This weeks release is a small change. Some tweaking to the sound effects, and a fancy new splash screen. I once got a game on Steam with the default splash screen. Even though that game was free, I found the default Unity splash screen a little unprofessional, and it colored my impression of the game. It’s a small thing that doesn’t take much to change.
Much of the week, I’ve worked on music. There’s no music in this release (0.5), as it’s not in a listenable state: It blasts your ears full force and there is no control over it yet. So I disabled it for the build.
I’m pretty excited for a couple of reasons, and they both have to do with the music.
Working on the music means I’m coming to the end of my journey. Music was bumped to the end of my list because I knew it would take so long. A delay that I wanted to take time on without thinking I was spinning my wheels and delaying progress. The fact that I’m working on it means that I’m near the end of my list! After music is the cleanup – a list of things to fix that’s accumulated along the way that I have to complete before I can say I at least tried not to half-ass this.
The other part I’m excited about is just seeing this music take shape. I have no musical talent, so I’ve decided to let the computer compose the work. I’ve provided audio samples, spent a lot of time figuring out how to write wave oscillators, and defined the rules about when and how things play. How the beat is constructed. How the melody forms. And it sounds, to me at least (and I am my own target audience), amazing.
The music is never the same, but it’s same enough to be cohesive and defining of the game. As I’ve said before, I don’t imagine music in my head that I might try to duplicate. My compositions are random, or partially visual based where notes are arranged in a visually organized way – which makes no sense to the ear. So I’ve just handed that chore over to the computer. And surprisingly it works!
The next release may be a couple weeks. I don’t want to release the music until it’s done, and programming music is a bit different than other programming. Usually, I know what I’m writing before I start typing. I know what the expected results are going to be, and I know how to test things to push them back into the form I need when things don’t go as planned.
But I have no design or testing process for music. It’s all experiment – trial and error. I have to write code I may never use just to see what happens and not like it. I have to write code that is not in the game which analyzes the sound’s data to try to find out why my wave has a popping sound every few seconds. I have to figure out Fourier Transforms again. It’s one of those “I’ll never use this” things from math that was immediately forgotten after the exam. But here it is, promising to make my sawtooth wave not sound like garbage.
So if I don’t post next week, I’m not going to guilt myself. I’m busy working. In two or three weeks, I’m going to have something cool. And maybe I’ll share it with you.