The Sound and Music for Brave Earth

It’s been awhile since I’ve had at update. To be honest, things are really slow. I’m at a weird point where it’s hard to tell how close to done I am. I’d say I’m half way done, but not that it would require double the time since I announced the game to be finished. I could be finished this year if everything comes together. But anyways, still, updates!

Music and Sound were something that have been very important to me. Video games gave me the first songs I legitimately liked as a kid. It’s also one of those things that most retro games sorta don’t get quite right. Lotta cheating. Cheating is okay — sometimes authenticity that only a few people will notice isn’t worth a herculean effort — but being familiar with famitracker, I knew I wanted things to go the right way.

Finding a Musician

It’s not hard to find decent musicians. I had an open submission at some point and got a load of applicants. Almost all of them were decent, but only a few of them were excellent. Some of the best applicants also didn’t fit my style. I find this really frustrating and had a few people I considered picking, but then I figured I was going about this the wrong way. So I went on youtube and searched “original VRC6” looking for people composing music for the japanese Castlevania 3 soundchip (something I knew I wanted used from the get go. That’s where I found Necrophageon. Impressed with his work and hearing several songs of his I would have used if I were able too, I sent him a message to ask if he’d like to work with me on my project. Like many great artists, he seemed legitimately surprised that anyone thought his work was that good. After so much time angsting about wanting good submissions, all I had to do was headhunt someone.

Anyways, Necro as uploaded a few tracks. I’ll share my favorite of his selection, but there is a whole bunch there.

Also on the music team is SKUltra, who seems to be an up-and-comer int the chiptune scene. He begged and begged and begged while I kept giving him difficult, demanding requests while telling him it was okay to just give up. He’s never finched. I don’t have any finished tracks to share, but he’ll be contributing a portion of the music for the game, probably with a focus more on the game’s cutscenes.

Sound Effects

This was a long term challenge. At first I used SFXR. SFXR is an awesome tool for making old retro noises, but they aren’t -nes- noises, nor are they particularly distinct. So for other sound effects, I would look at actual NES sounds and try and borrow their technique and use it to make new sounds in Famitracker. I made -some- decent sounds, but for the most part, not really. So most of my good sound effects came from asking Necro to give me a hand. Fortunately one day, bitching on twitter about sound effects, one of my twitter followers, Ionustron (who is super talented and makes -twist tie scupltures– which are amazing), said he’d be willing to help. Ionustron’s sound effects are RIDICULOUS. He gets an amazing amount of depth and clarity without resorting to DPCM samples. He also made so many specific sounds that I had to change how I handled a lot of sound effects to fit his work. Different hit sounds for armor, meat and bone enemies, different sounds for walking into, out of and through water. Hard to share those out of context, but here are two cool sounds he’s done that I think stand on their own.

This Gunshot noise has a wonderful crack to it I love.

An awesome bird screech.

So I got a lot of talented people helping to carry me on the sound portion of my game and the game would be far worse without them.