Side Slider is a free to play mobile game available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The arcade style game was the brainchild of Long Island University Post graduate students and was designed to jog your Geometric memory. Gameplay involves sliding shapes off of your screen and getting a set target down to zero. Side Slider hearkens back to a time when striving for high scores was all-important.
The music for the game was composed by Eric Guadara using LMMS, using an open-source music-making tool available at lmms.io. I have listened to the full soundtrack and was pleasantly surprised with the overall sound which is engaging and large. This is the type of sound I would expect to find in an arcade cabinet game. Listening to the music at times took me back to my teenage marathon sessions of The Next Tetris on Sega Dreamcast.
You can see a brief clip of the game in action in the video above. The a soundtrack runs just under 20 minutes, but contains a solid amount of music for a mobile phone game. My favorite track is “Heart BeepBop” which sounds a bit like a Marble Madness tribute, which I think might be one of the composer’s favorites after I visited their personal website.
You can grab a copy of it on bandcamp for $3 which should buy at least one cup of coffee for the composer, as it’s one of their album release goals.
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…)
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…)
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.
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.
Ever want to really turn up the immersive experience with your tabletop gaming? How about having custom soundtracks to provide background sounds to your RPGs? That’s the focus of Syrinscape – a sound design app that adds a variety of background sound to your tabletop gaming.
Syrinscape uses a powerful audio engine and complex algorithms to produce ever-changing soundscapes and rich encounter specific music. SoundSets are made up of numerous independently controllable ‘elements’, each representing a component of the audio environment. Each ‘element’ distributes randomly chosen samples into the 3D environment surrounding the listener. All this works together to create immersive sound with no annoying repetitions or patterns.
As the product’s website and the introductory Youtube video highlight, you can use samples from a variety of landscapes and settings including fantasy, gothic, cyberpunk and more. The Syrinscape player itself if free to download, and you purchase individual soundsets in their store or purchase a monthly subscription to access all soundsets in their library as well as any future releases as they come out. Some soundsets are for specific tabletop games, as their most recent release, A Song of Silver SoundPack, is the “complete audio solution for the fourth chapter of the Pathfinder RPG Adventure Path: Hell’s Rebels.”
The app can be run on PC, Mac, tablet or even smartphone and custom tailored for specific sound experiences within individuals tabletop games. You can check out more on their website or Facebook page.
I am not a fan of the increasingly crowded “clicker” genre but I am a sucker for games that tweak your music collection into gameplay. Those are the genres that Animoca’s Groove Planet straddles which is out now on Android after a successful launch on iOS this past December. It’s also free so there’s not a whole lot to dissuade you if you’re on the fence about another Clicker game or another your-music-is-the-game game.
Groove Planet is pleasant enough to look at with stylish and vibrantly colored structures that you place on the surface of a giant vinyl record planet. After a very brief tutorial you’ll start adding and upgrading those buildings which rapidly increase the number of notes (read: money) that are constantly being generated. Challenges motivate you to make specific upgrades and watching an ad or two rewards you with temporary boosts to Note production. It’s all very typical Clicker stuff with exponentially expensive upgrades requiring more taps to refill your coffers.
This is where the music game aspect comes in. Like other Clickers you can tap the screen as wildly as you like and watch a few Notes add to your pocket or you can tap along to the beat of the song and start building up a combo. Naturally, the combo multiplies the amount of notes to wild degrees as long as you can keep it going. The beat matching seems a little off at times but there’s no penalty to missing other than starting your combo over again. It’s nice to purposefully go off the beat and tap along to a drum roll and not feel punished for a little freestyling. A couple other nice touches include the skyline that changes color based on the chord of the chosen song and the Key of the song appearing on your main base tower (if the game can figure it out). They even pop up little tips on the “mood” of different chords.
As a music player Groove Planet is a little lacking. You can only browse a big dumb list of all the music on your device and there’s no way to limit the search to artist, track or album. Artwork is also mostly broken for me but the songs do start playing right away. Whatever beat analysis that’s going on happens very quickly which is appreciated. You can also use it as a music visualizer if you’d like. After 20 seconds of inactivity the menus fade out and your planet begins to spin, subtly reacting to the music as buildings animate and characters scurry around.
If you’re the kind who loves watching profits skyrocket into the octillions or if you just like to tap along to your favorite songs Groove Planet is worth a shot. It’s made for a decent little mindless diversion while listening to music and it’s free afterall. Grab it for yourself on the Google Play Store or the iTunes Store.
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.