'Binned Gameworks '13-16' showcases Arto 'Elbowski' Koivisto's song writing chops for video games. He scored the songs on this compilation between 2013 - 2016 for various free-to-play (F2P) mobile game projects, which all turned out unsuccessful and got shut down either during their softlaunch phase, or shortly after global launch.
Being absolutely obsessed about all kinds of music Elbowski has never shied away from writing his in any style to suit a given project. On this release he takes you on a rollercoaster ride through laid back lounge grooves to instrumental rock to chippy vgm to Kraftwerk -inspired synth pop and more!
Album notes by Elbowski:
"While it's a shame these game projects never made it "big time", it's absolutely mindblowing to finally have some of the music out and archived on a compilation. The yardstick of a composer, at least for me, is to have released some music, and coming from that angle it's been sort of heart-breaking to sit on this many songs for so many years.
I decided to include a few sketches on this compilation too. When starting to design a soundtrack for a game I often write this and that to lay down some guidelines or theme for the project. Much of these sketches are quick 'half-a-day' type of shots at something, to try tools and styles on and to see where a particular sketch goes. The music on this album was written for the following games:
Tracks 1 - 5
This was a sandbox builder game for IOS. Set both on earth and it's orbit after much of earth's landmass has been flooded near-unhabitable because of global warming, the player would run missions to rescue citizens from different continents of earth and build them a new colony in the orbit, using Minecraft style block building gameplay mechanics. This project made it into global launch, but withered away after failing to generate enough revenue to further develop and sustain the game.
Musical style for the game was designed as a mash up of cartoony orchestra, easy-listening and instrumental rock elements. I got into the project at a time when the main theme had already been composed, and so much of my work was based on writing songs around that theme.
Tracks 6 - 10
'Hero Hack' was a casual take on the roguelike genre (we referred to HH's style as "rogue-lite" with the dev team), where you try to survive while exploring your way through a dungeon maze filled with monsters.
In this project the floor layouts of these dungeons was randomized every time you entered one. The game was softlaunched on IOS early 2016 and killed some months after that.
The visual style of the game was very much a nod to pixelated retro 16-bit gaming platforms. To follow this the music was initially written very much in chiptune / classic vgm style, but later got rescored to based more on simple FM synthesis sounds of the 16-bit era. This made the music more casual and to have a wider appeal. Some of the music was written by me and some by Jari Pitkänen (check him out at jaripitkanen.bandcamp.com!).
Tracks 11 - 17
'Warpfield' was a experiment in making a synchronous player-vs-player (PvP) battle game. In the game, the player collected & upgraded robots (each with different types of weapons), and then formed a three-robot battle squad to compete against other players in a split-screen arena. Game was killed few months into softlaunch during late 2015 on IOS, due to a very narrow player demographic and thus resulting monetisation issues.
I'm quite the Kraftwerk fan and as this was a game with robots, it didn't take long to figure out the musical style for the game. The battle music was implemented so that the sequence and feel of the music could be adjusted dynamically according to state of battle. In practise this was done with drums, bass and two synthesizer melodies split to separate short stem clips, each with a small amount of variations, with a random combination of the four instrument stems selected at start of battle. Combining these we were able to have 256 'different' songs for the battle, adding a lot variety for repeated playing. Quite understandably I chose to include only the intro and menu music on this album.
Tracks 18 - 19
A space battling and building game, development was put on hold after a limited softlaunch (Android only).
I chose to include these two songs which I wrote during the early development stages (according to the sound design at the time) as this pleasant, 'Mass Effect 2' -style space exploration music. The design got later refined towards more upbeat genres as the game story and visual design evolved.
Please check out more of my detailed, song-specific notes under each of the songs.
For mobile game use the running length of songs is commonly targeted to somewhere between 30 - 120 seconds in order to save device storage space. In the game these short pieces are then looped to create a continuous listening experience. On this album most songs have been edited to loop once and have a musical ending instead of a abrupt cut directly at the loop point.
In free-to-play mobile game business, 'softlaunch' refers to a semi-public open beta stage of a project, where the game is released only in select countries. During this phase player metrics are collected to fine-tune the game and to evaluate whether the project is sustainable when launched in all countries (= global launch).
For more info on mobile gaming please see:
released January 25, 2019
Tracks 1 & 5 - Guitar by Tommi Björk
Track 4 - Guitar by Roope Kangas
Track 22 - Voiceover by Sarah Mitchell
Everything else by Elbowski
Tracks 1 - 4 & 6 - 22 published by permission of Grand Cru Oy, Helsinki, Finland.
Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.