Necropolis development is starting to kick into full gear and some screenshots should be rolling out fairly soon. In the meantime, I’d like to talk about music. Music composition is a hobby I’ve picked up just for Necropolis, so it’s still a very new craft for me and one I don’t consider myself anywhere near an expert in. But the process is super enjoyable and I even found myself orchestrating some themes just for the fun of it–I’d recommend it as a hobby to anybody looking for a new creative outlet.
So, I’d like to share a little bit about what goes into creating this music. First, check out the sample below:
This track is the theme for Marcus, who is the protagonist of Necropolis. The general theme I was going for was one of cool-headed determination and I think it turned out pretty nicely. I also mixed in snippets from Noelle’s theme (which you can probably find a work-in-progression version of under the title “Manor” if you browse my Soundcloud) at the 45 second mark–a melody that has sort of become the unofficial theme of the game.
Like everything in Necropolis, I’m trying to simulate the NES, so the instrumentation is comprised of simple waveforms. It uses one square wave for the melody. During portions of the melody I apply a small low frequency oscillator to the pitch to give it a vibrato effect. The guitar is a square wave with a 25% duty cycle, giving it a little twang, but with rapid decay/release to make it sound like a plucked instrument. The bass pattern is a simple triangle wave. For percussion, the snare, hat, and crash are noise waves, while the kick drum is a square waveform which undergoes a rapid frequency slide. The NES actually had a very low quality PCM channel which was used for more complex waveforms in percussion and sound effects, but I like working with the square/triangle/noise restrictions more.
I create the music using software called FL Studio, which I’ve found both intuitive and fun to learn. You basically create individual patterns (or loops), arranging notes in a piano roll interface. You then assemble these patterns into a complete song. For this song, the finished playlist looks like this (click to enlarge):
At some point I’ll blog more about my creative process rather than the more technical details of music composition. I plan on writing a new blog post every week about some facet of Necropolis. Next week’s will probably be a general overview of my design goals and the basic features that are planned, which is probably what I should’ve done this week, but whatever.