Sinjid Update #1 -- The Music System!

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

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! :)


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2012-02-16 21:42:56

Sounds good! Keep up the work


2012-03-19 22:23:51

I'd love to see what you two have been working on! Of course, for that matter, I'd just love any sort of game Krin puts out, especially with your scoring behind it. :D


2012-04-03 20:00:03

Wow guys, that sounds incredible. And it is a brilliant concept. Keep up the good work, just reading about it is inspiring.


2012-04-28 08:21:07

Great! I'm eager for the release of the upcoming Sinjid game.
And I am also eager to hear its soundtrack.


2012-06-19 00:31:28

I have long awaited the day where software of this magnitude would exist. Of course, I'm still very new to composing, and especially so to music software. I'm definitely interesting in seeing how this pans out. A question I wanted to ask is, once the Canary system is finished, are you planning on sharing this with the community? Also, how exactly does it work? Is it standalone software, or a plugin? I apologize if I sound noobish, but it's only because I am. Keep up the amazing work.

DavidOrr responds:

That's a very good question -- and I don't really have an answer on what we're going to do with it at this point. As Krin and I add both features and musical content, it's becoming clear that this is not just a cool idea, but a potential game-changer for the industry, so I want to be very careful with what we do with it. I've spent quite literally HUNDREDS of hours working on on the design concept and musical content, and Krin has put in many additional hours tweaking and implementing new features.

You can hear early iterations of the system in all of the gameplay videos of Sinjid Krin has posted on his blog, but the system is much smoother, more complex, and diverse than what can be seen on the surface of these videos. We're hoping to include a very 'lite' version of it in the upcoming BETA, but I'm going to see if we can start posting some samples so I can put my money where my mouth is :)

As for the system itself -- it's all actionscript based, and I'm working with it as a standalone swf file. That said, it will ultimately be included in Sinjid, so I suppose it's capable of running both stand-alone and as a plugin :)