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PixelPop Festival 2020
September 12, 2020, Online, USA
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COMPOSING MUSIC FOR IN-GAME ISLANDS, SUBTERRANEAN AREAS AND BEYOND | PIXELPOP FESTIVAL 2020
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About the talk

Approaching a three million player base 2D Pixel Art style game and going against the musical status quo. Honing in to compose something that is completely unique and incomparable to any other video game soundtracks that have existed before. This talk will be a deep dive into how Aground’s musical style was drafted, conceived, and polished.


About speaker

Chase Bethea
Composer at Independed

Chase Bethea is a freelance Video Game Composer/Technical Sound Designer with nine years of professional experience. In his career he has shipped 18 games — a few of which earned a Noteworthy on Destructoid and a nomination for Artists of the Year – Independent Composer by VGMO in the entire industry. Chase continues to compose and produce a diverse collection of music that is a fusion of texture and complexity that allows a player to become immersed in the experience.

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Hey there, I'm Julian, Stiles, and I'm the community manager here at pixelpop. I'm super excited to announce our next session. Composing music for in-game Islands, some training areas and Beyond presented by Chase. Bhatia. Chase is a freelance video, game composer and Technical sound designer with 9 years of professional experience. In his career. He has shifted 18 games, a few and which have earned a noteworthy and destructive and a nomination for artists of the Year, independent composure by v g a ammo in the entire industry, chase continues to compose and produce a diverse

collection of music. That is a fusion of texture and complexity that allows the player to become immersed in the experience. Please give a warm. Welcome to Chase. Hello, welcome to my talk, composing music for in Cayman Islands, such training areas and Beyond. I'm Chase with you. I'm a freelance, composing technical sound designer. I've been working in the industry for about 9 years and I should be about 18 titles and most notable titles that work there and I can't escape darkness, which I

was nominated for my score for in 2016 via vgm 04, best artist of the year. I also scored the visual novel reality, which also gained a lot of accolades and a ground force. I'll be talking to you about today. It has a 3 million player base, that's worldwide. And is really exciting. How ground was developed by fancy fish games. And what you do in the game of the ground? Is it your mind in your craft and you unlock a new areas? And in the game, be taken for resources that you use upgrade your character and for better equipment and we started the prototype by 11. I want to say,

two and a half years ago, where it was just a 2-3-2 format the Prototype and then release it on Newgrounds or congress. From there. We gained a couple like online Awards and then we moved into Early Access. And then from Early Access we worked on until full lunch, which was April 17th of this year. Play the game. You can either take a magic path or science path and you can build spaceships or you can fly dragons, or you can make a dragon spaceship. And this is what really gravitate simple people. And some people related to Dick, to some people relate to other

games that look similar to Arts town that form high above. The ground is really its own unique sound and body like feeling like you really feel like you're in a different world in the space there until my job. It's a think. What is the music serve the purpose for? Well, exactly. That it is to serve the purpose of identifying what area sounds like 4 when the players been in so much time. There are there. You're in underneath the water or in a different planet. Or if you're just on one of the small Islands, just Gathering so many materials to build you up your character in your payment and

progressing, the story about progression overall. And so, I really wanted the music to mirror that So the main thing that we had to focus on was no Sky limits and No Boundaries. This is a ground theme so they don't hear a little bit of what that's like in an example. I'm going to play for going to bed. But I wanted to distinguish what it was when you're above ground and underground is so primitive Tech is the underground theme and the goal of having the two themes of to have to play retention. These players are going to be with the names for so many hours is not a grinding

game. If it's just about Gathering everything that you kind of need to put together, but it takes a couple hours to do. So. So play retention. It is steaming Portland and are fatigued is real and I didn't want that to happen. So I went through the process with something called through compose new composers and musical term and it's typically aligned with like how you would know your typical song for him. But instead of it being returning to things that you're familiar, with all the time. It involves just like, we never know what the play is going to do. So it

falls with that instead of ground compound. On that I made it super meta to kind of be aligned with it that I'm riding a different sections of the music so that it can grow and grow and grow and keep the player interested is an example. Does he heard those are different examples from where your above ground to when your underground primitive technique of the underground theme and No Boundaries fiend and no Scott limits being the main theme of ground. But why did I choose a style? It's exactly. Because of that. I wanted a player to

be able to distinguish where they were in the matter. What island they were on what planet, what spaceship, they knew exactly where they were if they were put the game down and hearing a different from our own Sonic identity. To do this. I kind of created and work with a size sheet, this gave the best communication between me and the development team to understand exactly what the descriptions would be, what the 404 Matt would be to speak to finish game engine and exactly what areas and names would be for the correspondence to where the player is in the game. And

this is the best way of organization. I found. So I decide to go with this, I typically work with this, when you're in game development is super helpful. Pacific 10 selections, this is what really created the sound or foreground overall. So I have the Panthers take p.m. For it replicates, a ym2612 ship, which the Sega Master System of the Sega Genesis kind of used. It was really good for that. I kind of own little character for, like really little lead to Melody such things before poly-6, that uses some bass lines. The Pretoria sent I use for like pads and swells. The

auto gun stance. Was a really good and nice like lead sound. And then when I visited Yamaha headquarters a couple years ago, I was reminded through their history that the Yamaha sy85 was a keyboard in that sound that had in there. They were using Game competition is from the 80s in the 90s. And so, I thought I'd bring that into the ground sound world as well. so, Some of the sense that I have mentioned will be using this example. So, when I wrote grimoire architect, the brief was that it should be a Sci-Fi futuristic. Reminiscent of hyoscyamus, was slower than being so overall? What they

were saying is like, you're on this island, but you got magic down. You really have a good handle on it and eat the player needs to feel like there once they're on that path. That the they have these resources and they feel that over wrong someone music to amplify that a lot more. So I can use some of your bushy memores examples from Kingdom Hearts 2 from Jake Hoffman from Shuffle night, but I also designed Music, modulation type of thing in, this is one of my journal entries, where is and I can kind of pivot and utilize it any different area long with a

sukkah post style, of Whatever music mode. I wanted to kind of go to. So we'll sound little bit different but it will sound what you said because I can always go back to its come like a bridge, but I'll show you an example right now. So along the front of the music, I found that once we were, we had a community in the Discord and what I called those people that live around that are in the Discord, aground hands. And so they really helped influence the soundtrack over time because they were so excited to have new builds that we

will put out during early access to see what, how the story of Auld, what do area was like, and how the music for the area really was or per character or for anything. That was going to happen in a Casino Del Sol. So what we end up getting to the lot of praise. And it was just so overwhelming in a positive way that I just continue the line and I utilize that positive energy to build for for the players themselves and I was like, maybe just feel great. And like I was saying if it receives so many good comments and I want to share some of them with you right now. Some people have said

that they reached a low point in their life. They had a constant battle with certain things. I can bring sadness and when they listen to the music in the ground they brought them. Some people said that it helped them really focused and they didn't get tired of it. They really enjoyed. Other areas that were in the game and name some of their favorites. Some people said that I was a guy to get some music, which really touched my heart. And all the foot was pretty much compared to like Aphex Twin's of Brian Eno, but I really was just doing it for the Love of the Game. And the people that love

the game overall with that. I was thinking, how can I add more? And how can I give more to the sound that I already have for ground and even impress, the players even more. So I decided to do with this player on the spot for line musicians and for the prep for that. I really just look for people that will see my close friends that I already knew that can improve very well. If it would have to write sheet music and explain a lot and then we just kind of it came over and do they Up there guitar into the interface and we just kind of recorded into the music software system and it was pretty

much good from there. But I really wanted to come accentuate, the music in and really give it more life. And so you can see here that I'm with one of the guitarist, Chris Leslie, who played on subaqueous metropolis, and Brian, Newell, Brandon. No, excuse me, who played on high. Have it? Subaqueous Metropolis, we played. It's the brief is that it's played during the Brain Fish Village under water near the high magic Island and some of the journal notes that I had was, I try to rest but it's like City of Commerce. When you're Gestalt

Harold Budd for like ambient, moods Zoras Domain from Ocarina of Time, along with whatever I thought the instrumentation would be and would feel like. And so what I realized, we will expose that, but when I hired Chris Leslie to play on this part, I just want to highlight the solo guitarist. You can see how really much amplifies the feeling. So, hot dog, have egg. When you're on a phone plan it, you're in this mess and you have to fix this message. I want to give him his boys away.

But this is typically the screen shopping where this music is played from. And if you can tell like it's it's kind of ominous and kind of heavy feeling but I thought the guitar part when we did together with my guitar is Brandon Noll. He really Amplified and accentuated really with Hannah happening during this. I'm going to plan example for you here. So I want to talk a little bit about the technical sound design, and what type of sound design? It is is just someone that really takes the music and

put it into the engine may be using a software called audio Middle. Where where is that software can talk to the game engine and say, hey this is where you play the music artist out. And what I found is that this gives you a lot of control over your work and helps the developer who you're working with, make better decisions to see in context. What really works with the sound. What does Anor the music? And how we can kind of change it when you play things, just by itself. People seem to have a lot of like more subjective things to say versus like when they see it actually with it

and be able to make better. I would say. Better decisions just overall. So I kind of want to show you a little bit of a process that I did from actually creating it to designing it to then actually implementing it and then recording the video to see you in the game how it works. Didn't feel like, how really that. Goes from hearing something, where you don't think it's going to kind of fit or may not fit. I got a context vs. Like when you're in there is like all this kind of unique and that's kind of different and adds a little bit of a of a Sonic

identity. Like I was speaking about earlier to that world and that's typically like the best approach. I found that is really good. So I just kind of went every crap and go over some takeaways with you all. But who compose method for writing helps really avoid a lot of monotonous loops and keep the player retention live. Musicians are always better and they help all the time. No matter what kind of music you're making and implementing the sounds and recording. The video is really helpful and also really do kind of just as extra presentation, a little bit more work, but I think it

just helps along with the development process and keep things moving going forward. Thanks for watching The Talk today. If you have any questions at all, feel free to follow me on Twitter or reach out to me. Again, send me an email. Thanks for watching. Again, I appreciate you. Take care. Thank you so much to chase for such an incredible presentation. And thank you everyone for watching. Make sure to continue the discussion and participate in the live Q&A xanarchy. When a breakout room in the pixelpop Discord server, which can be found at Discord. GG pxp. Now it stay tuned.

You won't want to miss out on the next batch of featured games Garden story. And she dreams elsewhere.

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