Royalty-Free Music: What It Is & Where To Find It

There is an internet vast and full of stuff for putting together specific stuff with other stuff to make intended stuff. Having tested so many games for this site, I thought, “surely, all these fun audiovisual orchestrations must be tapped into some incredibly useful material source.” When I went to learn myself what was involved in making my visual novel, this surprisingly was not so simple. Do not get me wrong, I’m here to give you the goods, but when it comes to music, or graphics, or anything really, the way copyright protection works is stern yet often confusing. So, let me get you going here. Don’t fret–or do! I’m here to tell you that things are not hopeless. More specifically: how to obtain royalty-free music.

Lean Back, Royalty-Free Music is a Piece of Cake

So, let me paint the picture here, since copy and pasting Bob Ross would probably infringe on copyrights. Yes, “copyrights.” Copyright is the law that protects the intellectual property of artists, writers, and creators. If you ever have a very specific question about copyright, Google is really your friend. I’m not telling you to “google it” and sign off or anything, but the details are too vast for this one resource. So, I will try to sum it up the best I can.

Here’s the truth: almost every song you have ever listened to, especially on the radio, is copy-written, meaning you can’t use it without paying for it. And no, the ten-second rule thing is not a real thing, although it is funny when Conan mentions it sometimes. To go further, you would have to pay quite a bit of coin for any music that’s remotely popular. So, if you’re working on a game, a visual novel, a video, or some indie project that has a low budget, scrap any plans that involve epic montages including popular songs. Let me help you find some other, equally valuable resources for adding a track to your project.

One side note: If you do have something for a budget, there are actually many independent music soundtrack composers who will give you a track or more for your game. Many advertise on Twitter and Instagram, so try making a post on your Twitter soliciting potential composers, they are out there and often come with recommendations!

Anyway, so let’s get back to the free music on 101.7 The KOOL BEANS.

The Easiest Way

So, the very easiest way to source royalty-free music is kind of obvious, but maybe not at first, and not even necessarily the easiest. That way is: *make it yourself.* If you were like me, in a family who encourages hobbies and skills, you may have been part of a school band or even a real band, taken guitar lessons, or whatever.

I haven’t played piano in years, but I could probably throw something together if I brute-force it. There are so many programs and web pages that allow you to generate music yourself with a mouse and keyboard. Record it, loop it, overlap it. Or if you really do have musical talent, use that first!

This method can be a nice boost to your budget, but also a good way to put your personal touch on the project. You don’t have to be the best musician in the world, just have some time and an idea of what you want the music to sound like.

Free Music Archive

Here’s an example of a license for a song on FMA, this language is clear that you can do anything with this song.

I am definitely not a music theory expert by any means, but I know a thing or two about music. For example, have you been introduced to the intriguing musical genre called “chiptune?” It’s a style of music that uses low-bit electronic scores based on the hardware limitations of old consoles and Arcade cabinets of times yore. It also sounds pretty cool.

Here’s a bazillion free, creative commons, and/or at least flexible licensed chiptune songs for your project: https://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Chiptune You’re welcome. Oh, and there are many other genres of music throughout this website with the same types of licenses; do make sure the license permits whatever you intend first though, especially if for commercial use.

Free Historical Music for Your Project

So, this one is kind of inconsistent, but not a bad option. Many songs, that is, in the US, have reached what’s known as the copyright limit. Last I checked, this is around 75 years or so, depending on the status of the composer. You can find some cool stuff here on sites like archive.org. I’m an occasional fan of jazz music from around this era. This is how I’ve discovered that a lot of original recordings can be found online.

You have to be careful, however. Just because a song is old, doesn’t mean you can use any recording of it. The reason we can listen to classical composers like Beethoven and Mozart is that a contemporary orchestra recorded it–recording methods didn’t even exist in their time! In that case, the copyright belongs to the or whichever record company records and sells it. This seems really lucrative when you think about it, although you might find a royalty-free recording out there, so consider it.

The only other caveat to this I know is the weird copyright status of wax cylinders. Copies are rare, and a lot of the recordings are owned by universities and researchers. In theory, however, you could obtain an old recorded wax cylinder from eBay or someplace like that. Then playback and upload a recording yourself. In this case, I think it’s probable you could use your own recording. I know, this is totally crazy, but it is amusing to think about.

A List of Resources for Royalty-Free Music

Here’s a list of resources for royalty-free music. You will have to explore what works best for you, but there are lots of resources available!

Thanks for Stopping By

Thanks so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. I wish you luck in your creative endeavors, and I will do my best to continue providing helpful information. If you like what you’ve seen here, please have a look around and stop back again. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Character Profile – Writing Believable Characters

Making a character seem real is essentially the sport of writing in a nutshell. The irony of it is most people have built into them everything needed to assess the realness of others in the real world. But what you might have in practical people skills, gets filtered into unbalanced gray areas, in the field or on the page. At times, you might find yourself with a slew of important characters without consistency. Or, perhaps, you’ve mastered this skill. In either case, the aim of this article is to help you apply what you already know with “a character profile.” Today, I’ll give you the tools you need to make a unique character, in motion if you like!

Let’s a-go.

Make a Character Profile: Maybe Not or Archetypes

For the record, a character doesn’t have to be terribly complex if their purpose in the story is believable. Many stories revolve more around the plot than characters, and honestly, that’s okay too.

If you’re interested in resounding character types that can tell a story for generations, let me encourage you to learn about what I have come to learn is the nature of archetypes. To me, Archetypes are the primal profile energies that live in myth. I don’t mind recommending a great book by Neil Gaiman called American Gods. There’s a tv series of this book actually, although I haven’t seen it. Gaiman uses a neat technique to explore the characters of ancient deities, and a few new ones, in a modern American road adventure (Neil Gaiman is British, but he understands America fine, in my opinion.) Alternatively, a quick session on Wikipedia can tell you all about archetypes.

Questionairres and Lists

I think the ideal character profile comes from one of my favorite resources: questionnaires and lists. It’d be interesting to see how far back you must go to get a really detailed character-building list, but I do not know of any such resources (unless you return to what I iterated about the concept of archetypes in the section before this.) One very popular source of character lists you might be more familiar with is Dungeons and Dragons, the famous roleplaying game.

As a matter of fact, you can find D&D character sheets right on their website that have blank fields for all sorts of things, name, race, gender, class, etc. There are a lot of tabletop RPG character sheets floating around anywhere on Google, but here’s a link to the Wizards of the Coast page with them here: https://dnd.wizards.com/charactersheets You might be aware of other tabletop RPGs since the release of Cyberpunk 2077, which was itself based on a TTRPG that’s been around for a few decades.

For some thorough resources, however, here are some more fleshed-out, character-building lists that are similar to helpful resources I have found in the past for my own work. I love that Google opens up all sorts of resources like his for curious writers.

Third-party lists.

Helpful Rambling

When I spent time as a bookseller a while ago, I had some very nice co-workers. We would all share books and stories and all sorts of great stuff. Somewhere, somehow I came across this thick black fabric cover journal tome that moved between like 4 apartments before I used it. It ended up being a nice canvas to gush writing ideas into.

Have you ever noticed how character dialogue seems to ricochet off each previous character’s bit? It’s a nice technique called foreshadowing, but it’s an illusion. Not in actually captured moments, but often, in drama. I feel it’s a reliable technique to deal with the reality that actual conversations are sometimes lumbering yet also genuine, even sacred, maybe. Not as a certainty though, I’ve had quite interesting conversations in real life throughout life.

But on the subject of characters, you could replicate the same scenarios by writing a sentence, and then below it writing the same sentence with synonyms and mirrored context. Doing this could, hopefully, give you somewhere to start.

From the Animorphs Book Cover Generator

Through the Laughing Glass

Which is a nice way to create a character profile.

  • Hi, I’m a person, from outer space.
  • Greetings, I’m a humanoid, from Zeta-Reticuli.
  • “Zigga-Zigga-999, Zigga-Zigga-9999,” ~The Rockets.
  • I’m William S. Burroughs, and I’m invading Andy Warhol’s brain.

    OR something. Character profile, dialogue, federations, mega-corps, what have you. Anyway, experiment, get some stuff on paper. Read books. Watch movies. Learn. Or don’t. Experiment. This is your story, and you can take as long as you want to prepare for it with knowing more about your characters. Generally, the more you focus on the most important parts, the sooner you can craft your story and see where things go.

Example of a Character Profile

Name: Dave Pizza

Location: Pizza Command Center

Job: Pizza and Pizza Accessories

Interests: Writing, blogging, books, games

Most annoying trait: Easily entertained, slow to draw.

Clothing: T-shirt and jeans/pajama pants.

Does Mr. Dave Pizza like orange soda: I do, I do, I do-oo!

How many presidents does it take to screw in a shark bulb: [INFO MISSING]

Food: C’mon, seriously…? Put it on the pizza!

You can just go on and on with this silliness, or you can use a structured list. It’s really quite easy, to be honest with you, and one of the most motivating reasons to tell the tale of a person you just made up!

Cool Bananas

Okay, I just wanted to get that here in my how-to section. By the way, one other technique I didn’t go into but might cover eventually is using divination to make characters. Not literally divination, but things like Tarot or astrology can actually be very effective at helping you produce concepts if you are familiar with them. It’s not for everybody though, so use the parts of this tutorial that help your own objectives.

Now go write me some books/games/popsicle-stick jokes. <3

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Please have a look around and do come back! If you’d like, leave a comment below. Until next time.

If you’re looking for my visual resource article for character creation, you’re probably looking for this: https://mrdavepizza.com/the-character-creator-and-other-character-generators/

Writing About Place: For Games And Stories

This article is a how-to on “writing about place.” This article is equally accessible to creative writers, visual novel devs, and game devs. The devs are, of course, in the worldbuilding phase, but perhaps there is even another application I’ve overlooked, screenplay writing maybe. If you don’t even know what I’m talking about? Don’t worry! This is a general concept here. So, with that, let’s get you started.

“Guys, where ARE we?” –Charlie, LOST

When you start a new story, you need to write a little bit of it before you can figure out where it is or what it’s about. If that sounds impossible, it’s not, it’s how every creative project begins. If you’re highly disciplined, sometimes you can run the scenarios in your head first before even writing them. In my experience though, after attempting to master that skill, you’re really better off just placing those thoughts on a word processor or composition book. This way you can get some context and see that your fantasy world is really a microcosm of your own world, which feels a lot more intuitive and natural.

So, after you’ve written about a character, you’ll probably know a few things about them to get you started. For example. Your character is a telephone sanitizer, where are they likely to be? An office building probably. Where’s the office building? The city right? Or maybe some kind of facility. Maybe on Mars in the year 2525. Okay, now you’ve got a few ideas. (By the way, I borrowed the telephone sanitizer character from Douglas Adams, HHGTTG.)

Descriptive Writing About Place: Creative Optimism

I suppose I should add that if you’re writing a speculative novel like Sci-Fi, Paranormal, or Fantasy, your world is simultaneously more complex and more rudimentary at the same time. Some creators spend so much time mapping every single thing that it ends up like an unconquerable mountain. If you have ever read Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire series, you’ll realize that certain levels of worldbuilding might require A LOT more patience than what you really need.

After all, all stories are strung on the human thread that weaves its way through every story. Context can change so drastically as we all know. So, I’m not telling you not to build fantastic wonderful worlds, but maybe try and master the human thread first.

The Small-Changes Treadmill

Writing About Place Snow Tracks
A snowy night on the MAX (Copyright MrDavePizza.com 2022)

In one of my first attempted novels, I spent about a year just writing and re-writing the first scene. There is, in my opinion, really nothing wrong with that. At some point, however, you have to move on. And I really mean that. See, you can’t know everything about your beginning until you’ve written more of what follows. There are just too many aspects to consider until you have fleshed things out a bit more.

You might read about some fact or information when researching something, in the latter half of the book, that totally changes something in the beginning. This happened to me a lot. I’ve never really completed that novel either though, at least not the original way I’d intended for it.

You might have a similar situation, but there’s nothing about reviving a previous work, even if for practice purposes. Writing is an endless gem with many mansions and many perspectives, and the real satisfaction is probably going to come from projects like this.

Breaking Down Worlds and Scenes When Writing About Place

There are two categories of place, three if you want to go metaphysical, and there are some basic lists you can make to help you flesh out the world in your role as the narrator and author.

For worlds, consider this:

  1. Genre (Contemporary, Fantasy)
  2. City/urban/space/underwater/etc.?
  3. Time (Future, Past, Present)
  4. Is it on Earth?
  5. Government/Countries
  6. Organizations
  7. How Big is this world?
  8. Technology existing in the world
  9. Cuisine/food of your story locale, maybe multiple
  10. Population
  11. Animals
  12. Commerce/economy
  13. Religion/Beliefs/Magic
  14. Unusual atmospherics (maybe the lightning is green there)
  15. And on that note, do physics act differently there?
  16. Your own personal touches

If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons or any sort of roleplaying game, you might know all about this. If not, I can tell you it is a good place to learn–but not the only one!

Worlds do not have to be humongous, you could place an entire short story within a room, or it could even be in somebody’s head. In this situation, maybe you only need to think of a few of these list items.

I think you will do well with this list above I made, as it is worldbuilding lists like this that I have had the most fun with while working on fiction. There are also character-making lists out there as well, some so long you could spend all day on one. I encourage you to seek them out.

Here are a few worldbuilding lists to help you when writing about place, whatever the project:

https://www.writerswrite.co.za/world-building-for-every-genre-the-ultimate-setting-list/

http://lanceschaubert.org/2017/10/16/worldbuilding-checklist-writers/

https://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/04/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

Also, make sure to check this awesome website developed using Wikipedia content. This aggregator of global location description has been amazing for me: https://wikimapia.org/

Fluffy Briefcases: Adjectives

The heading of this part of my how-to is a bit of a spoof. When I was part of a slam poetry group, a friend had us create all these interesting ways to describe a place. It went something like this:

Writing About Place Objects Animals Starfish Poetry
  1. Choose An Animal
  2. Choose an Object in Your Room
  3. Use an adjective to describe your animal
  4. Now use that adjective to describe the object in a sentence.
  5. You get something like, “The chandeliers bulbs stretched its neck into the open air of the room.”

There are variations on this and you could really go to town, but this is just one exercise I wanted to show you when giving some gumption into your prose. Also, to illustrate that whether your object is a bicycle or a Gucci scarf, you can find a place for it. Advisably though, I suggest adhering to the traditional method of not mentioning that which is not necessary when writing stories. Hopefully, this makes the pieces of your location tell their own story.

But say you aren’t writing yet so much as you are just trying to start a new project. You might not even know what the objects in the room even are yet.

This is where I’ll try to offer you some serious help.

Writing a Scene Location

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

Gibson, William. Neuromancer (1984)

Humor me to indulge you with this quote from Neuromancer. People have been obsessed with this first sentence for decades. As you might determine from looking around my site, I’m a big William Gibson/cyberpunk fan. I love this line because it juxtaposes concepts and objects with technology. I’m a pretty big sci-fi/tech nerd, so of course, I love this, but there is a lot to learn. You can be super creative when you write about location. You don’t just need to know every single descriptor of it.

When you combine your knowledge of where your characters are with the framework you’ve created for their world, you can tune into the more empathic parts of your writing process.

Bon Voyage, Conclusion to Descriptive Writing About Place

And that’s about it. Now you know what know when it comes to writing about place. Although, I might/probably-will return to this topic so check back if you found this initial article helpful.

I most intended this to be a fiction writing exercise, but I have many game dev friends, so take from it what you need.

I want to create more guides in the future. I’m always amazed at how much traffic they’ve gotten. I’m still here for games, books, and the occasional divergence, so those will be here too. Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Please feel free to leave a comment–I will reply. Otherwise, have a look around and please come back! Happy writing.

Photo at top by Mr. Dave Pizza 2021.

Godot TileMaps – Make Your Own Platformer

Let’s talk about Godot tilemaps. Have you ever played a 2D platformer or Metroidvania and wanted to know how it is made? Maybe you are already making one. I’m back for another insight into the cryptic, enigmatic, secretive, open-source world of indie game development. Tongue-in-cheek there. But I am reaching out to you devs out there to talk about some very useful primary knowledge in Godot TileMaps! Particularly beginners.

Before You Start

This how-to is specifically aimed at solo devs who are in the very beginning stages of learning Godot for a game project. Most GoDo intro tutorials take you through the steps of making a basic physics-based platform test. You should be able to find what you need on the Godot website. Otherwise, here we go!

Godot TileMaps: Let’s Get Started

If you’re working on your foundational project made from a tutorial, it might be a good idea to create this project as a new scene within that project file on Godot.

The first thing you’ll need is a tileset. This is the collection of tile pictures that you put on your tilemap so that you can switch between angles and depths of the terrain easily. You can make them yourself, in fact, I suggest it, but just start off with a free tilemap first.

The main place I look for game assets is itch.io. There you can specify free sets only, sliding scale, or you can see what’s for sale. Just keep in mind that tile sizes will affect how they are implemented. The TinyRPG set in this tutorial is 16×16, but you’ll find others for 8×8.

Okay NOW Let’s Learn About Godot TileMaps

It is not my intention to create a full tutorial here. I just want to provide a summary of what kind of tools are available. These are very organized and documented methods, and should at least give you a foundation to move forward. The internet is a living breathing pulsating system of tubes that require how-to’s, cause who has time for the whole story. I promise I’ll give you enough to sink your teeth in here in the beginning though.

First

GoDot TileMaps Example
  1. Make a Node and rename it to Scene. Create a child node with the TileMap node type.
  2. On the right under Inspector, find the drop-down labeled Tile Set. Select your New Tile Map.
  3. Click on the file name that is now listed in the dropdown menu.
  4. Using your tileset image, which you can add to your directory if you like, add the image file by dragging it into the open area on the left. A preview should appear.
  5. You can press Shift+F12 at any time to make the tilemap more visible
  6. If you are using the TinyRPG set, press New Single Tile near the upper right.
  7. Select Single New Tile. You can also use auto-tile, but I’m using a single tile for this how-to.
  8. Carve the tile set pieces. This will help you create mini sprites for moving forward.
  9. Click on the tilemap in your node window to the left again.
  10. You should have a nice vertical bar to the right and left of the inspector. Your carved pieces will be selectable and placeable within the grid.
  11. Create as many tiles as you want. Create your own landscape with them.
  12. Save versions as you work. Ctrl + Z if you need to erase a step or go backward.

That’s pretty much it for taking your tileset and importing it manually in the game. It might seem tedious honestly, but you’re sure you find shortcuts the more you experiment.

This Then That

There’s some different stuff you can do once you have your tileset. The most obvious thing is to give a 2D sprite/character/avatar somewhere to run around and jump on. What I chose to do was important to my logo, Mr. Dave Pizza. I tried to copy and paste the new tileset, but this is not how Godot works. Thankfully I hadn’t gone very far, so I just started a new scene and recreated the tileset very quickly. (By the way, you’ll only need about 4 or 5 tiles to get started, although you can do more. The asset pack for the tutorial has several pieces should you need them.)

Godot Tilemaps How To

Heads Up

Pay attention to the grid snap function. Everything is A LOT easier if you understand you can do everything on a grid. I spent a good while trying to figure out how to get my collision shape player script from my physics tutorial to work on this step in this experiment. There are certainly methods to add non-rectangular polygon outlines to your landscape, but I think rectangular is the way to go in this stage, although I suppose you could round the corners.

Once you create your tilemap, it is fairly portable within your project. I encourage you to make sure your sprites, tiles, and player, are parallel on the grid. Once they are everything should add up quite neatly.

This isn ‘t a tutorial, but will help you see how certain steps are obtained

Godot TileMaps: Just a Couple Last Things

I decided to add two last things. Music. And a camera. (A game camera) The music was easy, just a node, audiostreamplayer2d, and add a creative commons OGG file. In this case, it was Fluxus by Skye Jordan on ccMixter. I downloaded the mp3 and then converted it. Did I mention all of this was free?

The camera was a method described in the last issue’s tutorial. It is pretty easy, add a camera node under your player node, enable current, center the purple box, quickly resize if necessary, and you’re done.

The result?

Short Video of Current Game

TileMaps: That’s It!

This took me at least 3-4 hours. From what I learned, that’s a bargain for time investment. There are so many tilesets and so many game types that this basic understanding can go so far. In fact, at this rate, I suspect you could learn everything there is to know about this software and simply move on to the design phase.

I really enjoy this. It’s kind of hard to translate because I am not a programmer, but the quick results of Godot TileMaps are pretty rewarding. By the way, I’m not dismissing Unity or Unreal or any other game engines. This is my first ever time doing something like this though, so might as well give it all I’ve got.

I am not sure if I am going to continue this game project further or if I will explore something related but completely different. I feel so invested in this now that I might have to! We’ll see though.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you enjoyed this tutorial be sure to look around. I am building a how-to section focused on indie games from many angles, you can visit it here: How-To Section. I also review/showcase indie games on a regular basis. Be sure to check things out. And please come back again! Thank you!

Dialogue Blip Sound Effect for Tyranobuilder

Welcome back to another article in my how-to series for gamers and game makers. Today I’ll be talking about making a dialogue blip sound effect in Tyranobuilder free! Sometimes known as dialogue blip. You might be able to use this in Ren’Py or VN Maker, or even other dev projects. Tyranobuilder is where I’ve staked my claim though right now. The sound effect is universally compatible though, just change the part where you actually implement to the protocol for whatever tool you are using. Okay, let’s get started.


I’ve mentioned previously how I recently began development on my own visual novel, Thank You, Mr. Bell. It took a colossal amount of tricky keyword queries and brainstorming. But I ended up having more than enough to get started on whichever design path I like! So today, I’ll give you some examples of what you can use for sound effects! In fact, I decided to cover this topic, because it’s one that I only figured out how to do from looking in various corners of the web and piecing it together.

Blipping Blippity Dialogue Blip Sound Effect

Unless things have rapidly changed in the gaming scene, you’ll probably have tried a few visual novels before taking it upon yourself to make one. There are some authors who claim they don’t particularly like to read before they get started on their novels, but I think most game devs probably borrow heavily from games they like. So yeah, you probably have a good idea of what you want to do and what types of visual novel features you really enjoyed. For me, it was the dialogue blip.

Dialogue Blip Sound Effect Tyranobuilder

I’ve played a good chunk of them, which you can find in my visual novel section if you like. One thing I always liked in certain VN’s was the way the scrolling dialogue text would make a dialogue blip sound effect as it played. Ace: Attorney is one of the most famous examples of this, but I’ve seen it in VA1-Hall-A and even Aviary Attorney. Personal shout out to Monster Pub, which has some of the best honking dialogue sound effects in existence.

Making a Dialogue Blip Sound Effect in BFXR

So, before I tell you exactly how to code the effect in Tyranobuilder, let me explain the audio aspect. You’ll need to create the sounds first. The first time I researched this technique for Tyranobuilder, I found an approach for use in Unity, a popular game engine. You can either use BFXR OR BeepBox. BeepBox doubles for game music as well, but BFXR lets you call what I’d considered a loop, or a module within a music compiler. The sounds are just a little bit more chiptune if you like, and they sound quite good. Basically, toy around in BFXR and make a sound. Try both ways though, with BFXR and BeepBox. You can decide what’s right for your project. The download link for BFXR is at https://bfxr.net Their site and app are very straightforward and plainly designed. They are totally legit though, and work great!

dialogue blip sound effect bfxr

BeepBox and Blippiness

You might still have no idea what I’m talking about. Here’s the thing, there is no honky music generator. You’re going to have to create the sound yourself and code it into the game. For Thank You, Mr. Bell, I tracked down a website called BeepBox: https://BeepBox.co This is a free sound/music generator that I’ll talk about for my example.

As it turns out, creating the sound effect is incredibly easy using the right tools.

After you’ve checked out BeepBox, select customize instrument on the right, and select a sound that appeals to you. Select a few notes on the grid of rectangles, and hit play. You’ll get an idea of what exactly you’re looking for in terms of tone and pitch (or just what sounds best, for simplicity.) You can then export the song using the file menu on the right. The format is up to you, I use MP3 format because it’s pretty universal. Though if you’re using TyranoBuilder (not sure about the others) audio must be in the “.ogg” format.

BeepBox dialogue blip sound effect tool

Next: “Ocen”

For randomizing the loop intervals, which is the next step, I recommend using the program “Ocen” for the next part. I used to use “Audacity,” however, people say it has spyware since it was bought out. So I use Ocen instead, although it doesn’t have quite as many features. Also, I don’t mean to be negative, but the name for this software is very confusing I understand. In my opinion, it looks like Ocean misspelled. I hope they fix this but no harm no foul I guess.

When you open Ocen, you can do some different things. The most important is to make the tones close to each other on the sine wave (the area that visualizes the sound in wave lines.) You can sort of cut out selections at random intervals and amounts with your mouse button. This is actually good, because it makes the dialogue sound a little more organic than just a repeating tone at the same interval. It shouldn’t take long before it’s sounding pretty random, which is good! You can also adjust the pitch under Effects > Time and Pitch.

I like to modify the pitch of the same sound for different characters male, female, older, younger.
Once you’re done, export the file to a folder. Usually, the project folder is suitable.

Dialogue blip sound effect in Ocen

Afterward, you should have something that sounds like this:

Just one more thing, make sure to create an Ogg that’s totally silent. This is fairly easy. Open any other file in Ocen and copy a silent part with no waves and paste it into a new file. Save as silence.ogg.


Implement in Tyranobuilder

The next step is to import the asset to Tyranobuilder. You should be able to figure this out with a beginner’s level knowledge of Tyranobuilder to do this part, but I’ll explain real quick. Click on the assets menu, select the sound effect by choosing the speaker with the sound icon, and then add the Ogg file.

After you’ve done this, the most important part is next.

To have dialogue make a sound effect, you need to implement something called a Tyranoscript. It’s simply another feature that’s included in Tyranobuilder. Create a new transcript and drag it to the spot right above the text you want it in. You can see this in the image above. Assume that your blip sound effect is is triangle.ogg and your silent sound effect is silence.org. Then paste the following into the scrip form:

[macro name=type]
[playse storage=triangle.ogg loop=true]
[endmacro]

[macro name=stop]
[playse storage=silence.ogg clear=true]
[endmacro]

Test Your Dialogue Blip Sound Effect

The only thing you have to do now is insert [type] before a line you want to play and [stop] when the text stops, which naturally is the end of the text block. Do not insert this text before a hashtagged sentence that indicates the character name or it won’t work.

Make sure to experiment with the text boxes to a level you understand them if you’re having issues, but otherwise, that should do the trick!

You can see how it performs in the trailer for my upcoming visual novel in my VN project if you like: https://www.youtube.com/embed/XtGAKg79WNc I decided not to embed it, since this article is for YOU! You will see exactly what I meant though.

Thanks!

So, there’s just one last thing I wanted to mention, which is you do not have to do this the same way I did. As long as you understand the principles, you can use whatever sound effects you like. I know that Tyranobuilder is a semi-new software, but it is very versatile and if you understand it, it can pretty much do what you want.

And that’s it, you’ve now learned how to make dialogue sound effects in Tyranobuilder. You might be able to apply some of these techniques to Ren’Py or VN Maker, but I’m still learning myself, so there’s plenty to learn!

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you like what you see, please have a look around, especially my How-To Section. And please come back! Thank you!

Free Visual Novel Background Images: Using GIMP

Welcome, inspired readers, writers, and ambitious game devs to a new tutorial to assist in your personal game dev projects and how to make free visual novel background images at no cost. I’ve been truly inspired by how many people visited my character generator tutorial, that I’m back for another. I mostly cover indie game highlights with several visual novel reviews. But I am also developing a visual novel in Tyranobuilder, which you can find here. I have taught myself how to try many different techniques in creating background art for visual novels.

In this article, however, I will be exploring how to create easy eye-catching images in the photo editing software GIMP, mostly this. I’ll also tell you what some of the other options are if you’re looking to get technical. Please do not worry, this will be a very easy and short step-by-step guide that you can complete in minutes.

Today, I’ll teach you how to go from this to this:

Make Free Visual Novel Background Images Using Photos and GIMP

So, as I mentioned, I have created several backgrounds for my personal project that I’m making in Tyranobuilder, a retail visual novel development program. The program I’m using for the images, however, is totally free and called GIMP. It is basically a free alternative to photoshop, and has almost all the same options, but has a bit of a learning curve. No worries, I’m here.

Download GIMP

Wilber, the Gimp Mascot

This is incredibly easy. Just go to https://gimp.org and click download. “GIMP” stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. You pretty much don’t need to know more than that, however, I will say that this is a widely popular and publicly trusted program. It has existed for decades, and is available for most desktop operating systems! If you want to fasttrack to the download section, just go to https://www.gimp.org/downloads/

How To Choose and Use the Photo in GIMP

Next, I want to tell you what you need to do to experiment with a photo to make possible the next step.

Before I do that, let me tell you about what I’m getting at with this. You see, you don’t need to have advanced graphic design skills to use graphic design software. There are many ways you can keep manipulating a photo until it basically becomes art. I’ve done this with much success.

Selecting A Photo

I encourage you to use a photo you have taken yourself to use as a background for your scene. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just something to test. I recommend you choose a photo with diverse colors that either takes place outside or has a lot going on. If you do not have a photo like this, I’ve got you covered. There is a great website that is full of royalty-free background resources in the form of free license photos called freeimages.com. They have two resources, one is a database of tons of free images no strings attached, you can also purchase iStock photos through them, which require a license but are very professional. Whatever you want to do is fine, but remember we’re just testing things out here.

You may also need to use black and white or sepia photos from historical resources. This will work with those too, and you can even mess around with the colors quite a bit.

Open The Image You Want To Use

For some reason, GIMP has some trouble with massive folders, so I open from the Folder window on my computer. Just as long as you know where you saved your image for use, you’ll be fine. If you are using one of your own photos, make sure it is NOT the original and instead is a duplicated or copied version, or just don’t say it to the original when done.

File > Open should do the trick in GIMP, or you can copy and paste it right in as a new image or layer under Edit > Paste As.

Let’s Get Artistic And Finally Make Your Free Visual Novel Background

So, this is what I do. I take my original photo, which I’ve used this one for:

Streets of London from “freeimages.com”

Next, I try a couple of things. One is to go to the Colors menu, fiddle with the saturation above anything else unless you’ve got colors in mind. Next, go to Image > Mode > Index. These steps are reversible at any time with Ctrl + Z.

Okay, so you should be here at the Indexed Color Conversion. Select generate optimum palette and experiment with the color amounts by increments of 8 (I don’t know the technical reasons for this, but I think it has to do with old 8-bit computing.)

One note on this process, sometimes you have to click off Index mode and go back to RGB mode then back to Index mode to use it again. I do not know why the software does this, but it seems to just be the way it works.

You should now have something that looks like this:

And, so, it doesn’t take much, but from this, you can do so much with a little know-how or even experimentation in GIF. Replace colors, change the palette map (in the same window as the colormap index above), you can paint/draw over it digitally, even physically. You can replace the colors like crazy or get it really saturated

You can even do something like this:

Free visual Novel background images
colorful fantastico

Or this!

Copyright Mr. Dave Pizza 2021

This is an image I made using GIMP with a photo I took a couple of years ago in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.

Free Visual Novel Background Images Conclusion

I have also recorded a video to go along with this how-to. This video shows some things you can do with the “Indexed Color Conversion” feature in GIMP. It can be viewed here:

And that’s it! I hope this helps. I just thought I’d throw that together for some folks looking to get started with their location involving storytelling. If you have anything you’d like to cover, feel free to email me or DM me on Twitter.

If you enjoy this style, I highly recommend checking out my own project Thank You Mr. Bell, on itch.io. I did not invent this style, and I don’t know that anybody in particular did, but I experimented heavily to figure out how to use it and document it here based on examples I’d seen. External examples are the intellectual priority of their individual creators.

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you enjoyed this article, and enjoy games or creative projects, feel free to look around, especially my How-To Section. I am creating new articles like this one for gamers AND devs every week now, so please come back!

“The Character Creator:” And Other Generators

I talked earlier today about using character creators for game creation, particularly for a visual novel. I went on a hunt, first on Itch.IO, but then on Google. It took me less than a minute to find a free 2D character creator to work as a visual novel character maker. Here is a video of it in use. I trimmed the video so you didn’t have to do a click-play to a full Monty scenario. Check it out though, I was able to customize clothing, facial features, facial expressions, and body types. Here’s the video link:

Character Creator, A Visual Novel Character Maker Option

I even was able to add a face mask, but I’m up in the air about how that would be implemented. Indeed, face masks are an intriguing development in visual character creation. I do not think there is any right or wrong in how you should address that topic. It’s certainly a nice option though if it is important to you.

Here are some other character creators I found :

Avatarmaker, Anichara, Kartunix, Avataaars Generator, Cartoonize, Superherotar, Doll Divine, Freepik, Marvelhq, Character Creator, Ksuocartoon, Befunky.

Visual Novel Character Maker

For my own VN project, I might use some of these as an art brainstorm. I was intrigued by one option on this list called “Face Your Manga.” It looks very neat, but the site uses flash apparently, which has been deprecated recently. I do not know if they have plans to upgrade it.

Actual drawing skills and illustration skills are really key though. I think the next step is to create a single character and see what happens with some tracing. I know to trace, so fake, blah blah, if it does the job. It’s more likely that I’ll need to engage in some real art lessons first.

This one going straight into the dev category. Cheers.

Thanks for reading MrDavePizza.com. Feel free to look around and read as much as you like, there are many topics! Also, check out my new How-To section, I am creating new articles like this one for gamers AND devs.

Update: This is mostly a visual resource for character creation. For writing character profiles check out this article here: Character Profile Advice: Writing Believeable Characters.