Train Jam 2017 Albums

On my way to the 2017 Game Developer’s Conference, or GDC, I took part in the Train Jam. Like all game jams, Train Jam is an event for game developers to get together and make a game in a limited time with specific restrictions. The Indie Train Jam takes place on a the Amtrak California Zephyr line running from Chicago to San Francisco. The trip was a 52-hour journey across the western half of the United States that resulted in some fun collaborations and interesting games.

As with many game jams there was a mix of artists, programmers, and audio people all working together to create games within the time limit. On this jam we had more than 20 composers/audio designers participating among the 300 game jam attendees. By the end of the Train Jam, over 70 games were finished.

Charlie McCarron, one of the other composers on the Train Jam, had the great idea of collecting all of the songs created by the composers during the jam, and putting them up as a set of albums on Bandcamp for free. There are over 60 tracks created by the twenty or so composers that participated in the event.

The music is divided into five different albums, with each one representing a music genre of sorts. For example, my piece from the game Chicken Fight is on the Train Jam 2017: Chip album, since I went for a retro synth style on that track.

 

The games from Train Jam 2017 can all be played on the itch.io website and you can find all five Train Jam 2017 albums on Bandcamp. There’s some excellent material here from all of the composers who participated. A special thanks to Charlie McCarron for taking the time to gather all of the music from the composers and assembling everything into a coherent set of albums on Bandcamp. The Train Jam was a lot of fun and I hope everyone enjoys the games and music that we created.

Projects and Plans for 2015

Once again it appears that I’ve managed to neglect my blog. The past few months have been really intense in terms of workload. In addition to working at the day job and writing for Original Sound Version, I managed to land a few gigs writing music. A long story short, I’ve been juggling a lot of different projects, jobs, and responsibilities over the past several months.

Things have finally calmed down a little, so I can finally get back to posting updates here. Part of what I want to do this year is focus a lot more on my music writing and on this site. One of my new year resolutions was to post a lot more frequently and get more music content up on the site and out on the web. So expect to start seeing more updates from me in the coming weeks. Sometimes they’ll just be simple updates of what I’ve got going on with music projects. Other times it will just be a post on a game or music related topic that I just feel like talking about.

In terms of music, I’m finally getting to work on some new projects. The first of these is an intro theme to a podcast, which should be launching sometime this month. There may be a closing theme written, depending on what my collaborator wants to do. The other project is a soundtrack for a game that I worked on at a recent game jam. It was my first time attending a jam and everything went relatively well with the team and the game that we created. There was interest in continuing to work on it after the event, so I’m going to continue writing music and a handful of sound effects for the project. I’ll have more details on that as well, as we get closer to a final build of the game.

With all of that said, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on this site. This has been a long time coming and I’m glad to be finally shifting my focus onto my music and projects. I’m aiming to make my posts a weekly or bi-weekly thing, so with any luck you’ll be hearing from me again soon.

New Opportunities and Some Changes

Over the past few months I’ve been given some great opportunities to pursue my passions, both as a musician and as a writer. The first of these came when I entered a piece of music into the GamerCon-pilation 2013 competition. I wasn’t expected anything to happen with it, but it was a fun challenge. Much to my joy and surprise, my piece was selected for the album and suddenly I had my first published piece of music. Published at least in the sense that it was mastered and put on an album on Bandcamp, rather than something I put up on Soundcloud myself. I talked about it in more detail back when the album launched during the San Diego Comic Con, but long story short it was a real morale boost for me as a composer. It was a moment where I was able to look back at how much I had improved over the past few years in terms of my writing and mixing. It was great to have my work acknowledged and it has encouraged me to continue pursuing a career as a composer. As part of that, I began working on re-arranging and improving my studio setup. The studio will ideally serve as both a recording/studio space and as a teaching space, when I have time to take on students. It will be a big project that will potentially disrupt my other activities, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

While all of this was happening, I was informed that the website Original Sound Version (OSV) was looking for people who could help out with the site. If you’ve never been to Original Sound Version, it’s a site dedicated to reviewing video game music, interviewing composers, and discussing anything that falls into that specific field of the gaming industry. There’s a talented group of people writing for it and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of game music. Much like the GamerCon-pilation I figured it was a shot and the dark and there was no harm in at least sending them an email telling them about myself and this site. After having an interview, discussing different things about the site, and several rounds of emails, I was brought on as a contributing writer. My first review, for the game soundtrack Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, is already up on Original Sound Version with more on the way. It’s an honor to have been brought on as a contributing writer and I’m look forward to writing more articles and reviews for the site.

In addition to all of this progress, I managed to find myself a full-time job for the fall/winter season. It’s nothing music related unfortunately, but it will help me pay the bills. While this is good for me financially (those student loans aren’t going to pay themselves), it is going to throw a wrench into everything else that I’m doing. I’ll still be able to work on my projects, but I’ll have a lot less free time to focus on everything. Obviously any time not spent at the new job is going to be dedicated to my work for Original Sound Version. As far as I’m concerned, my work for them gets priority. I want to take the opportunity they have given me seriously, so no slacking off. Any remaining time I have will be dedicated to my music. I still want to get work done towards producing my solo album, in addition to some other smaller projects. All of this is going to be a lot to juggle and hopefully I’ll have enough time for everything.

So what does that mean for this site? Well, unfortunately it means that I will be posting less frequently here. Any type of review or game music industry related article I write will likely be content that goes up on Original Sound Version. I had always planned to shift this specific site away from covering game industry content and put more focus on my music projects. This latest series of events has propelled it towards that design. You will still see some occasional content, most likely a glimpse at some of my projects or experiments. I will also make any announcements about conventions I’m going to and any other big things that are happening, in terms of my music. With all of that said, please be sure to check out everything happening on Original Sound Version. I’ll also announce any of my writing activities for this site and for OSV on my twitter account, so feel free to follow me there for updates. With any luck, I should have more things coming down the pipeline soon. It’s been an exciting few months for me and I can’t wait to see what happens next.