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Devlogs & Projects / Music Crash Course
« on: April 05, 2016, 02:58:22 am »
(I doubt I will finish this).
By Viewer Request:
Music Crash Course

Required Materials
Entry Exam: Hearing Pitch
Lesson 1: Distances

Music is relevant to some people here because of the overlap of pixel art with game development, and the overlap of game development with music.  I understand that this topic is stretching the boundary of this forum's focus, but since they are members of this forum who have asked me to make a guide, I am posting it here.

Required Materials
Beware of getting lost in a search for your holy grail of music tools!  A piano, paper, and pencil is all that was required by most of the composers in history, and many people today.  However, since this guide is intended for game music, you will need a way of making an audio recording your composition.

Be aware of these two types of musical recordings on a computer:
  • Audio recording, the computer equivalent of a cassette tape, which stores the actual sound waves you hear. (*.wav, *.aiff, *.ogg, *.mp3, *.flac, )
  • MIDI recording, the computer equivalent of sheet music, which stores instructions of which notes to play, at which volumes, at which times, on which instruments, etc. (*.mid)

[TODO] Talk about recording live music, MIDI keyboards, and computer-generated instruments.

I suggest any tool with a piano-roll editor, e.g.
My personal reccomendation is PxTone (delete its japanese.ico file for English), which can be run under GNU/Linux and Mac OS X with Wine.  See this list for other options.
Look for this list of software for. 

Entry Exam: Hearing Pitch
Listen to this recording of eight notes in sequence.  Do these notes sound like they are going up, or down; getting higher, or lower?
A: The notes are getting higher.

If you answered incorrectly, I am sorry, this guide will probably not be useful to you.  I will not be teaching how to recognize pitch in this guide, because I don't know how to teach it.  If you are determined to learn, please don't let me discourage you.  I suggest you search for a teacher who can teach you how to recognize pitch.  If you have no luck there, but are still interested in music, you might be interested in becoming a drummer, or making rhythmically-focused music.

If you answered correctly, congratulations; you have the makings of a musician, and this guide may be useful to you!

This lowness or highness is called pitch.
For the intents and purposes of this guide, pitch is practically synonymous with audio frequency, which is the speed of the vibration of the air (sound waves). A low pitch corresponds to a slowly vibrating frequency, while a high pitch corresponds to a quickly vibrating frequency. If you want to learn the true distinction between pitch and frequency, I suggest reading Wikipedia (1, 2).

The lower range of pitch is called the bass range, and the higher range of pitch is called the treble range.  The instrument known as the bass is so named because it plays low notes in the bass range.

If you look at a piece of piano sheet music, you will probably see something like this:

Notice that there are two sets of five horizontal lines.  These sets are called staves. The top staff is marked with a treble clef ( ), and on it will be written the symbols for higher treble notes, which a pianist would play with their right hand.  The bottom staff is marked with a bass clef ( ), and on it will be written the symbols for lower bass notes, which a pianist would play with their left hand.  On a piano keyboard, the notes are arranged low to high from left to right.  This is only because a piano would be hard to play when turned on its side.  In sheet music, the notes are arranged more logically: low to high from bottom to top, with time extending to the right.  Your music software's piano-roll editor is also arranged this way.

Lesson 1: Distances
To a composer the most important part of music is the distance, or spacing, between the notes.  Notes spaced in time create rhythm. Notes spaced in pitch create harmony.

[TODO] Finish Lesson 1.

Pixel Art / Roller-Sloth
« on: March 18, 2016, 01:27:50 pm »
My sister and I were talking about Sonic games, of which I'm not a huge fan, and I wondered why they didn't at least choose an ironically slow animal like a sloth, which got me thinking: a sloth on roller-skates is a funny idea, and Sonic isn't the game I wish it was.  Now I have a seed of an idea for a roller-skating sloth game.  I am not a programmer, and I don't know how much I will want to grow this seed, but for now I am making some graphics.

Here is a roller-skate:

Now that I have made it I think I'd have to be better and quicker at drawing and animating before attempting this scale,
but this could be used as an icon.  I am afraid of drawing the knot on the laces, but I'll give it a try and post what happens. The boot is not laced to the top, but it could be if you think that would look better.


Tried to clean it up and colored the laces at Ambivorous's suggestion.

Pixel Art / Tilting Space Ship
« on: February 26, 2016, 12:36:28 am »
By tilting, I don't mean jousting, I'll save that idea for another day; and by space ship, I mean more of a space plane.  I can't imagine how six stubby wings would be of any help in space or atmosphere, but I thought they looked cool.

I'd like critique on the animation, please. The nose of the plane is a red silhouette because I haven't thought of a good nose yet. The palette is DB32.

Pixel Art / (C+C) Another Platform Game Mockup with a Cave and a Robot
« on: April 14, 2011, 01:16:25 pm »
Here is a rather incoherent mockup for a platform game I'm planning. I used Arne's 16 color palette, because I wanted it to look as if it was a game for some imaginary restricted 8-bit system. Currently the sprites are 3 colors only: the main color, transparent color, and a special outline color which is only visible on top of backgrounds with low contrast to the sprite. I will probably post quite a few updates, I plan on spending a lot of time on this to get it looking good.

It's meant to be viewed at least at 2x magnification. How do you think this could be improved? Do you like the 'style' or think it just looks amateurish/boring? Are the sprites readable? All comments and critiques are very much appreciated!

Thanks a lot,

Pixel Art / OctoroC64 (C+C would be awesome)
« on: March 29, 2011, 12:26:50 am »
Hello Pixelation,

After seeing an awesome C64 Metroid mockup by vierbit I was inspired to pixel something in the C64 palette with wide pixels. I've never really done much pixelling before, so this probably wasn't the best idea.

I used this as a reference:

Ptoing warned me that I can't AA to cyan with the light grey, I'll get right on that.
What else can I do to improve? Any critiques welcomed!  :)

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