Live! Tabletop Music

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about The Adventurer’s Collection Tabletop Soundtrack Kickstarter by Australian local Alec Shea.

Well, that Kickstarter went successfully and now the site, the main goal of that Kickstarter, has gone live for all of us to enjoy. There is new music to enjoy, a fancy menu and interface system and link to Alec’s Patreon to help support him.

We got in contact with Alec for a bit of a Q&A after he let us know about the site going live.

1. You currently have 36 tracks. Will this list grow?

Absolutely! The 5 tracks A Hero’s Tale, City of Broken Souls, The Ninth Layer of Hell, Higure Forest and World’s End, Existence Redefined are all new tracks that have been added to the site between now and when it launched. I’m always working on new stuff which will be uploaded to the pre-release Google Drive/Dropbox, which you can join but pledging to a $10 or more Patreon tier. Once everyone their has had a chance to download it and give feedback, I’ll adjust the track if I feel it is necessary before releasing it on the site. Currently I am aiming to release at least 1 track every 2 months, however the support I receive on Patreon will greatly affect this. More support will mean I won’t be forced to spend more time focusing on other projects, and therefor more tracks, updates, and more!

 

2. How many tracks do you hope to have in your library, or will you just keep creating more forever?

Ideally I’ll just keep creating more. If support continues to grow then I’ll add new expansions to the site like sci-fi, horror and anything else people say they’d like to see added. From there, tracks will still continue to be added to be added as often as possible, until eventually people are using the site and almost never hearing the same track twice!

 

3. The Kickstarter was almost half a year ago, how did you find that process and was it ultimately beneficial?

Definitely, without the funding from Kickstarter, I never would have been able to hire the web team I did and the site would never have come to be. It was certainly an interesting and challenging process. Spreading the word was definitely the hardest part, and even now marketing is proving to be a challenge, but so far support has been great and I’ve been consistently blown away by how much everyone is enjoying what I’m doing!

 

4. You have some updates planned, what might those be?

Currently the highest priority update is adding a better menu system to the playlist creation page, as well as the ability to audition tracks while building your playlists. I’ve been in discussion with my web team over the last week about getting it done, and its looking like the wait won’t be long!

Aside from this, the other updates I’m hoping to add soon are:
– A continuous mode, which when turned on, will mean when you click on a button, once the track finishes it will play another random track from the last selected button, rather than looping the same track. This will be great for those who aren’t so fussed on smooth looping and are more interested in just having some quiet background music without it feeling repetitive.
– Adding additional buttons for the sub-categories. This has been the plan from the start, however when we tried to implement them at first the UI began to look quite messy and less intuitive. So the solution to this brings me to my final high priority update
– Hire a graphic designer/artist to create a unique, interesting and more aesthetically appropriate UI, most likely stylistically similar to those you see in many medieval fantasy RPG games. Once this discussion is underway, finding a way to add all the buttons whilst keeping the page simple and intuitive will be of utmost importance!

 

tabletop music5. Was it difficult to work out the logistics of the site and make it all work well?

It certainly had my web team scratching their heads a few times! But all in all, I feel they did a great job of working out how best to get functionality working in quick and easy ways. There is still many updates to be done, but progress on them has slowed somewhat as both the Kickstarter funding and my own pockets have been stretched quite thin due to the implementation of the first stretch goal, Custom Playlists. Despite falling a little short of the stretch goal, I feel this feature really adds a lot to the site and I think it was worth slowing the progress on some minor updates in favour of it!

 

6. It is amazing you are offering this as a free service, even though we all know it would still cost you money. How can people help in supporting you, other than your Patreon?

Well, that’s simple. Spread the word! Even if someone, due to financial, geographical or an other reason, isn’t able to help out, if they tell all their friends, and one of them is in a position to show their support, then that word of mouth marketing supporter has become as valuable as the Patreon supporter. Moreover, the site is their for people to enjoy and knowing that more people are using it and enjoying it really makes me feel like all the work that’s gone into this project has been worth it!

As a side note, for anyone who wants to support the project financially but doesn’t want to use Patreon, you can also do so by contacting me directly, the details for which are on the Patreon and Facebook pages.

 

7. You have a Patreon, which is a great way for people to support you and get bonuses along the way. What does your Patreon offer for the various levels?

Firstly, I’d like to talk about the “cumulative pledging” system I’m using for this Patreon. This basically means that any money you pledge each month can be spent on a higher tier reward once it passes that amount. For example, pledging $25/month for 10 months means you’d have $250 accumulated which you could then use to get yourself an original track created! More depth is given on the Patreon page, but I’m also more than happy to answer questions about what you can and can’t do if anybody has any!

Now on to the rewards themselves.

The two early levels are the usual Patreon only content/polls. The main perk is that I will be asking for ideas and holding polls on Patreon which will dictate what kind of new track/s I write for the site. For example, I may post asking for ideas for the next track, pick my 3 favourites then hold a poll to pick which one (or which order) I write them in.

The next tier “Early Content Lover!” grants access to the Google Drive and Dropbox which were also available as a Kickstarter reward. This allows you to download all the tracks for offline listening, as well as get the opportunity to listen and provide feedback for new tracks before they’re added to the site.

Following this is the “Speed-Saving High Tier Lover!” the idea behind this reward is to give those interested in the expensive rewards, like having your own original track created or getting a license to use the full collection commercially, the opportunity to get them without breaking the bank.

Next is the “Commercial License Lover!” tier, which grants a commercial license once a month. This is great for anyone doing a monthly podcast/videocast/etc.

Then lastly, the 2 high price tiers, “Original Track Lover!!!” and “Mega Ultra Full Collection License Lover!!!!!” These tiers are designed more as once off pledges rather than being continuous. Thus why the cumulative pledge system was added!

 

8. Has the site been designed to work across multiple platforms, such as PCs, phones and tablets?

Yes, the site is designed and tested to work on all computers, phones and tablets. In my personal DM experience, I think if you’re not using a custom playlist, the site is easiest to use on a smartphone. Having the big circle in front of you and just tapping whenever you realise you need new music has eliminated every ounce of hassle I used to have when using background music during sessions!

 

9. Is there any plan for an offline version or stand alone app?

Yes, its listed amongst the list of planned updates, however it will also be one of the most expensive and time consuming things so unless we start to see some big growth in support for the project, unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be seeing it any time soon.

 

10. I don’t know anything about the creative process of making music. Perhaps you could give us a brief rundown of how you go about it?

Well I think the creative process differs not just from person to person, but also from situation to situation. Creating a new track for the collection (or for any project really) usually (but not always) starts one of 3 ways.

First: I’ll be listening to a game/anime/etc. Soundtrack and here a track that makes me go “woah… I need something like this in the collection” and from their I’ll try and work out what gave me that “woah” feeling, then find my own way to interpret that feeling musically.

Second: I’ll be playing D&D or some other tabletop game and run into a situation where I realise I just don’t have a track that fits well. So I note down the situation, search around looking for other music that I think suits what I need and start thinking about what my take on this would be musically.

Third: Literally just needing/wanting to write something. While this doesn’t sound very poetic or inspiring like the other two, sometimes this yields the best results. Rather than thinking about what kind of atmosphere or environment or situation I need to capture, I just start writing and finding what sounds good. From there, I add different layers, sections, instruments, etc. until I can listen to the track from start to finish and say “hey, this sounds great” then follow it up with “but when would I actually use this?” and after pondering the question myself, and showing it to a few people for their opinions, I end up with some really surprising answers!

 

But what do I think?

I know the music is good, I found that in the last article. The new tracks are excellent too. I’ve been to the site and put it through it’s paces and it works very well. There are a few little things I would change, but those are covered in the coming updates, such as being able to preview tracks in the playlist creation menu.

An excellent site that provides excellent music for a multitude of situations. If you are in need of some music for your game and you have access to the internet, you won’t be disappointed with this service.

Tabletop Music – Website

Tabletop Music – Patreon

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