Category: Weekly Updates
Beta testing for MARDEK 3 has been going on for a week now, and it seems to be going reasonably well. As far as I know, only about three of the testers have actually finished the game so far (if the others have, they haven't mentioned it to me), over the course of a week... so, uh, maybe that gives you an idea of how long it is!
I've got a huge To Do List of things that I still need to do before it's 100% finished though, and it seems to be increasing in length by the day. Hopefully though I can get most of it done in a week or maybe two... I'll certainly be focusing on it full-time for the next, uh, while. Until it's out.
I'm not sure when to contact sponsors. I could contact a few this week, perhaps, but I sort of don't want to have them say 'yes, we'll sponsor it now!!' and then I'll have to say 'can you wait a few weeks while I finish it?' or something.
So, uh... that.
Also before sponsorship, I want to make a Walkthrough thing that can be linked to from within the game (it'll get me extra money from the sponsorship, I hope), and I also want to make a soundtrack available, so, uh, I need to actually compile such a soundtrack!
There are 71 music tracks in this version (though some of those might be things like Victory Fanfares so the actual number of pieces of music may be more like 68 or 69), with the shortest ones being around 40 seconds and the longest being over six minutes. That's, uh, a lot of music!
I have absolutely no idea how to price such a soundtrack or how to go about selling it, so I'll be doing research about that this week, maybe.
Also, as most of you probably know, I compose my music in 'midi' form and tend to generally use the General Midi Soundset when recording it for MARDEK; this makes it sound very, uh, 'fake' and the instruments don't sound at all like REAL instruments. I personally feel that this is important for the STYLE of MARDEK; it fits more because it sounds more 'SNES-like' or something, rather than like some sweeping orchestral soundtrack used in modern games and films; such a thing wouldn't fit with the pixelated graphics, I think.
BUT would people buy a soundtrack of music if they knew the tracks would just sound like midis (even though they were mp3s or whatever format these soundtracks are generally in)? Or would people EXPECT me to somehow increase the 'quality' of the instruments to make them sound more 'realistic' to consider buying them?
Actually, I should give you a sample... [This is an mp3 of the Main Theme of MARDEK using the 'General Midi Soundset', which is used in the game.]
The actual in-game music seems lower-quality though, because it is; it has to be compressed in order for the swf to be of a manageable size (with the music at full size, the game might be like 100MB, but compressed, it's about 17MB).
Also, if I actually included these in a soundtrack thing, they wouldn't end suddenly like that; they're play two 'loops' then, at the start of a third, would fade out; I've noticed that seems to be typical for RPG music soundtrack things that I've listened to. (Shorter tracks may loop thrice, and the longest may only loop once.)
So, uh... is that of adequate quality for a soundtrack to be? It'd be authentic to the game, and very relieving if it WOULD be adequate.
If, however, people would complain or simply refuse to buy a soundtrack if the instruments sounded like that, I would have to go out of my way to find appropriate soundfonts to make it sound 'the same, but better'.
'Soundfonts', for those of you that don't know, are essentially the equivalent of text fonts, hence their name; with midis, the notes stay the same, but the sound used for each note is different, leading to them sounding more or less 'realistic' depending on the wave sample for any given instrument.
I've got quite a few soundfonts and I've experimented with them quite a lot, but I've never found any that I'm satisfied with; I compose music to be in the 'GMS' (General Midi Soundset), like in that mp3 linked to there, so that's how they're 'meant to sound' and how they were most tweaked for; with soundfonts, some instruments tend to sound too quiet, others too loud, others flatter or sharper than they should, and other such things; the 'textures' get all messed up and I don't like the result.
It seems though that some people think that music quality is on a single linear scale with 'good/realistic' at one end and 'bad/unrealistic' at the other end, so that anything that doesn't sound like 'real instruments' is immediately 'bad' for that reason alone; the same sort of thinking is often applied to pixel graphics, calling them 'bad' because they're 'unrealistic' and not recognising them as a distinct style 'off to the side' rather than at the end of a single scale and, uh... whatever I'm trying to say. o_O
So, uh, I chose to use the GMS, but it's 'unrealistic', so some people may shallowly and linearly consider it to be 'bad' for that reason.
ANYWAY. Uh, that. Is that sort of quality adequate for a soundtrack, or do I have to spend stressful weeks trying to play around with soundfonts to get a sound that doesn't necessarily sound better but which does sound 'more realistic'?