not-quite-announcing my next project!

Things have been decidedly quiet here after the flurry of activity across March and April, but thankfully, in the real world, things haven’t been quite so quiet. I’ve been working on a new project with a couple of really talented guys, and while I can’t say too much about it yet, I can at least reveal that it’s a game!

Unsurprisingly, I’m taking care of the audio. I was initially brought on to write some music, but as we discussed the game’s design and setting, it became clear that the soundtrack would be much more sparse and ambient than my usual video game ditties. I do have a lot of ideas for the music that will fit the mood of the game, but for now, I’m focusing on the sound effects.

Designing those sound effects has definitely been a challenge. I’ve been creating sounds from scratch on the Blofeld, and using Ardour and Audacity to process recorded sounds from my Zoom H1 recorder, and while those tools are all quite familiar, these sounds are unlike anything I’ve created before. Part of the challenge is just getting an understanding of what sounds I need to make, so I’ve been playing a few different games and even watching bits of movies to get ideas on what different things should sound like.

A new prototype of the game should be ready soon; hopefully then I can real a bit more about what the game is and who I’ve been working with!

rpm 2012 post-mortem: release

I think I’ve post-mortem-ed my RPM album to death, but I did want to talk a little about the final release. The official release is, of course, on my Bandcamp page, alongside my compilation album of older tracks, sketchbook: vol 1. At first, I had the album available only as a free download, but after receiving a bunch of positive feedback, and discussing it with some of my fellow open-source musicians, I decided to make it a pay-what-you-want download, with a $0 minimum.

The sales figures so far have been a very pleasant surprise. To be honest, any sales at all would’ve been a pleasant surprise — I’m just happy when people bother to download my work at all — so I was very glad to make enough cash to buy a nice plugin or two (right now I thinking about Loomer Aspect).

Physical release?

Out of interest, I also looked in to what it’d cost to produce physical copies to sell. CDs aren’t too expensive to get made — CD duplicators just burn CD-Rs, so it’s cost-effective to make even very small quantities, like 20-50 discs. Even so, I don’t think I’d be able to sell even a small run of CDs; I really like my CD design, but I don’t think a CD is special enough to really warrant the cost increase over a digital download.

If anyone does desperately want a CD copy, let me know! I’d be happy to make a few more by hand, even if the disc is still just a plain CD-R with the name scrawled on it.

Vinyl would be far more awesome, but it’s also far more expensive because of its up-front costs; the absolute smallest practical run size is 100 discs, at about US$1200-1500 total, which is far more than I can sell. If my next album turns out really well, though, I’ll think seriously about making vinyl copies, even if I have to pre-sell most of them before getting them pressed.

Next steps

My RPM album was meant to be a source of rough new material that I could then sort through and rework in to a few proper tracks, but now I’m not so sure about doing that. These tracks aren’t as rough as I expected, and putting them together in to an album has given them a real sense of finality, so I think I’d prefer to move on to something entirely new.

I have some ideas, but whatever comes next, I plan to approach it in a more RPM-like fashion, sketching out a bunch of tracks and then deciding what works and what doesn’t. My earlier tracks were all written, recorded, and mixed from start to finish in isolation, one-at-a-time, and I think that shows.