I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been working! I promise! Well, I’ve been playing too, and learning, but finally some work.

I’m posting from a Starbucks next to the Moscone Center in San Francisco, both my first trip to GDC and to the city itself. The conference was unbelievable; the sheer amount to talent from all over the world contributing to the event is staggering as well as inspiring. I’ve learned and realized so much in the last few sleep deprived hours I’m struggling to keep it all in my head, so I’m gonna take some time to reflect on it. (Hence the Starbucks Android post)

First and perhaps most importantly, I learned that I simply don’t have enough content to enter this industry right now, and it certainly doesn’t help that I’m not exactly sure of what field I want to enter. One of the biggest points that was hammered in at the career seminars was the emphasis on actually making games. The advent of cheap / free development kits and software is a blessing and a curse: on one hand it allows everyone to start making games from nothing, and even perhaps make a business out of it. The downside is that with the ease of availability it’s essentially a requirement to spend a lot of time working on games without getting paid. This definitely sounds like a petty complaint, and it partly is, but its incredible how much work it takes to get into a relatively low paying job in the first place.

I’ve thought about the career of game audio as well. The field is surprisingly difficult to get into – the seminars brought up the point that even on large productions only a handful of employees are on the sound team, and for most small studios they only have one. This is further convoluted by the practice of outsourcing the audio of games to outside companies, and even more so by the developer publisher relationship. I see three possible solutions, other then applying to the super rare openings and praying: One, find a small startup studio with a pitchable project and start the ride- hope they do things right and use the material to bolster your resume. Two, try to find a position at a studio that accepts that outsourced work (an audio house) or three, find someone who is willing to be your mentor and hone your skills to the point where you can accept lead positions.

I’ll continue my thoughts later as I’m heading out to more fun now, so I’ll leave you all with some fun new tracks I’ve been working on. Peace!

Project 2 – Evolving Themes

As promised, here is the continuation of my ongoing projects for my music composition class. This one I finally had access to midi tracks, ie Kontakt 4. Being fairly familiar with Kontakt and it’s library I took the opportunity to work on my virtual orchestra skills. I cheated a little and recorded live guitar for the b section, but other then that, this is the product of a single instance of contact with only 10 preset patches open. A lot of people rag on the Kontakt 4 orchestral library but for what you pay I find it a very solid tool. I’m not entirely satisfied with my humanization of the midi, but after my 6th hour of work I decided to kick it out the door and into class.

My professor, Dan Pavelin wrote this to me:

“Good!  Your main theme uses the tympani rumble with cymbal swell trick effectively — what would film scores do without it.
Variation #1 is lovely — good soloing!  I would just recommend with this style never using chromatic passing tones — all diatonic, to bring out the Latin feel.    In Variation #2, towards the end, seems like you need to bring in bass strings sustaining along with the rest to have a bottom end — the bass pizz can’t do it, because it’s too erratic — maybe you didn’t want the heaviness that that would introduce, but if left low in volume, it won’t be that heavy — it will just seem more conclusive and more of an ending to the cue.
These are very minor things — you are obviously well-versed in musical knowledge yourself and know your way around electronic music-making.  Excellent project, as always!”

He’s certainly one of my favorite teachers here – he gives honest feedback but certainly knows how to make me feel proud : )

Project one – Loop based composition

As explained earlier, over the next few months I will post my projects for my music composition class here. I was first assigned to produce a one minute long piece using only loops to that would evoke any particular emotion. I chose “vindictive” as my emotion, and further limited myself to the default loops that come with the DAW required for the class, Sony ACID.

This was my first time using ACID since 2004 or so, and I was pleasantly surprised. The software retained it’s old timey feel and ease of use but is still pretty feature heavy. Loop manipulation remains the focus for the software, something I don’t actually use that often, making it a good first project for me.

Listen to the track above or if you have Sony ACID download the project file below!

Hey now

Thanks to the ever so popular youtuber grasshyren favoriting my video, my first successful video has grown from a modest 7000 views to a staggering 22000 over the course of only 3 days, over 7 times as many as my next highest. The speed of which this happened is phenomenal, and especially surprising when you come back out of a national park with no cell service to find 150 messages in your inbox.
If you still haven’t heard the song, I’ll repost it here for your convenience : )

New videos and Media!

If you’ve already seen my stuff, whether in person or on the cavernous folds of previous attempts to network, don’t worry, there is some new stuff to see. Additionally, working on facebook and twitter integration as not to be terribly obnoxious.

tberg feat YouKnow – Alistar

This video has been circulating the web at an alarming rate – 13000 views at this point as more to come. If you play League and were alive in the 90s, this one is for you.

The World

A vfx project I made last year, including some original trance.

Metal Gear Solid 4 Theme

A reproduction of the theme for MGS4.

In a burst of inspiration…

Welcome to the all new “John Torkington DOT com”! It’s been a long time coming, but I finally pieced together a modest website / blog and purchased a proper domain name. Seems like years since Angelfire! (It has been.) I’m mainly going to be using this site as a portfolio of my music and sound design work for any prospective clients or jobs, hence the (semi) official look. Take a look around (actually, really only look at the portfolio. Seriously.)