Saturday, July 25, 2009

Max Fun Times

so i've written the music for my first videogame. clarification: i didn't make the game, i just provided the music and sound effects. it was a lot of fun, and definitely something i want to do more of in the future.

the game is called Max Fun Times, and it's a drinking game available now on Xbox Live Indie Games. it was developed by Claymerikorp, a shadowy new developer that not much is known about. the team contacted me via carrier pigeon because they needed the hot beats, and hot beats are my trade.

it's a fairly standard drinking game where you spin a wheel and have to do whatever the tiles tell you to do. the object is to get panda and, hopefully, land on the very special "Max Fun Times" tile. but the really cool aspect of the game is you can edit the tiles to say whatever you want. invite every girl you know over to your place, and change all the tiles to read "every girl in the room has to make out." the power is in your hands.

since this is a party game i tried to create a party atmosphere with a mix of hip-hop and electro tracks. here's what you hear at the title screen:

and here are the background beats you hear during a game:

when you achieve "Max Fun Times," you're gonna want to get up and dance. so i created a little breakdance tune that plays whenever you land on this ultimate tile:

i also made all the incidental sound effects you hear in the game.

so Max Fun Times is now available on Xbox Live for 200 Points, the lowest amount a developer can charge for their game (at least it was the lowest amount when the game was submitted for approval). Claymerikorp would have preferred to release the game for free, but Microsoft has to put food on its table, you know? check out the game and let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Song Didn't Pass the Girlfriend Test

i don't update this blog often enough. i'm going to try and change that by posting regular updates on what i'm working on, whether it's good or bad. today i'm sharing a recent failure of mine. sometimes you write a song, and after it's all recorded you sit back and listen to it and think, "wow, this sucks." this is one of those songs.

so the other day the idea for this track popped into my head while i was riding home from work on my scooter. the main melody came to me and kept repeating in my head. for some reason or another i thought it would be fun to make the song all about my favorite bands. if you are my Facebook friend, you may have seen my status update about working on this song. i suppose i thought it would be a good way to connect with listeners. if just one of these bands happened to also be a favorite of yours, maybe our bond would strengthen.

so i recorded the song as soon as i arrived home. didn't take too long -- a couple hours in all. the lyrics are nothing more than a list of my favorite bands, and the chorus merely repeats "these are a few of my favorite bands." easy, right? i tried to make it a light hearted, fun pop/rock song in the style of The Dandy Warhols, which i've been listening to a lot of lately.

but when i listened to the finished product, it didn't move me. sometimes i feel too close to a song to know if it's any good and seek a second opinion. so i played it for my girlfriend. "meh," she said. it is not a good sign when even your girlfriend doesn't like your song. turns out a list of my favorite bands does not necessarily make a compelling listen. she thought the melody was catchy, but needed a little more effort in the lyrical content.

so here is the song as it stands right now:

here's what i think went right:
- i've got a catchy melody and a solid chorus
- i like the crunchy, buzzy guitar tone
- i like the bridge that occurs at 1:52 (although i need to do more with it)
- i like the "whoo hoos!"

here's what went wrong:
- lyrics don't cut it
- guitar solo is weak sauce
- guitar part is inconsistent
- drums could use more personality

so there you have it. i'll probably scrap the vocals and write something with a little substance, then figure out exactly what the guitar should be doing. if i get another decent version going i'll post the update.