Sound and concept artist.

Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Groans, Games, and...Microphones?

2 comments by AmbientNoise on Feb 23rd, 2014

Well, I've been working and studying a lot lately. Not at school, of course(Who studies for school anyways?), but with sound and microphones. I've found some interesting things, but first, una pequeña perorata, or if you speak Spanish, a little rant.

 I keep noticing that people on our page call what we are recreating the Half-Life 2 "Beta" or "Alpha". Truth be told, those simply never existed. Half-Life 2 was leaked, not in alpha, not in beta, but during development. The terms alpha and beta represent testing phases of a game where large numbers of people from the outside test a game to root out bugs and issues, within a definitive period of time where someone could say, "This is when the beta starts and this is when it ends." Half-Life 2 never went through any of that until after it was shown publicly. By that point, it was already well developed, having been reviewed multiple times before by the Valve team and their own play-testers. It's development was a long process of trial and error, and Valve has the concept art and maps to prove it. The only correct form that I have been able to find of referring to some of the stuff we are using is "Leak". 

 On the other hand, we are definitely not a pure leak mod. As you can tell, the leak is beneficial to us when we have no other work by Valve to go with when we are making maps and concepts, but we try to base as much as we can around the earliest possible concepts. Examples of this can be seen with our train station map and our citadel model that Zip made a while ago. Unfortunately, there are some areas that are completely without source material, such as Weather Control. This area has absolutely nothing to go on. Some may argue that the script for the Weather Control battle with the Combine "mech" provides a lot of hints about Weather Control, and it does, but not in the same sense. It only talks about what happens outside the Weather Control station, not anything inside it. In these cases I have to make concept art to "fill in the gaps", as some might say. I tend to look at these areas initially in the perspective of form fitting the function. The base can't look like it was made in an urban city, as that wouldn't make any sense considering it's surroundings in the middle of a snowy wonderland. Instead, it would most likely be set up rather like a fort, with high walls and a gate, with underground passages leading to various other areas of the base. The walls would not only act as a defensive measure (They are guarding a weather control machine, after all), but also help keep the area inside the base safe from the arctic winds around it. That was just one out of the many levels that we are going to be working on... Fun.

 Back to what I mentioned earlier, I've been learning a lot about how microphones work, and how movies and games make their sounds. It's a little more complex than one initially thinks when starting in this field, but so far I don't think that has scared me much. Hopefully once I get out of high school and into college (Which won't be long now), I will be able to learn further on the topic. One interesting thing I found out is that cardioid microphones are named like they are because they record sound around them in a heart-shaped pattern, so that only sounds on the rim of the foot-long heart shape (point away from the microphone) can be recorded properly. Anywhere else and the microphone is not as effective and clear as it could be. For now, being as cheap as I am, I must content myself with what I can manage to scramble, duct tape, throw, and elbow-grease together what I can to make some really good sounds for a really good mod. 

 On the topic of mods, anyone remember the old days when Battlefield 1942 was released, and how it was so totally awesome? Even on Windows XP? Well, it's still alive and kicking guys, and I've been playing quite a bit of it. I've also found some very fun and interesting mods that have been made for it. Two of these are Forgotten Hope and Forgotten Hope: Secret Weapons, both of which are meant to provide 1942 with more maps, vehicles, weapons, and even mechanics to play with your friends. They really do appeal to me personally because they are about one of my favorite wars in history, World War II. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not condone anything from the war itself, but the technology used back then was rather fascinating, especially when speaking of "What If?" weapons and events, such as the German Maus  super-heavy tank or the Invasion of Alaska by the Russians. While Forgotten Hope is a good mod, I always felt it was lacking a bit in new content. I mean, most people that play this kind of game have probably seen a M4 Sherman or a Churchill tank, but what about the lesser-known stuff? Well, Forgotten Hope: Secret Weapons gave an answer. I would highly recommend anyone reading this to visit their page (both of them) and try it out. But you will need to get Battlefield 1942 first, which fortunately is free on Origin.com.

Links:
Battlefield 1942

Forgotten Hope Mod

Forgotten Hope: Secret Weapons Mod

P.S.- If you actually read these and have a question or comment, just post down below. I check the website for updates often so they most likely will get an answer!

Report abuse Exams, Christmas, Progress

0 comments by AmbientNoise on Dec 17th, 2013

It's been a while since my last blog so I thought I would provide some updates for you. 

As you all know, Christmas break is coming up and schools are giving out exams left and right. I've been extremely busy with homework and long-term assignments lately, mostly a product of teachers not spreading out their curriculums appropriately, so they try to cram all their quota of tests and quizzes down the students' throats the week before exams. So that's been...fun.

Speaking of Christmas, this year might bring around even better sounds from myself as I will be getting some professional sound packs. You all know what this means...bigger explosions, more vehicles, and better weapon sounds. I've also been experimenting with different effects and filters to help make sounds for Xen npc's and such, so far to little success (any suggestions here would be appreciated). Makes me wonder how Valve did it in the first place.

The mod's been progressing nicely and we've had some people apply for positions on the team. As of the time of this writing, the team leader (and several other members) has been offline for most of the past few weeks, so even though I may have answered, Boker still needs to approve your membership. Other than that little hiccup we have made significant progress, and I've been making more concept art.

I did find something interesting though. While I was working on some definitions on dictionary.com for one of my classes, I found an article about how the word "X-mas" came around. Intriguingly enough, the common assumption that it is a secular name for Christmas is false. Its origins actually lie within the early Greek Church, where the letter "X" was commonly used as a substitute for the word "Christ", therefore X-mas isn't anything bad, it's just a shorthand form of Christmas. Prety interesting, huh?

Wishing you all good luck on your exams and a Merry Christmas,
Ambient

Report abuse School Starts, Pack Released

0 comments by AmbientNoise on Aug 20th, 2013

Breaking news! School has started! Everyone probably knows how that goes, less time to work on mods and live leisurely, more time devoted to, well... actual work. I could go on and on about how school is necessary for the survival of history nerds like myself, but maybe it's better if that's left to a ranting blog somewhere else. 
 
In other news, anybody currently watching what I'm doing here on ModDB might be wondering why on earth my newest sounds haven't been available to to hear. (Now that I have your attention, if you actually read the words in parentheses, I would like to say if you really read my blogs and such, go ahead and watch me, you know, with that little button located in the middle of the page and to the right. It's just nice to know who is actually reading this junk.) The reason is that they are top-secret (omgwtfbbq) at the moment, but once the mod has progressed more and actually starts using videos more often, they will be revealed, melting eardrums across the world. 

Also, I recently released a resource pack for Minecraft that adds Half-Life 2 Beta Textures to it to allow for grittier and darker looks to your next big building project. Amazing right? Well, to be honest, the hardest thing to make the pack was just the utter amount of textures I had to sift through (anyone who owns the beta can agree with me here) to find the ones that seemed to be able to be used the most. For instance, at one point I considered using the old brown textures for the combine walls and such, but it wasn't really used anywhere else, so that idea got booted. Further refinements may come in the future, but nothing too soon. The map included with the pack is my personal rendition of the Industrial Sector of City 17, an area that was completely cut out of Half-Life 2, even though they had a version ready for E3 in 2002. Basically how I created the map is I took several different versions of the actual beta maps and just picked out ideas that seemed to fit well from each one. Overall, the map took quite a while. Including texturing, the map probably took around 4 or 5 months to get to it's current stage. Of course, there were periods of time where I didn't feel like working (on the stenographer's chasm...yeesh) but those usually didn't last for more than a few days. And the pack is currently updated to 1.6.2 so anyone with an updated game can run it. Have fun!

-Ambient

Report abuse Mods, mods, mods...

0 comments by AmbientNoise on May 26th, 2013

Well, it's been a while if anyone has been reading my posts. I've just been really busy with school over the past few weeks and haven't really been able to give any good informative updates. So I decided to address some ideas that are floating around about the Raising the Bar mod. 

Q: What are you people doing differently in your mod as compared to other HL2 beta/alpha mods?
A: We are going back to the earliest roots of HL2, earlier the beta and alpha. We are basing our mod off of concept art and scripts found in the book the mod takes its namesake from. We do take some inspiration from beta and alpha in areas where material from an earlier time is not present, however, contrary to some people's beliefs, we will NOT copy over beta maps and call them our own. ( On this note, I still need to work with Boker to fix up the industrial map a little more, it seems too close to the beta for my liking.) 

Q: When will the mod be released?
A: When it's done.

Q: There are so many HL2 beta/alpha-themed mods... Why don't you all team up to make one really good mod?
A: Well, to be honest, I really don't know why. One explanation that comes to mind would be that since there are a lot of gaps and missing stuff from the early days of HL2 that all of the different mods are taking their own spin on the story, and combining several mods together would force them to give up their ideas for the story.

Q: Will you be needing any more members in the future to help out?
A: Probably, we will be most likely needing voice actors once we get that far, and a few other positions as well. So far, however, we are nowhere near that point and so this is just speculation. I just hope that when we need extra people to help we can find them.

Q: Are you guys competing with other beta/alpha mods to try and get your stuff out sooner than they do?
A: Of course not. We would absolutely love other mods to come out before ours, that way we won't get bored during down time! But in all seriousness, we hope that other beta/alpha mods don't see us as a fierce competitor or anything like that, as we are just trying to tell the story of Half-Life 2's early days the way we see it. Kudos to mods like Missing Information and Dark Interval, you guys are really doing a great job, I can't wait to see what you guys have been up to! (If you guys somehow go off the internet's equivalent of the beaten path and wind up finding this.)

Q: Will you guys be open to questions?
A: Absolutely! Though, be warned, there are some questions which we cannot or will not answer regarding our mod, such as when it will be released or what we are working on currently. Other than that, feel free to ask on our mod page!

Stay tuned for future mod updates!
-Ambient.

Report abuse Wasteland Mod Status

0 comments by AmbientNoise on Jan 17th, 2013

For all of you out there who are wondering why the team has removed the Wasteland mod from the site, here is a little explanation.
The mod has been postponed indefintinely. Keep in mind that it isn't officially dead, as I do not know the ideas that pop into Theuaredead's head, but from what I do know it has been shelved. I have other mods I will be working on though, so if you like my work, don't worry, I'm not out of the game yet. :P
The whole team in my opinion was rather uncoordinated and almost too big to work effectively. We did get some things accomplished, but it just didn't work out. Hopefully though, in the future, maybe the mod will be revived (which is a quite optimistic thought).

That's my update as of the time of this writing,
Kyle.

Report abuse Wastelands Mod; Half Life 2 Leak Mod Soundtrack Stuff

0 comments by AmbientNoise on Dec 15th, 2012

Well, as you can tell from what I have posted on my profile, and my profile name, that I do like to work with sounds a lot for games. I'm still waiting on getting a good mic (haven't got the money for it yet), so that I don't just have to take it off of youtube videos or download already-made sounds.
So far, I've been included in working on the Wasteland mod, if it ever comes out or makes any progress. From what I've been told by the team leader, we are missing a few key areas, since the team (from what I can guess or have been told) consists of a bunch of mappers, a sound guy (Me), a modeler, and the leader. We are also working on the Half Life 2 Beta Deathmatch mod, and that is currently our main focus I think, which might explain the lack of updates for Wasteland.
My prediction is, Wasteland may have a chance if the vacant positions are filled, but if they aren't, it's probably going to die out like so many other leak mods. Just the way I see it, don't think I'm a oracle or anything :P
Anyways, I've been looking at the other leak mods and I must say I'm impressed with the great mapping that they have done, especially Dark Interval, even though it's been dormant for quite a while. I have been trying to locate songs that fit the areas in their screenshots well enough. All songs would be from the HL & HL2 (Including episodes) soundtracks since I can't currently make music with my equipment. Here's a few I've thought of:

  • Wasteland Train Ride: Space Ocean, Lab Practicum, Inhuman Frequency, Shu'ulathoi.
  • Air Exchange: Hard Technology Rock, Airex Reactor (ambient1 in the files), Pulse Phase (E3 version), Decay Mode, What Kind Of Hospital Is This, Eon Trap.
  • Combine Factories: Traveling Through Limbo, Vague Voices, Calabi-Yau Model, Entanglement (If it's not used as an ambient sound), Trainstation Part 1 & 2, Combine Advisory, Decay Mode, Eine Kleiner Elevatormuzik, Shu'ulathoi.
  • Canals: Cavern Ambience, Diabolical Adrenaline Guitar, Dimensionless Deepness, Electric Guitar Ambience, Sirens in the Distance, Xen Relay, Brane Scan, Broken Symmetry, Calabi-Yau Model, Probably Not a Problem, Suppression Field, Eine Kleiner Elevatormuzik, Extinction Event Horizon.

If anyone has ideas or comments, feel free to post. I'll most likely respond.

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