DavidOrr's News

YouTube Content ID: What you should know

2016-08-19 03:03:05 by DavidOrr
Updated

UPDATE: I've cleared dozens of videos already without issue. Thank you all for getting in touch. Should you be hit with a claim, please PM me, or get in touch with me via email, facebook, YouTube, or twitter. If I don't respond  within a day or two, please don't be afraid to follow up. I DO NOT want to claim your let's plays -- please bug me until it's cleared :). Cheers!

 

Hi friends! Many of you know about YouTube's Content ID system, but for those who don't: 

Copyright owners can use a system called Content ID to easily identify and manage their content on YouTube.

Videos uploaded to YouTube are scanned against a database of files that have been submitted to us by content owners. Copyright owners get to decide what happens when content in a video on YouTube matches a work they own. When this happens, the video gets a Content ID claim.

                                                                                                                               - Google

Over the years, I've had quite a few of my tracks posted on Youtube (and other sites), with no attribution or crediting. I love that people are enjoying my music, and haven't really given it much thought (sometimes I'll leave a comment so people know who the author is). What I recently noticed, was that there are people who are posting my soundtracks (without permission), and monetizing them on YouTube -- with no attribution.

Recently, I've registered a large portion of my music catalogue to the Content ID system to help protect against theft. This doesn't change much; If you use my music in a let's play (with or without monetization), or post it without monetization, you are ok!  If you do get hit with a flag, either dispute it, or contact me direct via newgrounds and I'll whitelist your video. I will not let you get a copyright strike on your account.

On a broader note: Content ID is here to stay, as much of a nuisance as it can be. If you're a YouTube content provider, it is a good idea to get comfortable with the system, and understand how to dispute/correct an incorrect copyright claim. I've been hit with a few myself -- one was MY OWN copyright! Hopefully the system improves over time, and people become more comfortable with it. It's not as scary as it looks, and you're only likely to run into problems if you are profiting off of other people's work (without permission).

I'm not an expert on Content ID, but I'd be happy to answer any questions I can. And please, if you do get hit with any Content ID claims -- let me know! I don't want this to happen, and will straighten a claim out ASAP. 


Looking for a game to score (FREE; read more)

2016-04-30 00:15:52 by DavidOrr
Updated

Hey guys!

I have an advanced composition student who is actively looking into scoring video games. I am looking for a small game for him to score under my guidance. The score will be 100% FREE, no catch (really). He's young, but a capable budding composer; he recently won a competitive state-wide composition competition out here in California.

Here's what we're offering:

- Up to 8 minutes of custom music, for free.
- Your choice of genre and instrumentation.
- A commercial license; you can use the music in a paid game (my student retains the rights).

Here's what you need to know:

- This is his first game score (he has done a short film).
- I will be advising him and giving him feedback, but this will be his music; I will not step in and score the game for him.
- I will have limited contact with you; I'd like him to have the experience of interacting with developers. You can CC me in all correspondence and I will read them and provide feedback only if necessary.
- He has the necessary software, but do not expect top-notch AAA audio quality. Something like this or this is a reasonable expectation of quality.
- You MUST credit him; you're welcome to acknowledge me in credits but it's not necessary (he is the composer, not me).

- Some blood, violence, and mild language is ok; but we need to keep this at ~ PG-13/Teen level.

 

My ideal match up would be a younger developer who has some experience, but not much. If you're someone who hasn't worked with a composer before, I'm happy to provide you with some guidance as well.

Feel free to PM me, or reply directly to this post. If there are multiple people interested, I'll let him look over and choose what he is interested in. He may be interested in doing a couple!

Thanks for reading! :)


PAX East

2015-03-09 16:30:36 by DavidOrr

Just got back from my trip to PAX this year. This is (embarrassingly) my first time to PAX. After 10 years of involvement on Newgrounds and in the industry, I don't know why I hadn't gone sooner. Better late than never! Some highlights: 

- The sheer number of passionate, talented game devs, at all level of the industry: Ranging from ultra-indie (1 man wonders), to giant developers (Blizzard, Valve), there was great representation across the board. Everyone was friendly, approachable, and really great ot talk to.

- USB Demo Reels: To my composer friends, this is a really awesome way to make an impression. Instead of business cards, hand out low-capacity flash drives (1 gb) branded with your logo. Include a bunch of your music, and an easy-access demo reel. Every single developer I handed one of these to was impressed. One even said "Woah, you're just giving me a flash drive?". Shop around online, but you can routinely get them for 7 bucks (or less) each. A small price for a lasting impression.  

- Friends at Newgrounds and The Behemoth: One would think I'd have a face-to-face with the folks I owe a large part of my career to sooner. It was great finally meeting Tom and Stamper -- two awesome guys truly dedicated to their community and fans. @BenjaminTibbetts snapped a picture of us.

Here's to next the next post -- and the next year at PAX!1371695_142593296953_FulpStamperOrr.png


Call of Duty: Heroes Released!

2014-11-20 23:20:23 by DavidOrr

Just a quick update today. Activision has just released Call of Duty: Heroes worldwide! I was thrilled when they approached me to do the soundtrack, and I'm really proud of the music. It's a free app avaiable on the iTunes store, with plans to release it for Android and PC soon. 

In addition, I'm working on a few mobile game soundtracks. One of the games, Gemini Strike, had a good deal of success. It's a fun RPG shoot-em-up (free download), made by Krin.  I've just finished up some additional music that will be patched into the game sometime soon.

As always, thank you for your continued support and encouragement!

1371695_141654362231_heroes.png 

 


Generative Music, and Why Every Developer Should Know about it.

2014-09-18 11:29:32 by DavidOrr
Updated

(from davidorr.net)

"Generative music" is a term that has been buzzing in the game industry the past few years. If you've played any one of the many AAA titles released recently, you've probably experienced it*. And -- if it was done well -- you likely didn't even notice it. So, what exactly is it?

Generative music is, when boiled down to its very essence, music that changes and transforms. Typically, it is mapped to the actions of the player -- be it combat, movement, or interactions. Alternatively, it could be mapped to change with the environment (for instance, day/night cycles), or any variety of parameters. The goal it to provide a deeper level of immersion for the player by having a soundtrack that adapts to what is on screen.

The most common approach is to have multiple "layers" of a track that can be toggled on or off depending on what is happening in the game. Take, for instance, a first-person shooter. Imagine: you're lurking through the woods, hunting a target. A soft, pulsing atmospheric track is playing in the background. As you approach your prey, the track increases in volume, with some light percussion fading in to give the music a stronger rhythmic pulse. Just then -- you're ambushed. Now a more intense track fades in on top of those two, complete with aggressive synths and booming drums. In this scenario, the music is mapping your every move, and transforming a traditionally static element of a game (the music) into an additional vessel of immersion.

I write about this for two reasons. First and foremost, generative audio is something that I am passionate about and have been working with for several years (starting with the flash game "Colony"). Second, because I believe many game developers (especially indie) are unfamiliar with this concept and/or hesitant to implement it. This is understandable -- developers are developers, not composers. Implementation requires additional coding, or licensing of an audio engine with generative capabilities. And, not all composers are comfortable -- or even familiar -- with the concept of generative audio. It requires extra time, skill, and forethought to conceive and compose. These are real-world concerns, and ones that only the developer can contemplate and address.

Let me present you with a real-life, personal example of generative audio in action. I recently finished the soundtrack to Gemini Strike with long-time friend and collaborator Krin. This game features a very simple implementation of generative music. It has two layers -- an "atmospheric" layer that plays when you are between battles (in the menu, buying items, etc.), and an orchestral layer that plays when you are in battle. The two were composed on top of each other, and you'll often hear them seamlessly fading between each other. The results, however, are far more immersive than the standard "menu loop/battle loop" setup. The soundtrack never stops, but instead moves with the player -- replacing traditional aural seams with a far more elegant solution.

This isn't meant to be a sales pitch for Gemini Strike, nor is it a sales pitch for my services (but feel free to contact me anyway!) Instead, I write this to address a topic that is much deeper. In a game industry that is rapidly changing, it is important to consider progression on all fronts -- including music. Just as a bad score can ruin a great movie, a poorly implemented soundtrack can hurt a great game. When a player turns off the music in favor of their personal playlist, the soundtrack has failed. A soundtrack should be an essential part of the game -- something that players miss when it is turned off. Generative music is a considerable step closer to achieving that goal, and something that every developer should consider.

 

* Edit: Some would call this "adaptive music". I regard adapative music as falling within the category of generative music. Perhaps another topic for another post. :)


2013 Demo Reel!

2013-08-24 22:05:31 by DavidOrr

Hello all! I've just uploaded my 2013 Demo reel to the Audio Portal for (hopefully) your listening enjoyment. Fans of the zombie-filled Sonny series have a special treat waiting for them at 0:57 (bonus points if you know the name of the piece!)

http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/547626

2013 has been an extremely busy year for me, between graduate studies, teaching, and game composition. I've built a lot of great relationships with developers, both new and old, and I'm really excited for what's to come later in the year. The indie dev scene has really blossomed the past couple of years with the advent of mobile gaming (I'm looking at you, iOS), social networking, and kickstarter, and it's enabled some pretty fantastic games to come to market. As I slowly expand my reach outside of the indie scene to more bigger developers, I always find myself itching to go back to the indie devs. The attitude, passion, and honesty amongst the community shines brightly through an industry that is becoming increasingly corporate. Here's to you, Newgrounds!

Also, here's the demo on YouTube. If you like the music, Subscribe, comment, like, share, retweet, poke, lightly fondle, etc.


Sinjid OST Released!

2013-04-19 19:35:54 by DavidOrr

Hey Guys! Earlier this week, the Sinjid OST was released on iTunes, Google Play, with Amazon soon to follow. It clocks in at just under 23 minutes, with lots of music from the game, as well as freshly developed music based on the in-game score. We wanted to make sure everyone had access to it, so those of you with Spotify can stream it free-of-charge.

Check it out on iTunes!
or, on Google Play!

Thanks for all of your feedback, both positive and critical -- without it this soundtrack wouldn't have been the same!

Sinjid OST Released!



2013 has proven itself to be an extremely busy year! I've been working on a lot of different soundtracks on different platforms, and I thought I'd share some of them with you :)

First up, AeriaGames commissioned me to write music for their 2013 trailer for their game Alliance of Valiant Arms. AVA is an extremely popular Free-to-play first person shooter available on Steam and Aeria's website. The trailer music is an electrifying mix of epic orchestra and electronica, and is sure to please those looking for something with some kick to it!

Watch the AVA 2013 Trailer!

Next up, is the release of Sinjid! Krin and I have been working on this for many months, and it's great to see it hit prime time. For those of you that don't know, Sinjid uses a complex generative music system that creates a unique soundtrack based on over 70 loops! Every time you play the game, you'll hear a new version of the soundtrack weave in and out of the gameplay. During beta testing, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the music, and I'm actively working on a ~20 minute OST to be released very soon!

Check out Sinjid and have a listen yourself!

In other news, I've received several inquiries from various orchestras and ensembles about performing the Castle Crashers theme music, "Four Brave Champions". As a result, I'm going to be orchestrating a version for full orchestra over the next few months so I can produce scores for performance. With any luck, I'll get a live recording of the music to share with you!

New soundtracks; Sinjid, and more!


2012 DEMO REEL!

2012-08-11 23:48:16 by DavidOrr
Updated

Hello everyone! I just uploaded my 2012 DEMO REEL to Newgrounds. It features an assortment of music from both finished and upcoming game releases on various platforms, including Xbox, iOS, and (of course!) Flash. You may recognize some of the tracks if you closely follow my work, but I assure you -- there's plenty there that you haven't heard! :)

...And while I have your attention, check out my new YouTube channel, with a bunch of the music from games I've scored over the years. I figured since a number of people have uploaded my music to YouTube anyway, might as well have an "official" channel people can visit to listen to it all in one place -- all the cool kids are doing it!

If you're interested in a customized audio quote, or licensing royalty-free audio from my website, feel free to send me an email (davidorr[at]davidorr.net ) or PM me on Newgrounds. Enjoy!


Sinjid Update #1 -- The Music System!

2012-02-16 14:50:53 by DavidOrr
Updated

This post is first installment in a series of development posts about Sinjid.

Krin and I are busily working on the upcoming Sinjid game! The most recent installment to the series was released well before the Sonny games, so some of you might be unfamiliar with the series. It was quite a hit here on Newgrounds, as well as on Armorgames and many other sites across the web.

What I'm going to talk about today is the music system Krin and I have built for Sinjid.

One of the challenges most flash and indie developers face is balancing the amount (and quality) of music with cost. You don't need to have a degree in finance to understand that the more music you commission from a composer, the more it will cost! So compromises are made, usually by skimping on the quantity of music.

When I was composing the music for Colony, back in 2009, Krin and I decided we'd try to add variety to the soundtrack by fragmenting the music into small chucks (instead of one long loop). This way, the system introduces some variety and randomization into the soundtrack. We had a great deal of success with the experiment, and people really enjoyed the randomized music!

With Sinjid, Krin and I are taking that concept, and expanding on it in nearly every way imaginable. The amount of music in the game is way higher than any of the other games we've been working on. We're already working with over 40 loop fragments, with plans on adding in a lot more. On top of that, we're splitting the music into multiple channels that can be layered -- meaning that the music is not only randomized from left to right, but from top to bottom.

What's more interesting, however, is how we're structuring the system (dubbed "Canary"). We've programmed Canary to have some knowledge of what is happening musically. It isn't simply gluing random bits together, it is making musical decisions about where it wants to music to go. Sometimes, it will decide to modulate, bringing the music to a new key. Sometimes, it will decide to slowly fade out the instruments, one by one, to bring the soundtrack in the background. It's really quite incredible -- I am amazed at how fresh the soundtrack is sounding to me even after spending many, many hours writing and tweaking the music!

If you're interested in hearing a sample of what the system is capable of producing, let me know. I'll talk with Krin to see if we can put up a teaser of Canary! :)