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Fan Media Soundtracks

Posted by Emzee , in Game Dev Dec 15 2013 · 194 views

3d bionicle game power lies beneath open discussion Devlog
Hi BZPers, I know it's been awhile since I've posted something. Well, here I am!

I felt like rambling about soundtracks in Bionicle fan-works, and you're more than welcome to partake in the discussion with what you think.

So about soundtracks, I'd say that there are three major methods (this probably isn't the word to use... I'll try and think of a better one later) to providing music in your game or movie:

1) Use official Bionicle music (ie. MNOLG, Mask of Light, Bionicle Heroes, etc.)
  • Pros:
    • 1.21 gigawatts of Nostalgia - especially if music from MNOLG is used.
    • "Free" (in a sense)
    • When trying to get that perfect tribal/techno/quasi-orchestral Bionicle feel, you can get much closer to that than the original music that established what we know as the "Bionicle feel"
  • Cons:
    • Not actually free - there are likely copyright issues when ripping and using even the MNOLG music, much less the Bionicle Heroes soundtrack or something that you had to pay money for.
    • Because the MNOLG was designed with dialup in mind (I know this, I remember those days of the Mata Nui clock and they usually only took forever where there was an awesome cutscene coming up), the soundtrack has lower bitrate and doesn't sound very good by today's standards (at least I don't think they do). To be fair, even some of the newer tracks I come across sound like they were recorded from a microphone. At any rate, most Bionicle tracks that weren't ripped directly from a CD seem fall short of the quality one would expect from studio-quality music.
  • Personally, neither of the cons really bother me all that much just because I'm a sucker for good ol' fashioned nostalgia. If you ask me, from a moral point of view, using music from these content creators doesn't do harm since this products are fairly obscure anyway. From a reality point of view though, how Lego, Templar, Miramax, and the other studios who made music for their products feel about you using their music is the only thing that ultimately matters. Even if Lego doesn't mind if you use their stuff for your little fan game or movie, the folks who made Bionicle Heroes might.
2) License / Buy production quality music (lots of places online to do that -- even the Unity Asset Store has some tracks that would fit rather well with Bionicle media)
  • Pros:
    • Music sounds a heck of a lot better - with their super high bitrates intended for film scores and what not.
    • Royalty free - a must if you don't intend to charge for your fan media (which I hope for your sake that you're not)
  • Cons:
    • $$$$. The "you get what you pay for" rule generally applies. If you're not like me and still in High School or College, even the "budget" prices mind seem unreasonable. Always remember though, that, like artwork, you're paying for someone's talent and if they're starving to death, their quality of work isn't going to be as good as it will be if their living costs are taken care of. Basically, artists gotta eat too. ;)
  • Not much to say here. If you get your music from a professional, you're going to get professional-quality music. Didn't know that now did you? ;) Personally, I might go this route, simply because I have that good ol' disposable income. But the soundtrack (and by extension the overall feel of Power Lies Beneath) might not be nostalgic though.
3) Reach out to the community for help
  • Pros:
    • Might be free. Even if not, you might get a good discount by hiring folks here on BZP.
    • Obviously, BZPers will know the "Bionicle feel", which might be worth more than the film-quality production music.
  • Cons:
    • I don't know of any truly professional music composers or producers advertising their services here on BZP. It's unlikely that you'll find film-quality music among these artists like you would with royalty-free music sites.
    • Most patrons here are in school or are otherwise busy with their own lives. As such, they can be hard to get in touch with, or they might have trouble getting content to you on time (especially around finals time)
  • I realize what's considered professional-quality might vary from person to person, and indeed, a more accurate term might be "film-quality", except this term cannot apply to just films anymore as video games have had "film-quality" soundtracks for years now. But yes, I do mean "film-quality" in this case. This is a route that I probably won't take, as I have other options and would rather not take up so much of someones time like that if I don't have to. For those without a good cash flow, I think this is a great method, and yet another way to make a good friend.

So, those are my thoughts on the matter. What are yours? Before I close out, I should probably give a shoutout to OverClocked Remix - quite a few of their (recent) tracks are studio-quality, and some even fit with the Bionicle feel. You can use their music for free as long as you give credit, don't edit the music files, and aren't charging for your work. I've already claimed quite a few of them for Power Lies Beneath though. :P

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Captain Caboose
Dec 15 2013 11:10 PM

Hm. I'll take this as the most helpful advise I can get here for this. I'll keep it in mind when I might start my own fan-game.

 

Or

 

Create your own music

  • Creating your own will make it feel original and if you have a very creative mind (which everyone does), will know how to blend your orchestrated music to your feel of the game.

Edit: Funny. When I want to edit this, it shows my bullet. But when I save, it doesn't show the bullet. Strange.

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Odd how I forgot about that one considering that's also a route I'm considering for a couple tracks / levels. 

 

Yes, if you have the will and the musical inclination, you could learn how compose your own tracks. I'd say the cons are the same as they are for reaching out to the community, plus the fact that learning to compose, or even if you already know how to write music, producing a soundtrack yourself, can take away even more time from developing or filming your masterpiece.

 

For me, I quality of the tracks I've made could use a little more work (which I can't put in for various reasons). Besides that, I'd say setting aside as much development time as possible is really important to me. 

 

It's definitely something else for everyone to consider.

 

And yeah, the site's formatting might still be a little wonky. I was offline for the vast majority of that so I wouldn't know for sure. :P 

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My Bio

Age: 25
Gender: Male
Location: Austin, TX
Favorite color: Cyan
Occupation: Software developer
Games I'm current playing: TES: Morrowind
TV shows I'm watching: House of Cards, Community, 24: Live Another Day
Interests: Bionicle, Ninjago, Game Grumps, RWBY (Rooster Teeth in general), assorted genres of music (electronica, alt. rock, classic rock, instrumental, classical, and hip-hop), music composition/remixing, programming, and game development.
Attended Brickfair VA 2009 and 2013, Brickfair AL 2012, Brick Fiesta 2011 and 2013, Bricks Cascade 2014
Also attended PAX East 2013 and RTX 2014.
Lactose Intolerant
Pumping more iron than I probably should
Actually a liberal arts guy who just majored in Software Engineering

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