Following on from last month’s piece, this month I made an actual videogame (I think this is the first traditional videogame I’ve made for this project?). I mainly just wanted to make something simple, and juicy, and dynamic. I’m not sure that will come across in static screenshots, so I’ve put a long-ish playthrough up on youtube.
(I couldn’t think of a name for it, so I just named it for its genre: it’s clearly a game in the make numbers go up genre)
This music for this one is entirely generative, so while it retains the same overall format, the detail (bass and melody patterns, key, etc.) will be different every time you die/reset. I tried to keep the structure as simple as possible while introducing enough variation that it doesn’t get too fatiguing to listen to for extended periods. I’m not entirely sure how successful I was.
Anyway, I’m never sure how interesting this is to other people, but here’s an overview of how it works:
Pick a scale at random (either Pentatonic Minor or 3-Semitone, with Pentatonic given a higher weighting; root note chosen at random).
Generate 2 2-bar patterns for the bass and the melody made up of notes chosen at random from the scale. For the bass patterns give the root note a higher weighting than the other notes in the scale. (Percussion patterns are fixed, with no randomness)
Start any combination of the following 3 instruments playing: Bass, Melody, Kick + Snare.
Once playing, every 4 bars do something to vary the music. This includes:
Activate/deactivate an instrument (including Hi-hats).
Switch to the other pattern for the Bass or the Melody.
Drop out to just Kick + Snare, overlaid with a whooshing crescendo.
Activate squelchy acid mode for the Bass.
There’s some dependencies involved to prevent undesired combinations, but that’s the gist of it.
Controls: escape: quit; cursor keys/left joystick: move; z/space/gamepad A button: attract
The file at this link will be deleted 1 month from now (01/08/20).
All downloads are zipfiles containing a Windows executable.
As long as you abide by those licenses, you can do whatever you want with the download.
thecatamites on the Internet Archive Lawsuit and free culture spaces. An excerpt:
“most of the free art type spaces i’ve experienced were not made up of people who voluntarily decided to devalue their own work, but who had that done for them by the underlying assumptions and mechanisms of the market itself.
and who rely on those spaces for things fundamental to the act of making art but that the market would try to pricegate away: tools, assistance, advice, the sense of an audience, of contributing to public life.
the type of free culture spaces that emerge from the failure of market logic get blamed for causing that failure to begin with.”
I love this Baby RPG that revolves around sticking your fingers in your mouth.
Gwendoline Brooks: my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell
Following a tweet I saw (apologies, I didn’t save the link), I read a couple of Kai Ashante Wilson’s stories this month, and wow. This is the kind of writing that hits you with a physical force: The Devil in America (CW: violence); The Lamentation of Their Women (Big CW for racist violence).
Handsworth Songs is an incredible document of the 1985 riots in Handsworth and London, and an indictment of how little has changed in the years since.
I’ve not been playing many new games lately, but I did find the time to play Dépanneur Nocturne. I love the colour palette, and discovering what’s behind the shop.
A powerful tale of a missing cat by Jillian Tamaki (CW: loss).
A lot more revelations of sexual abuse in games, comics and elsewhere this month. Warren Ellis is the one that hit me hardest. As a lot of people have said, he’s someone who has in a number of ways been a force for good. He’s visibly supported and opened doors for a lot of people. From my outside perspective he seemed like one of the good ones. As it turns out though, he’s also taken advantage of a lot of people. Ugh.
I read Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete? with a friend recently, on prison abolition. It’s not purely a history book, but it does that thing the best history writing does, which is demonstrate that the things we take for granted today were never inevitable, but the result of specific actions and a specific context. And that alternatives are possible; the future is still/always up for grabs.
Okay then. I’ve noticed I’m sleeping in later these days. I think maybe the burst of productivity I’ve had since lockdown started is starting to catch up with me. Time to hunker down and recharge. Take care out there.