Dyad is adding more to its psychedelic tube racer, but it’s not going to be anything like Frequency. Says developer Shawn McGrath, “The music doesn’t dictate play, nor does it judge you. Dyad’s music is reactive, meaning it’s mixed dynamically on the fly, based on the current game state and how you’re interacting with it.”
Built more as an evolution on Rez and Everyday Shooter in terms of its music system, “Each time you play a level, the music is different — playing Dyad can be viewed as a ‘performance’ in a sense.” Furthermore, “Interactions do more than simply play a musical event in the key or pulse of the background music. Different interactions change the mix of loops, play new loops, stop loops, change effects and filter parameters, change the tempo of the music and much more.”
The result is a bit of ear and eye euphoria:
If the video seems a bit complex, McGrath says not to worry. The levels that lead up to it will thoroughly prepare players.
Of course, players have to wait a little while to build their Dyad-ic skills. McGrath commented in the blog that he’s aiming to release Dyad early in 2012, with a demo on or around the game’s launch. For now, interested gamers can download three Dyad tracks to hear what’s in store.
Rich Vreeland. He’s a pretty awesome guy with an equally awesome portfolio. He has worked on the audio for Indie Games Challenge finalistWaker and as an audio jurist for the 2011 IGF Awards, and he currently has several projects he’s contributing to. While finishing up work on quick-reflex platformer KRUNCH, he’s mainly full timing it under a contract gig with Demiurge Studios for Shoot Many Robots. He’s also creating some sweet tunes for a lil game named Fez. Yeah, he’s even written tracks for games on the big consoles, too.
With such a list of big names and accolades, I find it honorable that he finds time to work on freeware projects. Now he’s investing some time and talent in an 8-Bit funded project being developed by Oru Games called Me and Myself, Like the Sun and the Moon. While the game is going to be released for free, the work done on the project takes up time and talent and other resources that the developers are hoping to recover. They are asking for a very modest $500 in total and are over 30% funded.
Here Rich talks about this 8-Bit funded project and shares details of some of his other work, including a preview of a gorgeous Fez track.
From “Drats”: .43-.47 I enjoyed that background motif and then I heard it again in #4 (“we were”)’s beginning and end. How would you describe what I’m hearing?
I’ve been establishing some motifs for this game. A motif is a musical idea or theme that’s generally revisited a bunch of times. In this case, the part you’re talking about is sort of like the protagonist thinking about mysteries that are unfolding in the game. The track “Drats, Rats and Bats” is one of the battle themes, and “We Were a Small But Peaceful Community” is the music that accompanies the character’s early investigations. They are both used at about the same point in the story. One of the ideas I’m toying with is making the music less location based and more story driven, so the music will evolve less based on where you are and more based on what is or has happened. I’m also planning to introduce more motifs that capture certain recurring ideas in the game.
Does the game have two different title themes? (#2 and #3)?
Those two tracks are variations on the same theme. One of them is the title theme, while the other will be probably be used for cutscenes. This kind’ve continues on with the idea of really focusing in on the use of motifs. I don’t remember too many NES games that had lots of recurring themes in the same game, and I’m sure there are a number of reasons for that… the simplicity of the narrative, lack of memory available for music, etc. Since we’re making this game more as a tribute than an accurate representation in some cases, we have the luxury of putting more content into the game than what might have been possible on the NES.
How much music are you making for the game? Are you doing SFX, too?
There isn’t a set number at this point. The game is still being fleshed out, and I’m writing new cues when I feel like a specific moment in the game needs it. All in all it’s a pretty loose process, which is a nice change of pace from most of the projects I work on. I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up with 20 or 30 minutes of music. I’m also doing the SFX which has been a real treat. All of the music and SFX are being done in Famitracker, which can write music/audio that can be played back on an original NES. The plan is to have all of the audio eventually recorded on an NES so that the vibe is truly accurate.
Why do you think people should fund this project?
When I first came across this game it was an entrant in a game competition on TIGSource.com, the theme of which was “A Game By Its Cover” . The idea was to take cover art created for a fake game (mainly inspired by Famicase.com), and turn it into an actual game!
The initial version I played that was submitted to the competition was very preliminary and buggy, but I absolutely loved the premise and the aesthetic and felt like it would eventually turn into something really great. The entire story has not been revealed to me, but the game takes place in a remote area of small towns and wilderness, and revolves around murder and mysterious figures.
The gameplay is an interesting twist on an old-school RPG; enemy encounters are real-time as opposed to turn based and the player shoots there way through baddies. In the last version I played you could also flee battles… quite literally you can high-tail it out of there!
How much music are you making for Fez? are you doing the SFX too?
I’m writing quite a lot of music for Fez, I would say close to an hour’s worth. I’ve been creating some ambiences here and there, but the SFX are largely being done by Brandon McCartin.
How did you find your gaming gigs?
It really varies with the project. Sometimes, like with Me ahd Myself for instance, I seek out the developer because I’m intrigued by the game and I want to work on it. Other times people will ask me to work with them, and I also get referrals from time to time which are great.
What have you learned working on these projects?
I’ve learned to treat each project like a completely unique experience, and I think in doing so I’m able to keep things as fresh as possible, both on the day to day process side, and on the end-result side. These days I really try to make each soundtrack I do completely unlike anything I’ve done before. I even learned Famitracker just so I could write the music I wanted to write for Me and Myself. Doing things like that I think helps to keep me inspired.
Was PAX East your first live gig?
No, I’ve been performing for the last 4 years or so infrequently though at maybe 5 − 10 times a year.
How did PAX East compare to other gigs? How did you get involved/invited?
There’s obviously a bit of added excitement with PAX, being such a huge festival, but in reality the show is not that different from a lot of the shows we do in Boston. There’s a great fanbase here for chiptunes, and we always get decent turnouts.
Boston8Bit, which is the local scene of chip artists, do a lot of the booking. I’ve been playing shows with them for the last few years, and they also happen to organize the PAX East chip show.
This year is really shaping up to be the year of the soundtrack for me… I’m working on 7 games right now, all of which will have soundtracks, as a well as a few original albums that will come out in the next couple of months. I’m also planning a move to the Bay Area in the fall.
[Thanks for the great interview, Rich! Remember, if you want to help these awesome tunes appear in Me and Myself, Like the Sun and the Moon, consider donating to their 8-Bit Funding project. If funds are tight, these guys would surely appreciate some tweeting, blogging, and facebooking of their project, as well. Rich can be stalked here, but please be civil about it.]
Josh Whelchel, who did music for Bonesaw and Spirit Engine 2, has been collaborating with other indie game musicians to raise money for cancer for a while now. For the past few years, he’s been putting together a CD to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
If you donate before the release date, March 1, $10 gets you the digital download and $25 gets you the physical disc. After that date, the download price rises to $12, and the physical copy remains at $25, but you have to pay for shipping.