Category Archives: Video Game Music

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of July 28, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Implemented all of the papered-out new moves from last week into the framework except for Defense Command and Neutralize
* Created, papered out, and implemented other new moves: Counter Stance, Dark Flare, Dark Force Horn, Draining Field, Flashy Flips, Piercing Horn, Regenerate, Shadow Beam, Silence, Spirited Steps, Touching Twirls
* Created and papered out other new moves: Binding Blade, Cleanse, Dousing Slash, Energy Slice, Feint Critical, Healing Ebb, Siphoning Edge, Sopor Slice, Teasing Edge, and two more with placeholder names
* Created and haven’t yet papered out one last new move: Compel
* Finished AI for 9 of 13 enemies from last week
* Started “Musical Inspirations” section on the wiki

Current focus

Battle balance followed by the transition to 2D.

Sample stuff

Red = Leaf
Green = Celty
Blue = Recca
Purple = all

No excuses, no regrets, no hesitation
We’ll ride the wind! We’ll live the dream!
Find what we seek! Say what we mean!
No excuses, no regrets, no hesitation

Somewhere out there is the good and right
We’ll pursue that place with all our might
Something more and pure, something real and true
And I’ll chase it forever along with you

With our hopes and prayers, with courage and whim
We’ll find it! For sure! From our fire within
Stretch our legs and run, stretch our wings and soar
Finding wonders we’ve never dreamed of before

No excuses, no regrets, no hesitation
We’ll ride the wind! We’ll live the dream!
Find what we seek! Say what we mean!
No excuses, no regrets, no hesitation

I cast off safety, I shrugged off the bore
Life is nothing if it’s not a thri~~~ll
We flourish in rain and we thrive in the storm
All a matter of spirit and wi~~~ll

Come trouble or delay, come whatever danger may
We’ll face it down and ask for mo~~~re
We won’t find our fill until we’ve climbed every hill
We’ll open each door, we’ll search and explore
We’ll welcome each day and toss the past away
Whatever besets us, we’ll adventure still!

Weekly goals

* Finish the other four enemies’ AIs
* Balance test all 13 of the latest enemies
* If character design rounds resume immediately on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, those become top priority


Stretched in different directions this week! Stuff to talk about:

Lyrical Considerations

Hearing the title theme for Vanguard Valkyrie inspired me to further flesh out the lyrics of Leaf’s/Celty’s/Recca’s song. Above is what I came up with for the week, although anything from an initial draft is subject to change. =)

I’ve toyed around with the idea of how many lyrical songs I want and whether I want them vocalized or not. Besides the one above, Cotelle, Minori, and Star have three songs conceptualized between them. I’m not a songwriter by trade, though, so I don’t want to fall into a “lyric creep” trap. It might only be two songs in the end.

If I Had A (Hundred) Million Dollars

A common question for indie game developers and designers is what kind of game they’d make if they had a hundred million dollars (or any number meant to be taken as unlimited funds). Honestly, the Dreamblazers I’m making is exactly what I’d make except that:

A) I’d have a five-minute anime intro video if you wait on the New Game screen.
B) I’d have a Musical Mode. Turn it on and all major scenes are fully vocalized songs.

(If I had a hundred billion dollars, I’d pay for every indie RPG that wants one to have a Musical Mode!)


I rarely mention the wiki because I rarely update it (except for the Designs in Progress page) due to how time-consuming it can be. I just got in a mood this past week to hunt down video game themes, though, partly because of that Vanguard Valkyrie theme and partly because I might need a composer soon…


Since I accomplished most of what I intended this past week, I’m approaching a major crossroads.

Any indie designer or developer naturally considers how much of the game should be finished before they release a beta into the wild for play testing. I’d always intended to complete one continent, which meant four dungeons, but now that I have two dungeons mostly done at least in terms of enemy stats, moves, and behavior, I’m questioning whether an earlier start would benefit me. If so, then I need to begin looking for a pixel artist and possibly a composer pretty soon.

No matter what I decide, my next major project after balance testing this last batch of enemies is to begin getting everything set up in 2D (with placeholder pixel art for now). That’s uncharted territory for me, so I have no expectations about challenge or difficulty. Still, I’m convinced that I have to do it now rather than later. Adding more enemies and testing battles is wonderful and fun, but it’s also in my comfort zone and—well, my own characters told me this week what they think of comfort zones. =P

The time is nigh to start roaming the land of Miharu! In 2D!

Xenoblade 4-Hour Impressions: Twelve Things I Already Love

My first four hours with Xenoblade: exceptional. It’s been a mashup manticore of Monster Hunter, Majora’s Mask, Dragon Quest I, VIII, and IX, Ys I, and a hint of Chrono Trigger.

I’ll start with what I can’t talk about:

    The characters. By my choice, I haven’t spent more than two minutes with any of them.
    The story, for the same reason. Other than the story-opening scenes and taking my first party member back to town, which I think was mandatory, I haven’t met the goals to see a single cutscene.
    Item creation, again for the same reason. The machine that creates orbs to slot into my equipment teases me by being broken and I don’t believe I can do anything yet with materials gathered from killing monsters. I assume I’ll eventually run into in-depth item synthesis.
    The battle system. Since I only have one character right now, I don’t consider it fair to judge. The power of various Arts depends on the hero’s positioning behind or to the side of enemies, but with no other characters around to distract monsters, I’ve only faced them head-on except for a single strike from behind to initiate the battle.

Even without those factors, I’ve already found at least twelve things to love to death.

See that door there? You don't? That door on the house right there? What do you mean you don't see a house? Well, anyway, the house has a door and Xenoblade's main character, Shulk, would be a little smaller than that door if shown here. Even so, I've covered nearly every inch of sea, shore, and slope in this landscape and quite a bit outside of the shot... And I've only just gotten started!
Explore it all. Every last step on land and every last kick of the legs at sea.

    1. The greatest fantasy game environment I’ve ever had the honor to play. Every hour I’ve spent with Xenoblade Chronicles has only been in the starting area around Colony 9 and even though I’ve only been slaughtering small-scale monsters like rabbits, mosquitoes, flamingos, and armadillo-cows, the seamless world around them is as awe-inspiring as any area of Dragon Quest VIII, which featured possibly the most impressive overworld in gaming until now. Every piece of land clicks; every untraveled pathway invites. Ever heard people say that they believe in a creator because nature has such a majestic quality that they can’t believe it came about by chance? I don’t find it logically convincing regardless of my personal belief, but I perfectly understand how it can be emotionally convincing.
    2. Ubiquitous instant warp points. For two and a half hours, I didn’t realize that every Landmark—a point where a fallen Shulk will respawn—was also an area that I could warp to in about three seconds at any moment I pleased. When I found out what I’d missed, I didn’t curse myself for my ignorance; I had no reason to. Every minute to and fro on foot had shown me a new path to travel, opened item collection possibilities I didn’t imagine, and wowed me with gorgeous scenery. Even so, the freedom of open teleportation across a supersized landscape doesn’t settle for boggling the mind; it expands the mind. True freedom unfurls the welcoming carpet of potential—not a red carpet, but white, an empty canvas across which the brush of the pioneer spirit cannot help but sweep, for the heart cannot long tolerate it to remain blank and must begin its strokes, each more thickly layering on a paint crafted from the liquid mix of dreams, ideals, and the soul.

Ten more lovable things after the jump. Is each one better than the last? You'll have to find out, won't you? Aren't you curious?

Dedicated Video Game Music Targets the Driver’s Seat

The phrase “video game music” means something to most people—and something different from the phrase “movie music,” for example. The question is what it means and why. The skeptic might say there’s no such thing as video game music, only music that happens to be in video games, but even if that was true, it wouldn’t change the way people think and feel. This is a matter of word association, but also prototype theory and a pinch of Plato’s Theory of Forms.

The question is what the term brings to mind and why. In order to say “Yes, Virginia, there is video game music,” games must have carved out their own musical genre with unique characteristics.

I chose a sampling of twelve pieces of game music with these criteria:

* I consider the theme excellent in its own right.
* No 8-bit music. While chiptunes are a recognizable invention of the industry, there must be more to video game music than its instrumentation.
* No more than four well-known themes. I want most listeners to be unfamiliar with at least a few compositions so that they won’t already have mental associations with gameplay and can judge on their own merits whether the tunes sound like “video game music.” Only four pieces come from franchises that have sold five million or more copies.

First up is a trio of intro music. We begin with the Monster Hunter Main Theme and I can’t imagine any better illustration of what doesn’t come to my mind when I think of video game music. The gradual build and drawn-out notes remind me of the majesty of Jurassic Park or the grand scale of Star Wars. It reminds me of something that makes me stare in awe, not jump in and participate.

Wild Arms delivers an amazing intro scene on animation alone, but runs stronger still with Into the Wilderness backing it up. Inspired and classic music. Specific to video games? Not a bit. Unlike the Monster Hunter theme, this theme does make me want to pick up a controller and start killing enemies, but this could have been seamlessly slotted into any Western movie.

After four games stuck in Japan, Sakura Wars V made it overseas in the seventeenth hour. It’s apparent within ten seconds of its opening theme, Warriors of the Earth, that we’re in for a big band jazz piece. Sakura Wars has always drawn from all music genres even from an in-universe perspective, so this isn’t the series to turn to for dedicated game music.

Keep the rhythm and click here!