Archive for the ‘Team Blog’ Category

Music Blog #5

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Alpha 9 introduced the Roman Republic into the game. As I was looking forward to working on the Romans since I first joined the team, needless to say I was excited! However finding the proper sound proved to be challenging, and several options were thoroughly examined before finally deciding to go with a mandolin, an English horn and pizzicato strings. This combination of sounds resulted in two tracks: “Juno Protect You”, and “Elysian Fields”.

Also, early peace tracks were added for two civilizations: The Celts got “Highland Mist” with live fiddle performed by Shir-Ran Yinon, and the Iberians got “An old Warhorse goes to Pasture”, with live guitar, fife and percussion played by me.

“The Road Ahead” was remixed, and now features live violin and viola by Shir-Ran Yinon (besides the solo parts, about 40 separate viola channels were recorded to create the vast string section sound!), as well as a flawless flute solo by Marta Mc’Cave.

Alpha 10 included “You are Victorious!”, the first victory track in the game (and a polite nod to AoE!), as well as the Hellenic tribes’ early peace track, “In the Shadow of Olympus” – based on the Greek bouzouki!
This is actually an instrument I have never played before, and borrowed from a friend solely for creating this score!

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:





Music Blog #4

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I’m taking a break from the regular blog progression to address a recent question I received – regarding the instruments I own that were used to create the sounds of 0 A.D. :

All these blogs make me wonder: Just how many instruments does Omri have? He seems to own 5-6 instruments for every civilization!

Let’s start with admitting that I have a problem… I am an instrument hoarder, I have around 40 different ones in my studio… Let’s take a look at the instruments that were used to create each civilization’s distinct sound:

Celtic Tribes: The sounds of Celtica are based on a duo of D tin whistle and low D tin whistle, along with an Irish bouzouki, a Bodhràn (traditional Irish drum), a rain stick, and a fender acoustic guitar. Some tracks also feature a Celtic harp (sampled) and a fiddle played live by Shir-Ran Yinon!

Hellenic Tribes: The Hellenic sound was created using a Greek bouzouki and a flute (played by Marta Mc’Cave!), as well as large frame drums, a djembe, a harp (sampled) and horns. The Greek bouzouki is so prominent, some of the Hellenic pieces are based entirely on it!

Persia: The sound of Persia consists of several stringed instruments – a handmade Oud, (traditional middle-eastern instrument with 11 strings and no frets), a handmade Saz (Turkish instrument with 6 strings), and a slightly more modern – home made fretless acoustic bass guitar.
As well as some percussion sounds – an African djembe, a Syrian darbuka, and a pair of bamboo shakers.

Rome: The primary sound in the music of Rome is a mandolin, as well as the wind chimes which were recorded on my porch!

Iberia: The voice of Iberia is centered around the Spanish guitar, as well as a Fife, a tambourine and a shaker.

Carthage: For Carthage I brought in percussion artist Dror Parker to play frame drum, darbuka, riq and toms. He recorded those in freestyle, and I then built the music around his work. While the Duduk is sampled, the bamboo flute was played live.

Mauryan Indians: Sadly, I do not (yet) own a sitar, so I came up with a replacement and used my homemade fretless guitar. I also recorded a snake charmer that was actually bought in India, finger cymbals, and a homemade rice shaker.

On the next post we’ll go back to the chronicles of making this score :)

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav.

Featured Contributor: Pureon

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

It’s time again to take a closer look at one of the contributors to 0 A.D. This time we’ve chosen to feature Pureon, one of the most versatile contributors we have, but I’ll let him elaborate on that below. Let’s just say that it was an easy decision to feature him, and that we are very grateful that he’s part of the Wildfire Games team and community.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Prior to joining the 0 A.D. team I participated in online community projects for games such as AOE3 and Supreme Commander, however my experience of RTS games started with the classics AOE1 and Total Annihilation. My enthusiasm for creating user generated content for the early generation of RTS games helped define what degree I studied at university and therefore my current employment in the creative industry.

Some AoE3 units I created in 2006:

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A couple of Supreme Commander units from 2009:

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What have you found most interesting about contributing to 0 A.D.?

I first heard about 0 A.D. about 6 years ago, and at the time it looked good but no alpha releases were available to play or mod so it slipped my mind until 2010. That’s when I heard it had switched from closed development to opensource and had released a playable alpha. I was hooked. Why work on mods for commercial games when I can use my skills to shape a ‘real game’.

The variety of tasks I’ve been able to contribute to allows me to acquire new skills and keeps me motivated. Some of these tasks include 3D modeling, unit animations, map making, texturing units, designing the new website, managing the sound department, creating the trailer videos, and illustration (icons). Once triggers and a few other key features are implemented I’d really like to work on some scenarios for 0 A.D., just like I did for AoE 1,2 and 3.

Some random 0 A.D. stuff I’ve created:

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Anything you want to add?

Some Nostalgia:

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Music Blog #3

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Alpha 8 introduced the mighty Persians!

Looking to create a distinct sound, I picked up my oud, saz, acoustic bass, darbuka, djembe and bamboo shakers, and just started recording different combinations and ideas.From one session of recording my own improvisations came two new tracks: “Eastern Dreams“, and “Sands of Time“. Parts have been refined and some orchestral work was thrown in, and the unique voice of Persia was ready to go into the game! A8 also saw the addition of the first generic peace track, “The Road Ahead” – which was (deliberately) long, with several changing moods. On November 2011, I was awarded WFG’s ‘Member of the Month’, for which I am still very honored and thankful!

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:


Music Blog #2

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

As we progressed to Alpha 7, the Main Menu was redesigned by the team, and the music changed accordingly with a track titled “Honor Bound”.
(By the way I’d like to take a second here and thank all the team members for suggesting track titles!) Two new introductions to the game were the defeat track: “Dried Tears”, and the Carthaginian civilization – complete with two new tracks: “Peaks of Atlas” and “Mediterranean Waves”.
Percussion artist Dror Parker came in to record riq, frame drum, darbuka and tom parts, and I then built the music around his inspiring work!
Other then these distinct percussive sounds, Carthage was portrayed with a duduk and wooden flute.
Last but not least for Alpha 7, my three original A5 tracks were remixed and remastered, and flutist Marta Mc’cave came in to record the flute part on the Hellenic track, “Forging a City-State”.
Her improvisation over it was so awesome, that I added a whole segment to the piece based on it – and it is thanks to her mastery of the flute that this track is so alive, and remains one of my favorites today!

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:





Music Blog # 1

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Welcome to The Greek Theater, official 0 A.D. music blog!

This blog will chronicle the making of 0 A.D.’s music, since I assumed the role of composer and music department lead for Wildfire Games!

It is most appropriate to begin with a brief thank you to Aviv (Jeru on the forums) for recruiting me to WFG in the first place.

It was March 2011, and around the release of Alpha 5, Edetania:

Being both a (casual) gamer and a (professional) musician, I knew exactly what I want to hear in game – I had no interest in creating a period score, nor do I posses enough knowledge of the actual music of 0 A.D.

I decided the score had to be first and foremost – game music, and it must be compelling in that context!

In the interest of maintaining continuity, and ensuring each civilization in the game had it’s own, unique sound – I decided to completely rewrite the score, one piece at a time.

The first three tracks that came to be are “Celtic Pride“, “Forging a City-State“, and “Harsh Lands, Rugged People“: peace tracks for the Celts, Hellenes and Iberians respectively.

Given that these pieces had to feel relevant and integral to a massive war game – I chose to fully orchestrate them.

A simple yet effective device to identify the various civilizations was instrumentation:

On top of the orchestra, the Celts were portrayed with tin-whistles, highland pipes, a bodhràn and a fiddle, the Hellenes with a harp, bouzouki and flute, and the Iberians with a classical guitar (true, it did not exist around 0 A.D., but within the context of modern game music – it worked for me).

 

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!

- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:

Packing Siege: Work In Progress

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Packing siege is one of the many requested and long-planned features for 0 A.D.  Currently, siege engines in 0 A.D. can move and attack freely like a human unit, which isn’t very realistic. In the real world, siege engines would have to be transported to and constructed on the battle field. We will add the concept of “packing”, where a siege engine is either packed or unpacked. If packed, it can move but can’t attack, whereas if unpacked, it can attack but can’t move. Packing or unpacking will incur a delay, during which the engine will be unable to attack or move. This will enhance the realism of the game, but also add to the strategy of using siege engines — the player will need to carefully consider where and when to deploy them.

Fellow 0 A.D. developer and artist Pureon has been working with me to add this feature. The plan is to have at least packed and unpacked models of the siege engines, many of which have already been added to SVN. In the future, we might add transition animations of the engines packing and unpacking, as well as appropriate sounds.

Here is a rough demo of how siege packing might look in 0 A.D.:

Some of the challenges encountered so far:

  • Add auto-pack and auto-unpack: when a packed engine is ordered to attack, it should move into range and unpack; when an unpacked engine is ordered to move, it should pack, then move into position.
  • Make sure they continue to work with formations.
  • Make sure order queuing works as expected while packing.
  • Determine how or if we’ll want to use animations.
  • Any considerations for the AIs?