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Topic: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

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  1. #1

    Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    There is a lot to report from the Game Designer Conference and Audio Track, but I will still try to be brief. There is even some giga-related stuff below. If you want more info, it is up to you all to keep this thread alive and ask questions.
    Unless otherwise notified (and there won’t be any), everybody was open, friendly, various degrees of enthusiastic, and approachable. If there were any ego problems, I did not see any. These are a great bunch of people.

    Opportunity: the game industry pays well and it is wide open: as an industry it is in its youth. I met movie composers who are moving from movies to games because there is more work and they like the atmosphere much better. The top people told me flat out: there is more work than composers. There are all kinds of deals, but $1000 per minute is considered average.

    G.A.N.G., Game Audio Network Guild, http://www.audiogang.org . This is the organization that wants to get you work and respect, and much much more. The member benefits are awesome with more to come. If you are serious about game audio/music you will follow up on this. I am not even going to rant on this: you snooze, you lose. For the serious game audio/music person, this is not optional. Check it out.

    Aaron Marks, http://www.onyourmarkmusic.com/ , Author, The Complete Guide to
    Game Audio. This is THE handbook for sound designers and composers, with everything from contracts and bidding to tools and more. Every top person I talked to fanatically supported this book and said it is a must-have. Pass on it and it is your loss…and perhaps my gain. Heh heh... I had some interesting conversations with Aaron and I hope he shows up here to lend his expertise. I plan on spending the next few days reading every word in his book.

    Bill Brown, http://billbrownmusic.8m.com/ . I love this guy’s work and I am sure he is a rising star just as Hans Zimmer was a few years ago. Matter of fact, he has pretty much arrived as a solid choice for film AND games. He is scoring another movie later this year. He did not really go into detail about his sound, but he does his own mix, uses his own samples (as do all the top composers) as well as the popular libs. Most all of his work features some or all live players, as live orchestras of various quality are becoming relatively cheap and completive.

    Jeremy Soule, http://www.jeremysoule.com/master.htm , http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/19/jeremy_soule.html . If you have not heard of this guy, check for a pulse. Some call him the John Williams of game music, and have compared him with same. His work is VERY classically inspired. As a top composer he uses live orchestras from the California west coast to Prague. He was a beta tester for Giga-Strings (GOS). There was some hesitation for accepting him for beta because it was feared he would be a competitor. Not so. Jeremy told me he will soon be wrapping up his own ongoing giga orchestra sampling protect which he said was much broader than GOS and the strings are much larger, more complex and more flexible than GOS. It is too bad Garritan and Soule could not get together and combine the best from their libraries and release a Soule/Garritan Orchestra Library. Would not that be sweet? But this, private libs, are a way for the top guys to maintain an edge. But hey, maybe SOMEthing could be worked out. Great guy to talk to.

    Tommy Tellarico, http://www.tallarico.com/ . A ball of fire and one of my favorite guys there. This guy is beyond wealthy but is passionate about the rights and respect of game composers and audio designers…which explains why he founded G.A.N.G. Just go to the GANG site or to his site and check it out. Also, he is as funny as technical: one of the few there with an overblown sense of humor. Hang out with this guy and soak up the energy, of which he has an over-abundance.

    The Fat Man George Sanger, http://www.fatman.com/ . What can you say about THIS guy?! One of the most totally hilarious guys I have EVER experienced. He wears these truly frightening outrageous cowboy outfits: you know the kind with tex-mex-Native American patterns all over them as seen in the magazine “Cowboys and Indians”? And I never saw him without his cowboy hat. He has a promo picture (nobody else does this that I know) of him in some toxic waste ditch in his cowboy finest. He was born in California but now lives in (where else) Austin Texas, where the men are men and the sheep are afraid…and he is just one reason why. His music reflects his outrageous humor. Listening to him speak is an experience of hilarious one-liners and quips. But he is also passionately involved with GANG and he lends his valuable time and success to the GANG cause.

    Jack Wall, http://www.jackwall.net/ , Myst III, Exile and more. Jack is a quiet guy who lets his music do the talking…except for the causes of GANG where he is passionately involved. GANG is lucky to have him.

    Marty O’Donnell, Interview: http://www.macgamer.com/interviews/marty_odonnell/marty_odonnell.html , http://www.totalaudio.com/ (check out the music), http://halo.bungie.org/music.html . Marty has written some of the best music in games…or anywhere for that matter. If you have listen to the music of Halo or the Myth games, you know what I mean. He does things with cello that will rip your heart out, for example. Marty specializes in, among other things, interactive music. He said something like “You should write interactive music in such a way as the user cannot tell it is interactive”. Like a movie. He had a cold and was not at his best, but EVERYBODY showed up at his talk and was impressed. A pretty intense fellow. Yes, he uses live orchestras for his music and does his own samples. Figures.

    Stephanie, who I have to reconnect with somehow, is a young composer for film working with one of the top LA studios. She wants to get out of Hollywood movies and into games for too many reasons to list here. She has worked with almost every major composer in Hollywood. She has worked elbow to elbow with Hans Zimmer on Gladiator and told me many stories. (Hans arrives at the studio at about 3PM, takes care of business, and writes music all night till 7AM. He writes all the major themes and his assist people work on the transitions. The workloads are scary for everyone. Once, after a week of no sleep and at a premier, some producer was yelling at Zimmer, who fainted. Ridley Scott was there and ripped the producer a new one. “Don’t you EVER talk to my composer that way!!!” Some great stories.)

    DirectMusic Producer: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dmusprod/htm/directmusicproducer.asp , http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/default.asp?url=/downloads/topic.asp?URL=/msdn-files/028/000/114/topic.xml&frame=true . This is THE tool for interactive music and DirectMusic. It is a free download, but does require DirectX 8.1: good luck finding it. Because I was at the conference, I got a DirectX disk with everything on it. Learn this program and you will have an edge.

    Scott Gershin, http://www.soundelux.com/, sound dude for Soundelux studio. Not much to say except after talking to him I think I am on the right track. This studio features Bill Brown music.

    Rant On: Geez, forgot his name: is a well known composer and president of the Society of Composers and Lyrists (I think that is what it is called). I will get back to you all on this. He, as well as MANY others, thinks the same way about GigaStudio as I do. But first, another film composer: Film Composer Mychael Danna as says about GigaStudio: “It\'s not so much that, it\'s really the architecture of it. I mean GigaStudio is just so arcane. I mean, I thought Roland stuff was kind of weird logic, but it\'s really straightforward compared to GigaStudio.” My opinion is it is the only game out there but as a piece of software it is not professionally finished at all. I have written C and Windows code for 20 years and this is not a professional implementation at all. I am sure it will improve but it is like a word processor with a lot of fine major features…except you cannot use capitol letters all the time. Like that. For example: There is no excuse, technical or otherwise, for GigaStudio not to allow midi channel layering. A midi message is a midi message is a midi message. If track one can receive on channel one and track two can receive on channel two and track three can receive on channel three, then there is no reason on Gods green earth why track one can’t receive on channel one and track two can’t receive on channel ONE and track three can’t receive on channel ONE, etc. Anybody who says otherwise is blowing smoke. I wrote a midi sequence and midi data editor, and I know this stuff, so I know. Hopefully they will fix issues like this in an upgrade. As it is, for a stable system, you have to have a very fast system with the max of memory to run GigaStudio because it handles exceptions and error conditions like crap. The big composers out there are very aware of these issues, let me tell you. There is nothing better out there than GigaStudio and I use the heck out of it, but nobody keeps a monopoly forever, not unless they clean up their messes. Rant Off.

    Well, that is it for now. Any questions, fire away.

    --------------
    Doyle W. Donehoo
    Radar Music
    http://www.sierra-trails.com/radarmusic.html

    Shameless plug: “Marching To Oblivion”, new, at:
    http://www.mp3.com/Doyle_W_Donehoo


  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dwdonehoo:

    My opinion is it is the only game out there but as a piece of software it is not professionally finished at all. I have written C and Windows code for 20 years and this is not a professional implementation at all. I am sure it will improve but it is like a word processor with a lot of fine major features…except you cannot use capitol letters all the time. Like that. For example: There is no excuse, technical or otherwise, for GigaStudio not to allow midi channel layering. A midi message is a midi message is a midi message. If track one can receive on channel one and track two can receive on channel two and track three can receive on channel three, then there is no reason on Gods green earth why track one can’t receive on channel one and track two can’t receive on channel ONE and track three can’t receive on channel ONE, etc. Anybody who says otherwise is blowing smoke. I wrote a midi sequence and midi data editor, and I know this stuff, so I know. Hopefully they will fix issues like this in an upgrade. As it is, for a stable system, you have to have a very fast system with the max of memory to run GigaStudio because it handles exceptions and error conditions like crap. The big composers out there are very aware of these issues, let me tell you.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I\'ve never met anyone who has written Windows code for twenty years, Mr. Gates and company included.

    Not to blow smoke, but...

    You can layer four instruments on each MIDI channel in GigaStudio by linking the ports. This can be done by assigning all four Giga ports to the same hardware input port, or more simply by double clicking the ports you wish to link on the application surface, immediately under the little \"keyboard\" graphic. Although I haven\'t written a MIDI sequencer or editor, I\'m definitely sure of this.

    Even if you couldn\'t, seems like a very small nit to pick. After all, copying a phrase and pasting it to another track in a sequencer takes what, a second or two? In the big scheme of things, not a huge inconvenience.

    There are no \"tracks\" per se in GigaStudio. Assignment possibilities for instruments are channel and port.

    I don\'t think it\'s too big a burden to purchase a nicely appointed machine, when Giga leverages that hardware so efficiently. Even if you spend $5000 on the computer and interfaces, that\'s about one-tenth the price of composing with hardware systems. Ever price a Synclavier?



  3. #3
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    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dwdonehoo:
    Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    Jeremy Soule, http://www.jeremysoule.com/master.htm , http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/19/jeremy_soule.html . If you have not heard of this guy, check for a pulse. Some call him the John Williams of game music, and have compared him with same. His work is VERY classically inspired. As a top composer he uses live orchestras from the California west coast to Prague. He was a beta tester for Giga-Strings (GOS). There was some hesitation for accepting him for beta because it was feared he would be a competitor. Not so. Jeremy told me he will soon be wrapping up his own ongoing giga orchestra sampling protect which he said was much broader than GOS and the strings are much larger, more complex and more flexible than GOS. It is too bad Garritan and Soule could not get together and combine the best from their libraries and release a Soule/Garritan Orchestra Library. Would not that be sweet? But this, private libs, are a way for the top guys to maintain an edge. But hey, maybe SOMEthing could be worked out. Great guy to talk to.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are right about Jeremy Soule\'s reputation in the industry. He is one of the most gifted composers and knows orchestral sampling better than anyone I know.

    To set the record straight, Jeremy was not a beta tester for GOS. He purchased the library at full price after it was released. Since then we have come to share similar ideals and common goals.

    It is true that Jeremy has his own broad private orchestral sample library, but that was developed for his own special needs for use with his own compositions. He gave his assurance that he has no intention of making this library public or commercially available.

    You stated: \"It is too bad Garritan and Soule could not get together and combine the best from their libraries and release a Soule/Garritan Orchestra Library.\" Just thought you would like to know that Jeremy and I are working closely together. Since we are kindred spirits and have worked in parallel, we do have plans to work together to develop future libraries. Combining our experience, expertise and resources would be very beneficial in the long run.

    Gary Garritan



    [This message has been edited by Garritan (edited 03-25-2002).]

  4. #4

    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    Thats very interesting....did Jeremey really tell you that he was going to release a library? That would be REALLY cool if he did. We can always use better strings.

    Donnie

  5. #5

    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    OK, I have some time for clarifications. At least I know there are people interested enough to read this stuff.

    “To set the record straight, Jeremy was not a beta tester for GOS. He purchased the library at full price after it was released. Since then we have come to share similar ideals and common goals.” - Gary Garritan

    Hey Gary! We have shot some email in each other’s direction in the past. I think it is so cool you take the time to moderate and respond here at this forum. Anyway, Jeremy did mention beta testing but I may have not got what I heard right. Would not be the first time I was wrong. Thanks for clarifying.

    “He gave his assurance that he has no intention of making this library public or commercially available.”

    Yes that is what he told me. I should have made that clearer. I said, “…because it was feared he would be a competitor. Not so.” Meaning, as I pointed out, that many of the top guys keep private libs, and this is the case with Jeremy. His lib is private, he has the resources to create private libs, and this is an edge many of the top guys have.

    “Just thought you would like to know that Jeremy and I are working closely together. Since we are kindred spirits and have worked in parallel, we do have plans to work together to develop future libraries. Combining our experience, expertise and resources would be very beneficial in the long run.” - Gary Garritan

    Yes, he mentioned the warm relations he has with Gary. And Gary, if you “…combine … experience, expertise and resources”, I think you would rule this orchestra sample market.

    Hey Bruce! I am always interested in your thoughts. A few clarifications:
    “I\'ve never met anyone who has written Windows code for twenty years” and “…seems like a very small nit to pick.”
    Correct! OK, to be precise, I began with assembly language, then C, then C++, then Windows SDK, and so on as they became available over the last 20 years. But I bet you knew that. :-)

    “This can be done by assigning all four Giga ports to the same hardware input port, or more simply by double clicking the ports you wish to link on the application surface, immediately under the little \"keyboard\" graphic.” –Bruce
    Yeah sure, but why? That makes no “midi” sense at all. And there is a money difference between this silly four-port/two-port idea. Back to the word processor analogy: here they are charging extra to use capital letters for something that should not only be standard, but implemented in an entirely different way: more like hardware samplers. Instead they came up with this baffling port/track paradigm. What they should have done is offered 32 or 64 instruments that could be assigned to any midi channel. At the very least each “track” of each port should have been assignable to ANY midi channel instead of HARDCODED to one midi channel per port-track. Give me an hour with their code and I could code this myself. I even made a filter to reroute midi channels that worked fairly well, so I KNOW it is possible. And BTW, this was only just ONE EXAMPLE of the many issues I and many others have, not my main beef at all. Hey, I did not even bring this up at the GDC: other composers brought up the subject of GigaStudio stability and implementation all by themselves, which I listened to with great interest.

    But this is divergent from the central thrust of this thread. If anybody wants to start a “GigaStudio Doesn’t Suck” thread we could move this part of the conversation there. And BTW, I don’t think it sucks. I am more like a fanatic sports fan that wonders why my team is in not in the Super bowl. Like many groundbreaking products, GigaStudio has infancy problems that needs to be acknowledged and addressed, but it sure is taking them a long time. I have run a number of software diag programs (like BoundsChecker, which you can run even in an un-integrated state and get results), and what I have found is alarming. However, I will continue to use GigaStudio even though it often collapses into a quivering mass of random notes…just before it crashes the system (which a professional program should never do). I am not EVEN going to get into this subject from here on out, at least in this thread, and anyway, from what I have been reading lately they are getting a handle on things, and I wish them the best.


  6. #6
    PatS
    Guest

    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by donnie:
    Thats very interesting....did Jeremey really tell you that he was going to release a library? That would be REALLY cool if he did. We can always use better strings.

    Donnie
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Donnie:

    How did you draw the conclusion that Soule would be releasing his library? I see \"wrapping up\" and a comment about \"private libs,\" but no mention of Soule planning to release his library. Are we on the same page?

    As regards your comment about using \"better strings\" may I assume you are dissatisfied with the Prosonus Orchestral Collection strings?

    What interests me, of course, is the prospect of Soule and Garritan teaming up to produce new libraries. Now that will be \"REALLY cool.\" (BTW, I just noticed that Gary is inviting us to pick Jeremy\'s brain: http://www.northernsounds.com/ubb/NonCGI/Forum18/HTML/000185.html.)

    Pat

    [This message has been edited by PatS (edited 03-26-2002).]

  7. #7

    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    I think Jeremy is NOW a beta tester for future Garritan libraries

    but not on the original GOS.

    The idea of Gary and Jeremy teaming up is definitely something I\'m interested in. and will be hammering both Gary\'s mind and hopefully Jeremy\'s about.

    ------------------
    Really...I am an Idiot

  8. #8
    PatS
    Guest

    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    Doyle:

    What is the preferred format of those killer private libraries that the pros use?

    Also, do any of these guys ever bang stuff out on a piano for their directors and producers? Or are those \"good old days\" just that? I\'m amazed at how far we\'ve come in such a short time. It seems like yesterday that I was checking my counterpoint at the Baldwin upright in a UCSB basement practice room. And it really wasn\'t that long ago when I would hand my score to Emma Lou Diemer, who then played up to ten real parts, some transposed, at her grand piano. (Emma studied with Hindemith and other 20th-century greats.) Does anyone do that anymore?

    Pat

  9. #9

    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    From what I\'ve heard, save for a few established composers like John Williams, most film composers rely on a MIDI-based sample-playback system as their \"demo\" system for directors. Of course I very well could be wrong...

  10. #10

    Re: Music, Money, G.A.N.G. and the GDC

    \"What is the preferred format of those killer private libraries that the pros use?\"

    They can afford the fastest maxed out systems, so I am fairly sure Jeremey and Brown use Giga format, Brown possibly multi-format. I don\'t know about others. Judging how popular, easy, and translatable AKAI is, there is probably much in this format.

    \"Also, do any of these guys ever bang stuff out on a piano for their directors and producers?\"

    Funny, this did come up at the GDC, and rare as it is, it does happen, but most expect mockups now. Heck, I know of only one Hollywood composeer that scores everything on paper first. I have hear Williams is a midi-geek like most of us, but is very comfortable with paper...


    [This message has been edited by dwdonehoo (edited 03-26-2002).]

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