Piano Thing

Once again, for lack of a better title, here’s one called ‘Piano Thing’, crafted with the new Grandeur and Strum-GS2.

Spammers gonna spam yall

It blows my mind that in 2014, ancient internet methodologies of annoying the shit out of me are still in play. Who in this day and age still falls for poorly spelled spam email? And the fact I still have to clean up pending comments on this site for spam attempts? (Yes, this is my fault for forgetting to turn it off on the About Me page). Woe is me. I felt like venting here instead of a quick rage over Twitter.

Grand Theft Auto V

It’s been a seriously long time since I finished a GTA game; the last one being GTA 3 on the Playstation 2. I came really close with San Andreas, and put enough hours into that game to have probably finished it 3 times over, but never did actually get to a point where I watched the credits roll. GTA5 was just one of those games that really roped me in, and it’s the modernization of so many of its systems which really made that happen.

There were many great additions to GTA, but the game-finisher for me was the checkpoint system. In previous games (though to a lesser degree in GTA4), when you failed a mission, you were kicked out of the mission and had to reacquire it. That meant driving the entire map all over again, picking up the mission and driving to where you needed to go. At the same time, being wasted also meant losing your weapons, so when you died, you basically had to reload the save or go buy all your shit over again. It was annoying the first couple times, but an absolutely maddening time-waster later on. They added a quicker mission restart to GTA4, but it still meant doing the busywork (Driving to locations, getting to the rooftop, etc.). GTA5 properly introduces checkpoints, so there was no time in the game where I quit playing simply because I didn’t want to make that long trek all over again.

Shooting mechanics are much improved, even to a fault. It copies the Red Dead Redemption model, with a lock-on system which makes you a crackshot. I’d consider this cheap, if not for the fact that enemies also have this same power. It’s well balanced to a console gamepad and I liked it a lot. There’s a legitimate complaint out there that the shooting is simply too easy; it was easier than previous games, but more fun to do.

The same cannot be said for the cops. In my opinion, Rockstar really screwed the pooch on this one. The cops are ridiculously aggressive with perfect shots and the ability to bead down on you with 6 cruisers at a 2-star wanted level. Point a gun at a cop, 3 stars. Shoot 2 cops, 4 stars. I found it extraordinarily frustrating trying to evade cops without gaming the system. If you’re not on a timer, you can just drive up a hill and wait and you’ll escape unscathed, but I honestly missed the fun of being able to go on a 5-star rampage for a half hour just for fun.

All the characters were great,  my favorite being Trevor the psychopath. Michael’s rages were pretty awesome and the natural flow of dialog from Franklin and Lamar was pretty cool. You felt like one of the boys just riding along in the back seat when these two would talk.

I appreciated the idea of an ending mission which would tie things up, but wasn’t really impressed with how it all played out. It felt rushed; there should have been a mission per character to close the game out, but Rockstar ended up just going with something akin to a montage.

I look forward to the expansions they’re surely working on. GTA Online is populated by dickheads so I’m not interested in that, and hope that it doesn’t become the primary focus of future development on the game.

A Work in Progress

I’m excited about how this is turning out, and I just can’t wait to get the whole thing out before showing it off. So here’s a work-in-progress of one of three yet-to-be-named songs. It’s something thematically similar to what I’ve done in the past, but the creation of it is far more interesting than anything I’ve done up to this point.

Practice Makes Perfect

Well, not quite perfect. But hey. I thought it would be interesting to point out my First MIDI track I ever did, compared with my most recent.

Pretty funny stuff. There’s a reason your first stuff should never be published, but I’m glad I kept this around for posterity’s sake.

The first track would’ve been recorded using Sonar Home Studio 6 or 7, I believe, somewhere between 2000-2002, on a Korg M1 MIDI controller. It had barely passable touch velocity (softer if you hit the keys lightly, louder if you hit them harder) and I believe it’s most notable use in history is two fold: The ‘pops’ on it are iconic in the Seinfeld theme, and the keyboard makes an appearance in the movie Groundhog Day.

Today, I write on a mix of FL-Studio and Sonar X2 with a Casio Privia piano, a true “proper” electronic piano vs. a simple MIDI controller. I’ve invested a few more bucks into sounds samples as well.

First One

I’ve made the move over to FL-Studio because I appreciate it’s track composition and piano roll features much more than Cakewalk. This song is aptly titled First One because it’s the first one I published using FL. Download it here.