The roguelike world has been, since its inception, a pretty much mute world. Lately, we see more projects adopt a soundtrack as a way to comunicate the mood of the game, which helps a lot on ASCII based roguelikes.
Composing and producing music is not a skill many roguedevs have; Mingos and Jice have created a contest that may help change that. –Slash, for the Roguelike Temple.
Slash: Good night Mr. Mingos
S: What led you to start this contest?
M: I talked with Jice about music, in general. He asked me to send him some samples of my work and he seemed to like some of the tunes. We chatted a bit more and agreed on organising a duel to test which one of us can make a better tune. The following night, both drunk, we found out that the jury would have to be a third person. A public vote seemed a good solution, but there’s no fun in judging someone’s duel. It was far better to invite more people to compete. And so we did.
S: What is your favorite entry so far?
M: Bushy’s “The Naïve Bard”. It’s not as roguelikeish as some of the other entries, but it sounds really medieval.
S: Any plans to extend this contest into the future, what about other themes than medieval?
M: We’re planning the next edition, although we still need to talk the details. We’ll need heavier advertising to attract more composers. We plan to give up on limiting the instrument set and we also want to have different soundtrack categories within the same contest, all with separate polls for people to vote. Any genre will be admitted in the next edition as long as it’s suitable for a roguelike.
S: In your opinion, what defines if a tune is suitable for a roguelike?
M: That’s a tricky question, Mr. Slash! There are no guidelines, obviously, and any track can potentially be suitable for a roguelike game. My favourite test of “roguelikeishness” is loading the tune into my mp3 player’s playlist and launch a roguelike game. If I don’t get sick of the tune, it passes the test. But, like I said, I can’t think of any valid definition.
S: Your advise for people wanting to become roguelike bards?
M: First of all, listen to lots of music. Not just in the background. Plunge into what you listen to, try to discover every little secret of the tune. It leads to many discoveries and gives inspiration. Second, practice. A lot. Find a sequencer that suits your needs and produce as much music as you can. Simple exercises can evolve into great songs. Third, don’t get discouraged. You’ll probably leave many songs half written. Most of them will not be as good as planned. But careful selection and a bit of patient polishing can make miracles.
S: Now that we are on it, how goes your work on Umbrarum Regnum, will you be adding bards?
M: There is a bard profession already! What needs to be added are NPCs and items. The bard needs an instrument to play and characters listening to his music!
S: Thanks for the interview Mr. Mingos, and good luck with your projects!
M: Thank you and good luck with yours as well!
– Santiago Zapata, 05/07/2008..
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