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Reymantha

Favorite of the week #7!

2017-05-16 Artistic
Congratulations PoulpinoT for having delivered this "research center".

 


What caught my attention is the strong choice of colors and architecture. Church of the future outside, research center inside ... the mix pleases me enough.

To visit the place, click here.
Wonder B

After Beat EP2: Music on Merx

2017-05-05 Artistic
Hi everybody! Last time, we saw how I used a leitmotiv to characterize our character's journey, today I will tell you a little more about the music of Merx.

The leitmotiv of Merx:

Again? Yes, indeed, I used a leitmotiv also for the planets sometimes. But here it is even more simple and basic than for our character, it is not really a melody, but just 3 successive notes, making it much more malleable, adaptable to the various situations encountered on the planet.

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This small figure can be heard for the first time in the village (at 0.15 precisely):



Then we will hear it everywhere on the planet, for example here at Li King Pei’s house, very quickly at the beginning of the theme, and then played by a Japanese flute (at 0.29):



Merx is the starting planet. With Reymantha, we call it la-la land. Everything is beautiful, calm, and very (nearly too much) naive. I obviously wanted people to feel it, almost humorously, with very soft, relaxing, and cute music at the same time. That’s why it’s mostly played by a flute, or a piccolo, the most aerial and light instruments, as here in the grasslands of Merx (at 0.34 precisely):



A small anecdote, this theme, by its lightness, its naiveté, and its aerial side supposed to represent the song of the birds, is a small reference to a studio Ghibli film that I like very much: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, more precisely the theme representing the joie de vivre of the main character at the beginning of the film (from the beginning of the music):



By creating this small 3-notes pattern, which will be modified in a large number of musics, I thus introduce a musical peculiarity to Merx, which, if it can’t be felt from the beginning (because there are no points of comparison in the adventure), will take its full meaning medium-term and long-term, without (at least I hope) becoming a too annoying melody.

Instrumentation:

This notion of leitmotiv is not only felt in this small figure but also in the instruments chosen to represent this planet. I choose a set of precise instruments for each planet, and even if I authorize myself a few exceptions, I try to remain faithful to this, for more coherence.

The basic instruments I chose for Merx are: flute, piccolo, folk guitar, harp, violins, soft synths. An example with a good part of these instruments in this excerpt (starting from 4.20):



Flutes, harps, or violins are often used in video games, the folk guitar is much less. It's a touch that I liked, because with percussion and synths, it allowed me to have a slightly "weird bossa nova" style. Here I am inspired by the soft guitar musics of Ian Snyder in The Floor is Jelly:



But the whole principle of what I try to do on the planets is in the hourly evolution of the music. The basic idea, as most often, comes from a problem related to gameplay: the planets are cubic, so one can almost instantaneously go from day to night. This is the basis of my reflection: how can we go from day to night, or from morning to dusk, without shocking the ear? Elements of response are in the video that follows:



What is heard in this video is that the orchestration and even the melodies evolve over time, becoming more and more electronic and abstract when the night comes, and conversely more and more organic and real by day. The process consists in the creation of several musics, of strictly equal lengths, and similar harmonies.

The hourly cycle of the game will then pass these musics from one state to another, in a fluid way, and it will function if the player stays on the same side of the planet or if he decides to change abruptly. In the next example, I will make the music pass from day to night and then to dusk, which is normally totally illogical, but entirely possible with the structure of our game:



It is almost the same principle that is applied to the environmental sounds, and that is more easily understood via the sound interface that we use in our game (Wwise):

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Here we see that following the advance of the time of day, different atmospheres can blend into each other.

There you have the basic things I used to create the music of Merx. There are still a lot of things to talk about, especially in caves or underwater, but I cannot explain everything. In the next episode, we will concentrate on the small details, anecdotes, allusions or references, hidden here and there in the music of Stellar Overload.

I hope you enjoyed this episode, see you soon!
Wonder B

After Beat EP1: Leitmotiv

2017-04-21 Artistic
Hi everybody, I am super happy to present you today the first After Beat article, in which I will dissect the music of the game.

Let’s start with a question that almost nobody asks itself except me: is there a leitmotiv in the game?

Well, since not everyone is necessarily a specialist in music, we will first define what a leitmotiv is. Let’s take the Oxford dictionary definition, which is very clear:
«Leitmotiv: A recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation».

So, did I use a leitmotiv in Stellar Overload? Yes, and even several, for factions, characters, etc. But today we will just focus on the most important: the leitmotiv of our character.

It consists of a short melody of 8 notes (just because 8 is my favorite number, that's it...) that we will be able to hear for the first time in the main menu of the game, towards the very end (At 03.42 precisely). Concentrate on your left ear and spot it played by a kind of "electronic flute":



This little melodic figure, which stumbles but always arrives higher, is there to represent the difficult task of our hero. All this is also perceived visually by taking a glance at the score and the way it is composed:

/img/newsblog/wonder-b/Partition.PNG

Following the curve drawn by the course of the notes, one sees well the stumbling side but which always goes up higher.

And I hid this leitmotiv in many important places of the adventure, either related to the scenario, or related to particular gameplay situations. For example, here in the cinematic intro of the game, played at the Glockenspiel, the first time we see our character asleep (at 0.30 precisely):



The rebels are an important part of the formation of our character, thus the music of their camp on Merx also contains this theme sometimes (at 0.16 for example, in a little more serious tone than before):



It is also present but modified in victorious jingles, or even in the captured music of an enemy building, where the victory of our character mingles with that of the rebels (at 0.15 precisely):



The last example, more subtle and emotional, when we find our brother in the lab, here with the figure engrained on the piano to bring back a little tenderness in a place yet conducive to combat (from 0.37):



Let’s finish with a really hidden detail. If several jingles obviously use the leitmotiv, it is much more hidden in the « medium » jingle, when you get a recipe kind of reward. In the excerpt that follows, you can hear the jingle at its normal speed then slowed down strongly, clearly revealing the melody:



There are other examples of the presence of this melody in other musics of the game, or even in some trailers, but I let you find them by yourself now. I hope you enjoyed this little article, next time we will talk about the music of Merx!

See you soon, Keep on rocking!
Bushi

New fleet!

2017-04-14 Artistic
Dear Imperium Machina citizens the war is near. In order to crush the enemy, we launched a new robotic production. I am pleased to show you the concepts of a new robotic entity you can find in the game.

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Wonder B

After Beat!

2017-04-07 Artistic
Today, we’re gonna talk about music.

Let’s start with a cool news, the whole Sound Selection that was given along with the game on Steam is now available on Youtube, here.



Of course, it’s only a small selection of tracks, which doesn’t include all the variations or other musics, making it a bit easier to listen to.

But I also wanted to announce the arrival of a series of articles about the music of StellarOverload, series called After Beat.

In these articles, I will dissect a bit the musical or sound processes that I use in Stellar Overload. The first one will arrive soon, I hope you like it!
Wonder B

What is this place?

2017-03-24 Artistic
Here's a brand new music track from the game, but...For which place?

Reymantha

An alien jungle?

2017-03-21 Artistic
To make a kind of alien jungle in the desertic biome, it is necessary to create alien vegetals. Here are some ideas I put on paper. Well on screen actually. Well obviously not directly on the screen but ... well ... here is a concept.

Let me introduce, from top to bottom, the Agavea, the Globulea and the Pachycereus (which Crounchan calls tirelessly the pachydermus...Disbeliever.)

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