First off, thank you for your interest in writing music for Vegan on a Desert Island (VOADI)!
We are thrilled by your eagerness to help make this game awesome, and dearly cherish your contributions.
This guide will help you get started writing music for VOADI.
VOADI is an Open Source video game, and the game's music will also follow this principle.
To summarize the license: you allow anyone to use your song for any purpose, including commercially, without asking or paying you, as long as they give you proper credit.
Also, people who remix your song have to share their remix under the same terms.
This summary is not a replacement for the actual license.
VOADI has a retro-game aesthetic, and the game's music should match it.
There are no strict requirements (eg, the music doesn't need to be literally possible on an NES), but it should evoke people's memories of retro-gaming.
To learn more about this philosophy, watch Shovel Knight and Nailing Nostalgia | Game Maker's Toolkit.
As a rule of thumb, musicians could stick to an NES or Game Boy style and then deviate from it only as much as necessary to make great sounding music.
Generally speaking, the game's atmosphere is relaxed—you cannot die, there are no enemies, and no immediate danger.
However, Rachel is stranded on a desert island, the sun is beating down on her, and things are not excessively cheerful.
This game isn't afraid to be quirky, weird, and eccentric, so feel to incorporate that into your music.
A big part of this game's appeal is its sarcastic deadpan humor.
There are exceptions to this, depending on the area of the game.
See the list of planned music below.
List of planned music
The following list is under development and subject to change.
Final area of the game. There are hard puzzles the player must focus on. It could be ominous, and anxious at parts, but shouldn't overwhelm the player.
Rachel's positive impact on the island is reviewed, and the locals wave her off as she sails home.
★★★ = Absolutely necessary: The game can't be released without this track.
★★☆ = Important: Sets a unique tone for this area, but another track could be reused in the worst case scenario.
★☆☆ = Wishlist: Would add detail and polish to the game.
Suggestions for creating music
At the end of the day, all we require is a music file.
It's your choice how to do it.
If you don't know what to do, here are some suggestions you can choose from.
A) Perform and record it
The most primitive way is to record yourself performing the music.
Audacity is good software for recording multiple tracks directly into your computer, cutting them, arranging them, and mastering the song.
You will need equipment that produces a retro sound (as described under Musical style) and an audio cable or adapter to connect your equipment to the computer.
B) Compose it digitally
If you like writing sheet music, you can compose your song directly on the computer with MuseScore.
Once the piece is written, MuseScore can play it using any instrument, including retro-sounding square waves.
If you send us a good composition in a MuseScore file, we can use it to create a final version with LMMS.
C) Produce it digitally
If you like music production, you can use LMMS to create your song.
This program has a steep learning curve, but has everything you need to compose a final version of a retro score.
You can compose directly in it, or you can export a MIDI file from MuseScore and import that into LMMS to finalize.
LMMS comes with Game Boy Color and NES sound emulators out of the box, which work great for VOADI.
To submit a song, you may do one of the following:
Send your file in an email to email@example.com.
When you send us your song, please explicitly write "This song is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0" so we can have your commitment to that in writing.
If you created the song digitally (eg in MuseScore or LMMS), we would appreciate if you also sent us the source file for the song.
Using your music
We'll make effort to respect your creative direction and communicate directly if we'd like to see a piece changed for whatever reason.
That said, be aware that someone else may remix your music before including it in the game.
It's also possible we won't be able to include your music at all, possibly because we receive too many submissions.
We'll upload your music to OpenGameArt.org (giving you proper credit, of course) after the game is released, so that more game developers can benefit from your work.
Thanks again for your interest in VOADI, and we look forward to hearing what you come up with!