Xcelerator, Cyber X-Games, Gamespot Read More...
A short note from the Diversions Publishing President this month on conferences and a recent survey. Read More...
Composing Music for Battlegrounds
Learn about the process of creating dynamic music for One Must Fall:Battlegrounds. Read More...
- Wayne Frazee
I am so excited.
Each month we just get that much closer to game release and its like a
little kid waiting for Santa to come down the chimney and fall on your
head. Its exciting though, sitting in my office, running through the
development build. Sure, we are all busy, Kevin and Juan are hammering
on things, applying polish, rob is feverishly squashing any bugs that we
may notice, systems and tournaments and content are all coming online
into the game and its looking great. This past month has brought a host
of improvements to the game including vast tweaks to the netcode, patch
content compression, interface changes, transition to release
storylines and arena names, and so much additional content to the
singleplayer campaign for players to enjoy. The single player
experience, in particular, has benefitted from the recent development
time as Kevin and Rob have put hours upon hours into getting it ready to
Xcelerator was a blast, thanks to everyone who made it out, the game
was well received with many people just stopping by as they passed to
sit down and spend a few minutes in the game. A special thanks goes out
to Edward Brinker, Janos Sipos, and Adam Moyer for their time and
effort at the Xcelerator event. Although pictures were not available
during the event due to the lack of internet availability onsite,
pictures from Xcelerator have since been posted to my log on the One
Must Fall site at http://www.omf.com/diversions/wayne/2003-11-12.html .
Xcelerator was also the first event exposure of our new Promotions
Manager, Darcy Naylor, to the public. Check the pictures out!
For those of you on the west coast, be sure to make it out to the
Cyber X Gaming LAN and Tournament being held with CES early next year in
Las Vegas, Nevada. Game demonstrations, the actual retail title
availible for purchase, gaming tournaments, a developer on-site, and so
much more! Stay tuned to the One Must Fall site for more details as the
event gets closer.
Another item of interest for the community, One Must Fall gear is now
availible! You can buy your own hats, tshirts, and posters from
http://www.diversionspub.com direct from Diversions! Those with
websites can also signup to earn free gear by offering these fine
apparel items to thier own users. Finally, Diversions is offering FREE
web hosting to One Must Fall fansites that sell Diversions Publishing
gear and offer One Must Fall:Battlegrounds information. Interested
webmasters email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Please note that
you must be signed up as a Diversions Publishing affiliate in order to
take advantage of this hosting offer.
- Judy Elam
Must Fall: Battlegrounds is well on the way to your home. Yes, we
finally have made it. There has been lots going on this month to ensure
it gets to your home by Christmas with the DE Team spending many
sleepless nights in the office. The team is very excited to get this
game for you all to play, that the work is very satisfying when you can
look back and see how far it has come in the last 6 months.
We expect the game to hit the shelves sometime in Mid Dec. . We
don't have a exact date, but
you need to ask Santa for OMF:BG. Of course, getting yourself on the
list at your nearest Gamestop store or EB Games is very important at
this stage. The stores will not be overly stocked for the first run.
So if you are wanting to be assured of the purchase, get a deposit to
For those that can not get it through ordering or store, we will have
our shop open for the order as soon as we know a exact date it hits the
shelves so that you can have it around the same time. We want everyone
everywhere to be able to purchase OMF:BG. Those of you that have Fan
Sites, you need to get it completed and ready for you to promote your
Fan Site to others as game release is coming soon. Remember, those who
register to be affiliates earn points for prizes by selling quality
Diversions gear. We now have a great collectable for you now. It is a
beautiful medal (click for picture).
How you can help spread the word?
Once we announce that the game is bein shipped to the stores, you
could start inviting your friends for a lan party and of course ask them
to purchased the game. We want to schedule a launch party which will
involve people everywhere playing the game and we would include the
pictures of your home party as part of our launch party. This most
likely would be around the Christmas holidays.
Since we have our game close to actually being reproduced, we want
you to start talking it up for
purchasing it for the Christmas holidays. You can talk it up at school,
message boards, work, and friends and neighbors. We don't have
microsoft money, so you all are our source of exposure.
On the 24th you will see some adv. coming out on Gamespot. Check it out and let us know what you think.
The limited test has just had a update, so make sure you check it out.
Composing Music For Battlegrounds
- Ashley Kampta
music for OMFBG is a pretty straightforward process. The actual system
itself is simple, leaving out many of the advanced features of dynamic
music to present to the musician a template in which they have the most
creative freedom. (And the least amount of headaches!)
At the heart of BG’s dynamic music system are ‘segments’. These are
basically blocks that contain musical data, such as notes. So, without
these, you’d have no music. These segments are static (once you compose
them, they cannot change), so you may be wondering “Well, where’s the
dynamic element, then? I thought you said this was dynamic music!”
The dynamic element comes in through the use of what is called a
‘jump table’. This is a table of links that allows you to choose which
segments are to be a part of which moods, of which there are ten:
Silent, Early, Winning, Tied, Losing, Lopsided-Winning, Lopsided-Losing,
Time-Winning, Time-Tied and Time-Losing. Please note here that there is
nothing in the actual segments that makes them belong to a certain
mood; therefore, you can just as well have a segment be part of the
Losing mood as you can have it be a part of the Lopsided-Winning mood.
Segments aren’t automatically branded as being of a certain mood, in
other words. (As a bit of background, in the original soundtrack, Saul
chose to compose certain segments to fit certain moods, so they only
play when that mood is selected, and at no other time. Tying in with
what I just told you, this is only a matter of how the jump table is
organised, and not to do with the content of the segments themselves!)
You’ve probably gathered that the dynamic music tracks are rather
long, and contain a large amount of music. Therefore, it makes sense
when I say that there are hundreds of segments in each piece of music.
While you may be surprised, there is some good news: the segments are
all pretty short. Each segment, on average, is between five and ten
seconds in length – which, in musical terms, equates to between two and
eight bars of music, taking into account that different pieces of music
can be at different speeds. There is no length cap on segments, so they
can be shorter or longer than the average, if desired. However, shorter
segments mean that you’ll have more to organise in the jump table,
possibly resulting in something that you’ll end up not being bothered to
organise well. Longer segments, on the other hand, mean that the
dynamic nature of the song is less recognisable, because changes in the
music happen at a slower rate.
So what is the typical path for a song to take when it is being
played? Well, let’s address the song starts and finishes first: the LMS
and Demolition game-type scripts have the music start from the Silent
mood (which, rather obviously, should contain no notes at all). This is
why you hear some sort of transitional effect or fade-in when a piece of
music starts – ‘Snakeirons’ is probably the most obvious example that
comes to mind, seeing that most of you have probably heard it. In a
similar way, all roads lead to the Silent mood again when a piece is to
finish. So you’d most likely be hearing a fade-out of some sort as an
Now that we’ve addressed the beginning and the end of the music, what
happens in the middle? In the infancy of the music system, the game
would use the Early mood to set the scene for an arena. (In other words,
Silent would fade into Early.) However, it was decided that the music
didn’t get to the exciting bits soon enough, so the Early mood was
removed from the game engine. However, it is still in the music for
composers to use as they wish, be it a musical sketch-pad, or whatever.
It’s just not selected by the game engine – unless someone needs the
Early mood in a mod or something.
Anyway, since the Early mood isn’t used any more, then how does the
music work now? Well, after the fade in, the music now jumps to the Tied
mood. (So, that means it will play all the segments that have been
assigned to the Tied mood.) After one of the tied mood segments is done,
the jump table is checked to see which mood should be jumped to next.
If nothing has happened, then the Tied mood is continued (or replayed,
if all the segments have already been played). If something has happened
in the game though, then the Tied mood is changed to another mood, and
that mood’s segments are then played.
As well as the main material of the music, transitional material also
plays a very big part. After all, fades would not be possible if we did
not have transitional material between segments. This is where the most
time-consuming element of dynamic music is: the transitions. In
Battlegrounds, every segment of every tune has a way of getting from
music to silence, as well as from one mood to another (other than
Silent, of course). As a musician, you will have to compose a transition
that works with all your segments, for every eventuality, and you will
also have to check that each and every one of the transitions flows
musically from start to finish. (Having an abrupt stop would not really
be desirable in the middle of a heated match, with no outcome yet
Now onto a little bit about how to make your songs behave like the
ones Saul has lovingly crafted. In the BG soundtrack, the pieces have
around 15 minutes of main musical material, as well as around 5-10
minutes of transitional material. (I told you it played a big part!) In
the 15 minutes of main material, the music is distributed in the
following way, for the most part: there is usually one minute of
introductory music, three minutes each for the Winning/Losing/Tied
moods, one minute each for all the Lopsided moods (i.e. when you’re a
bit ahead or behind in score, and you have quite a bit of time left),
and one minute each for all the Time moods (i.e. when you’re
winning/tied/losing and running out of time). All in all, this amounts
to 20-25 minutes’ worth of music for any one song.
In this article, I have purposefully left out the practicalities of
the system in order to provide you with some sort of grounding in the
way the music works, from a theoretical point of view. After all,
there’s no point creating music for BG if you have no idea of how it is
going to be used. I also cannot stress enough that it takes a lot of
effort to create a piece of dynamic music for BG. However, even though
creating dynamic music for BG does take a lot of persistence, I’m sure
it is enough motivation for you to finish your piece just so you can
hear how it sounds while the HARs engage in the mega-sport that is One
Must Fall: Battlegrounds.
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