The Music of Dead State
Today, I wanted to step back and let our composer Leif talk a bit about the music of Dead State.
Hello present/future kickstarters! My name’s Leif Chappelle, and I have the pleasure of working with Brian and his talented team on Dead State. Specifically, on its music. I run a small (extremely small) studio (apartment) here in Seattle called Woodland Alien Music.
I’ve decided to take some time and answer a few questions about the music of Dead State, some of the initial thought processes that have gone into it so far, and where we’re planning on taking it in the future.
It’s, honestly, pretty impossible right now to not have something in mind when you think of zombie fiction. Whether it’s Bear McCreary’s excellent Walking Dead TV score, the classic “of the” film scores, Resident Evil’s shambling transformation into action movie score (but mainly the original few games’ fantastic ambiance), or my personal favorite 28 Days Later, everyone has some preconceptions of what to expect. Yet there's no one unifying thing between them. They’re all inspirations, to be sure, but as Brian is adamant to point out, Dead State isn’t all about the zombies. With that in mind, I wanted to approach the score by laying down a few ground rules of my own.
When Brian first sent me some information about Dead State, its core concepts, and some initial musical inspirations to consider, one thing struck me about the design: the concept of “noise”. The concept that, as you explore the world, the actions you take generate noise, and that’s what attracts the shambling masses. Because of this design, I knew that the score had to reflect this.
I would, ultimately, categorize the sounds I use as falling into one of two camps: humanity, and the other. In defense of humanity are the real, tangible, playable instruments. Guitars, pianos, wind chimes, potentially a rare bass or cello. When you hear music that reflects humanity, it should sound like someone could be right there in the corner, strumming. To that end, most of the melodic side of the score happens inside the Shelter.
As soon as you step outside the Shelter, that’s when you start hearing the other, and traditional melodic structure goes away. The original inspiration for this style came from Brian, who linked me a YouTube clip of what's known as the “bloop” noise. It’s this super lo-fi indescribable sound that exists at the very bottom of the ocean. Unsolved mysteries aside, the sound is just creepy. So I used this as a model for how the presence of threats in the environment should sound. As it turns out, lowering the fidelity of a lot of sounds can transform them into a pseudo-bloop, allowing me some flexibility in how those sounds are created, modified, and evolve.
The sample tracks here include two of the more low-key humanity-oriented themes (talking to an ally, and the general Shelter BGM) as well as the full combat track included in the trailer, for when you make just a bit more noise than one would generally want. Keep in mind that these are early work-in-progress mixes. Imagine the most amazing version of what you're hearing, and that's what will be included in the Dead State soundtrack!
-Shape of things to come?
I think we've only just begun to scratch the surface of what kinds of neat experiences both the game and its music are going to be creating for those that back this project. The more that gets contributed, the better we're able to make every aspect of the game. Thank you so much for your support, and I can't wait to share more!
We have the full interview here:
As of this post going up, we have less than $5,000 left to meet our reserve! We’re so close! Keep spreading the word and letting press know you want Dead State covered. We’ll have stretch goals up shortly. Thank you for funding Dead State!
pledged of $150,000 goal
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Jun 5, 2012 - Jul 5, 2012 (30 days)
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A DRM-free digital download of the game for PC at nearly half the launch price.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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The Radio Tier: This tier includes the DRM-Free digital download of Dead State plus access to exclusive developer updates featuring developer videos, first looks at in-game shots, writing from the game, game art, and much more. We will be regularly updating “The Radio” with new info throughout development. Everyone at the $21 tier or higher will get access to this content.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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A digital copy, the game soundtrack (MP3s), and a bronze-level patron badge. Patron badges will be activated on our forums after the project is funded. (You will need a forum account to show off your badge.)Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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A digital copy of the game, the soundtrack, and a digital version of the “Making of Dead State” book. This book traces the origin of DoubleBear and Dead State and contains original fiction, concept art, and design documentation, plus interviews with the team. The book will sent as a .PDF download to contributors at this tier after the game ships.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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The Save One for Yourself Pack (This Pack is not included in any other tier) -A metal magnum bullet-shaped USB pre-loaded with the game, etched with the Dead State logo, and on a keychain for easy transport and bragging rights. -A digital copy of the game so you don’t have to wait for delivery. -The digital soundtrack, the digital book, special thanks in the credits, and a silver forum badge (Add $10 for shipping outside of the US and Canada)Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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The Gold Edition. All of the above, a second digital copy of the game, a trade paperback version of the “Making of Dead State” book signed by Brian and Annie, and a gold level forum tag. (Please add $10 for shipping to territories outside the US and Canada).Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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The Splendid Box: Deluxe Edition It includes: -A Large Collector’s Box for all the stuff. -A DVD copy of the Game and a CD of the Soundtrack -The Special Edition Shirt, the USB Bullet pre-loaded with the game, the Signed Paperback of the Making of Dead State, and a real paper Manual -Collectible Game Merch, including an MMM,Bison! Kid’s Placemat, a Splendid Evacuation Notice, Friggin’ Chikin Frequent Gorger’s Card, and much more. (All sheets printed on high quality paper) -A Signed Letter from the Devs. But wait, there’s more! We’ll also give you two digital copies, a gold forum tag, and special thanks in the credits. (Add $15 for shipping outside of the US and Canada)Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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Be memorialized somewhere in the game - your name and some key personal information will be incorporated into the world of Dead State. Also includes all of the Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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We will include your zombie apocalypse text message (up to 250 characters) written by you in the game as part of our collectible in-game data. Some editorial standards apply. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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Our portrait artist will draw a portrait of you (you must supply a photo of yourself) to be used as a non-ally NPC in the game. A copy of the complete portrait will be sent to you before the game ships. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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Our portrait artist will draw a portrait of you as a zombie, which will be used for a zombie in the game. A copy of the complete portrait will be sent to you before the game ships. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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A personalized item in the game. This is a non-equipped item that would be found by players – you provide the description, we make the art. Some standards and editorial restrictions apply. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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Work with Brian Mitsoda to tell your “zombie apocalypse story” which will show up as a collectible piece of story data for every player to see. Could be an email or diary entry or note about your fate in the zombie apocalypse – we’ll work with you to make sure it fits into our world. Word count will be limited to format. Includes all Gold Edition items.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013
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Everything we have to offer (must choose either zombie or NPC portrait), ten extra digital copies of the game, an invite to our team launch party (you’re responsible for making it to Seattle), and a special Dead State Platinum Level forum tag for bragging rights.Estimated delivery: Dec 2013