Sunday, October 19, 2014

Music Television

When you are little, you're excited to get presents. When a little bit older, you're excited to give presents. Ahh, the smile on those little fat faces, as they are unpacking as quick as they can with their greedy little hands. Priceless. I got a few T22 presents on the shelve here as well, but can’t give them yet. That makes me just as nervous as one who would be waiting impatiently on new material. Thinking about it, I wonder how developers behind real big titles -such as a Halflife 3- would feel. It’s freak’n hard to keep your mouth shut about something you’re proud at.

I’d like to show you something that has to do with monsters & animations, but unfortunately we all will have to wait until the whole next official demo movie is done. Some more animation work has to be done first. The good news is that we have another little movie “ready”, to fill the waiting-gap that has become far too wide since last released movie, back in 2012.

Ok, there should be a Youtube click-link right here then… where is it? Well, I could click the “upload” button right now, but there are a few remaining issues. First of all, the term “finished” doesn’t exists in software-dev land. Anyone here who made programs for a living, knows the “when is it done?” question can’t be answered that easily. Technically it’s done, but…. There is always a “but”. Artists probably have the same issues with their canvases, music pieces, or craftwork. There is always a brush-streak to be added, a tone to be tuned, a corner you don’t quite like, and doubts on how the audience would receive your hard work. The combination of software and art, a game, is probably even worse. I find it very difficult to let things go and put a “done” stamp on it.

Don’t know how others do it, but maybe the only way is to make deadlines. Spend X hours on it at maximum, ensure A, B and C are at least achieved. And also, it always helps to take a step back, do something different, and look back later. Is it satisfying? Then you did a good job, didn’t you? Don’t forget that the audience usually doesn’t notice the small flaws you have been stumbling on. The audience looks at the bigger picture. So what if the electro spark particles look super-realistic? The whole sequence has to feel good, otherwise the verdict will still be a F-. The audience can be fooled, but is also unforgivable.

Since I can't show our animated monster yet, let's compensate with a concept doodle I did last week (got the idea while eating bacon for breakfast in England, burp).

In that context, I feel this demo needs a couple more improvements. To give some more details, it is some sort of music-clip. Hurh? Yes, a music clip. Not directly related to Tower22, nor super-scary bloody shit-bricks horror stuff. But of course, it is rendered in the T22 engine, using T22 assets, with some horror sauce. Making a clip is easier said than done though. Different cup of tea than games, mainly because the “visual motion” has to match up with an “audio beat”. Especially if the music has some pace. So far I think the theme and feel matches quite good, though the visuals lack pace and quirky camera sequences or events to tie the ties. The Tower22 editor wasn’t exactly made for making bouncy MTV clips, flashy space galaxy particle effects or cinematic delights.

Why on earth making a music-clip based demo then? Eh, just because. I heard the song, found it cool, and thought “why not use for a little T22 demo movie?”. The idea of using music was there already before the Tower22 idea really. So, why not? It’s sort of an experiment I made to fill the gap towards the official T22 demo (so don’t expect super new graphics either, it’s a programmer-art thing I did myself mainly).

Don’t worry, it looks pretty cool, and it certainly sounds cool (if you like that type of music, that is)… Which brings me to the next problem. Before I can release this “clip”, I should ask permission first. Now I didn’t hear new material from this -British electronic-dance-garage-punk-hiphop-whatever- duo quite long (in fact, it’s not even a duo anymore), and this particular song isn’t officially released as far as I know. Found it in a dark abandon corner on Youtube. This song might have been just as experimental for them, than this demo is for me really. So, I could just take the risk and dump it anyway. But… I was raised with manners. So let’s just ask.

That thought makes me nervous though. The risk of getting rejected (or just don’t get a reply at all) is pretty real of course. Or maybe more realistic, they follow a standard procedure and let me sign a complicated paper and have to pay them XYZ dollars. Now I can miss a few hundred dollars. Or actually, I can’t (made a new kitchen / floor / interior and baby-room last two months). But something tells me we won’t be talking about a few hundred dollars. I really hope they aren’t greedy, appreciate their work being used on a project where love was put into it, and just like the video…. So I’d better do some more last minute improvements first!!

Whatever the reply will be, this demo will be released, with or without music. The latter would suck of course, but just throwing it away would be a waste as well. And maybe our audio guys can have some fun with it. It’s hard to promise anything with a new baby coming somewhere next month, but I really try upload at least something before the end of this year! After all the waiting, you guys deserve that!