Dev Week 9: Heresy Theme (BGM)

I spent nearly all of my time this week completing the background theme for the Heresy level. I also spent a bit of time adjusting its balance with other sounds during gameplay after it was implemented.

Task Time Spent (hours)
Music-related tasks Bulk work on Heresy theme recording MIDI inputs, determining chord progression and how individual melodies interconnect. 12h
Finding the appropriate sound for each instrument through experimenting with VST settings. Mixing, normalising, compressing and exporting Master track. 9h
Tasks in engine + playtesting Implementing Heresy BGM. 0.5h
Adjusting the volume of music and sound balance with other sounds in the game for high, mid and low frequency sounds. 0.5h
22 hours

For the Heresy theme, I was going after designing something fast-paced, horror-themed and sciency, but not too heavy; thus I decided to go fairly light on the percussion, opting for a deep wooden bass sound accompanied by a very fast electric kick which forms the backbone of the song.

After this I started mapping out the individual midi charts for each instrument with a voice in the song.

I prefer to get the melodies into the song first, before determining what kinds of instruments each one is sung by ; I find this an easier design process as normally I compose for solo piano. Naturally the first step in designing the music for this game was creating the melodies on my piano, and then recording them through MIDI input into the DAW before quantising and adjusting velocities.

After that, I spent some time searching for a good set of instruments to harmonise and set the feel of the Heresy level. This took quite some time, but as it is akin to the color scheme of the piece I felt it was necessary to invest time in making sure I was working with the right instruments for this piece.

Even after I had picked my ideal arrangement, I went even further and adjusted different audio components in the virtual interfaces for each instrument that I selected. This also took time, but it was well worth it.

Finally, I applied some reverb and compression on individual instruments followed by the master track. I then exported and reimported into our Unreal Engine project. A SoundCloud link for the final track is also shown below. So far I’ve received comments from the team that it is of a similar feel to Ratchet and Clank style music, which is a huge compliment as I realised afterward that it’s exactly the style I was going for. 🙂

I also did a tiny bit of work in engine implementing this track as well as adjusting its balance with the rest of the sound profile for the Heresy level.

Tasks for next week:

  • Working on Greed background theme to completion.
  • Making a start on the design process for the Main Menu and Hellevator background music.
  • Contributing to a better UX for the main menu.
  • Mixing some more sounds that I feel are currently missing from the game although not in the original specification.
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