Research & Idea Development
For the first week as a group we did research into the style and game play inspirations for our game. We wanted to make a 2D top-down open world RPG game so we focused heavily on The Legend of Zelda franchise (mainly the first one). I did some research on the internet on the original Legend of Zelda game and came across a YouTube video from a guy called Mark Brown. In this video Mark Brown explains how unique the first ever Legend of Zelda actually was. In the original Legend of Zelda game you are just placed in a world and told to just go out and explore. The creator of the game Shigeru Miyamoto said he got this idea when he was younger exploring the forests of Japan. We liked this idea of not being told anything and just having to go out and do it yourself as this adds a lot more adventure and excitement to the game. Just like the original Legend of Zelda game though it will still have structure and a sort of recommended path to follow but players are not forced to complete the game in this order then complete it in any order they want but this might make the game harder to play and more challenging to the player for example it is like loading up The Legend of Zelda and going straight to the 9th dungeon and being ill prepared.
I researched The Legend of Zelda on Wikipedia:
Wikipedia. The Legend of Zelda. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zelda. Last accessed 08/06/17.
We have looked into using a similar art style to some of the earlier Pokemon games such as Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green. We chose this art style as we want the keep the retro theme of older games being limited to colours but we also wanted to game to keep a bit of detail which the original Legend of Zelda does not give.
I researched Pokemon on Wikipedia:
Wikipedia. Pokemon. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pokémon. Last accessed 08/06/17.
We also looked at games such as Skyrim as this is one of our biggest inspirations for the medieval style/theme for our game. We also like this for the dark moody art style as this really sets the scene for a medieval world. We will be combining this simple pixel art style of Pokemon but using colours that would be found in Skyrim such as blacks, browns, cremes etc.
I researched Skyrim on Wikipedia:
Wikipedia. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elder_Scrolls_V:_Skyrim. Last accessed 08/06/17.
As a group me Tom and Anthony decided we want a game tat keeps a retro fell while still looking good and acceptable for today standards. We have decided on keeping to a 16 bit game with a 32 colour pallete as this you can achieve quite a fair bit of detail from this while still maintaining the retro feel for the game. Tom is focusing on the Art & Lore Antony is doing the programming & game play and I am working on the sound and world/UI design. We will all work together and help with task and tweak things to make the game perfect to all of our liking's.
This week I have created the sound effects for three of the footsteps(grass, concrete and wood). I have gone about doing this by using my iPhone microphone to record myself walking on concrete, wood and grass. I then took those sounds and put it into my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) my DAW of choice was reaper as I am comfortable with this and have used it quite frequently in my spare time. I feel I did well with this as I have a lot of experience using audio editing software and I have achieved what I planned in the first place.
In this I edited the sound things like normalizing, adjusting volume and EQ. I then sent these sounds to Anthony to put into the game. I have also created the sound effect for the characters sword and a typing sound for the dialogue. I could probably spend more time with the editing process and with fine tuning all of the effects used to get the sounds crisper and to a more professional standard.
For the typing sound I chose my SM57 microphone as I thought this would be the most appropriate as it is isn’t very sensitive and does not pick up any background noise. I used a stand to mic up the keyboard. I took several attempts at recording the sound from different distances to find the perfect sound. I used an XLR cable to connect my microphone to my M-Audio M-Track 2X2 audio interface which was the connected to my computer. I also edited these sounds in reaper and sent them to Anthony.
This week I have created the sound effect for the player taking damage i did this by using my SM57 microphone plugged into my computer through my m-track audio interface i created this sound by grunting into my mic I then EQ’d it so it has a lot more bass. I have also created the sound effect for player being stabbed this was easy and was created by pulling my cheek to create a suction sort of sound I also edited this to make it sound more like a stab.
I then created the sound effect for the players fireball spell. I did this by putting lighter fluid onto a bonfire I also EQ’d this to add a lot of low end to give it more bass.
I have started to learn a lot of basics in FL Studio 12 by watching YouTube tutorials and just trying different things and have started working on a first draft of the song for when the character is in a town.
When learning FL Studio 12 I looked at a video on YouTube:
FKProds. (2015). FL Studio 12 COMPLETE Basic Tutorial. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU3Yi9zqYas&t=780s. Last accessed 08/06/17.
I have also done some practicing with different mics (condenser and dynamic). I have found that dynamic mics are a lot more suitable than condenser mics for dialogue as they do not pick up any ambience. I have used an SM57 microphone connected to a Roland Edirol recorder with an XLR to jack cable to record dialogue.
This week I learnt how to use the shotgun microphones along with the TASCAM audio recorders to get both ambient sounds and close up sounds such as footsteps. With this new knowledge of the professional equipment I re recorded all of the footstep sounds at the higher quality of the shotgun microphone. I had also recorded gravel footsteps. To add more variation to our game I decided on recording multiple footsteps for each surface at different pitches to get variable sounds in the game. This allows the game to feel more realistic and less boring having the exact same footstep over and over again.
I spent some time this week researching the different types of microphones. I found out the 2 microphone types appropriate for this project would be a condenser microphone and a dynamic microphone. Condenser microphones typically have a higher output and they are a lot more sensitive to louder sounds. These microphones normally require 48v phantom power. I will not be using these types of microphones for field recording as they will pick up too much background noise such as wind. I will however use them if we decide to use vocals in our game. Dynamic microphones have a lower output and are better for specific sounds. They have a lot lower chance of picking up any unwanted background noise when recording sounds. These microphones do not normally require 48v phantom power. I will use this type of microphone when we go to field record.
Joe Shambro. (2017). Condenser vs. Dynamic Microphones. Available: https://www.thoughtco.com/condenser-vs-dynamic-microphones-1817725. Last accessed 08/06/17.
This week our group went up to Cannock Chase to do field recording and record sounds such as footsteps for our game. Tom took pictures of all of the recordings to document the work we did along with taking pictures for inspiration for elements of our game (e.g. trees/forests). For this I used the same equipment as last week (week 3) which was using the TASCAM audio recorder and the RODE shotgun microphone. I also bought a new pair of AKG K92 monitoring headphones to monitor the levels while recording he sound. For each sound we did a test to check levels to make sure everything is perfect then we recorded multiple takes to make sure we had what we needed. There were many takes of what we got that did not work and this is why we recorded multiple takes because we knew this was likely to happen. For example we recorded about 200 footsteps between the surfaces but when edited we ended up with about 30-40 footsteps that actually worked. For the footsteps we recorded the following surfaces:
We also recorded a water stream at Cannock Chase this will be used for waterfalls and running water in the game. While editing this I created a version which is just the edited water and a mix down with multiple of the same sound overlapped out of sync to sound like there are more waves.
Here is game play footage that includes all of the sounds and music that has been implemented so far. These sounds include all of the variable footsteps for each surface currently being used in our game. We have a sound for the fireball and other sounds such as stabbing and sword swinging.
This week I started by editing all of the sounds that we recorded at Cannock Chase. Firstly I started by editing the water. With this I took the initial 1 minute recording of the stream and condensed it into about 20 seconds and with this 20 seconds I used a noise filter to get rid of the slight wind that was picked up then I took about 5 duplicates of this sound a slightly offset each one to make it sound bigger and more like a waterfall.
I then started to edit all of the various sound effects. As I mentioned in last weeks entry I recorded multiple sound effects for the footsteps to get a lot of variation in the game. The editing process was the same for each surface. I sarted by normalizing the audio and then using a noise filter to remove any unwanted noises then I lowered the sound to a respectable volume (roughly -6db). I then seperated each individual footstep and rendered each one.
Once these sounds were done I uploaded them to the shared group Google Drive so Anthony could download them and implement them into the game.
I then started to create a basic map with basic colours in Photoshop just to get a feel for what we want the map to kind of be like
I then started to create a map online using an online editor that will make the map look nicer.
WEEK 6 (EASTER HOLIDAY WEEK 1)
I researched into different music and instruments for the genre of game were going for (RPG/Adventure) I looked at games such as The Legend of Zelda and Skyrim. I found out that they go for a softer calmer style. They use instruments such as brass instruments, pianos and harps.
When researching the music I looked at YouTube to find the soundtracks for the games:
TantrisOST. (2013). The Legend of Zelda - A Link To The Past - Complete Soundtrack. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5REmtunJtY&t=1s. Last accessed 08/06/17.
FrozenCanuck. (2014). Skyrim Complete Soundtrack (HQ AUDIO). Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWv3DfoiigM&t=20s. Last accessed 08/06/17.
I researched different techniques and scales to see what would work for this type of music and came to the conclusion that Asian scales would be appropriate for the theme. Specifically the Japanese scales.
I used the website Guitar World when researching these scales:
Steve Brooke. (2013). What in the World: The Kumoi (Japanese) Scale — with Tab and Video. Available: http://www.guitarworld.com/what-world-kumoi-japanese-scale-tab-and-video. Last accessed 08/06/17.
I also used this week to find a guitar tone to be used when recording the guitars for the tracks. I went with a clean warm sound with a lot of delay and chorus.
WEEK 7 (EASTER HOLIDAY WEEK 2)
This week I recorded a bunch of demos and practices so I can get a rough feel for what I am looking for in the songs. What I recorded includes:
- Japanese Scales
- Hammer On/Pull Off Techniques
- Weird Patterns Using the Scales
- Chord Progressions
This week we self assessed our own work to see what we liked and what we wanted to add to the game. We also assessed what we want to fix e.g. any bug fixes and things we dont like about the game. We also did peer assessment where we assessed other peoples work and they assessed ours. This was a great way to see what other people think of our game and this allows us to see what people liked and we can also take there constructive feedback to improve and better the game and fix things that they do not like.
I started to research more techniques with reaper to improve my skills with it so that the project turns out the best that it can. I watched tutorials on YouTube to help me improve.
Kley De Jong. (2012). Beginner's Tutorial for Reaper. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdO2YvzKLm0. Last accessed 08/06/17.
This week I started to record guitar parts for the outside music in our game. I used this time to look back on the demos that I recorded and choose the best ones and adapt them in to full songs. I riffs I was writing were based off the Japanese scales.
I then started to record my riffs that I had started writing and put them all together to create the core of the song. For the guitars I used one of the built in amp simulators in Logic Pro X used the clean studio echo amp to record these riffs. Once I had these riffs together in this song I started to add other instruments on top. For this I used virtual instruments and recorded them with a MIDI keyboard. These instruments include violins and pianos.
I started to research how to use amp simulators and other virtual instruments in Logic Pro X so that I can use them properly when recording the songs for our game. I used YouTube to watch video tutorials.
Jose Campos. (2014). Logic Pro X Built In Guitar Amps. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXRG39QGwkg. Last accessed 08/06/17.
eLearningMusic. (2015). Help Yourself - Logic Pro X Virtual Instruments. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAV-27v_nl8. Last accessed 08/06/17.
This week I started by recording the music that will be played in the bars/taverns in our game. For this I just took an acoustic guitar and recorded 4 different song (random song each time you enter bar). These songs were just 4 chord song and each had a different chord progression in a different key and at different tempos. I recorded the acoustic guitar with an SM57 microphone placed at the front of the guitar angled away from the sound hole so the low end does not over power the song.
I researched microphone placement when recording an acoustic guitar so I could get the best quality and sound out of my recording.
Produce Like A Pro. (2014). How to Record Acoustic Guitar - Warren Huart: Produce Like A Pro. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YinM0hJlfw. Last accessed 08/06/17.
I started to record the sound effect for the the slime enemy growling which we did by Anthony making growling sounds into the SM57 we also got the chomp sound effect while recording these because one of the growl sound effects sounded more like a chomp. We then recorded the sound effects for the player stomping for this we placed an SM57 microphone next to a chair and hit the chair with a book. We recorded multiple takes of this so that we could make the sound have variation like some of the other sound effects previously.
After all of our sound effects were done I started editing the music for in the bars/taverns
I started off this week by editing the sound effects from last week. These sounds include the growl/chomping noises for one of the enemies (slime). I started with the growling sound effect which we recorded multiple of. I narrowed it down to one final growl sound that sounded the best for the enemy with this i used the EQ to increase the bass to make the growl sound deeper and more intimidating. I also used a noise filter as there was a tiny bit of noise that was picked up while recording the sound effects. I then did the chomp sound effect which I edited in the same way by increasing bass and removing unwanted noise that was made in the background.
I then moved on to editing the sound effect of a stomp that one of the bosses in our game makes. We recorded 19 stomp sounds but while editing I narrowed it down to the best 7 in editing as some of them were not as good. These required adding a lot of bass to make them really feel like a big boss stomping so with the EQ I turned the bass right up.
After the sound effects were finished I started to record the main ambient music which is played while just roaming the world for this I started recording the guitar tracks through clean echo amp simulator in Logic Pro X and layered multiple guitar tracks on top of each other to create a bigger sounding song.
Then with a midi keyboard I started to build other instruments on top of the guitars. I started with violins I also added piano on top of that.
This week I started recording the music for the theme song that will be played in the main menu of our game. For this song I used only virtual instruments for this song and recorded them using one of colleges MIDI keyboards. The software that I used was . The instruments that I used in the song were grand piano, violin and a full brass section (trumpet, trombone and french horn). I started with the harps which started off slow and gradually got faster and then the pattern repeats for the whole song. Then I added the grand piano using chords and individual notes to match the harps. Then last of all I added the I added the brass instruments to liven the song up a bit and make it sound happier.
Week 13 (Bank Holiday)
This week I recorded the final sound effects that would be put into the game. Anthony came round to help with these sounds. First we started with the acid sound effect we created this sound by heating up a key and then putting it into cold water. This created a sizzling sound that represented an acid burning sound.
To get the sound effects for the zombie Anthony did a Growling sound into the microphone. We took multiple takes so that we could have variation in the game.
For the ice sound I recorded myself tapping a glass with my fingernails
For the campfire we started up a fire using kindling to create a crackling noise. We then recorded different angles (e.g. overhead and side on)