared on the forum, though I have demos readily available for listening on my site. Enjoy!


    EDIT: Forgot to mention that we may move to an adaptive music system, and thus some of these cues will not be pre-rendered, but will be brought in track-by-track on-the-fly (so to speak) depending on the location/cirucumstances of the player.

  2. #2

    Re: Feedback: Orc City Sample

    It's a fitting mood for Orcs. I would try and get some more dynamics in there. Maybe vary the instrumentation a bit as it progresses. It has the right feel, and I'm not saying it needs huge swells or that it needs to sound more like LoTR, just that it needs a couple points where it changes things up.

    That's just my opinion. The town music in Diablo was very linear and unchanging, and that worked really well, so, I guess ultimately you're the best judge
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare


  3. #3

    Re: Feedback: Orc City Sample

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mike. You know, dynamics have always been a challenge for me with shorter pieces like this. Give me 4 or 6 minutes, and I have plenty of time to move between sections and dynamics, but with a shorter, simpler piece like this, it is much more difficult for me to find that range without adding time. Any suggestions? I suppose I could, say for the reprise, bring in some additional instrumentation that might give more weight to that section...?

  4. #4

    Re: Feedback: Orc City Sample

    I'm not much of an orchestrator

    I don't think it needs huge dynamic changes as it's a pretty serene piece. I guess what I'm hearing is that the melody is mostly presented with the english horn sounding instrument, but there aren't a lot of other instruments supporting and complimenting the melody. Use some harmony and counter-point techniques to thicken it up and offer variation. You've established the rhythm very well too, and with the 5/8 and 6/8 signatures I think you could get creative and add some larger accents in there, with bassier drums and cymbals.

    So if you combined thicker orchestrations with more intense perc accents, it would be just enough to add dynamics in certain places.

    the other thing is to not add these things in a predictable way. Just as you have the 6/8 signature come in to offer that extra beat, you want to vary the melody a bit so that the dynamics and accents that are created with the additional parts are not evolving in completely predictable ways.

    These added parts don't have to increase the intensity of the piece, just give it some depth here and there, some color. Just adding bassier accents here and there would do a lot, I think.

    Again, I'm speaking from a listener's point of view and someone that's a big fan of cinematic music. I know theory but I've never studied the masters so my input is probably pretty worthless in the orchestrating department.
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare


  5. #5

    Re: Feedback: Orc City Sample

    I don't have anything real helpful to say, but I've been listening to a lot of the stuff that gets posted and this one really stands out in the "it appeals to me" department.

    It could use some more variation to stand alone as a piece. I think it has more of an interlude feel to it, which is probably just what you were looking for.

    I think it is quite nice as it stands. I agree with the other poster who wanted to see a little harmony or counterpoint, but I wouldn't overdo it.

    I hope you don't mind if it finds a home on my ipod.

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

    Re: Feedback: Orc City Sample

    Pretty good sound, nice production value. I like the instrumentation. Seems like it's probably an appropriate mood. I wouldn't really change the dynamics unless the visuals warranted it (i.e. if there was a change in the gameplay dynamic). Since you'll be doing an adaptive score, there'll be plenty of opportunity for more dynamic variations.

    My only non-ultra positive comment could be considered too nitpicky and/or high-brow, but it seems to me that a piece which utilizes such an uncommon time signature (what is it 10/8 to 11/8 or 3 bars of 5/8 and 1 of 6/8?) should have more harmonic, melodic and orchestration sophistication. As it is, it seems incongruous and almost as though the time signature is used to "appear" sophisticated.


  7. #7

    Re: Feedback: Orc City Sample

    Thanks for the comments, everyone - I really appreciate it.

    Naxos - I'd be honored to be on your iPod! I'll update the thread once I've made some changes.

    Jamey - Thanks for the feedback. Trust me - I wasn't trying to sound sophisticated! I'm certain I'd fail at that if I made a conscious effort! Honestly I was listening to Howard Shore, who uses a 5/4 time signature for some of his Orc-ish stuff, and thought it might be interesting to play with uncommon signatures more for the sake of sounding...uncommon...I guess. Not so much sophisticated as much as distinctly different from some of the other races I'm dealing with. At least something slightly more exotic and a 4/4 or 3/4 for example.

    But at the same time I don't necessarily want it to sound too orchestrated - I like the simplicity of it and since it will be 'background' music, I think it is important to maintain some of that quality. I agree that it does need a bit more orchestration, and could certainly use some counterpoint for the main english horn line. But I think I can experiment with that, and possibly work on making one of the two plucked instruments a bit more interesting without getting too out of hand. I think Mike made a good point as well that a lot can be done in terms of accents with the percussion and plucks that might also add some more...complexity...without necessarily making it more dense. Thanks again, everyone. I'll let you know when I have an update!

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