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Re: The Artists thing

*grin*, ok, let's get a reply out first. Perhaps there'll be some time
to put some new thoughts on the line later.

> I have to do that are downright tedious - but which have to be done to make the game work.

Ah, but experience has taught me: you can force yourself to program.
Forcing yourself to compose music usually does not give the best of

> If (as a musician) you came to me and said that you had a chunk of music
> that really would suit (say) an underwater level in my game - I would
> certainly consider adding an underwater level to suit the music.

Usually the music is fit to the game, not vise versa. It helps to have a
good theme (and the mood that needs to be set) in mind when composing

> Perhaps.  I'd bet that music is the MOST re-usable of the three disciplines...

Althought it's sometimes doable to change a song to fit a (part of a)
game, it's usually better to compose a new song fit especially for that
(part of the) game.

> I think a good *TEAM* of programmer+musician+artist+level-designer
> would give a game a much better chance of being finished.  Each can
> feed off the others for inspiration.

That is probably true. It's important to get that team together before
the game is halfway through though. Having the engine ready leaves
plenty of programming left to do, so that might be a good time to get
your team ready.

> That's something I hope to understand.  Part of why we want to get this
> new mailing list working.  Why do programmers feel flattered when someone
> re-uses their (say) joystick library - while musicians go ballistic if
> someone ripped a melody line?

It's not just that. Everybody seems to feel that way about music. How
often don't we hear a song on the radio, and think: Nice song, but they
ripped most of it from this or that other song. Can't they think up
something for themselves?
Also: it's hard to think of a melody line that hasn't at least in part
been used before.

> I suspect most people would be outraged at the implied suggestion that the original music was bad.

Suggestions for improvements are always welcome with musicians, but
giving them an improved version might not make it past the doorbell. :)

> In the end, music or software - it's all just bits stuffed into the computer by humans.

For musicians, music is a lot more than that. Most of then don't need
that computer for playing music anyway.

> Compilers and text editors are free ONLY because we've made them free.
> Those folks at GNU did all that work at huge personal expense.

Ah, but I'm not talking tools here. There's usually a programmer willing
to make some music tool (btw: is there a fasttracker like program for
Linux? I used to love those music programs on the AMIGA/MSX).

Since MIDI doesn't cut it (what sounds good on one soundcard may sound
lousy on the next), musicians will need a very good soundcard, possibly
a synthesizer/sound module, and perhaps some good recording equipment to
record samples.

> It also takes the skills and knowledge of a musician to tell the
> programming crew what he/she needs from the tool - to give them
> encouragement and feedback...and some assurance that this whole
> effort is worthwhile.

That should be doable. Just as long as there's not 1000 programmers each
writing their own insufficient tool. Get a few good ones together with a
few musicians, and you might be off on the right track.

> My wife continually asks me "Can't you *sell* your next game - why
> on earth are you giving it away after spending so many hours on it?"

I always had this crazy idea of writing it cross-platform, releasing it
on Linux for free, and charge Windoze users for it. ;)

> Where do I *find* an artist who will want to work with me on some hypothetical future project?

Depends really. It might be a good idea to do the reverse: find an
artist with a good idea for a game, and guide him with your programming
knowledge to make the design into an actually playable game.

> Mostly, people say "prove that you have a viable game engine" - they don't
> want to throw any effort into building massive 3D game levels if the
> programmer is going to drop out halfway through.

Personally I still favour the 2D games over the 3D ones. I just love a
good game of Salamander (Gradius III?) on my MSX emulator every now and
then, and Turrican's always a good waste of time as well.

> There is no "pulled in at the last moment" in OpenSource-land because
> there are no deadlines to meet and the game can go on being developed
> until everyone is either bored or happy.  There simply is no "last moment".

True perhaps, but if most of the programming is done, and then some
musicians and draw artists need to arrive to get the rest ready, the
pressure will be on them. Trust me: it can take quite some time to write
a good song. You have to be in the right mood to get it right.

> But it has to be a TEAM effort.

That's a thing where you see a lot of friction. I've seen it happen when
reacting for a plea for musicians that you get the 'ok, but before I
give you the honour of working on my project I would like you to send me
a demo song that goes like this and this, and uses these instruments'.
You can imagine the joy of wanting to join such a project. :) You get
the 'ok, but you send me a part of the game that can rival that of
professional software first' feeling.

> I'm acutely aware that commercial games houses treat artists and
> musicians extremely badly.

I have no idea if this is true, and if so: why.


Pieter Hulshoff

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