Browsed by
Category: Updates

Weekly Content Blog #55: Learning From Experience

Weekly Content Blog #55: Learning From Experience

The other day out of the blue, an old friend sent me a message of Facebook. He was looking for a transcription I did 6 years ago and was wondering if I could sell him the parts so his college band could perform it. Having not looked at the piece in several years, I pulled open the file on my computer to find… awfulness, complete awfulness. The formatting was horrible, the chord voicings were rusty, and the attention to detail I have learned in the past years was not present. I promptly told my friend I would then spend the next few hours polishing up the piece and then I would send it to him. A few hours turned into a day, a day turned into a week, and a week turned into a month. What was acceptable to me 6 years ago, was no longer representative of the quality I try and achieve in 2017. This got me thinking about Shadows of Adam and my role as the composer. Since my first composition in October of 2013 to last week when I updated ZaknNik’s battle theme, I’ve learned a lot.

1. A little bit of reverb goes a long way
About 2 years in I discovered a small trick to make the pieces sound more coherent. I started running a small amount of reverb through an aux channel. This in turned applied the reverb equally to all instruments giving it a cohesive sound, almost as if all the instruments were being played in the same space. This may seem obvious to most, but my background was always as a composer and not necessarily a sound designer. Once learning this I promptly remixed every tune I had done to that point.

2. Make the most out of your themes (aka Melody is King)
When writing some of the first pieces for SoA I knew I would want to come up with a handful of themes that could be re-used throughout. I ended up developing two main themes:

Main Theme
Curtis’s Theme

From a pragmatic point of view, it made sense to re-use these because it saved me work, however I also felt it helped bring a cohesive story-centric perspective to the game. For instance, the main theme is reworked in a more minor key in a scene to show Asrael’s distress while Curtis’ theme was re-orchestrated to work for Orazio. At times, both themes have been used in counterpoint to help highlight specific story elements.

3. Panning and Sonic Space
When mixing your tunes it’s important to give some space in the panning to help instruments come out. If two instruments complement each other or occupy the same register, sometimes panning them straight across from each other can prevent it from sounding muddy. I also learned this trick from listening to old SNES tunes. A lot of times, harmony in the same instrument patch woudl be split into two tracks and panned on opposite sides. This is another way to create a more linear sounds with your instruments as opposed to blocks of sound where each note is hard to distinguish.

4. Go with your gut
I am a studied musician. In addition to my 6 years of higher ed (Bachelors and Masters in Music Composition) I have composed over 200 pieces of music for games, jazz ensembles, pop bands, and various other groups. However, I still firmly believe that the best music comes from instinct and imagination. I always try to write things that I can sing because they seem to flow naturally and feel the most musical. The craft I’ve developed is merely a tool I employ to help articulate my musical ideas. That is not to say that I am not challenging myself to learn new harmonies, melodic constructions, or ways to phrase, but that it is ok being comfortable with my instincts. They’ve served me well.

5. Sleep on it
Sometimes this is the most important thing to do when composing a new piece. Frequently at the start of a new tune I would write as much down as I could come up with. Things would write itself for a bit, then I would inevidently hit a wall. At this point, I would begin to feel that my ideas were becoming forced and that I needed to take a break. I always found a long walk or a day off helped me recharge and come back with more creative juices. Occasionally, on walks with my dog I would replay the song in my head over and over, and imagine all the possibilities for it. This would help me get a good big picture concept and fine tune the ideas I already had. The most extreme example of this was the final boss theme. I started it in Jan of 2014 and finished it in the fall of 2016!

Looking back I am very grateful for the three plus years of writing I’ve done for Shadows of Adam. I’ve grown a lot as a musician and I am very proud of what we all have achieved.

Stay tuned for updates on the official Shadows of Adam release date! If you haven’t done so you can pre-order Shadows of Adam or contact us on our may social media outlets:

www.shadowsofadam.com
www.somethingclassic.net

Humble Bundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/shadows-of-adam
Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/506510

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SomethingClassicGames
Twitter: https://twitter.com/somethingclassc/
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/somethingclassic

All the best!
-Tyler

Weekly Content Blog #54: Looking Back

Weekly Content Blog #54: Looking Back

Some three years since it all began, here I sit, looking back on the journey that has been Shadows of Adam. So it seems appropriate to look back at some of the important lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1. Good dialogue doesn’t just write itself, except when it does.

An example of some particularly stellar writing…

2. You really need a team you can trust. And I do trust in my team. All zero of them I have met in real life.

You know you’re an alcoholic when…

3. You can’t be good at everything, but you can try. And fail. Thank god for the wonders of the division of labor.

Kellan is NOT a good pirate

4. Always be closing. Sure you can make a game, but can you sell it? If you want to quit your day job and make more games, you’ll probably have to. Definitely not the fun part of making a game, but you should have your sales pitch in hand early on.

The catchy slogan sell! Always be closing!

The super hard you’ll-die-without-this-product sell. Always be closing!
The hahaha-there-are-no-slimes-in-the-Misty-Woods-I’m-a-freakin’-liar sell! Always be closing!
The drunk-frat-boy-pickup-line sell? Always be… yeah, not happening.

5. Number three again. You can’t be good at everything, so get help with marketing.

I hope this has been as eye-opening and insightful as my two minutes of deep reflection led me to believe. Until next time.

Weekly Content Blog #53: The Arena and the Forge

Weekly Content Blog #53: The Arena and the Forge

Welcome to the 53rd installment of our (occasionally) weekly content blog! To celebrate this special occasion, I am going to go over a couple of backer specific bonus areas!

 
The Arena

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-7-50-12-pm

On the bottom floor of the infamous Artifactor’s Guild lies the arena, where the bravest of warriors test their luck against a variety of foes. In practical terms, there will be a series of challenges to choose from, each presenting a series of battles based on locations you visited in the game.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-7-50-31-pm

Each tier consists of 5 battles, which are more difficult versions of enemy encounters seen previously. You cannot access the menu in between battles while you’re in the arena. To make things even trickier, your inventory is temporarily replaced with a tier-specific inventory, and your team will experience a unique handicap.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-7-50-59-pm

The handicaps vary from being limited to only using skills, to all skills doing 150% damage, to enemies being much more likely to dodge physical attacks.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-7-51-30-pm

The tiers will be challenging, even if you’re well prepared! But should you clear through these challenges, the rewards will be immense. We have largely completed the development side of the arena and look forward to fleshing it out in the testing phase!

The Forge

upload_4_30_2016_at_6_37_01_pm

Another unique area in the Artifactor’s Guild is The Forge. When you first visit this place, you will be given a unique artifact, which may appear useless at first. However, you will quickly learn the power of this artifact: it contains three slots to place existing artifacts, allowing you to craft a custom accessory with great power. You want a single artifact that raises a hero’s HP, makes them attack twice, and attack all enemies at once? The forge can get you there.

We’re still working on the development aspect of The Forge, but it will add another dimension to the gameplay for those who are so inclined! We hope to get this all wrapped up soon, and we can’t wait for Shadows of Adam to be released to the public!

Weekly Content Blog #52: Kickstarter Backer Quests

Weekly Content Blog #52: Kickstarter Backer Quests

The last three weeks I’ve been working my tail off to bring the wonderful quests created by our Kickstarter backers to life in Shadows of Adam.

Isn't there something creepy about children facing away from you in the middle of a dark cavern?
Isn’t there something creepy about children facing away from you in the middle of a dark cavern?

This is no small task. A Kickstarter survey can’t always capture everything you truly need. So I ended up having some late night chat sessions on Skype and Facebook. One of our backers was in the middle of a vacation in Europe, but he still made some time (what a guy!) to make sure we got his quest into the upcoming beta.

This pirate be guarding booty, yarr!
This pirate be guarding booty, yarr!

The quests run the gamut from serious to seriously oddball, and I hope everyone will get to enjoy them very, very soon!

What letter does this island remind you of?
What letter does this island remind you of?
Weekly Content Blog #51: The Road to Completion!

Weekly Content Blog #51: The Road to Completion!

Hey everyone!

In just under three years, Shadows of Adam is nearing completion! This post is going to be a brief look at what’s new, what’s left, and the future of Shadows of Adam.

=================
What’s New
=================

Credits:

Finishing our credits sequence was a big accomplishment because it finally hit me that the game was nearing its end. It also includes one of SoA’s best compositions, a 7 minute long melody of Shadows of Adams themed timed out to a thrilling ending sequence. All composed by the sexy guy listed above. That’s all I can say without spoiling it!

More Save Slots:

This was something that was added just yesterday. But sometimes you get these little gems late in development. Before you only had a measley 3 save slots. But “This is 2016” shouted the masses! Voila and now you have 15 save slots! Now you can save before every boss just so you can get that perfect RNG roll which will shave 1.5 seconds off your speed run.

Kickstarter NPCs:

The town of Dradora houses a vibrant cross section of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. However none are quite as eccentric as the ones our Kickstarter backers designed! Backers who pledged enough were given the task to create their own NPCs. The result…well let’s just say it has made Dradora a whole lot more interesting!

Backer’s Dungeon:

One lucky backer, with the expert guidance of our own level design guru Luke, designed his own dungeon for the players to experience as an optional side quest at the end of the game. Ladies and gentlemen we present to you the “Lost Cave”. Tough as nails monsters who will pound you into the dirt? Check. Challenging puzzles designed to make you pull your hair out? Check. Legendary swords, game changing artifacts and more treasure than you can shake a stick at? Check, check, check.

=================
What’s Left
=================

Testing, Testing, Testing:
The biggest hurdle left is more testing. While the team has made many full playthroughs – fixing up to 50-100 minor polish issues in the last month alone, there are always issues that we miss; edge cases not yet found or oversights from staring at the same game for three years. The game will be going out to testers this month and we are looking forward to tightening up the project even more.

Kickstarter Quests:
We are currently finishing out the remaining Kickstarter Backer quests. These are a collection of side quests that allow you to find some of the game’s most powerful weapons and armor. You’ll want to nab these items before trekking through the final dungeon!

=================
The future of Shadow of Adam
=================

New Website:
We will be launching a new Something Classic and Shadows of Adam webpage this month. These streamlined sites will provide info about the game and the five handsome men that make up the Something Classic team!

Pre-Orders:
Once our new websites are live you will have an opportunity to pre-order your own copy of Shadows of Adam. Get it while it’s hot as the early copies may be selling for lots of gil years from now.

Trailer:
We will also be launching a new action packed trailer to get people totally psyched about our game!

It will be an exciting month and we’re glad you chose to join us! Thanks again for all your support and please keep visiting this site for more updates on the project. Questions, comments, ideas for “Shadows of Adam II: Racing”?

E-mail: info@somethingclassic.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SomethingClassc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SomethingClassicGames/
Forums: https://forums.shadowsofadam.com/
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/somethingclassic