Friday, October 14, 2011

UDK Packets and scripting

This week work had to do with taking the music and sound files that I had worked on for this project and put them into packets and script the sounds for the characters for our teams game. This did not run a smooth as I was hoping for, for this part of the process of the game making. I ran into quite a few set backs in this last stage of our project.

Last week when I started putting the remainder of the sound and music files into UDK packets, I notice a couple of the music files would not import into UDK. All the sound and music files where .wav files (which UDK should not have a problem with), but a couple of them would not import. It turn out to be a convert problem from my Pro-Tools system, when I bounce the track into the .wav file. All that was needed was to reconvert them .wav files in a converter that I have on my computer and all was fine.

A second thing that worked against me was the levels on some of the sounds and music files where low, when playback on my PC. I had to redo this tracks to give them enough levels without distorting the sound quality (mixing) that went into it. I went through every file checking levels into Pro Tools, adding gain if need be, and evening redoing some tracks. When all this was finished I had to remake my sound and music packet again, since it was updated. This took me the longest to do, but I really didn't mind it since this is what I live for.

The last thing I needed to do was work on the scripting of sound cues for each character (six total). This proved to be the wost for me. I never have done scripting before in UDK or any game engine before, wanted this challenge.....well I got it. I want to learn more about sound for gaming and get my hands on everything (or as much as possible for this project) dealing with sound, so I pushed to do the scripting for sound. Well, I got a quick lesson of it from my teacher on scripting and thought I had it down. I worked on the scripts a couple of days and was unsure if I was doing it right.

Today I brought the scripts to one of my teammates Tate to put into our game engine to make sure that they worked properly, unfortunately they did not. Our teacher Prof. Santello looked at the scripts and pointed out where I went wrong and how I need to do these scripts.

I did learn a lot from these experiences this pass week, that is for sure. If I could redo this week again I would definitely make some changes.  Some of the changes I would make would be making a sound packet for each character, a packet for weapons, the tank, and miscellaneous sounds (beside just dividing the .wav files in file folders) instead of lumping the sounds in one packet. Another thing I would change is making sure when I did one scripted send it Santello first, have him check it out, then I would send the script to my teammate Tate to make sure it worked. As for the sound levels, I looked as I broke even on this. It was unfortunate to go through all the files to check the levels, but in return I reedit some sounds, deleted extra copies of sounds, remixed some other sounds, and even added some new sounds for the characters. Well, that is it for this week. Until next week....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Music For The Game

This is the last real part of the game I had to put together for our game, which is the music. This was quite a bit of a change to me. I'm not much of a song writer. I only write when something comes to me, for instance like when I'm playing around on my guitar or piano with chords, sounds, or just playing around with notes. Another way I come up with ideas for songs are in dreams or when I'm calm and relax (could be driving in my car, watching a movie, or even in class). When I'm force to come up with ideas for music class or even this project.  It was difficult to produce ideas, because of the stress of coming up with a great song (even if it was only a minute long). It felt like I had a gun to my head sometimes when I was writing.

The amount of songs I had to come up with was: four level pieces, one secret area level, credits, intro to the game piece, enemy  song, ending boss piece, and a menu piece. In total there are ten piece all together for this game. Our teacher Prof. Santello gave me permission to reuse songs if we like, but my other teammates said no. I think they where taking advantage that there was a musician on the team and want new music for everything, which made my job harder to keep coming up with new music all the time.

The first piece of music I did was for our first level the "Kitchen" level. This one I quite enjoyed doing. I enlist my friend from music school at College of DuPage to help me out, her name is Jaime. I gave her my draft of the music piece that we where to do and revise it a little together. From there we listed all the instruments that we where going to use for this piece. This was a little bit of a change, because they where instruments we did not have. They where percussion instruments that we needed for this piece. So, I called my percussion teacher from College of DuPage (Mike Folker) and asked him if I could come over and record some of the instruments with my portable Tascam DAT machine. He was all for it and gave me some times that where available to record when nobody was around so that I won't have bleed through of other people or instruments on my recording.  We went to College of DuPage a couple days later to record: Chimes, Ocean Drum, Vibes, and Bells. I used my portable Tascam DAT machine to record apron and used Shure 57 condenser microphones. See the mic pattern of this mics below.
File:Polar pattern cardioid.png
This Picture can be found at:
There is more about cardiod mics and what they do at:
About Shure 57 microphones can be found at:

I used a mic technique called stereo coincident pair, to record these instruments in stereo. This this technique is best used to record on a single instrument verse other stereo techniques. Other techniques would only leave a space sound in the recording. Another reason used this technique instead of mono recording, was simple, this DAT machine only records in stereo otherwise the instrument would oly be heard on the left or the right side of the recording. This would be a no-no, unless I was doing something creative like one instrument on one side another instrument on the other side, but I don't recommend this at the recording stage. Here is an example of a coincident pair technique.
These pictures can be found with other mic techniques pictures at:

Once I recorded these instruments I headed over the record studio (V Note Studio) to put the recordings into Pro Tools session to be edit and mixed. When I was putting this song together in the session and playing back everything I did at College of DuPage, I realized it need a little something. I used a MIDI sound of a cello which add a little more flavor to the song. I took out most of the bells except the into of the song, because it didn't fit in the piece as I thought. It was too much for this piece. The sound I was going for was a mystical, calming, and soothing sound. So I just had the bells for a couple seconds in the beginning and faded it out and what was used for the rest of the piece was the MIDI cello part, vibes, and the ocean drum (which gave that mystical sound).

The next piece I did was the four level (the Bedroom). Why I did this level right away was because this piece was the only feedback I got from my team of the sound that was need for this level (I never end up getting any feedback on how the other main levels should sound....which made it harder to write for). This was the easiest to write for, because I had the piece already in my head and my team had a very similar idea on how this level should sound. This song is a peaceful, relaxing, and a music box sound. To get this sound I used the chimes and bells recording from College of DuPage, plus I once again I used a MIDI sound and played a part on keyboard using that MIDI sound. I was able to knock this out in a ten minutes.

For the the "Intro of the Game" and "Menu" pieces was all done on MIDI. I used a couple of different sounds for this piece and layered it. I was pretty happy on how this came out. As for the intro piece, was created by my friend Jaime. Mainly she was tinkering on the keyboard for fun as I was going through the very long list of sound that the MIDI program had. When I came cross the sound that end up being used for this game and with her playing the different chords on the keyboard the intro song was born. The Intro song has a typical game sound. It is uplifting, happy, medium fast tempo to excite the player to enter our game. The "Menu" song was a calming, mystical, and happy sound to it. These songs where done in session in August.

The Credits and Vent pieces was done in September at V Note Studio. The "Credit" song was happy, calming, relaxing sound to this piece. For this piece I recorded myself playing my classic acoustic guitar playing in G major, using an AKG 414 microphone. Why this microphone was, because the range that this mic can pick up, dynamics can be used for, and this is a great microphone to used for acoustic instruments (beside ribbons mics which the studio did not have). Here is a picture of an AKG 414 below.
This picture was from: Can find more about the AKG and what it can do at:

Once I got a great track sound, it was mixed inside Pro Tools. It give more to the track (beside me playing  just guitar) I add a MIDI sound of a flute. I just played the chords in each measure of the G major song on the keyboard using the MIDI sound. This work perfectly for what the team was shooting for this area.

For the "Vent" piece, the sound that I was going for was a simple and deeper tone then the main levels. Once again I used the MIDI program and keyboard, but I only used one sound for this entire song. These songs where finished in late September.

For the remainder of the songs (Foyer, Living Room, and Boss) where done over a co-worker house from my regular job. These songs where done on other music program Sibelius. The Living Room (level 2) was the hardest to write for. The question was always in my head, "What does a living room music sound like?". I wrote two pieces, but eventually scraped them. I went to my co-worker to get some ideas from him since I was stuck. We bounce a lot of ideas from each other and came up with a styling of Burt Bacharach sound with our own touches. We came up with more of a lounge sound, which worked for this level.

For the Foyer level (level 3) was more of an inviting, peaceful, uplifting sound. Once again using a MIDI program was used with different sounds and was layered to created this song.

The last song was the Boss song. It was done in Sibelius and the sound where layered. This was a faster tempo, dark, and aggressive sound to give that threatening sound when the player is dealing an enemy. This piece was my favor, mainly of all the ideas that came out of this piece and how easy it was to come up with this piece.  This was done at the very end of September. For information and pictures on Sibelius look at caption below.

The worst situation was doing the last boss song (ending boss). I was working with two other musicians on this. One is a friend of mine (he the drummer) and the other is friend of the my drummer (he is the keyboard player). I was suppose to play guitar for this piece. It never happened. The drummer was in a car accident and screwed up his right arm and the keyboard player was not blowing our sessions off. I having to come up with another song (which was a shame because the song that I had for the game was awesome). I end up pulling out an song I wrote a year and half ago that was never used for anything. I used some sound effects for the song, processors, and MIDI keyboard for this song. It was great to finally use this song, but I wish the other song was used instead, because all the hard work and sound fitted so well with this scene of the game.

This was the longest and hardest part for me for this game, because of the amount of song, lack of input of teams for song ideas, and amount of time that was need (3 sessions) to do this part of the game. Now it on to scripting the sound and editing in the game in UDK. Until next time.....

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bed Bug model

For our game, I had to design a bed bug as one of the ending bosses of the game. This took me quite a bit of time, because of other classes, homework, studying, working, and not having much modeling experience. I did enjoy making this model by sharping my skills and all that went into making this model.
The first step in my process was looking up bed bug pictures to get an idea on what they looked like (build and texture). I never been so grossed out in a project before. These two picture below I used to help create my bed bug model throughout the entire process of making the model. It gave the best view and texture ideas for the bed bug model.

By using these pictures here I went into 3dsMax to design my bed bug.

I started by using standard primitive shape, the sphere. I felt this shape was the best way to create my bug. I then flatten the sphere quite a bit to give the bug body. Once I got the shape of my desired  body type for the bug, I began extrude for the legs.  One of my team members showed me on how to give my first leg joints and more flexibility to my bug model. One of my other team mates brought to my attention that using symmetry, mirror feature in 3ds max that would save me time and give me more accuracy to my model. This did help lot. From this point I also started to extrude smaller pieces of the body toward the head and final the head and eyes.

Extruding from the body making the legs and head.

Using the symmetry feature in 3ds max then welding

The legs took me the longest part on the model, mainly because the joints' shape and making three of them. I had to go back several times on the legs, either correct something on it or perfecting the shape with the other legs.
Working on the three legs

Once I completed the three legs I work on shaping the body more like in the first bed bug picture. Keeping on a round, full body with a point at the end of his body. Once I got his main body to my liking I moved toward the smaller section toward the head and shaped it (as best I could) to the pictures I have on the bed bug. This was only achieved by extruding from the body and then using the scaling tool to give the desire shape. From the small part of the body I extrude the head, eyes, antennas, and nose (or I think that it's nose from the pictures).

Body screen shot (top view)

Body screen shot (front view)

After I finish making the bug model, I end up using Turbo Smooth on the model to give my model a rounder smooth look to the model so it didn't look boxy. I was very pleased once I put the turbo smooth on the model gave the model a more realism and depth to the model, but unfortunately I would have to take off the turbo smooth feature off the model, because of the poly count on the model. I was so disappointed that I had to do this. The bug model had to go back to the boxy look shape. I wish I had more time to round it out myself, but there wasn't enough time to do this because of the sound effects, music sections that I also have to for this everything else.
Turbo smooth feature on the bug model (top view)

Turbo Smooth feature on the bug model (front view)

Now it was onto the mapping section of the bug model. The UV mapping took longer than I thought, but it wasn't to bad. Unfortunately I could not just do one side and be done, like I did making the model. I had to do edit the seams on every body part on both sides on the bug model. I started first with the legs. I took the right and left third legs (the one furthest to the back) and made two sections of them (one for the right leg one for the left leg) on the map. The reason why I did this was mainly due to the way I made the leg during the build process of it (how I added the segments, causes the mapping of this leg to go into two sections).  From there I made one section of  each right  and left legs for the first and second legs. Then I did the eyes and antennas (which by the way where a pain in the ass to do because they are so thin). The last body part was the body. Divide the body into four sections ( making a right and left top body, and right and left bottom body sections). I did this by editing the seams on the top middle, bottom middle, and along the sides. For each body part I unwrapped UV in 3ds max by edit the seams, highlight the faces around the seams of that body part, and finale pelted each section. Once I had all my body parts I made my UV map in 3ds max (and saved it as a targa file). I then went into Photoshop to make the textures (skin) for the bed bug.  

Screen shot of Photoshop of UV map

 I came up with five color (textures) total for this bed bug, since there might be multiple bed bug that the main character might fight off (plus the team or myself could not come up with just one color for the bug). The colors are just solid color with with lines (ridges), these colors are purple, yellow, and green. The other two colors used where red and brown with textures added to the map. I layered the map by: eyes, legs, antennas, body, and/or lines (ridges) or texture file on the body.  Here are some screen shots of textures I made for the bed bug model inside Photoshop.
Screen shot of purple texture for the bug model in Photoshop 

Screen shot of green texture (without black background) for the bug model in Photoshop

Screen shot of brown texture with bed bug texture (picture) for the bug model in Photoshop

The first two left side columns are the sections of the legs of the bug model. The top middle section (the black color item) is the eyes of the bug model, which can only be seen by take away the black background in Photoshop. The item next to the eyes (first column toward the right) are the antennas section for the bug model. The items at the bottom right and middle are the body sections of the bug model (they are marked with lines or texture files).

Once I finish my texturing in Photoshop I went back into 3ds max and texture my bug model, by going into the material editor and placing the targa files from Photoshop into the editor and making them bitmaps. Here is the final product of the bed bug and all his glory.

Screen shot of yellow bed bug in 3ds max (front view)

Screen shot of yellow bed bug in 3ds max (top view)

Screen shot of yellow bed bug in 3ds max (render)

Screen shot of brown bed bug in 3ds max (top side view)

Screen shot of green bed bug in 3ds max (top side view)

Screen shot of purple bed bug in 3ds max (top side view)

Screen shot of red bed bug in 3ds max (top side view)

I really enjoyed make this model. I just wished I had more time to work on him some more, but he need to be finished right away. This model was a bit of a challenge for me when I first started to work on him, but as time went on it wasn't that bad. I really haven't done much modeling work, but would like to do more modeling in future projects in games. It was exciting to work on it and see how the bug would turn out, but I'm also glad that it is over as well. It time to focus on the music and sound of the project, which is my passion. The next blog will be all about my latest recording session in the studio, which was all about the music of our team's game. Until next time.....

Monday, September 19, 2011


The main part of this project I will be working on the sound and music. Last night I was working in the studio on the sound effects for our team's video game project. These sound effects where recorded and edit in one day. This is my favor thing to do (since I am a sound engineer). What was need in this half of the project was enemy characters sounds (which by the way was not easy), main menu sounds, a couple of main character sounds (jumping, getting hit, etc.), pick up items, etc.

I did all of these recording, mixes, and editing at a recording studio that I freelance at, call Vnote studios. To help me to get some of the sounds (voices) was one of the studio owner's was Mike V. To record these sounds effects I use a AKG 414 microphone. The reason I used this mic for the session was the AKG 414 is one of the best known reference condenser microphones for recording use.The AKG 414 has five pattern choices: cardioid, hypercardioid, figure-8, omni and the new wide cardioid position, all switchable electronically from the front of the mic. It also has pad and roll off switches making it a great, all round, well made studio condenser microphone suitable for just about any job. To know more about this mic check this web page:  I just used cardioid pattern for the majority of the recordings and hypercardioid position for two sound effects (mainly why I did this was I liked how the sound being produced with mic pattern into the recording). For the most part a cardioid mic is best used for direct sound. It will pick up one object that you want to record instead of the whole room, which what you want when recording a sound effect.  
Here is a condenser polar patter looks like:File:Polar pattern cardioid.png
 File:Polar pattern hypercardioid.png
And here is a hypercardioid pattern:
Can find more about mics and their patterns at:

The two sound effects I used this pattern for was the "book drop" sound effect and "walking on metal (character walking in a vent)".  Why this worked so well for these effects was when the large book was dropped it echoed in the room, which the direct sound was picked up as well as the room but....only a little. This great effect for the recording, because when this was put into Pro Tools and mixed it gave a little bit of a low end bonce sound when the book drop. For our team's game it has cartoon look and feel to the game, with this sound it would fit right in because the book will drop and have more of a cartoon sound to it. For the vent sound, I took a pick of  ventilation (a part of the vent to the air conditioner) and tapped on it with my fingers. This worked well to give a fuller sound, because the tapping on the vent vibrated which mic picked up the direct sound and the vibration after the tap. When mixed gave a nice echo feel to it (when the sound effect is in the game) for when our main character is walking or running in the vent, it will sound realistic.

A screen shot of the software Pro Tools from Digi DesignsCreate
      bigger, better mixes

I recorded in to a recording engineer software program call Pro Tool, from Digi Designs. This program is a must in recording and Post Production in films, and sounds for games. This program can record tracks, works with MIDI, has an audio suite to change or correct your sound tracks, and sync up with video and work with sound inside the film. As you can tell, I'm a big fan. Though I really miss analog.. a lot. To get more info on Pro Tools:

Had to be really creative this time in the studio to come up with sound effects for attacks and movements for bed bugs, cockroach, rat, ants, and toy tank sound. These was hard, because what kinda sound do they make? We can not hear them. Once again it was a more cartoonie sounds to fit the feel of the game and guessing sounds that they could make. For the "Rat" sound attacking, I used Mike voice to make a chopping sound and was mixed once again in Pro Tools (using a Pitch shifter effect, Recti-Fi effect, and EQ). The Recti-Fi effect effect is a harmonic processor, changing the harmonics of the sound. The Pitch shifter is a processor that can change the human voice or sound, and moving the pitch higher or lower. The "Ant" sound was a pinching sound (pinchers). Once a again I used Mike voice and a pair of scissors and over lap the tracks (so they where in sync with each other) and gave a pinching sound. I also used EQ on the mix of the track. For the "Bed Bug" sound to be scuttling, I tap a shifted my fingers around a head of lettuce. I wanted this to sound different then the other bugs movement, I used a melon and tap on that to make the movement sounds for the bugs. I just EQ these sounds in Pro Tools. For the "Cockroach" I need a clicking noise. At first I used a pen, but it sound too much like a pen and nothing else. So instead I used a bag of marbles and bounces and move them in my hand to give a clicking sound. This to was just EQ into Pro Tools.
Working hard in the recording studio (Vnote), using the Pro Tools System

The last sound effect of the night was the "Toy Tank" sound. The game need a sound of toy tank running across the floor and having the tank hit a wall sound. I was unsure at first on how to make the sound. Then Mike was like "Hey let's go over to the grocery store and let's see what kinda of toys they might have.". At the store we end up finding a battery operated toy dozer. It worked perfectly for the moving of the tank sound.
Intern setting up the toy dozer to record toy tank moving arcoss the ground sound.

For the tank hitting the wall sound this proved to be a problem. Since this was a toy, it didn't make any real noise that was recordable. What it came down to make this sound possible was this toy hitting a cover of a rack case, to make a vibration that would be heard. This worked great.
Setting up for the toy tank hitting the wall sound.

Find out that the sound we where looking for worked out (Mike and Intern)

By the end of the night I finished all the sound effects that where need for the game (unless someone comes up with more ideas). Everything was recorded, edit, mixed, and put into  .wav file, since Unreal like .wav file for the audio.

 Myself at the console getting levels for the last sound effect for the night (This picture was taken at 11:48pm at night). It was a long day, but a fun day.

What is now left for this week is putting the new sounds into a package for Unreal. As for the music since it did not work out this week for music (musician got into car accident and one of the songs for one of the levels did not work out), I will be working on the music this weekend. That is it for now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bed Bug and status

Haven't been able to get here in awhile. Been working on homework from other classes and just busy with other things. With the bug that I had to do design for our game, I worked on it a little here one day and a little there a couple days later. The model is complete and the UV mapping is done as well so far, but unfortunately the texture is not. Looking for texture is not as easy as it looks (unless you go with a plain color) trying to find a texture that is bug like (the skin) has so far has not worked out. Either it stretches or looks all wrong, and here I thought this would be the easiest part of the Bed Bug. I will be putting my screen shoots of my progress once I have the texture on the Bug, so you can see from the beginning to end how the Bed Bug was made.

This is main what was worked on for the game so far on my part. Now this weekend it is doing the Foley work and music. The team and I must come up with ideas so far for the new models that our team has worked on thus far. Plus new characters (enemies, etc.) sounds and music for the remained levels. Right now the music is done for the kitchen (level 1), Bedroom (level 4), Main menu, Start of game, and the ending boss will be recorded this weekend. So far what is left is Living Room (level 2), Entry Way (level 3), and the vent. I might reuse one of the other piece of music that has been used alright for the Vent, since it is not a full level and might work with the sound of a vent. That is it for right now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Model - bed bug

Yesterday I started looking a pictures of bed bugs. I never been so gross out in my life. I hate bugs. I didn't realized that bed bugs are flat not round. I will be working on the model today and the next couple of days to make sure it looks like this picture. I hope I come close. The model so far does not look like much. Hopeful by Friday it will if not maybe David can fine tune it for me.Bedbug Eggs

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Team: the title that I came up with are posted in team threads in week 1.