Monday, August 5, 2013

Hello again! Matthew Pablo here, composer and sound designer for Galactose!

It's been quite a while since my last post and frankly, quite a while since I've delved into creating new material for Galactose. That's not necessarily a bad thing since usually music and audio is usually part of the final steps of game production. I do have some thoughts and some interesting things to say about some of the work that I have done for Galactose. First off, I did briefly explain how I came to be part of this development team through John finding me on opengameart.org which is an open-source art website for developers to use whatever material they want from that site for free basically. I bring this up because initially they were looking for a good music track to back the cupcake-dog-fighting action and it was this piece I made for an RTS that is no longer in production. To me, it was to "organic" and "tribal" sounding considering the use of only orchestral instruments. Laser slinging cupcakes in space is no where near that sort of sound, so since they felt this track musically fit really well I decided to give this orchestral track an electronica makeover making it more fitting to the gameplay and art style.

You can hear the comparison here on my website:
http://www.matthewpablo.com/agrualexamples

Now one might assume that video game tracks are usually no longer than a minute, and commonly they are just short loops. This track had a different purpose; to be thematic and to complement a longer and slower paced style gameplay of a a strategy game. Sure, I could've used loops but in a slower paced game, I'm sure you don't want to hear the same thing over and over again for about 30 minutes or longer... Instead I went with a pretty varying musical track with memorable leitmotifs that stays interesting for about 7 minutes. Having this on repeat should have a better effect on the player who is emerged in a 30+ minute strategy mission. For Galactose, it still works well since it has a pretty good feel to complement the gameplay. Though it is still on the longside, I'm sure that players won't notice. There is room to shorten, but for now I think it still works. We have discussed a more interactive approach to the soundtrack where the music can evolve and adapt depending on the course of the mission or level which might be very interesting, but it might not be necessary since missions or levels might be executed in a simpler fashion. We'll just have to wait and see what we bring to the dinner table.

"But hey Matthew, this track and a lot of your other game music is pretty cinematic at times. How do you find a balance between the similarities and the contrasting differences of film and game music?"

Well, this could be a whole set of lectures on how to compare and contrast these two types of music production. For me, it's all about complementing the media no matter if it is a film, commercial or video game. Yes, there are many technical, musical, compositional, and conceptual aspects of this sort of music production one must know to be able to properly produce effective music for certain types of media, but since there is a common goal to best complement the media there are definitely many similarities. Basically I'd ask myself these basic questions:

-Does it fit the media?
-Is it effective?
-Does it make my producer/director happy?

That last one is probably the most important since they have the last say in everything you do regardless if you or others think it is the most effective piece of music for this project. Some projects may require a lot of music or maybe even none at all. Working with this development team I feel that I am sort of my own producer/director in the audio department as I am probably the most experienced in this field to know what works best and what doesn't, but I do know that the game itself is king. If it doesn't effectively complement the game then it is not right. Much of this is pretty subjective in a way but those of us with a lot of gaming experience should have a very good opinion in the matter.

"So Matthew, what is your goal musically for Galactose?"

Like I have previously mention, I want to help create the most effective and immersive experience for the player. Which means exciting music and sounds to really give that "Galactose" vibe of colorful treats shooting each other down with lasers into a tasty oblivion in space. But no, seriously I think that the electronica synth sound with a lot of "bright" and "colorful" overtones added will definitely give that deliciously sweet sci-fi shooter vibe. I am hoping to create a soundscape for this game that will leave the players hungry for yummy treats and hungry for more Galactose.

Okay sorry guys I'm done with the puns.

Anyways, we all have a lot to do in the next coming phases and I will surely keep you guys updated on my side of things.

Again, if you'd like to hear more of my music you can find it on my website:
http://www.matthewpablo.com

If you'd like, please send me any of your questions and/or comments you may have for me on my website here:
http://www.matthewpablo.com/contact

See you guys later!
Matthew


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