Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Aural Fixation One Year Anniversary

I remember sitting in Jesse Harlins office at Lucas Arts near the end of working on The Force Unleashed 2, when introspection was at it's highest point. We got to talking about how important we both felt it was to continue contributing to the game audio community in whatever way possible. His contributions to Game Developer had helped shape my window into the world of Game Audio and I had really valued his insight month after month as I was making my way in. Similarily, I had been writing the Audio Implementation Greats series that year and even kept a development blog during my first project...not to mention this blog, which has been going since 2004.

Time passed and about a year ago he called to asked if I'd be interested in taking over the Aural Fixation column. Since then it's been an amazing outlet for my ramblings, rantings, and purge for insistent earworms. What, you don't know what I'm talking about? You definitely find your way to a subscription of Game Developer so you can follow along at home!

So, to celebrate the passing of a years worth of writing I thought I'd recap and point out the (sometimes hidden) musical references that I've been consistently sneaking into each article. It's evolved over time from pure song lyric quotes at the end of an article into a full blown interwoven breadcrumb-trail burind within the headers. All of this because I often wake in the morning with an 80's jukebox in my head, it's a curse!


Dude History? (February)

How I Found the Future by Looking Backward

“...and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” - The Beatles: The End

It’s About People (March)

The Great Game Audio Community

“Big city, bright lights, cool cool people, big city. Everybody I know can be found here.” - Spacemen 3: Big City

Knowing a Thing, or Two (April)

Career Fragmentation at the Turn of the Generation

“Sprinklers that come on at 3 a.m. sound like crowds of people asking you, ‘Are you happy what you’re doing?’” - Grandaddy: The Group Who Couldn’t Say

“Look out honey cause I’m using technology” - Iggy and the Stooges: Search and Destroy

Vroom Vroom (May)

A Study of Sound in Racing Games

“Let the good times roll.” - The Cars: Let the good times roll

Crossing the Two-way Street (June/July)

From Game Audio to Game Engine

Headers - Huey Lewis and the News: This is it

“Crosstown traffic, so hard to get through you.” - Jimi Hendrix: Crosstown Traffic

Audio in Unity by Alexander Brandon (August)

Welcome to Unity Sound Design and Scripting

Pop Will Eat Itself (September)

Could Game Mix in Popular Music Samples?

Headers - Phil Collins: Various

“Everybody’s talking bout the new sound. Funny, but it’s still rock and roll to me.” Billy Joel: It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me

Procedural Music by Yann Seznec (October)

Making Games Into Music, and Music Into Games

It’s Just a Jump to the Left (November)

Dynamic Animation Sound Now

Headers - Rocky Horror Picture Show - Time Warp

“With a bit of the mind flip, you’re into the time slip, and nothing can ever be the same.” - Rocky Horror Picture Show - Time Warp

Death of an Audio Engine (December)

Reinventing the Wheel No Longer

“Some of the want to use you, some of them want to be used by you.” Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams


Hot for Game Audio (January)

The Game Audio Literature Review

Headers - Van Halen: Hot for Teacher

“I think of all the education that I missed, but then my high school was never quite like this.” Van Halen: Hot for Teacher


Achieving Transparency in Naming

Headers - Carly Rae Jepson: Call me maybe

“I want to tell you something you've known all along, don't leave me hanging on the telephone.” - Blondie: Hangin’ on the telephone

Every Year I Buy the Magic Beans (March)

The Pains of Being Freelance at Heart

Headers - Olivia Newton John & Electric Light Orchestra: Magic

“You have to believe we are magic, nothing can stand in our way. Don’t let your aim ever stray.” - Olivia Newton John & Electric Light Orchestra: Magic

So with that a special thanks to Jess for passing the torch off to me and big thanks to everyone who has read and given feedback on my articles this past year. It's an incredible opportunity to be able to wax philosophical about the state of our industry and I hope that these article channel the community through the discussions I have with you throughout the year. Feel free to drop a line if something doesn't seem quite right, or if you think we're missing something important that's happening.

Also, give a handclap to the 2012 guest contributors: Alexander Brandon from Funky Rustic and Yann Seznec from Lucky Frame.

Steady on,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Am I a Rock and Roll Zombie?

I got a sweet USB cassette deck over the holidays and have been dumping down some priceless dead media from the collection. Among the old demos, musical sketches, and freakish monologues are a few mix tapes that defined my adolescent years in such an encapsulated form that I feel they are worth sharing.

This is one of my faves.

I ran my all-in-one CD/Record Player/Cassette deck through a stereo effects processor I had been using on my guitar for years. The goal was to use it to make transitions and effect the different songs in a way that they would all flow together, the reality is that it get's a bit wild at times. Side A kicks off with a lost sample from a Flash Gordon story album which bridges it's re-introduction at the start of Side B.

I'm beginning to think that we're dealing with some kind of sub-conscious hypnotic suggestion.

If that's the case, we'll have to find the thread that links all the victims together, something the all have in common.

Wait a minute, I think I've got it
Something they all have in common
Repetitive, thought controlling message
It's a wild chance, but it's possible

What is it Flash, tell us?!

It's the music, it's the rock and roll music they're listening to!
Side A
Flash Gordon - Excerpt
My Bloody Valentine - To here knows when
The Cure - Like Cockatoos
Saint Etienne - Hobart Paving
Miranda Sex Garden - Cut
Ride - From time to time
Madonna - Angel
The Filed Mice - Couldn't feel safer
Revolver - If we could spend some time
My Bloody Valentine - Can I touch you
Ride - Seagull (Live)

I used to be a normal kid just like you
I used to do the things that normal kids do
I used to have a girlfriend
I used to ride a bike
I used to like the things that normal kids like

Lately I been hurtin I been feelin' low
Body is pressed against the radio
Turnin' it up, just a little louder
Turnin' it up, just a little louder

Oh no, it is so
Tell me doc I gotta know
Oh oh, is it so
Tell me doc I gotta know

Am I a rock and roll zombie?
Side B
Flash Gordon - Rock and Roll Zombie
The Field Mice - If you need someone
Slowdive - Country Rain
The Beatles - Strawberry Fields
The Boo Radleys - Boo Forever
The Cure - Closedown
My Bloody Valentine - Nothing much to lose
Blind Mr. Jones - Dolores
Revolver - Shakesdown
XTC -Mayor of Simpleton
Slowdive - Golden Hair

From where I'm standing today, it still sounds good!