The results of the third annual Game Audio Industry Survey — conducted by the GameSoundCon organizers with the help of the Game Audio Network Guild — have been tabulated and analyzed for 2016. Between May and June 587 individual respondents working in games audio reported on compensation, work environment, contract terms, use of live musicians and education to shed new light on the industry landscape. I wanted to pull out some of the more fascinating findings but the full report, available here, offers much more technical insight for those working in the industry or trying to break in. Let’s take a look.
Back in 2014 Atari started a push to reach “new audiences” that resulted in a bizarre crossover with Denny’s. The next step in the brand-broadening project has been a long time coming but this week Atari announced a collaboration with rapper, producer and composer, RZA. Basically, RZA has free reign to sample the iconic sounds of Atari’s legacy to create some new music. However, what that’s going to sound like, when it’ll be delivered and how much music he’s creating are currently unconfirmed.
“I’m so excited to work on these iconic games to deliver what I believe will be one of my best albums,” said RZA. “I am going to invite some of my friends to join me and it will be Game On with the first beat!”
He’s obviously not the first to fuse hip hop with video games — Mega Ran, Sammus and numerous other artists are not to be overlooked — but a mainstream album like this can only bring more people around to the idea of game music. As a fan of weird mashups of game music and sound effects I’ll keep my ears open for more on this project as it develops.
In the world of game audio there’s often a need for the sounds of the earlier game consoles. Whether this is to help emulate a feeling of nostalgia of the 80s and 90s or to create all new styles of music with the older sounds, the tones of these classic consoles have had a persistent presence in the gaming world. This has been especially true with the rise of the indie game scene and the emphasis on the styles of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.
Through the years there have been a number of software tools available to composers and audio designers for recreating these sounds. Programs like FamiTracker and Little Sound DJ have allowed composers to generate chiptune music, but they require considerable time to learn the various functions and limitations of the software. Meanwhile different FM synthesizers can be used to create sounds similar to the Sega Genesis, but often didn’t have the same limitations or imperfections of the sounds that you would hear on the original system hardware.
Now after many years of planning and development, Impact Soundworks, in collaboration with OverClocked Remix, has come forward with a collection of samples recorded from the systems themselves. The result is the sample library Super Audio Cart, which aims to provide a simple way of producing the authentic sounds of these consoles, while also presenting tools to let you do some new and complex things with the available instruments. I’ll be taking a look at the core functions of the library and examining how it stacks up against other methods of creating these sounds. (more…)
Impact Soundworks has been busy recently in creating the perfect sample library for the retro game music enthusiast; Super Audio Cart! Eight years in the making, Super Audio Cart aims to be the go-to sample library for both retro game music composers and hobbists.
The most complete set of classic video game samples ever produced. Features seven legendary systems from the 70s to early 90s, unparalleled accuracy, and a powerful synth engine to transform them into a limitless variety of modern sounds.
The library features sample from the NES, SNES, GB, 2600, C64, SMS, GEN and over 1,000 presets to be used with Kontakt and recorded with actual console hardware.
“Super Audio Cart is without doubt the best plugin for all your chiptune needs, it’s got the lot and they’re all glorious!! Having all these authentic sounds in one place is the best idea since someone said, ‘Let’s put a rap in Donkey Kong’ … oh wait.” – Grant Kirkhope (Donkey Kong 64, GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie)
Super Audio Cart can be purchased for $149.00 with various tutorials already being released by Impact Soundworks to help introduce the basics of the new software to new and seasoned music creators alike.
Previously in the saga of Tim Wright’s Wipeout remix album, the original release date had slipped from late March into late April thanks to an intercontinental relocation for the composer and his family. Now that it’s mid-May and we still haven’t seen a release he’s issued another update detailing the woes of creating a physical product largely on his own.
“Doing these physical projects is a bit like giving birth I think. The reason mothers even consider having more than one child, given that it’s painful beyond belief, is because the human brain doesn’t actually remember pain that well, or so I read somewhere. In effect, the fun of having children outweighs the trauma and 9 months of feeling like you swallowed a beach ball.”
Yikes. The labor pains for Ch’illout” have been brought on by complications with the fulfillment company that’s pressing the 2-disc album and its accompanying mini-poster. A staff change has caused further delays on top of a renegotiated quote, increasing the cost as Wright puts it, “close to profitless”. He’s not increasing the price for those who pre-ordered the album but the situation has forced him to change his plans.
On the bright side, he’s taking the extra time to create even more tracks on top of the original fourteen and the whole album will be released digitally on Bandcamp ahead of schedule. Anyone who pre-ordered the physical album will also get a code to grab the digital version and there’ll be a period of exclusivity before it’s released to the general public.
Wright is clearly holding back some disdain for the fulfillment company in his email update which I won’t quote in full here. Suffice to say, he’s talking to other companies to see if they may be able to press and ship the album ahead of its new ETA in July. As a parting consolation he’s shared another sample from the album bringing us all 30 seconds closer to the eventual release.
Rytmik Ultimate is a new app from developer CINEMAX for creating and sharing your own music. Available now for Nintendo 3DS, iPad, and Windows (through Steam), it’s a music workstation that provides a library of sounds to work with and gives you a wide range of tools and settings to customize and tweak everything to your own liking. You can use it to write your own music, create covers and arrangements of your favorite tunes, or even to create music clips or tracks for use in your other works or performances. Read on to learn more!
What is Brave Wave’s Street Fighter II The Definitive Soundtrack? It isn’t a remix album and it isn’t necessarily a new arrangement of the music, although you could easily be convinced otherwise. It’s the first in the label’s Generation Series that aims to painstakingly revitalize some of gaming’s unreleased, incomplete, or poorly preserved soundtracks. For Street Fighter II that meant making new source recordings directly from Capcom’s CPS-1 (Street Fighter II) and CPS-2 (Super Street Fighter II Turbo) arcade hardware.
A lot of work went into cleaning up the recording before it was finally mixed and mastered and ultimately signed off on by original composer, Yoko Shimomura. Did the months of delicate, elaborate work pay off? Play the side-by-side comparison within and know that you’ve never heard Street Fighter II’s music so clearly before, and not just because you aren’t in a raucous arcade.
Hopefully you didn’t burn through your entire music tech budget for the year during Black Friday, because Impact Soundworks has launched one of their biggest music software sales. Every one of their sample libraries and virtual instruments, including the bundles, are on sale until December 30th.
The sale coincides with the release of their latest instrument, Rhapsody Orchestral Colors. The new library features samples of brass, woodwinds, strings, and choir ensembles.
There are some special deals related to the Rhapsody instrument series as well. If you already own Rhapsody Orchestral Percussion, you will receive a $50 coupon associated with your ISW account. If you spend $299 or more in one order, you will receive Rhapsody Orchestral Colors for free. So if you’re still looking for deals on music software before the end of this year, be sure to head over to the Impact Soundworks site.
Earlier this week we posted a few Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on music software. These included sales from Heavyocity and Impact Soundworks. Since then a number of other music and audio companies have launched their own deals for the Black Friday weekend. For the sake of convenience we’ve compiled the other deals that we’ve found here, and we’ll attempt to update this list as we find more. (more…)
Virtual instrument company Heavyocity is having a Thanksgiving sale on its products starting now until December 6th. The collections and individual instrument packs are available for up to 50% off. These include Gravity, Aeon Collection, Ensemble Metals Collection, Evolve, and many more.
All of the instrument libraries run on Kontakt 5 and require at least the Kontakt 5 Player to be used. If you’re a composer or sound designer who’s been eyeing any of Heavyocity’s virtual instruments, now may be the time to grab them. You can check out more of the Heavocity Thanksgiving sale on their main website.
Two of the orchestral sample libraries from Impact Soundworks are on sale this week to help kick off Black Friday deals on music software. The first of these is the Bravura: Scoring Brass Complete library for $249 and the second is Rhapsody: Orchestral Percussion for $99.
If you already own any individual instruments or lighter versions of either library you can contact Impact Soundworks to get a special discount on the upgrades to the full versions as well. The Essentials version of the Rhapsody library is also available for $49.
Both the Bravura: Scoring Brass and the Rhapsody: Orchestral Percussion libraries have been reviewed here on OSV. The sale runs until November 30th (Cyber Monday). So if either of these libraries are on your wishlist, be sure to grab them at a discount while you can on the Impact Soundworks website.
BT’s Electronic Opus was released digitally to all Kickstarter backers on October 9, 2015 and released digitally worldwide three days later. Since it’s release I have been following fan’s of BT’s reception of the album which has been enthusiastic and full of praise. Feel free to take a look back at OSV’s earlier coverage of the album regarding its release and first preview.
I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to the album since it was released digitally, and now have a copy of the physical CD. I hope you’re take some time to read my thoughts on why Electronic Opus is worth your precious listening time.