David Battino On Scoring For Video Games & ‘Mushroom Mayhem’

Author and synthesist David Battino (Keyboard magazine, The Art Of Digital Music) let us know about a new project he’s been working on, an iOS video game that’s inspired by arcade classics like Space Invaders and Galaga.

In Mushroom Mayhem, you play as Professor Frank Funguy, piloting a rocket-powered microbus through space, defending Earth against swarms of giant mushrooms.

Battino shared some background on how he created the soundtrack:

Because Mushroom Mayhem is an iOS game, I set out to make the music on iOS chiptune apps. I programmed one-bar loops in Nanoloop, then strung them together in Ableton Live and added reverb and delay.

For the retro sound effects, I used a fantastic web app called ChipTone and a Windows program called LabChirp.

Then we decided to add an intro animation. I created a reference track in Live using drum loops and more powerful synths, and people liked the energy so much that I went back and redid the main soundtrack loop.

Another personality upgrade came when I opened a pack of kung fu sound effects I’d found on Synthtopia. I mixed the grunts and punches with the music and 8-bit sound effects to add excitement.

My favorite sound effect is when the Space Pig appears onscreen and starts gobbling mushrooms. To make it, I sampled the Mac speech synth chanting “Galaga, Galaga, Galaga,” and then applied extreme pitch modulation with SFX Machine to create a grunting sound.

Mushroom Mayhem is a free download in the App Store. Additional features are available via In-App purchases.

2 thoughts on “David Battino On Scoring For Video Games & ‘Mushroom Mayhem’

  1. Thanks for the kind writeup, Synthhead! The cool thing about this project was the way it allowed everyone at RocketLife to contribute hidden skills. (We’re best known for our creative photo software.) It turned out the lead programmer had worked on one of the first games with sampled sound, our UI designer had a flair for drawing creatures, and everyone had a passion for storytelling. Thirty years ago, I was sending demos to game companies on cassette tapes, so getting to make both music and effects was a dream.

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