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! :)