It’s growing at an exponential rate…

Oh lawd, we’re past the half-way mark, aren’t we? After my last post, I’ve been knee-deep in tracking “keeper” takes, mostly of guitars so far. I’m trying to hold myself to a higher standard than for the scratch takes, which means it’s slow going at times, but the project is shaping up nicely. A pleasant surprise has been that, as I dig into the nitty-gritty of capturing decent performances, I’m finding what I recorded earlier is decent enough to still be useful – more often than not, as one voice of a doubled part.

On Sunday, Mike (at Leadfoot) was decent enough to lend me a few microphones that are much nicer and versatile than what I was working with previously. I don’t really have the time to obsess about mic techniques, but it’s opened up a lot of possibilities. More on that later, maybe.

For this post, I’m going to delve into something more on the technical side: digital gain staging, and how I use it to keep my DAW sessions organized.

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(This was originally written on ludumdare.com in the aftermath of Ludum Dare 34, December 21, 2015.)

After writing up my post-mortem for Xtreme Crop Duster Simulator ’82, I had a comment from pkenney asking about how the two-camera setup I created in Unity worked, and how I used Unity’s built-in shaders to achieve the graphical style of the game. A lot of the positive feedback I’ve received about the game makes reference to the graphical style, so I was already mulling the idea of a post about exactly that – the comment spurred me to actually write it up.

Lots of text and graphics to follow, which likely isn’t be applicable outside of Unity and may only be of interest to people keen on this sort of graphical style, so the real meat of the article follows the break. But as a teaser:

Before and after

The challenge, which I had run into in previous Ludum Dares, is that square pixels are a relatively recent innovation. The Commodore 64’s multicolor low-resolution mode which I emulated in this game had a resolution of 160×200, displayed on a 4:3 television. This means that the pixels, once rendered, are 1.6 times as wide as they are tall – not a nice ratio to deal with. In my LD32 entry, Red Threat, I handwaved the problem away by drawing the sprites with 2:1 pixels, and scaling the whole thing up 2x to 640×400. It worked, but the effect was graphics that were noticeably stretched if you’re familiar with the real hardware.

This time around, I wanted to do better.

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