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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Working on Wrack

For more than a year, I've been working on the game called "Wrack." It was originally titled "Last Bastion." The alpha version of the game was sold with a promise that the purchaser would get the full game when it's done.

The team working on the game has basically consisted of three people. A programmer/game designer/producer, an artist and me (for sfx and music). I've completed a lot of effects for the game with many more to go. The music is coming along, but I like seeing the artwork for a level before I write something for it.

Anyway, the first episode of the game is soon to be released in beta on SteamPowered.com. What's cool about that for game music composers is that Steam has started offering albums of game music. These are albums that are just like apps in one regard: they can have tracks added/edited at any time, and the purchasers of the album can update their albums to the latest version without additional costs. I think this is something that will become commonplace in the not too distant future.

Imagine releasing an album of your music and promising your new recordings released in the next year or so will be included in the cost of the album. What a way to keep fans happy and to keep in touch with them!

I'll let you know how this experience works out.

Right now the game is available in alpha form at WrackGame.com.

UPDATE: I have heard that Valve (SteamPowered.com) may be changing their policy and may no longer be allowing games to sell their soundtracks on the side. I'll see if I can find something in writing to that effect.

DistroKid.com Part 13

To summarize the DistroKid experience, it got the "music from Major Stryker" album on iTunes within a few hours of my uploading it to DistroKid.com. Spotify came through in a few days. Google Play and Amazon took 2-3 months. So I say the jury is still out. I will be uploading another album before long, and I'll post my experience here. DistroKid has only been around for a few months itself and it's a one man operation.

My question has been answered in the DistroKid FAQ about uploading one song from an album and wanting to upload other songs from the same album to go with it later). You delete the "album" of the one song and re-upload that song along with the rest of the cuts on the album.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kontakt, Lots of Patches and Not Enough RAM

When I put my computer together, I installed 8 gig of RAM. Sometimes it isn't enough. With Kontakt, there's something you can do to help reduce the memory required for an instrument.

I read this on a website and cannot find the website to give the author credit. I'm sure it's common knowledge for those who read manuals :-) I pass it on for what it's worth.

Load any instrument you want to use. After everything loads, look under the name of the instrument and you'll see Output, Voice, Max and Purge. Purge is a dropdown menu. Below voice is the Memory size of the instrument.

Now click the down arrow to the right of Purge and select "purge all samples."

Look at the memory size now.

Now play one note. The memory size will increase, reflecting the size of the sample the note uses. You can see whenever you play a note that requires another sample. You may also see different samples at different velocities on the same note.

How is this going to help reduce memory usage for a lot of instruments?

Look at the menu bar at the top of Kontakt. Toward the right is Purge. This purge will affect all loaded instruments.

The idea is that as you add instruments to a song, you can use purge and let your playback cause Kontakt to load only the note samples necessary for that song. If you write a part that only uses a few notes, why have unused note samples in memory?

If I'm having trouble getting a sequence to play smoothly, rather than freeze a track where I cannot edit it, I use purge. I play the sequence through once to make sure the samples it uses are ready to play. When I play the sequence from then on, it usually plays without any glitches.

Hope this helps someone. It helped me :-)

DistroKid.com Part 12

I checked Amazon today and it looks like "music from Major Stryker" finally made it "on the shelves." Amazon is undercutting iTunes pricing ($9.99) and selling it for $7.99. They sell the individual songs at 89 cents.

If Amazon is going to truly give iTunes a run for the money, they're going to have to get the music into their store more quickly. Of course they do that for the artists who stand to sell a lot of product.