Should I get a cheap midi controller keyboard?

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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:51 am

Hello!

So yeah, am an artist by trade, but since I'm wanting to do my chosen game by myself as much as possible, I've been doing my best to learn other area's as I've gone along. To try avoid any really nasty project stopper problems that might crop up down the line.

Anyways, since the one I'm making was originally known, not only for it's stunning graphics at the time, but also it's music, it's been on my mind from the beginning about how to deal with that somewhat important issue. Now I've always wanted to make music, but never really have. Way back I'd tinker with trackers on the Amiga, but not doing anything I would consider "serious".

So with that in mind, my plan A is to get a decent experienced musician to create all the music in the game, BUT failing that. I don't want to end up without any music at all, or using some midi downloaded from the net, or the original tracks (since that wouldn't quite feel right for what I have planned), so figured I'd have a go myself, make sure I've got a plan B and if the worst comes to the worst, I can do my own music.

So, for the past 48 hours I'd say, I've been practicing as often as I could. Practically working from scratch, did a few tests which seemed to work out well for the most part, and then asked in chat a couple of hours ago if anyone wanted a newbie music guy to make something for them (jokingly of course!), and Davo mentioned a construct theme. K, this would make for a fun challenge regardless of what I'd end up with.

So I had a go Download (mp3)

I guess it's somewhat inspired by working on things late, finding bugs you don't want, and having a murderous migraine on top of it (like I have for the past day grr), or as Davo said..

[quote:20htqc0s]Listening to this music makes me think Construct is going to hurt me :([/quote:20htqc0s]

Haha, ok.. I admit it, it does not make you immediately think of construct at all. ;) I just got a bit carried away I suppose, heh.

But anyhoo.. based on this admittedly basic and newbish, yet my first ever original (which I'm proud of) attempt, after only a short time actually learning things. Would you say I should invest in a nice relatively cheap midi controller? I found one on Amazon, nothing special but I figure I don't need anything too fancy. Just something to make it a little easier.

And no, I wont post the earlier tests, not in public anyways. :P
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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:28 pm

Hehe, love the idea of a Construct theme :) I bought a nice synth recently, which has some really impressive sounds. I might have a shot! I've thought about using it to do my own music for games as well.

I think you can't really go wrong with buying a MIDI keyboard for a PC, if you do music on a PC it's pretty much an essential. You can also look in to downloading some software synthesisers to get more interesting sounds, and control them with the MIDI keyboard. I would say, though, don't buy the very cheapest - it might be annoying/hard to play, and cheap ones tend to have annoying velocity responses (eg. pressing the key hard vs. soft doesn't make much volume difference). Spending 50-60 might be a good idea to get an OK one. M-Audio are a good brand though, and you could also look in to Korg, Roland/Edirol and Yamaha. If you're in the UK, I've used [url:18h1si38]http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk[/url:18h1si38] several times before and they've been good, and cheaper than amazon, who tend to rip you off big time on postage, which makes it more expensive even though their per-product prices might be less. Try both and go as far as checkout and compare prices there.

Also, if you want to get in to music, have a look at some music theory too. Learn scales, chords, chord sequences, rhythms like triplets, and so on. It helps tonnes with composing.
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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:52 pm

I'd say it helps, but it's not totally essential. Old school game music is mostly sequenced, so the keyboard mostly helps with trying out different chord sequences and melodies. What you should really try to get is good music software. Trackers are really tedious, but a program with a good note laying system makes creating game melodies much easier. For about a year and a half I didn't have a keyboard, only recently have I picked up a wire which allows me to use my old Casio on my pc. I can say it helps a lot with piano type themes and instrumentals, but for anything oldschool it's much better to lay it out by hand, since game music is often in perfect sync with the musical timeline.
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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:42 pm

Don't forget the cables, and you might want to make sure your card has midi input.
[quote="Ashley":3isvbxa0]Hehe, love the idea of a Construct theme :)[/quote:3isvbxa0]
[url:3isvbxa0]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/666516/ctheme.ogg[/url:3isvbxa0]
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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:36 pm

newt you don't need midi input, they sell midi to usb cables. There's one on amazon for like 5$ that I just bought, it's like 25$ cheaper than any other brand :D
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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:19 pm

I like Newt's theme, except for the bit where it crashed Winamp :s
Edit: For a jingle though, it should be even shorter. Like half of that.

LostMyKeys' theme would be more suited to The Killing Engine
That said, I do like it. Can you help me with music for a horror game? :D I've always wanted to do one
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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:19 pm

Construct theme ey?
Something like this?
[url:lr6uq9d4]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1289341/ConsTheme.mp3[/url:lr6uq9d4]
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Post » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:58 pm

By the looks of it with others submitting their own, a construct theme thread could be popular hehe.

[quote="Ashley":1au5s9ww]Hehe, love the idea of a Construct theme :) I bought a nice synth recently, which has some really impressive sounds. I might have a shot! I've thought about using it to do my own music for games as well.

I think you can't really go wrong with buying a MIDI keyboard for a PC, if you do music on a PC it's pretty much an essential. You can also look in to downloading some software synthesisers to get more interesting sounds, and control them with the MIDI keyboard. I would say, though, don't buy the very cheapest - it might be annoying/hard to play, and cheap ones tend to have annoying velocity responses (eg. pressing the key hard vs. soft doesn't make much volume difference). Spending 50-60 might be a good idea to get an OK one. M-Audio are a good brand though, and you could also look in to Korg, Roland/Edirol and Yamaha. If you're in the UK, I've used [url:1au5s9ww]http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk[/url:1au5s9ww] several times before and they've been good, and cheaper than amazon, who tend to rip you off big time on postage, which makes it more expensive even though their per-product prices might be less. Try both and go as far as checkout and compare prices there.

Also, if you want to get in to music, have a look at some music theory too. Learn scales, chords, chord sequences, rhythms like triplets, and so on. It helps tonnes with composing.[/quote:1au5s9ww]

That's a good idea, about looking into scales, chords etc. I know of them but not enough right now so will definately be looking into that :)

I'll check out that site too, cheaper is good :D I suppose having keys with velocity vs without is like trying to draw with a mouse vs a pressure sensitive tablet, kinda essential eh :)

[quote="Davioware":1au5s9ww]I'd say it helps, but it's not totally essential. Old school game music is mostly sequenced, so the keyboard mostly helps with trying out different chord sequences and melodies. What you should really try to get is good music software. Trackers are really tedious, but a program with a good note laying system makes creating game melodies much easier. For about a year and a half I didn't have a keyboard, only recently have I picked up a wire which allows me to use my old Casio on my pc. I can say it helps a lot with piano type themes and instrumentals, but for anything oldschool it's much better to lay it out by hand, since game music is often in perfect sync with the musical timeline.[/quote:1au5s9ww]

I don't mind the trackers so much, I think just cause I'd used them back then. But I admit they're probably not the easiest to use these days. :)

I don't think I'd be going with much oldschool style, could be interesting to try as a challenge, but I think I'd be happier doing the themes and instrumental kinds.

[quote="Madster":1au5s9ww]I like Newt's theme, except for the bit where it crashed Winamp :s
Edit: For a jingle though, it should be even shorter. Like half of that.

LostMyKeys' theme would be more suited to The Killing Engine
That said, I do like it. Can you help me with music for a horror game? :D I've always wanted to do one[/quote:1au5s9ww]

Heh I could always give it a try I suppose, be good practice, mention it next time in chat. Minor challenged me to do a horror one from youtube, only got the start bit done, but it got us thinking about a great little retro zombie survival game hehe.
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Post » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:27 am

[quote="Arcticus":cvlfuhf4]Construct theme ey?
Something like this?
[url:cvlfuhf4]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1289341/ConsTheme.mp3[/url:cvlfuhf4][/quote:cvlfuhf4]
This.

I'd be in for a survival game, only if its not retro. I like new things =)
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Post » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:54 am

Hey chiptunes are the newest craze ;)

EDIT: For some reason I read that as you didn't like my tune cause it was retro! I should have got more sleep...
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