I was pretty slack over the past few weeks, XMAS and such all got in the way. I'm back on it now though, so I figured I'd talk a little about what I'm doing with the 'glitch' stuff.
So icefishign v is intended to be a glitch/drone album through which you move in a 3D space. What do I mean by Glitch? It's a musical style originating in the mid 90's. It's based on the sounds of malfunction, so skipping CDs, dodgy electronics, low bit-rates, noise, distortion and so on. Some of the people who really defined the genre were Oval, Autechre, Aphex Twin, Pan Sonic and Alva Noto. So here's a few good examples:Oval - Gabba Nation
(ironic name I promise, don't worry it's not gabba!!)Autechre - Rsdio Pan Sonic - Telakoe
The other big influence is drone music, generally characterised by long, drawn out sounds, often with an emphasis on rich textures and noise. The two genres have a heck of a lot of crossover.
So I want the glitch aspect to be authentic here. There are countless plugins for audio programs that create 'glitch' effects and the like, but I'm trying to get Unity to create the glitch. One of the main things I'm doing to achieve that is playing with the doppler effect. So for instance, certain sounds in the game have stupidly high doppler values, far higher than what you'd actually use if you were aiming for a realistic effect. This means that when you move towards or away from those sounds, they start to pile up on themselves, transforming from gentle drones into strange, digital stutters. This would sound rotten in most other contexts, but here it can be really effective. And the thing I like is that it's 'authentic', it's genuine, real-time glitch caused by the player's involvement, rather than a .wav of a 'glitch' that plays when triggered. Now, some sounds don't translate well once processed like this, so it's an iterative process of creating sounds in Logic, dropping them into the game, and fiddling with the parameters to see how they sound.
That's good for long, sustained glitchy textures. Something else I'm doing to achieve short,sharp, percussive and rhythmic glitches is by jolting the 'listener'. The listener
in Unity is basically just the microphone in the game world, and in a first-person game you'd generally attach it to the main camera. icefishing has a sort of 'gun' that fires sounds at far off objects. When you fire this with the mouse button, the camera shifts a random distance, in a random direction, and then back to it's default position. This happens in a fraction of a second and jolts the image. The listener of course shifts too, which results in a short doppler glitch in the audio.
The skybox in the game is black. Attached to the camera is a game object containing huge, layered, transparent planes that sit far enough away from the camera to not obscure any objects in the game, creating a sky texture. Rather than just using an image for each layer, they all actually contain the same one, but I’ve fucked with the tiling settings. I stumbled on this by experimenting one day. When you drive the tiling parameter up into the thousands, weird things start to happen. It starts to create unpredictable patterns and textures, I guess because it is trying to figure out how to display hundreds of tiles within a pixel. So layering these, fading them in and out, and messing with things like ‘shininess’, specular and reflection colours results in some pretty cool effects. By messing around with the values long enough I managed come up with a kind of palette of patterns I can then control in code. Additionally, messing with the transform.scale setting of these planes further messes with it. Like so:
The right mouse button is the main way to trigger this. It serves no purpose other than glitching the game, and for that reason is my favourite feature! The main camera features the sky planes’ that I just described, but I also have a second camera which features a similar set of planes, the ‘glitch planes’, although these ones are sat much closer to the camera, so sometimes they do in fact obscure objects. Clicking the right mouse button randomly shifts the camera, randomly rotates it, and then enables it, overlaid on top of the first camera as long as the button is held down. So it doubles everything up on itself. This is of course accompanied by the doppler glitch, and will add a distortion DSP effect in time too. This is how the screenshots in the previous post, and in the following image were created:
The values of these planes are tied to a load of things in game. The first level for instance features shards embedded in that ground, that shoot up into the sky as you approach them.
Each time a shard is triggered, it adjusts one of the values in the plane (as well as jolting the camera), so that the pattern subtly shifts. By the time you’ve activated several hundred of them the sky has changed. As you transition to the second stage, the values change again, stretching the patterns out into vertical bars that better complement the abstract buildings of the second stage.
Erm, that’s a lot of writing and probably not that interesting so I’ll stop for now.