The Cliffs Level, I know that you’re sick of hearing about the Cliff Level. Well, that statement is assuming that anybody reads this, or cares, or even remembers really. In any event, I got something finally working correctly. Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of very high quality music from our resident composer, and I’ve been putting it into the appropriate game places and it’s really quite nice. With the art in various states of completion, having the music in and done really provides a kind of cohesiveness to the thing. However, the one piece of music that I’ve been very hesitant about it the music for the Cliffs Level.
If you look way back, you’ll see that the design paradigm for that level was to make it tightly scripted, with a ton of invisible switches and deformable areas. It’s easily the most complicated level in the game from an art, coding and music perspective. But now I’ve a solution.
The idea here, is to have different music cue up at different times. I could have a single song, but then I really do think it’ll lose the impact that it should have. It could be upbeat and perilous, or somber and cerebral. I’d rather have both. For most of the areas I really do want to have soft, almost quiet music that ramps up into something more, um, robust when certain things are happening. The problem with that from a composing perpective is that none of that will happen at set times. I can’t say, “Oh, and there’s a boulder sequence at 1:15 seconds,” because the player could play it at a different speed entirely.
Which is the issue I tackled yesterday like a roided bull. The solution as I see it, is to write 2 different pieces of music with the same timing that could be played at the same time. So they could match in most things, but one would have a lot more stuff going on, and louder, What I’ll do is start both pieces at the same time, but have the loud one be turned off to start. The scripting will cross fade from one to the other as I need them. So like the boulder sequence will trigger the a volume increase on the loud music and a decrease/mute on the quiet one. Afterwards, it’ll cross fade back. Using some test MP3s, it’s working as a system so far. Although I get the impression that this may take far more effort than it has.
I also discovered something yesterday. Blitz Basic is very, very easy to code in. Especially if you’ve been wandering the C# desert for the last month or so. A little bashing and online command look up and I got the solution that I’ve been looking for since I started the Cliff Level working in about 5 minutes. It’s as if I’m thinking of things a little differently, more abstracted.
I’m reading Snow Crash, and I came across something a little off putting. It posited that when you learn to code, or I assume learn a language, that your brain changes the way it thinks about things. The meat starts to change itself and create new pathways, which then facilitate the understanding of the task at hand (the book also says it would be possible to upload information, like a virus, into a properly configured meat, but that’s beside the point).
It’s an odd concept that I think holds some liquid. Once you begin thinking about something a certain way, it becomes easier to understand, so you make progress on a logarithmic scale, exponentially. It’s a weird feeling though; considering that this thing I’ve been doing has very likely changed the way my brain functions on a basic level. Very weird.
You can never go back.