o · tac · ra · cy [oh-tok-ruh-see]
1. government by otaku; a form of government in which supreme power is vested in ardent enthusiasts of video games, music, anime, photography, food, cars, sports radio, printing, plush toys, judo, kites, and Roland AX-7 keytars.
2. the personal blog of Vincent Diamante.

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Music from Back Then PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 10:42
My video card is borking...

I've been having some really horrible problems with my computers lately.  As soon as I got my sound card responding properly courtesy of a software upgrade, my video card starts glitching out.  Once I've got my hard drive situation squared away, Windows starts borking at me and refusing to search.  It's pretty fun stuff, as you can imagine.

So, while my current music output has dropped far more than acceptable, it has been pretty interesting going through my old music output as I make my way through the burgeoning archive of: stuff.  Here's a couple of interesting things.

SKL-SATI.IT (MP3 version) is an Impulse Tracker file from 1998.  Yeah, I was in that crew of guys trying to make more performed acoustic-sounding music from MOD files.  I was decidedly less successful than others, but hey, we all got to start somewhere, right?  (And yeah, I'm not going to show you the stuff from before this.  That stuff was just sad...)

MD-6.IT (MP3 version) was another mod I did a bit earlier, probably around 1997.  I can't find the original file, but as you can hear it's pretty simple.  If it says anything about me it's: I learned early on to love extremely short loops and I was definitely big on emulating the Sakimoto orchestra sound back in the day.

From 1999 on to about 2002-2003, I didn't really do any music writing.  I was focused more on school work, piano, and basic undergrad survival.  I did have some audio equipment around, as I was doing this snail-like transition from MOD music to MIDI music, but quite honestly, I didn't do anything really cool there.  (I did write some piano solo pieces around this time, but those have been lost, sadly.  Sometimes before writing those pieces, I'd sketch the piece out in Impulse Tracker... yeah, wacky, I know...)  

melon.mp3 is a doodle I did sometime around 2003.  By this time, I had given up on Cubase 5 and did a competitive upgrade to Sonar 2.  It's pretty rough around the edges (for me, the uneven velocities that I never cleaned up really scream at me), but it's not bad.

Some other things I did around this time include: herotheme4.mp3, 20041014_chase_a.mp3, clarinet.mp3, and deliberation.mp3.  The first two pieces were standard random crap while the latter two were among the first things I did for short films and TV.  Besides the fact that they're still not that great, you can see some hints at what may be my most defining characteristic: horrible song naming.

Let's end this post with some of the first music I did for interactive.  In my first year of grad school, I did some stuff for an interactive fiction with The Labyrinth Project and Lynn Hershman.  To this day, I have no idea actually what happened with that project (as soon as they stopped asking me for stuff, I immediately focused my attention on RFID-Flash integration and arcade cabinets as interactive sculpture, no joke) but I made a bunch of music and sound effects for it.

lynn1_c.mp3 and lynn2_c.mp3 aren't bad.  I'm not sure if they really sound Lynn Hershman, but they're definitely more naturally me than any other stuff I had done to this point.  I've toyed around with the idea of returning to lynn1 and giving it a score and not just a sequence rendered courtesy of an Akai CD of Miroslav Mini.  (Oh man, did that Miroslav Mini CD influence the way I write.  To this day, those old school Miroslav sounds are the center of my virtual orchestra...)

So that's basically my music pre-video games in a nutshell.  My computer is still being horrible (installing Windows Vista as we speak) so there might be more coming this way.  I'm hopeful the next time I put some music on here, it will be new stuff!

(Edit: Oh crap... I just discovered Schism Tracker and now I'm rediscovering all these old MODs and S3Ms I did... man, some of these really weren't bad!  yeah, that's definitely for the next update...)

 
Flower 1.01 Released PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Sunday, 12 April 2009 10:34
Since Flower's release, there have been a few people who've experienced sound lagging/chugging/something issues with the game.  Well, looks like Sony has finally put out an update for the game which should alleviate some if not all of those issues.  My personal PS3 hasn't exhibited any of the problems, but hopefully those of you who've experienced it will now have a glitch-free audio experience.
 
Hey Kotaku: How about some Credit? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Saturday, 11 April 2009 01:44
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Pictured here is Tim Schafer hosting the 2009 Game Developers Choice Awards.  Not a brilliant picture, but not bad either, so I decided to pop it onto my flickr.  I'm slightly annoyed that Kotaku is currently using it for their most recent post on the awards show.  There are two problems I have with this situation.  One: the photo is licensed for noncommercial use.  Two: there's no attribution.

On the first, that's easily gotten around with a quick e-mail to me.  Commercial magazines and websites ask me to use a CC-non-commercial photo, I say something along the lines of "send me a copy of the mag and a-ok," and everyone's happy.  Easy as pie.  On the second, well, that's just sad.  For us artists, having our name there is really important, and it takes minimal effort.  It's not just the terms of the license; it's respectful.  Come on, Kotaku.  Even Fox News was able to manage that.

Edit: Thanks to Michael and Kotaku for adding the link back to the source.  Really appreciated.

 
Video Games: You Don't Need Drugs, Dammit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Friday, 03 April 2009 08:28

Whenever there's discussion of games like Noby Noby Boy, Katamari Damacy, Flower, or even more conventional games like Rez or Space Giraffe, I see people saying things like:

You know someone was high when they made this game...

or

You have to be high to enjoy this game...

That really annoys me.  One: I'm not big on the whole chemical alteration thing (I like remaining in control, as much as I understand that to mean) and Two: Games are all about these different relationships.  Sometimes those things being related are more absurd than others, but it's all about those relationships.  X = Y.  What's so special about some relationships that it would have required some mind altering substance to conjure up?  Or to enjoy?

In Flower, the player flies through the air by pushing a button on the controller.  A pretty simple connection, right?  Nearly as simple is Noby Noby Boy: one stick controls the head while another the tail of this snake like creature.  These aren't particularly crazy relationships; in fact, they sound rather trite and gamey.  However, these relationships require a little bit of chemical augmentation to understand compared to Gears of War, where hitting the overloaded A button (overloaded does not mean I think it's a bad thing, folks) can result in one of many things happening.  Right?

Or maybe you need a little bit of Mary Jane to actually enjoy something so simple.  Well, if that's the case, how come no one ever brought the stuff up when it comes to dead simple games like Pong, Gorf, and Missile Command?

Or maybe it's just a commentary on the narrative of the piece.  In which case: come on guys.  Surely gamers can enjoy some surrealist or magical realist game literature on top of our well established base of competitive sports, science fiction, and realistic power fantasy without the addition of recreational drugs.

If you don't enjoy or understand a game, please just say that.  That's perfectly okay.  No need to bring recreational drugs into the equation.

 

 
Game Developers Conference 2009 in Pictures PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Monday, 30 March 2009 18:29
Jason RohrerP3256987P3257693TOSE 30th Anniversary CandyP3258126P3260211P3270372P3270525P3269832P3259111P3257320

 

I was at GDC last week.  It worked out pretty well.  Took a few pictures, talked to various people, and mentioned what I do (game music, photography, and other random stuff).  Check out my flickr set for more images from the conference.

Overall, GDC was the usual mix of AWESOME and FRUSTRATION.  Give me a moment to catch my breath, and I'll get into this...

 
Living as an Artist is like Being Cloistered... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Monday, 30 March 2009 17:42

The difference between art and science can be explained like so: science is the search for what is there while art is the belief in what isn't.

Just another in my long list of (mostly failed) attempts to make something that sounds reasonably elegant while explaining why the heck I act and speak as I do.  In this case, justifying why science is something I love but something I would absolutely hate to devote my life to.  Also, the fact that I'm a huge fan of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, yet still consider myself to some extent religious...

(Or maybe I like religion more than I am religious?  Or maybe I'm confusing that for simply being spiritual?  I don't know.  Maybe after a good night's sleep this will all change...)

 
Right Now I'm Wondering... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Sunday, 22 March 2009 14:50

...why are all the really nice quotes on Flower's music in languages other than English?

GDC time for me!

 
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