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MultiMedia Resources

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MultiMedia Resources

Postby Mystery » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:38 pm

I'll try to update this over the coming weeks and put all the software mentioned into this first post - Nickydude

Over the past couple of weeks I have sampled a variety of freeware, shareware, and commercial products that might be of interest to those wanting to use multimedia in their games.

Music / Audio

Hammerhead Rhythm Station- This is a great program for making your own drum loops. It delivers high quality .wav files that are a reasonable size. It is an extremely fun program to play with. *****

Easy Music Composer- EMC is a nifty piece of shareware, though I don't see any differences from the freeware version. Despite what it says on the page, you can save your midi files with the freeware version. No talent is needed, other than being able to select a note and hit compose. There are many options and instruments available. ****

Anvil Studio- AS is probably one of my favorite programs to use for creating music. It is very simple to use, and you need very little talent to throw together an interesting piece of music. Unlike EMC, Anvil Studio doesn't autocompose music for you, but it is a ton of fun. *****

FL Studio -$199 - This is more of a Digital Audio Workstation [DAW] (hence the price) but it is a professional one. If you're serious about music, this is the one to get. It's quite complicated and will take a while to get into it but some of the sounds it can produce are amazing. There are many video tutorials on how to use FL Studio so even a beginner can start tinkering.

Ejay Dance 7 - £19.99 - Another DAW but nowhere as sophisticated as FL Studio. This is one I'd recommend as I've used it to produce game music.

Octamed Sound Studio -£18 + postage - This is what started me of in music waaaaay back on the Amiga! And excellent, simple, tracker program that is extremely easy to use and come with a dvd full of samples to get you started.

Audacity - simply genius for all your recording, mixing etc. open-source, all platforms.

AKoff Music Composer: http://www.akoff.com/ - You just sing , hum or whistle but i just hum into the microphone ...and it creates midi. You can choose pitch bend control and all the midi instruments .


Image Editors

InfranView - This imagee viewer and editor is one of my favorites. It also supports mutimedia sound as well. It has a ton of features , but a couple of my favorites are the ability to capture the screen and convert to and from a variety of image formats. I've used it for years and use it on a regular basis. It is a must have. *****

Adobe Photoshop - Hands downs, Adobe PS is my favorite image editor. I've been using 5.5 for ages, and am sure that I seriously need to upgrade. It has so many features and you can do some pretty amazing things with it. You just have to try it out for yourself. *****

Corel Painter - I recently gave CP 8 a try, and have to say I was quite impressed with the features this program has. Though it isn't freeware, if you were interested in purchasing commercial imaging software, this is definitely one for consideration.

Oriens Enhancer- This sharware image editor is packed with features that rival some of the best commercial packages available. It supports over 50 different image formats (That's a lot!) and can convert between many of them. It is well worth a look.

Paint.NET - Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins.

GIMP - infinitely superior to photoshop, paint shop pro etc. open-source, all platforms.


Sites offering free music

If you're not up to creating your own images and sound, there are many sites that offer free music for you to download. This is a really spotty area as far as copyright is concerned. Just because a website offers a song or music clip/sound effect for free download, doesn't necessarily mean it is free. Before using sound and images in your work, it is your job to make sure the file is in the public domain, or you have expressed written permission from the copyright holder. (It never hurts to ask) Always read the terms and condidtions and copyright information on websites that offer music. Here are some links that offer free images and sounds- Please read their terms and conditions before downloading any content.

US Copyright Laws

NOAA Photo Library- Excellent resource for some amazing images. See About Images for terms of use.

NASA- Is another great resource for some amazing images. Image Use Guidelines

Bjorn Lynne- Some amazing compositions by Bjorn Lynne. I've used a few of these over the past couple of years, very nice!

Bob's Mighty Midi- This site has some very nice, original compositions.

There are literally hundreds of websites that offer free clipart, and midi/wav sound effects, loops, background music and more. If you find a great site, please share it.

3d Programs

I love graphics, moreso, I like to create my own. If you have ever been interested in learning about or creating your very own 3d images, these are some programs that might interest you.

Strata- Though it is commercial, I have been using Strata products for a few years now, and can't say enough about it. It is simple to use and you can create some stunning 3d graphics. There are free model/texture downloads, and you really have to check the gallery and see just what Strata can do.

Blender- Blender is an amazing FREE 3d program. Though it has an extremely complicated interface, there are some great step by step tutorials to guide you through.

Anim8or- This is another free 3d program, and a small download to boot. Don't let the cheesy graphic on the main page fool you. You can create some fantastic 3d models and scenes with this. They have a support forum and if you are just getting started, there are some great tutorials to get you through. (You really have to try the eggplant tutorial) Best of all, you can export your models in 3ds format to use in other programs.

If you're looking to model buildings in 3d or want to map out a simple floorplan, there are also come great resources out there.

CadStd- Free version available.

Cadvance 6.5 Orginally released in 1995 and retailed for $1950, but now available for free. I have not tried this program as of yet.

Design Workshop Lite- Nice freeware program to do 3d modeling and build houses/buildings. I tried this out a long time ago, and thought it was a nice program, especially for free.

A9Cad-2d Cad program. Looks interesting, though a large download. I'll try it out and see how good it is.

Mapping Programs

MASTERPLAN
Masterplan is an adventure planning / campaign design tool for Dungeons & Dragons (4th edition).

Answer this question: When you're preparing a D&D 4E game, what do you need to do?

* Organise your plot?
* Detail the campaign world?
* Create interesting, balanced encounters?
* Build dungeon maps?
* Design engaging skill challenges?
* Distribute level-appropriate treasure parcels?
* Create stats for custom creatures?
* Create campaign-specific game mechanics?

Whatever your answer, Masterplan helps with that.

You can also use Masterplan during game sessions, displaying all sorts of game information to your players, such as:

* Maps and handouts
* "Read-aloud" text
* Combat encounter maps
* Initiative order
* Creature stats
* Campaign background information

I haven't tried it but it's free! MasterPlan Website

Ye Olde Map Maker
You can go there and design a flash based map and then print it out for your game. If you want to save your map, you have to register at the site. You can either save the maps as private or public. A public map means anyone who is registered and wants to load a map has the ability to see and use yours. If you alter the map, you can save it under another name and thereby add to the collection available to use. http://yeoldemapmaker.com/

Game mapper: http://trizbort.genstein.net/, found by Po. Prune. Good catch. :)

Dave's Mapper
A nifty online program that creates random maps for you. This one is a little different as it's made up of hand-drawn sections like you would do if you were creating a map, this makes the map look far better than 'square' rooms and 'long corridors', definitely worth giving it a look.

http://davesmapper.com/



Others

WriteItNow

"The WrIN4 application, available for Mac and Windows, is deceivingly simple. The menus and tabs are easy to understand and use, but behind these screens are added drag-and-drop features that make editing almost fun. The Tools menu has helpful things in it like “Create Random Character,” which will create a character for you based on typical story archetypes."

On a personal note this is the most easy-to-use and comprehensive pieces of software to create books / novels / background info. I urge you to at least try the demo and you'll see what I mean! I have it and it's invaluable.

http://www.ravensheadservices.com/index.php

Here's something I'm working on. ;)

Image


How to Host a Dungeon
Basically, How To Host A Dungeon is a solo game that creates a dungeon, it's history, and a semi-usable map (actually a cross section) that can be converted fairly easily for actual use. It's free and in pdf format:

http://planet-thirteen.com/images/dd/HowToHostADungeon.pdf

If you have found a program that you think would be of interest to Drifter's, please tell us about it. If you have found a great site for free images or sound, please share them.
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Postby Greybear » Sun Nov 14, 2004 2:51 pm

I just looked into the use of copyrighted music in mulitimedia presentations for a speech I made in Los Angeles last week. You can use three minutes of any song from a CD with no worry of infringement when used as part of a multimedia educational presentation.

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Postby KFAdrift » Sun Nov 14, 2004 4:03 pm

The part about education is the important one. In general for educational purposes you can use most material. In theory (at least in UK) you can make enough copies for the teacher and the class.

What you cannot do is make any commercial use, or release copyright material, without permission of the copyright holder. So releasing on the internet would be highly illegal.
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Postby Greybear » Sun Nov 14, 2004 5:40 pm

What you cannot do is make any commercial use, or release copyright material, without permission of the copyright holder. So releasing on the internet would be highly illegal.
KF, the same is true for the US.

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Postby Prof. Phlopasaurus Jank » Tue Nov 16, 2004 6:28 pm

Another really good Program for music, though it's really expensive, is FL Studios! It's very expensive, but in this case you really do get what you pay for.
Knowledge is power. Don't let anyone tell you different... And besides that it's just frickn' awsome!
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Postby Mystery » Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:03 pm

Here is a decent .wav to mp3 file converter. It does work with Windows XP, though XP isn't listed. Once installed, right click on the .wav file you want to convert, select Convert from the menu, then adjust the bar to the quality you want. I mananged to get a 97 kb wav file down to a 4 kb MP3 with the sound still in great working order. (this may not be the case with all files.

Check it out from TuCows
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Postby Mystery » Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:34 pm

A great resource for free sounds, and a ton of other things, Go here
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Postby Mystery » Fri Nov 26, 2004 11:16 pm

For those of you interested in drawing your own graphics, this is a simple tutorial for drawing characters-


Elfwood Tutorials-The FARP
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Postby Mystery » Wed Dec 01, 2004 3:09 pm

This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits.

http://www.morguefile.com/archive/
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Postby Matt (Dark Baron) » Sat Dec 04, 2004 11:44 am

audio
winamp - still the best audio player for windows. free.
mp3tag - i once thought having my 1000 mp3s nicely tagged and structured was impossible. with this it took me minutes. free.
audiocrusher - best ripper out (for windows) there. you need to download lame seperately to encode mp3s. both free.
audacity - simply genius for all your recording, mixing etc. open-source, all platforms.
rosegarden - one more reason to install linux. open-source obviously.

imaging
the gimp - infinitely superior to photoshop, paint shop pro etc. open-source, all platforms.

internet
emule - the best way to obtain music illegally. it's so easy. and fast. albums at once etc.
filezilla - best ftp client. open-source, all platforms.
firefox - i think enough has been said recently.
thunderbird - as firefox is to browsing, thunderbird is to email.
trillian - multi-messenger client. simple, clean, great stuff. free or pro version with a few more features. new 3 version is wonderful (i have beta). the current free version isn't that great comparitively, but still uses about a tenth the memory of msn.

office
openoffice.org - an open-source clone of ms office. free for all platforms and better than the original.

utilities
editplus - the best text, html and every other language ever editor. free, if you don't mind clicking the "ok i know this is my 1000th day of my 30 day trial period" box occasionally". files are tabbed, and the syntax highlighting and other intuitive features.

some other things, but they're not free, just cracked, i realise.
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Postby Mystery » Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:03 pm

Free Music for your games

Here is some instrumental music that you can use in your productions that's legal & free. All you have to do is credit the composer.
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Postby Mystery » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:36 am

This one is a beauty. Are your personal ADRIFT game folders a mess? Have you downloaded a bunch of ADRIFT games and want to get better organized? Then you'll want to check this little program out. It's called


File Sieve


The program is a mere 27kb download. You heard me right. Just 27 kb. What it does is creats an #, A-Z file folders. You select a folder you want to sort (such as your games folder) and select the destination folder and it will sort all of your files alphabetically. Note that is does this by file name. It can simply copy the contents over to their new home, or can move them permanantly.

I also checked to make sure that you can sort other folders into the already made #-Z folders, and it works, leaving the files you already sorted in tact.

I have downloaded a couple of other file managers to test out and review (for those of us that could use a little organizing). I'll let you know how it turns out.




Edited By Mystery on 1103157651
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Postby Mystery » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:55 am

Piky Basket has to be one of the easiest and most convenient ways to move or copy files, especially for those of us that area easily distracted with work or children. Once you install picky basket, you’ll probably do what I did, and wonder where the heck it went. All you do is go into the folder where the files are you want to move or copy (you can do entire folders too) and right click on the folder or file. Select Picky Basket from the menu, and drop the files into the basket. You can leave them there as long as you like, until you are ready to copy or move them to a new location. It is a small download of just 450kb.

Check out Piky Basket.
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Postby DuoDave » Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:58 pm

I like Star Downloader which arranges your downloads into date-named folders. It also lets you resume interrupted downloads and split downloads into multiple tracks which are reassembled, speeding up the download process. Star Downloader also works with Firefox.
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Postby KFAdrift » Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:48 pm

For those interested in 3D graphics work and animation, I would recommend taking a look at DAZ Studio, which is tell-ware, meaning just tell people if you like it (which I do). This is a free alternative to Creative Laboratories Poser, but I find it a lot more stable despite still being a beta product. When you download DAZ Studio there is also bundle of content to go with it.

DAZ have made all this even better by releasing their two most popular figure Victoria 3 and Michael 3 free (They were $40 each). They are naturally hoping you will buy extra content from them, but there is also a fair bit of free content about on the web at places like Renderosity (in the Poser section).
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