You know, it just wouldn't be a blog if I didn't just generally write something in it every now and again other than the usual fun topics I'm going for. Since this is technically also a journal of trials and tribulations as a person trying and learning his way into the field of audio, I feel that this is relevant. There are times I have doubts, there are times I feel like my audio will get nowhere and there's a chance it will not improve with no real direction or hope.
Sometimes I wondered if I wasted several years of my life trying to learn, get motivated and be inspired by audio and if there is even a place for me. The strive for inner peace begins.
Being a lover of philosophy, I tend to look for stories and quotes to come in terms with the feelings I'm trying to overcome.
I think I found a good one:
"My grandfather was a painter ... was looking at me and he said "Harry, there are two kinds of tired, there's good-tired, and there's bad-tired. Ironically enough, bad-tired can be a day that you won. But you won other people's battles, you lived other people's days, other peoples agendas, other people's dreams - and when it was all over there was very little "you" in there, and when you hit the hay at night, somehow you toss and turn, you don't settle easy. Good-tired, ironically enough, can be a day that you lost. But you don't have to tell yourself, because you knew you fought your battles, you chased your dreams, you lived your days, and when you hit the hay at night, you settle easy - you sleep the sleep of the just, and you can say "take me away". Now, Harry, all my life I've painted... God I would've loved to be more successful, but I have painted and I have painted, and I am good-tired, and they can take me away."
--from Harry Chapin's Gold Medal collection
Basically, as long I am here, as long as I am doing something I love, be it playing the games I love to play, learning about the sounds I love to hear, tinkering with the instruments and tools designed by people who love their work, and as long as it is entertaining to create the audio, be it horrible nonsensical gibberish or not, it is still worth pursuing. Even as I type this I know that I have been losing sleep coming in terms with this truth, and I will continue to polish my resolve until my actions finally reflect this along with new found discipline and perseverance in this field.
I'd like to share a thought about the subliminal importance of sound design in a game.
Though very feint, there are small little reminders that one can pick up on to show that when audio is designed for a game, it is intentional.
For this example I will use a pretty recent game's menu screen.
When you are at this particular screen, you hear this piece of music:
There is much praise and admiration towards the audio in Mass Effect 3, starting right at the beginning of the game with the song titled "We Face Our Enemy Together" by Sam Hulick...with traces of the original theme echoing through the start menu later in the song in particular, which coincide with the game's important connection to its previous games.
When you press start, you hear this confirmation sound:
People have also given this particular sound praise as well.
So you hear the music, and you hear the confirmation sound, but I ask you: Can you hear the connection between the two? To put it simply, the sound actually is a part of the song.
You'll notice the pitch matches the song, they are even in the same key:
The song is playing like this:
Confirmation sound is playing this:
Together they sound like this:
I conclude that this was done intentionally in order not just to make a smooth transition from the start screen to the main menu of the game, but also to leave a lasting impression on the player. No matter where you press that start button, being the player, you hold the power to press start and contribute playing along with the start screen. This kind of method is a great way to set the tone of the game and the player feels it. The player controls everything in this game, including the start screen and its musical tones.
There are many games (from what I've seen, a lot if RPGs or Action/Adventure) that seem to have this connection, and use the menu screen to prove that point. This is very important to arcades as well, since most arcade machines are all about presentation, from dropping the quarters to pressing the start button.