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  IndieGameMusic.com project startup  (Read 4038 times)
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Offline mr_lou

Junior Newbie





« Posted 2008-03-02 19:15:01 »

Hello fellow game-developers

I'm writing you because I'm creating a site at www.indiegamemusic.com which I plan to become a link between indie game developers and musicians. This letter is an invitation to you as an indie game-developer, to participate in the design phase with your suggestions and ideas so that the site will end up being something you would like to use.

The idea
In short, I want to make it easy for the indie game-developers (you) to find good music for your games, free for freeware games and cheap for resale. A few steps I have in mind so far, is that you
    * go to indiegamemusic.com
    * click "Search", and input your search criteria
    * listen to results and find contact information to the artist

Your search criterias may be
    * a specific format (mmf, midi, mod, xm, s3m, mp3, ogg etc)
    * a specific license (free for freeware? available for non-exclusive resale? available for exclusive resale?)
    * max file size
    * style
    * category (music, sound-scape, sound-effect, loop part)
    * max channels or polyphony
    * max price
    * maybe preferred bpm

So... That's the idea. What do you think? If this sounds like an interesting project to you, feel free to participate with ideas and feedback at mr_lou@vip.cybercity.dk

Some of the things I'd like some feedback about is
    * how should payment happen? Paypal? Bank-transfer? Game-developer contacting artist and agreeing their own method of payment?
    * what stuff would you like to be able to search for? are there some of the above mentioned search criterias you don't need? why?
    * what formats are you mostly interested in, and why?
    * and of course: do you think you'd use such a tool like IndieGameMusic.com?

 

Sincerely,
Roald Strauss
Mr.Lou / Dewfall Productions
www.dewfall.dk
www.lublu.dk


-------8<-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After having posted the above on a few forums, I've received quite a lot of good feedback and many questions. To avoid redundant questions, here is some extra info.

I am an indie game developer on the Java ME platform (mobile phones). We might expand to doing Flash games as well in the future.
I am also a musician with 20+ years of experience with various platforms.
This letter is addressed to game-developers. If you happen to be a musician, please take part in the discussion from the musicians point of view, here at CTG Music.

This whole thing really began when I formed LuBlu Entertainment with the girlfriend, to finally pursue my urge to do a mobile game. The Java ME platform didn't allow me to use the music-format I'd been doing so far (mods, xms etc) so I was forced to look into MIDI. I then learned that a lot of my fellow indie Java ME developers didn't have any good and cheap music resources. So partly because of my strong opinions about that games should have music, plus the fact that I was doing MIDI files anyway, I ended up creating a little J2ME Music section on my own page, offering MIDI files to my fellow Java ME developers.
But why, you may ask, do it like this? Why not accept project work / do a track when people ask? Why create tracks you don't know if people will buy? Simply because I like to do tracks, and I'd do them anyway. I might as well try to put them to use. Doing tracks pr. request also happens, but as musicians we all know how long it takes do to a track, right? No indie game-developer wants to pay for 2-3 days work, and no musician wants to give away music for free if someone else is making money on it. So putting ready-to-use tracks online, which the musician is doing anyway, for a low price, that works for both parties.

And this was all fine. But then recently I began thinking about expanding this little game-music section of mine, so I could offer the music to other platforms as well. This was probably partly because game-developers on other platforms wrote me about music, like e.g. MODs for the Gamepark. Some of my fellow indie Java ME developers also began developing for Flash, and thus wrote me about music for Flash productions.
So at this point I had decided I would expand my own game-music section, offering more formats of my tracks; MIDI for Java ME developers, MOD/XM for smartphones, Nintendo DS, Gamepark, PSP etc, MP3 for Flash and so on. Needless to say, this is a fairly big project. So I figured I'd better put it on its own domain. And then I simply figured it would be silly not to open up for other musicians as well, when I'm going to make an admin gui for myself anyway.


Now, there are plenty of music libraries online already. Just Google for music library, and you will find a lot. I especially like ProudMusicLibrary.com because of their search GUI.
But all of these only offer streamed music (wav, mp3, ogg), and their content is mostly considered to be targeting bigger projects on platforms such as the Xbox, Wii, PS3, PC etc.
With IndieGameMusic.com I want to offer MIDI, MOD, XM, S3M, MP3 etc, and thus target indie game-developers on platforms such as Java ME, Nintendo DS, PSP, Gamepark (GP32, GP2x, forthcoming Pandora), GBA, Android, Flash etc. Another difference is that I expect prices to be lower than those found at e.g. ProudMusicLibrary.com because the musicians are also indies.
Another advantage is that tracks could be available in multiple formats, e.g. MIDI and MP3 - making the track ideal for game-developers who's porting their games for both Java ME and Flash. (Game-developers are not allowed to create their own MP3 version of a track).

The question is: Is it worth it? Will you as game-developers find such a tool useful? Is MIDI and MOD files useful to you, or would you rather use MP3 or OGG files?

I know that some game-developers come to channel #modarchive and ask for gamemusic. They also post on the Modarchive forum asking for game music, and sometimes they've already found the mods they would like. Only problem is: There's no contact information to the author. That problem would also be solved with IndieGameMusic.com

Looking forward to hearing your opinions about this.

Thanks for any participation.
Offline Noya

Senior Newbie





« Reply #1 - Posted 2008-03-03 00:13:18 »

Sure that sounds like a great idea Smiley

    * how should payment happen? Paypal? Bank-transfer? Game-developer contacting artist and agreeing their own method of payment?
I would say, the more options, the better it is. Paypal is easy, fast and handles international transfers. Contacting the artist to discuss the pricing is attractive for both sides. Perhaps the artist should be able to choose if he wants that. And bank-transfers, sure, why not Smiley

    * what stuff would you like to be able to search for? are there some of the above mentioned search criterias you don't need? why?
You already mentioned the interesting search criterias. Additionally something like what game genre that sound / music would fit in (in the eyes of the artist), like Space, Fantasy or whatever...

    * and of course: do you think you'd use such a tool like IndieGameMusic.com?
Definitely Smiley

Again, great idea, can't wait to see that coming Smiley
Offline mr_lou

Junior Newbie





« Reply #2 - Posted 2008-03-03 06:46:16 »

Sure that sounds like a great idea Smiley
I would say, the more options, the better it is. Paypal is easy, fast and handles international transfers. Contacting the artist to discuss the pricing is attractive for both sides. Perhaps the artist should be able to choose if he wants that. And bank-transfers, sure, why not Smiley

Yes, I think I'll just have the artist choose from a selection of ways to accept payment, and let it be shown as information to the game-developer. Then the two can mail together for further arrangement of payment etc.

You already mentioned the interesting search criterias. Additionally something like what game genre that sound / music would fit in (in the eyes of the artist), like Space, Fantasy or whatever...
Definitely Smiley

Yes, I think I will borrow a lot of ideas from the Proud Music Library search GUI. I'd like something similar to that, only heavily scaled down. I'm thinking about excluding the "mood" and including the "character". On top of that I'd also like to include my own "category" which tells if the track is music, soundscape, soundeffect, loop part or maybe sound-logo. And of course we need to include a style or genre as well, and maybe a "What kind of game do you, as the artist of this track, think this track would suit?". Still thinking about that latter one.

Again, great idea, can't wait to see that coming Smiley

Thanks! I'm quite hooked on the idea, and can't wait to get started. But it's important to take it easy and listen to what people has to say first. Smiley
Thanks for your feedback.
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Offline Jackal von ÖRF

Junior Devvie





« Reply #3 - Posted 2008-03-03 10:43:33 »

The Proud Music Library Search is a good starting point. I did some searching and mainly used the mood and character parameters, although I don't quite see the difference between those two - maybe they could be merged into one. It should be possible to choose many categories from each list (mood etc.), and the songs should be able to belong to multiple categories.

Searching according to technical details of the file format is not important - if the song is worth it, converting it to another format should not be too hard (maybe by paying some extra to the original composer). If the song is in a waveform audio format, I would prefer them to use a lossless format (FLAC, APE or similar). When the game is published, then they can be compressed to MP3, OGG, AAC or similar lossy format, depending on the needs ot the game platform.

If I were choosing music for a game or movie, I would do it based on the feeling that the situation should convey, and what the overall mood of the game is. For example citing the story of an old warrior, walking in a dark/depressing/dangerous environment, introducing a funny/playful character, a love story, fighting (examples taken from Final Fantasy VII). It would be good for each song to have a description (a short summary of <100 words, and optionally a longer description of 1-2 pages) of the kind of feeling or impression that it conveys.

How about also adding a page where game makers can request for music? They would say what kind of music they are looking for, what kind of a game they are making, and the musicians would contact them (offering songs already published on the site, or songs which are not on the site, or offer to compose a brand new song).

Offline mr_lou

Junior Newbie





« Reply #4 - Posted 2008-03-03 12:37:12 »

The Proud Music Library Search is a good starting point. I did some searching and mainly used the mood and character parameters, although I don't quite see the difference between those two - maybe they could be merged into one. It should be possible to choose many categories from each list (mood etc.), and the songs should be able to belong to multiple categories.

I'm also having a bit of trouble seeing the difference between the two. Agreed, it should be possible for game-developers to search on such attributes, but not confusing either.

Searching according to technical details of the file format is not important - if the song is worth it, converting it to another format should not be too hard (maybe by paying some extra to the original composer). If the song is in a waveform audio format, I would prefer them to use a lossless format (FLAC, APE or similar). When the game is published, then they can be compressed to MP3, OGG, AAC or similar lossy format, depending on the needs ot the game platform.

Many musicians don't want to allow others to "manipulate" their tracks, e.g. by doing their own mp3 version of the artist's XM or MIDI file. This is partly because many converters do a terrible job at it, and thus doesn't do the composer justice, and partly because the composers want to have full control of their music. Most composers take pride in their work, and shutters if their track has a little off-note or noise that's not supposed to be there - especially if someone else put it there.
This is the case when converting from e.g. MIDI to MP3, MIDI to MMF, MOD/XM to MP3, MOD to MIDI, MIDI to MOD and so on. But it could also be the case when converting from e.g. FLAC to MP3. Some artists might refuse to have their tracks used in a bitrate lower than e.g. 96kbps.

Because of this, I'm thinking about including a search option like "Tracks may be manipulated / converted". But it requires more thinking.

Another reason for having technical details is that e.g. the Java ME platform requires small filesizes. Game-developers will want to know the size of the MIDI, and also polyphony. That can also be the case with MODs and XMs, where game-developers might be interested in the number of channels used to estimate CPU usage. And if the track isn't offered as a FLAC, but only MP3 or OGG, I'm sure game-developers will want to know the bitrate available.

If I were choosing music for a game or movie, I would do it based on the feeling that the situation should convey, and what the overall mood of the game is. For example citing the story of an old warrior, walking in a dark/depressing/dangerous environment, introducing a funny/playful character, a love story, fighting (examples taken from Final Fantasy VII). It would be good for each song to have a description (a short summary of <100 words, and optionally a longer description of 1-2 pages) of the kind of feeling or impression that it conveys.

Strangely Timidity doesn't recognize any of those MIDIs, so I'm unable to listen, but I think I know what you mean. Yes, artists should tag their tracks with "moods" or "character" and also possibly enter such a description. I was first thinking along the lines of "What kind of game or level do you, as the artist of this track, think this track would fit?". But "What kind of scenery do you think this track would fit?" is probably better.

How about also adding a page where game makers can request for music? They would say what kind of music they are looking for, what kind of a game they are making, and the musicians would contact them (offering songs already published on the site, or songs which are not on the site, or offer to compose a brand new song).

That's been suggested by others as well, so it's definitly a possibility. However, I fear that it would come to serve as a laziness from game-developers too lazy to do a little search, and that's not the initial idea with the site. So still thinking about it.
Offline mr_lou

Junior Newbie





« Reply #5 - Posted 2008-03-12 18:56:57 »

Alright. I have now put the first version of the search function online.

I'd appreciate feedback. What do you think? What's missing? What could be left out?

http://www.indiegamemusic.com/gdsearch.php

Thanks
Offline mr_lou

Junior Newbie





« Reply #6 - Posted 2008-03-15 09:41:48 »

The site is online now.

http://www.indiegamemusic.com

Lots of search options. Now it just needs to build up a library.  Smiley
Offline Hansdampf

Senior Devvie


Projects: 3


too offending?


« Reply #7 - Posted 2008-03-15 10:57:39 »

well done!  Cheesy
I will definitely use your site in future.
All categories except [music] are still empty though (but that will change soon).

lots of sillystupid games: http://www.emaggame.com
Offline mr_lou

Junior Newbie





« Reply #8 - Posted 2008-03-15 18:31:24 »

well done!  Cheesy
I will definitely use your site in future.
All categories except [music] are still empty though (but that will change soon).

Great that you like it! Smiley

I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on the search function from other game-developers as well, so I think this site has a lot of potential. Spread the word, so we can build up a library.

Also, if you'd like to contribute otherwise, here are some banners you can put on your website:

Targeting the musician:
http://www.indiegamemusic.com/banners/igmbanner468x60-target-musicians.png

Targeting the game developer:
http://www.indiegamemusic.com/banners/igmbanner468x60-target-developers.png

And a tiny one. Smiley
http://www.indiegamemusic.com/banners/igmbanner88x31.png

Thanks
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