NZ$ 1,431
pledged of NZ$ 3,000pledged of NZ$ 3,000 goal
47
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, January 5 2014 11:00 PM UTC +00:00
Iain Brandram-AdamsBy Iain Brandram-Adams
First created
Iain Brandram-AdamsBy Iain Brandram-Adams
First created
NZ$ 1,431
pledged of NZ$ 3,000pledged of NZ$ 3,000 goal
47
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, January 5 2014 11:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

Welcome! For visitors who have an extensive audio collection for gaming, you may like to read the section entitled What if I have a wealth of RPG audio already? which is about half-way down the page.

What is Quantum Minstrel?

Quantum Minstrel is a next-generation, cross-platform, interactive audio player with an integrated multi-layered music library. From the ground up, it is specifically engineered to meet the demands of tabletop role-playing gamers, and give you the materials and tools you need to help create the perfect ambience, intensify dramatic impact, enhance player immersion, and ultimately enrich the cinematic feel of your unfolding collaborative storytelling experience.

Quantum Minstrel is a collection of music that’s conceived and put together in a very particular way, along with specialised software to play this (and other) music in a flexible, expressive and convenient fashion. The most important concept to understand here is that you can mix and match the music you want by blending multiple streams of audio together. This software will be available for a wide variety of devices, including desktop computers, laptops and smartphones running a host of different operating systems.

You've got your fancy dice sets in your special custom bag, and you've got your drawers groaning with the premium minis that you spent last summer painting while the rest of the world was at the beach. You've got your fancy screen with all those useless, outdated charts on the back, and of course you've got your indescribably gorgeous 3D dungeon terrain that cost you an arm, a leg, your good kidney and five sessions of couples counselling*. You've got the visuals sorted, and you know it. Now you can get what you need, what you DESERVE, to bring your audio up to the next level, so your games can finally sound as awesome as they look!

* unless you've picked up some sweet deals in the stunning new Game Tiles range from Dwarven Forge, funded by Kickstarter. In fact, Quantum Minstrel is trying to do in sound what Dwarven Forge has done so amazingly well: throwing the visceral feeling of adventure directly onto your gaming table, one beautiful, hand-crafted piece at a time.

Here's yet another tool you can use to immerse your players in the story, and it's something they're already bringing to the table (unless you're gaming with Tycho Brahe): their noses! Your olfactory system has particularly strong ties to emotion and memory, so why not harness the power of smell to give your players an experience they'll never forget. Just for a second, imagine filling your lungs with the magical sweetness of an elven forest, or breathing in the tangy ocean spray as your battered galleon makes haste to the nearest port. But before we get too excited, does anyone actually make any scents that are suitable for tabletop gaming? The answer is a resounding yes! Whatever your genre, Sarawen Perfume Art produces an incredible range of captivating perfume oils, from fantasy and sci-fi to Victorian and Gothic. With the right perfume and a simple oil burner you'll be whipping up a world of wonder in no time, and covering up any stray GamerFunk while you're at it!

Now let's talk some more about the music.

How is this even possible?

As the children sleep soundly in their beds, deep in my lair (Treasure Type Q x 2, for those of you with an old-school raiding party at the ready) I have been spending a lot of time planning and composing a series of seamless music loops, each approximately two minutes long, that sound great in isolation and even better when combined with one another. To get a wee bit technical, these loops can be said to have compatible harmonic and rhythmic structures, in addition to other more esoteric considerations pertaining to aspects of musical counterpoint.

The end result is that these loops can be played together in any combination; you can think of them as layers of audio that provide emotional and/or environmental contributions to the overall soundscape. The key is that these layers can be gently faded in and out independently through the use of sliders on your screen, which puts you in charge of the music mix at all times. For those of you familiar with graphics software, it is perhaps helpful to think of these sliders as controlling the musical ‘opacity’, ranging from 0% (silent) to 100% (maximum presence), allowing you to find the optimal blend of colours and textures for a given gaming scenario.

But as we’ll see, it goes a step deeper than that.

These flexible audio layers are themselves comprised of sub-layers. This added complexity is fairly subtle and may not be obvious at a glance. When you move a slider, you are not merely changing the volume of the associated music: the volume does indeed rise and fall, but at the same time you are also manipulating many other parameters, such as the audio clarity, apparent distance and even the numbers and types of musical instruments and other sounds that are playing. These slight and gradual shifts are achieved through the application of techniques like audio filters, reverberation (or ‘reverb’) and crossfading, and are all handled for you automatically behind the scenes. However, you may be interested to know what it is going on under the hood.

Where did you get the idea?

The musical inspiration behind Quantum Minstrel stems from two major sources.

The first is that other great play-elephant in the room: video games. Many video games offer a sophisticated audio experience that responds to player activity, and I am attempting to channel this aspect into the tabletop realm.

The second is the art of sound installation. I don’t mean Darren in the overalls who comes to hook up your home theatre system, but rather an artistic work based in sound that unfolds over time in a particular space, often for long periods. From my time in the deep waters of music academia I have experienced a number of these, and some have left quite an impression (while others have left me scarred for life).

What’s in a name?

Before we continue the guided tour, let’s spend a little bit of time exploring the wondrous realms of nomenclature and terminology.

Why is this project called Quantum Minstrel? This name was deliberately chosen for a variety of important reasons:

  • As an amalgam of concepts highly modern and truly archaic, it reflects both a flexibility to cover a broad spectrum of time periods, genres and game settings, as well as a happy marriage of modern technology to the ancient arts of music and storytelling.

  • It represents (to my mind) a quantum leap forward in the technical and musical development of interactive audio for the gaming table.

  • I thought it sounded totally badass.

A screenshot of Quantum Minstrel in action, showing a set of four multi-layered tracks (also called strings) loaded up as a single instrument. Each string represents a different mood and/or locale.
A screenshot of Quantum Minstrel in action, showing a set of four multi-layered tracks (also called strings) loaded up as a single instrument. Each string represents a different mood and/or locale.
In Quantum Minstrel parlance, an instrument is built with a number of strings, and each of these strings contains many strands.
In Quantum Minstrel parlance, an instrument is built with a number of strings, and each of these strings contains many strands.

We’ll continue the present discussion by introducing some new terms. In the Quantum Minstrel universe, our individual tracks (that blend together as a unit and are controlled by sliders) are called strings, while their cunningly concealed sub-layers are called strands. A set of strings together is collectively referred to as an instrument. This hierarchy is demonstrated in the diagram above. Additionally, as we’ll soon discover in the tutorial below, each string slider has specific points at which it stops during its travels, and we’ll call these frets, to continue the lute motif.

These particular metaphors were chosen out of dedication to the wandering bards of long ago, fictitious or otherwise. In addition, the concept of harmonious integration of interrelated musical loops was inspired by the warm resonance of sympathetically vibrating strings, whereas the software side of Quantum Minstrel is far more than a simple audio player: it is a fully responsive, playable instrument “tuned to the key of RPG”.

And very soon this instrument will be at your beck and call. A Minstrel is You!

How does it work?

Here is a quick tutorial on how to use the basic functions of Quantum Minstrel:

  • Run the application (always a good move).

  • From the menu at the top-left, load up your desired instrument. Fields of Glory is the default, so that’s a good place to begin your musical adventures. The interface will then display a row of sliders representing the various strings, in conjunction with corresponding rows of up and down arrows.

  • When you click or tap on an arrow, it gently raises or lowers the corresponding slider to the next position (or fret) in a smooth and flowing fashion.

  • Now that you’re getting the hang of it, it’s time to set your preferred starting position. For example, if your game session begins in a city temple, set the Bringer of Light (temple) slider fairly high up, and for fun, you can include a bit of the Market Day (town) slider as well, if you’re after a headier, more complex brew.

  • When you’re ready, you can press the large play button at the top-right and listen in awe and wonder as the magic unfolds.

  • At any stage, you can pause or resume playback using this same button. It’s not necessarily recommended to do this regularly during games as the sudden stopping or starting can sound rather abrupt, but it could perhaps be useful if the party becomes deafened (although a nice underwater-style filter could be just what the doctor ordered in this circumstance), or if there’s an important phone call or emergency evacuation, or if it’s simply time to take a break for whatever reason.

  • The sliders are your friends. When the party leaves the temple, try queueing up some downward taps on Bringer of Light and while we’re at it let’s hear some more from the town, or maybe even a hint of forest when you bump into that lost wood elf down a side street. You can really let your imagination guide you.

And here are a few supplementary notes:

  • Depending on your device resolution and other settings, you may have some strings loaded off the edges of the screen. To get to these strings, you can scroll over to them using side arrows that will appear to the right and left.

  • I chose a system of frets and arrows so that the music never has awkward bumps or dips that could easily occur from direct manipulation of the sliders. These frets have all been carefully calibrated using psychoacoustic principles so that all changes are as seamless and transparent as possible.

  • You can press play before increasing any sliders, which will tell Quantum Minstrel to start looping silently, resulting in a gradual fading in of music when you later do decide to introduce some sounds. This can be quite a lovely effect.

Can we hear it in action?

You bet! Imagine you are running a fantasy game, perhaps something along the lines of

and we join the action in the Grove of Secrets, where your well-groomed adventuring party has just defeated their vile foe, an orc champion by the name of Ghrokbarhr Thranggis Jr. Here the battle music fades out, and the forest music takes over.

NB: All of the background music in these excerpts is out-of-the-box, unedited output from Quantum Minstrel.

After more miscellaneous adventuring, the party reaches the peaceful village of Summerton, where we introduce the sounds of the town as the forest music dissipates.

And of course, ye olde tavern-e is juste downe the roade. The eponymous V. Craghammer tries his luck, but for him it’s a swyngge and a miss!

This final track features an additional layer of background sounds from Wes Otis's popular Plate Mail Games audio collection, as an example of the two working in tandem.

And there we have it. As you can hear, these scene and mood transitions happen seamlessly without ever missing a beat.

Only TWO minutes?

No doubt some eagle-eyed potential backers amongst you may have observed that I described my music loops as being about two minutes in length. At this point you may be feeling worried that two minutes doesn’t sound like a long time, especially given the length of some gaming sessions, and under normal circumstances I would say that you would be quite justified in your misgivings. However, please bear a few things in mind:

  • Each loop (or string) has been painstakingly composed to repeat seamlessly and organically with a playful, aloof and often mercurial air, which helps to minimise any sense of déjà-vu whether it be a hectic, thrilling soundtrack, a poignant underscore, or a tranquil, meditative backdrop.

  • Each string is only a part of a larger matching set (or instrument), and there is a huge amount of musical variety inherent in the available combinations.

  • Using the software sliders, you are in direct control of these layers, and even small changes can make a big difference.

  • If we reach a total of $5,750 then you’ll be able to use the Auto-Pilot feature to transition automatically between various soundscapes, increasing the diversity in a subtle or fairly substantial way without requiring constant user input.

  • There are many layers (or strands) within each individual string, so at any one time you are really hearing a complex fusion of sounds drawn from roughly 8-12 minutes of audio. My personal feeling is that making the strings any longer would take a great deal more time and effort without contributing very much to the end result.

  • If we reach the $50,000 mark, this two minute limit will start to dissolve.

Furthermore, if you would like some purely anecdotal evidence (and who doesn’t?), during product testing we tried using just a single string for a whole evening of gaming. Afterwards, everyone at the table commented on how well the music worked to set the scene while not taking away player focus (after the initial excited glee), and how it didn’t get at all tiresome, or drive us to commit multiple heinous acts, despite having looped well over 100 times!

And if you’re still not convinced, soon you’ll be able to try it out for yourself without leaving the comfort of your favourite web browser. Being decidedly of the demo pursuasion, it will have audible watermarks (but we’ll do our best to make them entertaining for you). I’ll post an update when the online demo is up and running.

What choice of rewards are you offering?

At launch time we are offering 12 different levels of rewards, which you can read about in detail over on the right side of this page. The following list features the ones that may be of the most interest, although I encourage you to check out all of them to find what best suits. And hey, remember you can always change your pledge before the end of the campaign.

NB: All prices are listed in NZ Dollars, which should make most of you happy.

  • For $1 you get my heartfelt thanks for your interest and support, and regular updates on our progress.

  • For $3 you also get a copy of the Quantum Minstrel player, and all subsequent software updates as they come out, but no additional audio.

  • For $5 and above you will receive my thanks, the software and a certain amount of music, depending on the level of your pledge.

  • If you would like to receive all of the music that will be produced as the result of this campaign, you’ll want to aim for Level 7: ‘Tachyonic Troubadour’ (Master Set) or higher, which is in the $40+ region.

  • All adventurous backers at Level 8: ‘Mesoscopic Minstrel’ (Collector’s Edition) and higher, at a pledge of $60 or greater, automatically qualify as beta testers. Beta testers are granted early access to all software updates and new music coming down the pike and/or halberd, and are invited to give feedback to refine the product. Once each testing cycle is complete, updates will be rolled out to the rest of the user base.

  • At the prestigious Limited Edition end of the reward rainbow, Level 9: ‘Mass-Energy Muse’ (BRONZE Backer) and up (for pledges of $250+), we get into some pretty serious business, which is usually the case when precious metals come into play. This is yet another great backing option, this time for those of you who would like something unique, original, and a little special. For this level of financial support, I’ll be composing music to your personal specifications, which you can then keep for your own private use, or if you’re feeling particularly generous you may like to share it with your fellow backers; naturally, this decision is entirely yours. Either way, I am extremely grateful for your contribution.

To kick off the New Year and escape the holiday season doldrums, what could be better than a veritable treasure-trove of interactive music for you or the gamer(s) in your life? If you would like to grab MULTIPLE COPIES for FRIENDS and FAMILY, please simply select the highest of your intended reward categories, then over-pledge the total sum of all additional desired rewards. I’ll be sure to follow up all over-pledging as quickly as possible to make sure all y’all get what you want.

One more thing: please do contact me in the extreme event that you would like multiple Limited Edition copies. Of course, I am happy to oblige, but this may require an appearance from the fabled Cap of Thinking to keep the quantities aligned.

What if I have a wealth of RPG audio already?

No worries, Quantum Minstrel is still for you. In fact, everything just keeps getting better!

If you’ve been building your gaming audio library, and especially if you’ve been following the RPG circles on Kickstarter for a while, you may already have a large collection of background music and environmental effects in your gaming library, such as those from the very successful Plate Mail Games Kickstarters #1 and #2.

Quantum Minstrel has been designed with all of this in mind, and will enhance and build upon any collections you may already possess, especially those tracks that are more ambient, less intrusive and targeted towards the sound effect end of the continuum. Exactly how well everything works together will depend to a certain extent on the final funding level, as stretch goals (see the main section below) will unlock features to make this symbiotic relationship even more attractive.

Now is the perfect time to discuss these particular stretch goals and how they can improve our lives in a meaningful way.

While the finer levels of layered control that the official Quantum Minstrel strings and instruments offer within their musical strands generally won’t be available when it comes to other background music in your library, nothing will go to waste. Quantum Minstrel will quite happily load these up for you, where you can organise, categorise and combine your audio tracks into columns for ease of access. If we unlock the Superposition stretch goal at a funding total of $3,750 you will have the option of organising tracks by rows as well.

Next comes the Quantum String Builder feature (unlocked at $4,250), with which you’ll be able to make your own multi-layered strings from any combination of the official Quantum Minstrel strings and your own audio files. I would strongly suggest adding a well-matched background sound effect track behind each built-in string, as this will only deepen the sense of richness, realism and immersion. These added layers will also loop naturally within their own internal rhythms quite independently of the music, to produce a pleasing kind of auditory parallax as time unfolds. I'll include a tutorial on how to do this and how it all fits together if and when stretch goal updates start coming into play.

If we reach the $5,250 level, the Particle Emitter soundboard feature will be unlocked, meaning that one-shot sounds can be fired off quickly and easily over and above any background music that may be playing. You will also have control over each sound’s volume, filtering and positioning in 3D space. Again, I'll include details on how you can do all this when the time comes.

Then between $9,250 and $10,750 we are adding support for playing a multitude of lossless audio formats, which may be useful for the audiophiles amongst us who favour these types of compression. Quantum Minstrel reads mp3, ogg, wav and aiff files natively, but I plan to expand this to include flac, ape, wavpack and m4a Apple lossless files.

So there you have it. Quantum Minstrel will work wonders with any suitable gaming audio you already own and enjoy, so it’s a win-win!

Just how “cross-platform” are we talking?

It is my firm intention to bring Quantum Minstrel to the people in a big way: therefore it will be made available on as many platforms as I can afford to license and maintain.

Upon initial release, desktop and laptop computers running Windows® (Windows XP to Windows 8), OS X® (10.6 “Snow Leopard” to 10.9 “Mavericks”) and Linux® (x86 and x64) operating systems will be supported.

Support for a plethora of portable devices powered by Android™ (2.3 “Gingerbread” and ARMv7 or later), iOS® (including iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®), Windows RT and Windows Phone® 8 operating systems will be unlocked as a stretch goal at $9,000.

Will there be any DRM? What about licensing?

There is not, and never will be, any DRM in Quantum Minstrel. I neither want nor need any of that funny-business getting in the way of your use and enjoyment of my labour of love. Besides, I have faith in our close-knit community: anyone running Quantum Minstrel for tabletop games is a real champion in my book, or at the very least has dipped into paladin for a level or two if you’re one of those shifty multi-classers out there. Whatever the case, and whoever you are, I can’t wait for you to lay your hands on it.

If some roguish characters do happen to find a ‘second-hand’ copy in a barrel or tree stump around the place, I’ll try to think of it as free advertising for the real deal that offers superior integration and ongoing support within the Quantum Minstrel microcosm. To give you some backstory, here’s an example of an encounter I’ve had with copyright infringement in the past: I was tickled pink to discover that the sheet music for a commercially available tango I had written had been uploaded to a free file sharing site by a user from Portugal. That, my friends, is when you know you’ve hit the big time.

Having said all this, registered users will receive a unique serial number, which will be used exclusively to simplify your Quantum Minstrel experience: to download copies of your licensed music and software from the website, inform you of relevant updates, and things of that nature. One serial number will allow you to install and run Quantum Minstrel for your personal use on any and all compatible devices that you own, so you won’t need to juggle activations or anything like that.

If you plan to use Quantum Minstrel for anything that’s oriented more towards the public or commercial spheres, please do get in touch and between us we can almost certainly work something out. For something like a bona fide, free-to-air, actual play podcast, an appropriate attribution would be sufficient. Whatever the scenario, my people will talk to your people, and then things will happen.

What will you do with the proceeds?

Quantum Minstrel is being built using the Unity3d framework, as it provides a 3D audio processing engine and is a powerful and convenient tool for deploying applications to multiple platforms fairly automatically. I have been using the free version of Unity3d for prototyping, but we’ll be requiring the (very expensive) professional version to implement all of the features necessary to make this an efficient and viable solution for all platforms, and really put the icing on the cake. Therefore a large portion of the funds received will go directly towards various categories of professional licensing for Unity3d.

The next major expense in this process will be the acquisition of virtual instruments and effects plugins, on which I will be relying heavily to compose and record the various musical items. I have already amassed a large collection of virtual instruments and effects throughout my professional composing career. However, paid updates do often become available, and as with so many things, there are always new and exciting products on one’s proverbial wishlist. Being a growth industry in the throes of some truly fascinating transformations, the quality, breadth and playability of virtual instruments and the breathtaking capabilities of effect plugins are improving all the time, which means that keeping up with the latest and greatest offerings is the best way to ensure the finest-sounding audio.

From here, a significant amount of money will go towards keeping my composition and programming studio running, and for hiring experts who specialise in highly technical tasks on an as-needed basis.

Finally, the remainder will help to determine my ability to devote large chunks of time to this project. Ideally I would love to work full-time on development and maintenance aspects of Quantum Minstrel, and depending on the level of funding, this could become a reality. In any case, I’ll dedicate as much time to the project as I possibly can until all expected goals have been met, and then look to see where we can go from there.

What’s your timeline for all this?

For a quick overview, the estimated deliveries associated with each reward level are an excellent guide as to when each of these particular goals will be complete. For clarification, here are some more details.

January 2014: All copies of the first release of Quantum Minstrel audio player software will go out, including music up to the Fields of Glory starter set.

February–October 2014: Various software features will be worked on, and new music tracks will be composed during this time, roughly in the order in which they were unlocked (see the Stretch Goals section below). The software updates and new music will be tested by high level backers and subsequently released into the wild as soon as each one is completed. I aim to have all Fantasy music done by September.

November 2014: Software development will be ongoing. I anticipate to have all Sci-Fi and Bonus flexi-string music finished at this stage.

December 2014–February 2015: By this time I intend to have implemented all of the software features and composed all of the music, including any personal requests from high level backers.

Do you have any Stretch Goals planned?

Absolutely! If we get to our minimum funding goal, Quantum Minstrel comes out of the gate strong with a set of six mix-and-match fantasy loops and many of the basic software features needed to run fabulous audio at the gaming table, along with support for most desktop and laptop computers.

I recognise that many of you must have journeyed far and suffered extensively to take part. Some will have endured the public ridicule and social isolation of being the squeaky fifth wheel that gets the kick, while others amongst you will have padded your resumes, grappled through five to seven levels of fighter, slummed it with the thieves’ guild for a while and then taken druidic orders just to get to this point. But now that we’re here, good news! The Vancian magic of stretch goals enables us to take Quantum Minstrel even further, onward and upward into new and exciting territory.

Here’s a quick overview.

At $3,000 we launch. At $9,000, tablet and smartphone versions come online.

For every additional $250 reached between $3,000 and $12,000, something extra will be added to the pot. This will typically be something like a new piece of music or a software feature upgrade. From $12,000 to $50,000 there will be a major focus on expanding the available music library to cover a broader spectrum of gaming situations. If we are fortunate enough to find ourselves heading north of $50,000, then we have some very special plans for you that I’ll reveal later in the campaign.

You may notice that amongst the stretch goals is a scattering of bonus music items called flexi-strings. These are one-off, single-string instruments that have especially pronounced layering. To give you some idea of what this could mean, Imperial Blossom changes in musical intensity from a quintessentially sparse, peaceful Japanese texture all the way through to a dark, demonic uproar, whereas 20¢ Jukebox morphs between different styles of popular songs with surreal, wordless singing. While I do plan to offer most of the music you see here separately in bundles at a later date for those who missed out or pledged cautiously, these flexi-strings will be a Kickstarter exclusive, only available as part of this campaign.

And I’m flexi-ble too, so let me know if there is a particular feature you would like to see. Based on any discussions that occur over the next couple of weeks, there could well be any number of additional stretch goals for even more software features. I’d say that these new goals would most likely slot somewhere into the $12,000 to $50,000 range. So keep in touch and stay tuned to this station!

A note of thanks

The following lovely persons have each contributed to Quantum Minstrel in some way. I would like to thank you all for your patience, kindness and generosity.

Our regular gaming group: Hamish, Megan, Olly and Richard
Our not-so-regular gaming group: Emily, Gerald and Richard (this poor guy gets to suffer me twice)
Friends and family:
Alwyn, Cheuky, Chris, Hugo, Ichen, Iris, Joan, Kees, Marissa, Matt, Michael, Sara and Bertie of the Vigilant Watch
The lovely Sara from Sarawen Perfume Art for her amazing contributions to the campaign and for filling my house with such sweet-smelling delights!
Jeff Martin and Stefan Pokorny of Dwarven Forge fame for their phenomenal support and for making the most glorious (and surprisingly inexpensive) 3D dungeon tiles. Check them out!

And to take this to the final curtain, some exhilarating legal footnotes

  • Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

  • The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.

  • Intel is a trademark of Intel Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

  • IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the United States and other countries and is used under license.

  • iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Mac are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

  • Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States and other countries.

  • Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.

  • Windows Phone is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Risks and challenges

From the work that I’ve already done on this project, the basic Quantum Minstrel software will be ready to go out the door after funding and licensing are cleared, which will be a matter of mere days. The ‘1.0’ release of the starter set (instrument) of six fantasy multi-layered music loops (strings) called “Fields of Glory” will also be available at this time. Everything else will take a little while to get together.

Luckily we have relatively few variables at play compared to what some campaigns need to deal with. We aren’t relying on third-party printers or postal services, as everything will be delivered electronically. I’ll monitor the server load for any problems and take steps to improve performance if and when needed.

For the most part, I’ll record the music using virtual instruments, synthesizers and what-have-you, so we won’t need to worry about other musicians’ schedules to get things happening. That keeps it nice and simple.

I’ll be keeping multiple backups, including versioning and cloud storage, of all aspects of Quantum Minstrel’s development to minimise the risk of data loss.

Pretty much everything will be done in-house. My house, to be precise. As long as we don’t have serious flooding or major earthquakes, everything should be smooth sailing. As I’ll be doing most of the heavy lifting, the responsibility will be primarily on me to keep the plates spinning and the wheels turning.

After the initial launch, I’ll be dividing up my Quantum Minstrel time between software design, musical composition, and transparent communication and updates for backers. I’ll need to stay on the ball to make sure I don’t get behind in any of these departments, but as a veteran freelance task juggler I look forward to the challenge.

We’re all human; we have our creative ups and downs. However, from my experience over many years as an active composer and composition teacher with many hard (and often insane) deadlines, one aspect where I excel is in overcoming writer’s block and getting the job done. I have tried to be realistic with my time frame and have factored a small amount of Life into the equation, but in the event of things going wrong, a modicum of flexibility for unforeseen events would be most appreciated. Conversely, there’s also the distinct possibility of getting a little ahead of schedule.

In the interest of full disclosure, if there is one area where I can get a little hung up it is in perfectionistic tweaking. However, this is where you as backers come in. You can tell me what works and what most needs fixing for you and I’ll do my very best to cater to your needs.

To this end, I’ll be putting up a Trello board where you can simply follow or actively engage in the project’s development. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Trello, here is a description from their website at trello.com: “Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.”

I hope that by instigating this visible Trello roadmap, it’ll help keep me on task and let you know where we are at all times. Naturally, I’ll also include regular Kickstarter updates so that everyone involved stays in the loop.

I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of making Quantum Minstrel a reality and sincerely hope you can join us on this amazing journey.

Iain

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 1 or more About $0.66

    Level 1: ‘Redshift Rhymer’ – Sincere personal thanks for supporting Quantum Minstrel, plus regular progress updates.

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    Level 2: ‘Lightspeed Lyrist’ (Player Reward) – Thanks and updates as above, plus a copy of the Quantum Minstrel audio player. NB: this is the player software only; no actual audio is included at this backer level.

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    Pledge NZ$ 5 or more About $3

    Level 3: ‘Stellar Sonneteer’ – The Player Reward above, plus two fantasy loops from Fields of Glory: Down the Hatch (tavern music) and Market Day (town music).

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    Pledge NZ$ 10 or more About $7

    Level 4: ‘Supersymmetric Skald’ – The Player Reward above, plus the full Fields of Glory starter set of six fantasy music loops, covering battle, dungeon, forest, tavern, temple and town settings.

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    1 backer
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    Pledge NZ$ 15 or more About $10

    Level 5: ‘Relativistic Racaraide’ – The Player Reward above, plus every Fantasy core loop and stretch goal released as part of this campaign. If you run fantasy games exclusively, maybe this reward is for you.

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    12 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 20 or more About $13

    Level 6: ‘Jumpspace Jongleur’ – The Player Reward above, plus every Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Bonus core loop and stretch goal released as part of this campaign. If you run mostly fantasy and/or science fiction games with the occasional foray into other territory, maybe this reward is for you.

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    8 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 40 or more About $26

    Level 7: ‘Tachyonic Troubadour’ (Master Set) – The Player Reward above, plus ALL core loops and stretch goals released as part of this campaign. If you run a wide variety of games, maybe this reward is for you.

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    14 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 60 or more About $40

    Level 8: ‘Mesoscopic Minstrel’ (Collector’s Edition) – Everything from the Master Set above, plus access to uncompressed original audio sources (wav/aiff), regular pre-release updates of all future software and audio, and your name featured in the player’s credits. If you’re an audiophile with a penchant for pristine sound, if you like getting involved with beta versions or if you’re just in a collector’s state of mind, maybe this reward is for you.

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    8 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 250 or more About $166

    Level 9: ‘Mass-Energy Muse’ (BRONZE Backer) – Everything from the Collector’s Edition above, plus a two-minute multi-layered music loop composed especially for you in your chosen genre.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 500 or more About $331

    Level 10: ‘Lorentz Force Lorist’ (SILVER Backer) – Everything from the Collector’s Edition above, plus a set of 2 two-minute multi-layered music loops composed especially for you in your chosen genre.

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    Pledge NZ$ 1,300 or more About $861

    Level 11: ‘Baryonic Bard’ (ELECTRUM Backer) – Everything from the Collector’s Edition above, plus a set of 6 two-minute multi-layered music loops composed especially for you in your chosen genre.

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    Pledge NZ$ 2,400 or more About $1,589

    Level 12: ‘Metaphysical Master Bard’ (GOLD Backer) – Everything from the Collector’s Edition above, plus 12 (two sets of 6) two-minute multi-layered music loops composed especially for you in your chosen genres.

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Funding period

- (26 days)