Last week at Game Developers Conference, the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) hosted their annual awards show. Each year, composers from all over the video game industry get recognized for their achievements is making music the integral part of the video game process.
This year saw many categories and finalists from all over the industry. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and ABZU brought home several nominations and awards, along with Overwatch and INSIDE. ABZU and Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory (whose awards can be seen above) seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the praise.
— Austin Wintory (@awintory) March 3, 2017
Sly Cooper and Grim Fandango composer Peter McConnell was also recognized with a Lifetime Achievement award. You can check out all the winners below the cut or head over the the G.A.N.G. page.
For those looking to expand their knowledge about the field of audio and music, the task to find good information can be daunting. The internet is full of message boards, forums, and tutorials about how to create, mix, master, and implement audio. It can be difficult to filter through the massive amount of information to find useful tips and advice for improving these skills.
In my own searches I’ve come across a number of podcasts that provide coverage of these specific topics. These podcasts range from covering specific aspects of mastering and mixing music to wider discussions on events and trends in the game industry concerning audio. Today I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite music and audio production podcasts that have helped expand my knowledge of these topics. This is by no means a complete list, but I hope it can be a good jumping off point for anyone else looking to learn more about the audio world. (more…)
For those making the trek to San Antonio, Texas this weekend to attend PAX South 2017, and are interested in the video game music and audio side of things, here’s a quick and handy list of both the musical performances playing at the event, as well as the VGM, music industry panels and any fun music-related panels to check out.
Friday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
Saturday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
Game Panels & Tournaments
You can check out the entire PAX South schedule here. Hopefully you’re able to check out one or all of these music and audio related events going on this year, and if you do let us know what you thought!
It’s that time of the year again! With Black Friday and Cyber Monday only a few days away, many music software companies have already begun offering their holiday deals and discounts. Like last year, we’ve compiled a list of places having sales on their music and audio tools. More sales are bound to crop up as we get closer to the weekend, so we’ll be updating this list as much as we can. With all of that said, here are some of the sales going on right now or coming up this weekend.
The popular video casting service Twitch TV and its earlier incarnation Justin TV has allowed gamers to show off their skills to audiences for many years. Recently Twitch has been expanding the streaming content to include creative streams. Under the Creative category, casters have been live streaming painting, cooking, and even metal work. One of the other emerging types of creative streams has been music production.
There are a number of music artists, composers, and arrangers who have decided to use their Twitch channel to give their fans a behind-the-scenes look at how the music that they love is made. A lot can be learned by observing how a music producer writes, mixes, and arranges music, so streams like these can be valuable tools for other music creators or for fans who want to see the creative process. Today I’ll be highlighting some of the Twitch streams that you can tune into on a regular basis. (more…)
While boning up on the blues for my Mafia III review my searches led me to the fantastic Music Respawn! program from WSHU radio out of Connecticut. Created by Kate Remington, the station’s classical music director, the show is just nearly a year old but has already chatted with some major names. Michael Salvatori on Destiny, Austin Wintory on Abzu, Jason Graves on Farlands, Grant Kirkhope on Yooka-Laylee. Remington has also spoken with performers whose creations combine classical music and video games like The Videri String Quartet, the creators of A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy and even the Los Angeles Jewish Orchestra.
Episodes are typically 30-40 minutes in length, include plenty of music clips and sound just as well produced as any of the NPR shows that WSHU broadcasts. Each episode’s page is also fleshed out with a synopsis, images, videos and more music clips. Most recently she’s spoken with Darren Korb about his work with Supergiant Games, Greg Edmonson on going from Firefly to Uncharted and Chad Seiter’s soundtrack to ReCore. You can follow Music Respawn! online or subscribe through iTunes.
What are some of your favorite game music podcasts or interview shows? Let us know in the comments.
When creating music with virtual instruments, there are plenty of tools out there for getting authentic acoustic instrument sounds. There’s an almost endless list of software for emulating strings, brass, woodwinds, and other western instruments. However, it can get a little trickier when looking for a specific instruments from other parts of the world. There are ethnic instrument sets out out there, but the libraries rarely allow for the same amount of precise performance control as their western instrument sample library counterparts.
Impact Soundworks is taking a shot at filling this need with their new Ventus: Ethnic Winds series of instruments, the first of which is a sample library of the Shakuhachi. For this review, I’ll be taking a look at the software’s different patches (or default load-outs), the various controls and functions available, and how intuitive the software is for the average user. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the Ventus Series: Shakuhachi. (more…)
On September 6, 2016 during a Facebook Live video stream, Brain Transeau (BT) announced that Electronic Opus is getting an official CD, and Blu-ray Audio release. The Blu-ray will be pure audio, and feature three audio mixes: Stereo, 5.1 and a 9.1 Auro 3D mix. If you’re not sure what 9.1 Auro 3D sound is, it adds 4 additional speakers or points of sound above you for a more immersive sonic experience. In order to listen to the mix in 9.1 you will require special audio equipment. However, I’m just excited to be able to listen to the album in 5.1! You can check out my full review of BT’s Electronic Opus here as I was able to snag a CD produced from the Kickstarter campaign.
The mix was created by Daniel Shores of Sono Luminus Studios which is according to its website located in the nearly 100-year-old former Emmanuel Episcopal Chapel in rural Boyce, VA, the studios are a world-class recording facility with a special focus on classical and acoustic music. Studio A boasts a 25 foot vaulted wood ceiling over a 35’x65′ original heart pine floor, providing a beautiful natural acoustic. Sono Luminus specializes in the highest caliber of audio quality with the capability of recording 24 simultaneous channels of audio with sample rates up to DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) 352kHz/24bit or DSD (Direct Stream Digital). Here’s a shot of a tweet from Mr. Shores:
You can pre-order both the CD Album for $13.99, and Blu-ray Audio version from Amazon for $19.95. The expected release date is September 30, 2016. And if you’re by chance located in Canada the I noticed that the Blu-ray Audio version on Amazon Canada has a great pre-order price of just $16.07CAD, I already pre-ordered my copy.
Is Electronic Opus on Blu-ray Audio something you’d like to hear?
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.