President vs Eevol: Music Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @SunShiranui)
January 7th, 2013 12:05 pm

Hello everybody! This is the fourth of a series of four postmortems for our LD25 game “President vs Eevol“. Every article will cover a different aspect and point of view on the game’s development. The following post-mortem is on the game’s music and is written by composer Matteo Gagliardi.

President vs Eevol

Postmortem #4 of 4: Music

Hello, I’m Matteo Gagliardi, the composer of the President vs Eevol soundtrack and one of the original founders of the OmniàRing Project.

 

1. The OmniàRing Project: An introduction

This post-mortem will be mainly focused on music, but Sun asked me to write something about OmniàRing itself so I will start with that.

In early 2006 I was a lot younger and I used to spend most of my free time playing and talking about videogames. I was involved as admin in a Nintendo fan community, we were quite small and I decided to create a webring of Nintendo communities to help us grow: Nintendoring was born.

Shortly thereafter all the communities of the webring merged and we realized that we were mostly more interested in our various artistic projects than talking about videogames: I was composing my first EP (called Tetraktys), Sun Shiranui was making his first videogame (a Zelda ALTTP clone as he recalled in his post-mortem) so at the end we changed our name to OmniàRing, from the latin word “Omnia” (Everything).

 

OR Logo

The OmniàRing Logo

 

2. Making music for flash games

I worked a lot of times with Sun Shiranui but we never made a complete game together.

When he gathered this incarnation of the OR Team for this Ludum Dare, initially I wasn’t supposed to join as a composer, since I was busy working on the final mix of my latest album. So what happened is that he wrote a song on his own, and when he sent it to me I started arranging it for fun. In the end, he asked me to join the team and the song became something completely different and new.

Since we were working on a flash game, I had two important goals in mind:

1) Make something easily loopable

2) Make something short and lightweight

 

loading bar

One of my main concerns were loading times

 

3. President vs Eevol: The main theme

The main theme is thirteen seconds long. I used some drones and a sparse beat to give a subtle rhythm.

I wanted this to be hypnotic and mesmerizing.

Usually, working on a soundtrack for a videogame I prefer it to be interactive and bounded to the action on-screen, but since the team was working very hard on the core of the game they coudn’t give a lot of feedback on my work, so I had to keep it simple.

 

President vs Eevol main track

The use of drones makes the track easily loopable

4. President vs Eevol: The boss theme

The boss theme was more of a problem because Sun suggested using electric guitars. I worked on it during the second day while nothing of the boss battle was ready, so I had no idea of the precise scene I was supposed to make music for.

So, using only the general description Sun gave me, which consisted in a room where you have to kill the president using your bombs while he runs around, I started working on the piece.

I’m a keyboardist, so I don’t have any real guitars. I tried some synths, but in my mind the sudden change of style from drone ambience to something like Doom’s OST wasn’t good at all.

So during the third day I decided to try something else.

The track is mainly based on some huge percussions played on a Korg Wavedrum, but I used also the same drone of the main track to have a feeling of coherence. It was finished way before the team even started working on the boss battle, so I was really clueless, but listening to it now I think I made the right decisions.

 

President vs Eevol - boss track

The drone loop is synched with the wavedrum

 

5. Last thoughts about developing the game

So, did I accomplish my goals?

In a way, yes, I did.

The team had some difficulties dealing with the looping of the tracks. They tried mp3 and they later found out that for some reason mp3s don’t loop well, so to make the loops work they had to use uncompressed wav, compressing it only later using the flash IDE.

The main track of the game is only 580 kb and the boss track + all the SFX is 380kb.

I wanted them to be even lighter, but time constraints forced the team to work on more important things.

I think it’s really important, working on a web game, to have really short loading times and it’s even more important on a Ludum Dare, where you can try thousand different games in a short period of time and maybe you can even drop one just because the loading time is too long.

At the end it was a really interesting and compelling experience and I want to thank all the people who enjoyed (or will enjoy) the soundtrack of President vs Eevol.

Thanks again for joining me in this review of the composing process.

My home studio (dec 2012)

My home studio at the time of President vs Eevol development

Thank you kindly for joining us during our series of four postmortems for our game President vs Eevol. You can read the other postmortems here: design, code, art. See you in the next Ludum Dare!

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