Archive for March, 2013

Some GDC tidbits

Posted: March 29, 2013 in News

I didn’t get to go to GDC (Game Developer’s Conference) this year, but of course there’s a lot of interesting tech demos: two that come to mind are shown on the following pages:

  • Unreal Engine 4. Be sure to turn the quality setting to HIGH before viewing the video on this page. It’s important to note that this scene wasn’t prerenedered, but running at real time. It’s on the Game Informer website
  • Activision’s advances in making realistic facial models is, well, almost in “creepy valley”, as discussed on this Mashable page. The video is really remarkable.

 

People often just shut off game music; I often do. It can get annoying. But it’s sort of required thing, no?  So I decided to try to use “found” music from the ‘net as game music for Numberheads – it was quite the adventure.

Because Unity3D supports (sort of, but it turned out to be mega-buggy) MOD and other “Tracker” files as Audio assets I decided to try that route. One benefit of this file type is really, really, really small size compared to even MP3 files.

I ended up at THE MOD ARCHIVE where I learned about the Demo Scene and tracker music and found a lot of wildly interesting compositions. One unfortunate thing is that much of the content is fairly old and if you want to be Copyright savvy you need to contact the author; I for one don’t want to steal. Not to mention the fact that Apple can question you on your ownership or licensing of any content you use.

Contact turned out to be difficult – most of the email addresses that I found were non-working. I was able to find a few and ended up using some music from Skaven (a Finnish musician whose real name is Peter Hajba, he’s the author of the remarkable music for Bejeweled 2). Music from M0D *Greg Tuby” was found thru Modarchive.org and the pieces of his that I used are in the public domain.

I thought that this was real cool until I began to try to use the music in the game – sure, it’s relatively easy to import the MOD files into Unity3D. They play just fine, too. But whatever is doing the playing is buggy, and makes crashes, especially when changing scenes, even if you’ve stopped the music before changing scenes. And it ain’t me – the player runs in another thread and I have no access to it other than to start and stop it. Mod files in, game crashes randomly. Mod files out, game never crashes. So out they go.

Sigh. I gave up on MOD files and converted them into MP3s. Fortunately, Apple in its wonderfulness, had just expanded the over-the-air download size limit from 20 MBytes to 50 MBytes; so this was less of an issue than it was when I began the quest for music that didn’t take up a lot of room.

These converted MOD files are used in the “Classic” variant of Numberheads. I had purchased a lifetime subscription to Arteria3D’s content and found a wonderfully edgy tune to use for the “Speed” game variation. Finally, the “Zenoic” variation needed something sort of ethereal, and I found a collection of Creative-Commons Attribution licensed music on Incompetech.com.

So it was all “found” on the internet, although I paid for some of it. Overall I probably spent time over about 6 months hunting for it. But it was something I was really picky about, although in the end most people will shut it off anyway! So it goes…