Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Just recently, I’ve noticed that it’s been taking over a minute to install Animal Trackers on my iPod touch where not so long ago it would take much less than that.

Looking at the application file in the Build directory, I discovered that the game was now weighing in at over 40 MB as opposed to 19.6 MB just a month ago, partly due to all the graphics and animation that I’ve been doing, but also because of the three background tunes that I created. The biggest culprits, though, were four old versions of the background tunes which were taking up 14.8 MB in total!

The three latest tunes, however, having been recorded at 192 kbps were taking up 3.2 MB each, so by converting them to 128 kbps I managed to get them down to 2.4 MB each (without any appreciable difference in sound quality), saving a further 2.4 MB between them.

In total, then, by Cleaning all Targets and overwriting the music files with smaller versions, I managed to save over 17 MB, resulting in a 23.5 MB application and an install time that was 20 seconds quicker. Having performed a dry run of the processes that the application will undergo once it’s been uploaded to Apple and had their special sauce added to it, the game still weighed in at 21.1 MB.

As of September 2011, though, there is a limit of 20 MB for any app that can been downloaded over the air (OTA) via 3G (without the need to tether the iDevice to a computer), so going over that is sure to have a significant impact on sales, since impulse buys whilst out and about will not be possible.

To make matters worse, there are still five more levels to add with their own graphics and animations, with all the graphics so far being rendered at standard iPhone resolution. Once retina and iPad graphics are added, the application size will soar well above that 20 MB threshold!

So, initially at least (after having done some more optimisation), I’ve decided to launch the game with standard resolution graphics and three background tunes to ensure that the game can be download OTA. Hopefully, by the time I’ve created the high resolution assets and upgraded the game to make best use of them, Apple may have raised the OTA threshold to something more suitable.


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Music Update

Well, hot on the heels of the second tune comes the third one, so with any luck I’ll be able to compose two more by the time Animal Trackers is released.

Update: Having discovered that with three tunes Animal Trackers is already over the 20 MB OTA (over-the-air) limit, I won’t be adding any more.

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Animal Trackers will have a number of background tunes to choose from, the second of which I’ve just finished composing. I haven’t decided yet how many tunes there will be in total, but it will probably be between three and five.

Once the game is feature complete, I’ll post some video trailers on YouTube with the tunes as backing tracks.

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It’s been a while since my last post, but a lot has changed in that time.

Firstly, the name of the game has subtly changed from ‘Animal Tracker’ to ‘Animal Trackers’, which better reflects the new direction that the game has taken.

I can now reveal that the game will have 50 levels to play through (each with a 3 star ranking system) and multiple achievements that can be earned.

As of today, 35 of those 50 levels are complete, with the remaining 15 scheduled for the next few weeks.

The original version of the game was due to have a small set of simple graphics, but as development went on and the underlying game concept evolved, it became apparent that the amount of graphics and animations needed would be an order of magnitude greater than first planned. As a result, much of my time has been spent on this part of the project.

Unfortunately, I’m still not close enough to app submission to post any more game details or screenshots, but I will post these within one month prior to the scheduled submission, which is planned for some time in Q4 2011.

Incidentally, I’ve also created a minute long test trailer for the game in iMovie to get a feel for the whole process. It includes a number of gameplay sequences set to the first (of what will be a number) of background music tracks that I created in Garage Band.

Once the game is graphically complete, I’ll create a proper trailer with final graphics and release it on YouTube, again within one month prior to submission.

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Game Music

Having reminded myself about game music in an earlier post, I decided to make a list of old games which had great music.

What makes these more special is the fact that these tunes were created using only three 4-bit audio channels on the Commodore C64 and four 8-bit channels on the Amiga. Through clever programming and timing, the illusion of more channels was achieved, offering a far superior audio experience compared to the earlier ‘plinky-plonk’ game music.

Clicking on a link will open a new tab/window and play the track in YouTube.

Track Artist Format
Commando Rob Hubbard Commodore C64
Crazy Comets Rob Hubbard Commodore C64
Monty on the Run Rob Hubbard Commodore C64
Thing on a Spring Rob Hubbard Commodore C64
Zoids Rob Hubbard Commodore C64
Ocean Loader Martin Galway Commodore C64
Terra Cresta Martin Galway Commodore C64
Cybernoid 2 Jeroen Tel Commodore C64
Alien Breed Allister Brimble Commodore Amiga
Project X Allister Brimble Commodore Amiga
Turrican Chris Huelsbeck Commodore Amiga

I’ll update this entry every now and then whenever I find another track of note. You’ll be able to find it by clicking on the Music category in the side panel.

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It’s been a while since my last post, which may imply that I’ve either been extremely busy… or extemely lazy. Well, it’s actually neither of those. I’ve been fairly busy working on Animal Tracker, but I’ve also been doing other things – in particular learning music theory.

Naturally, I want Animal Tracker to be an enjoyable game – one which I hope people will play not only for the gameplay, but also for the music. Back in the day, many games on home computers, such as the Commodore C64 and Commodore Amiga, had such great music that I’d often load them up, just so I could listen to it whilst I was doing something else. These were the creations of musicians such as Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Allister Brimble… who no doubt had years of experience and innate musical talent.

Now, fast forward twenty years or so and Animal Tracker is just around the corner. It’s unlikely that any of the aforementioned artists would be willing to make a soundtrack for my game for free, so no prizes for guessing who’ll end up doing the music… lol Actually, I’m enjoying learning about quasihemidemisemiquavers, perfect fourths, the circle of fifths, etc… and ultimately I hope, all the necessary components of what it takes to compose a killer soundtrack! Stay tuned! ;o)

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