Jump to content
mrkenallen

Ken "your music pal" Allen says "HI"

Recommended Posts

I know one thing that seems to be on peoples minds is arcade sequences. How do the two guys intend to use these this time around? All of the SQ games have included these, what should we expect in their new spaceventure? If they are included, will they include a "cop-out" button for the die-hard adventure gamer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ken! Welcome! I have to say that you were one of my favourite Sierra composers back in the day and your and Mark Seibert's soundtracks were among the most inspiring for myself that led to me composing my own personal music and for games. So thank you!

 

My first question was going to be "what are you doing nowadays?" but I was beaten to the punch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Mr. Allen! Great to see you! I have to tell you, the SQ4 soundtrack is my favorite of the series. Long-time forum members here will attest to the fact that I have probably played the Format Countdown tune more times than the Star-Spangled Banner has been sung at sporting events.

 

I forwarded a question to Chris earlier today, but I might as well post it here. Some unused music files in SQ6 were recently recovered, probably due to the fact that there was so much space left on the CD-ROM they didn't bother deleting them. Are there any unused gems from SQ1VGA or SQ4 lying around the archives somewhere?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ken. I recently played through SQ4 with a Roland MT 32 synth emulator running on my PC through DOSBOX. The game has never sounded better! I have one question...Can you please do the music for the new Two Guys Space Venture?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a real honor to hear from and speak with you, Ken. You're right at the top of my list of favorite Sierra composers alongside Aubrey Hodges and Mark Seibert. I loved your work on Colonel's Bequest in particular. I guess the only question I can think of to ask is what software and instruments you used in your work on the old Sierra soundtracks. I'm an aspiring composer myself, and I've been using only ModPlug Tracker in my composition efforts - no keyboards or anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Ken,

 

Chris Giegerich wanted to ask you this question, but he's in a panic because his forum registration hasn't gone through yet. Or something. Anyway, he asked me to post this on his behalf:

 

Damn I can'r reply to his comment! I just registrated! I want to ask him something, and it's important! Remember back when you didn't believe when I said there are music themes from Battlestar Galactica included in the opening sequence of SQ4? THIS IS MY CHANCE TO PROVE YOU RIGHT, MY FRIEND.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, here's something most people don't know.

 

The pound sign on the phone keypad is actually called "octotherp" and the star key is "sextile". I learned this while doing the sounds for one of the SQ4 puzzles where you have to punch in a code on a number key pad. I just called Sierra Telephone and asked to speak with an engineer, told them I was working on this game and I wanted learn what frequencies that were used to generate the sounds you hear when pressing the buttons.

 

The engineer was eager to contribute and looked it up for me. As he read each key name and the frequencies, he used the word "octotherp" and I asked, "what's that?" Then he used "sextile" and volunteered that is was the asterisk key.

 

Little-known fact, now slightly less little-known.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a question, Ken, if I may ask. What was your association with Sierra at the time? Were all you guys (composers) at Sierra on salary or were you contracted for each project you worked on?

 

As far as the tools, we used Voyetra MIDI Sequencer Plus Gold for the DOS operating system, and IMHO remains one of the best sequencing packages on any OS.

 

To edit sounds, we used a commercial package called SoundQuest, also for DOS which was a universal editing and sound library management software package. We used it to edit sounds for both the MT-32 Adaptive Synthesis device and the 4 operator FM synthesis sound cards from SoundBlaster and similar manufacturers. The 4 op FM sound cards were basically the innards of the Yamaha FB-01, which SoundQuest supported. Actually the software supported tons of MIDI modules, so when Sierra later began supporting other manufacturers, like Ensonic, IBM's Music Feature, and Roland's SCC-1, we already had the music tools to support them.

 

The Adlib card was a 2 operator FM synthesis card and had its own editor.

 

To process sampled audio, I think we use something called Sample Vision. We also had a Tandy PC in the music department that also had sample editing software built in. Sample Vision was great because you could zoom all the way into a single sample and smooth out a sample curve.

 

When I moved over to Windows, I used Cakewalk and SoundForge. In fact I was a beta tester for SoundForge 2, I think I'm even listed in the credits.

Wow! Thanks for sharing that! I have Voyetra MIDI SPG myself and I like it very much as well. I'm going to have to look into those other programs. I love vintage software, especially music software. Would be neat to play with the same programs that Sierra used.

 

Do you still do game music composing? Or composing of any kind? What software do you use nowadays if so?

 

We did spoof battle music from the original Star Trek shows for the hand-to-hand combat scene Roger Wilco has with some sort of alien cave monster, but I'm fairly certain Mark Seibert knocked out that one.

Actually, sections of the theme that play when Roger is battling Roger Jr/Vohaul at the end of the game is very reminiscent of the "Amok Time" battle theme from Star Trek TOS when Spock is battling Kirk. Is that what you're referring to?

 

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp22IgAL0qo&feature=BFa&list=PLE13106492FC50BCC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a question, Ken, if I may ask. What was your association with Sierra at the time? Were all you guys (composers) at Sierra on salary or were you contracted for each project you worked on?

 

We were all on staff and paid a salary.

 

Do you still do game music composing? Or composing of any kind? What software do you use nowadays if so?

 

For my last birthday, my wife purchased a USB keyboard controller and a copy of Cubase because I said something about missing being a composer. I'm dabbling. If I create anything new as part of that dabbling, I'll probably post it on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/mrkenallen

 

 

Actually, sections of the theme that play when Roger is battling Roger Jr/Vohaul at the end of the game is very reminiscent of the "Amok Time" battle theme from Star Trek TOS when Spock is battling Kirk. Is that what you're referring to?

 

Actually no, there's another which is more similar to the Amok Time battle theme (also heard in the Cable Guy melee sequence between Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick) that Mark wrote.

 

Although I will admit some of the themes in this piece are inspired by several of the battle themes from ST-TOS, maybe even a little subconsciously from Amok Time. And this recording was one of mine. Thanks for posting it.

 

A few years after writing this piece (mid 90s) I enrolled at UCLA for their film scoring program. This is something I mention in the 5/7/2012 podcast for guysfromandromeda.com. What I don't mention in the podcast is that one of my instructors was a gentleman named Gerald Fried (pronounced "freed"), who, by complete coincidence, was one of the composers for several episodes of ST-TOS, one of which was Amok Time!

 

Talk about serendipity...!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For my last birthday, my wife purchased a USB keyboard controller and a copy of Cubase because I said something about missing being a composer. I'm dabbling. If I create anything new as part of that dabbling, I'll probably post it on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/mrkenallen

Thanks for posting that. Subscribed!

 

Actually no, there's another which is more similar to the Amok Time battle theme (also heard in the Cable Guy melee sequence between Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick) that Mark wrote.

 

Although I will admit some of the themes in this piece are inspired by several of the battle themes from ST-TOS, maybe even a little subconsciously from Amok Time. And this recording was one of mine. Thanks for posting it.

 

A few years after writing this piece (mid 90s) I enrolled at UCLA for their film scoring program. This is something I mention in the 5/7/2012 podcast for guysfromandromeda.com. What I don't mention in the podcast is that one of my instructors was a gentleman named Gerald Fried (pronounced "freed"), who, by complete coincidence, was one of the composers for several episodes of ST-TOS, one of which was Amok Time!

 

Talk about serendipity...!

 

How fascinating! It's too bad the theme never made it in. I can't wait for that podcast! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...