Attempting To Write Heist Music

Last weekend, my mom asked me to write some background music for a video that she made that starred our family’s cat Darci. The video showed Darci stealing something off of a dresser and playing with it after, and she specifically wanted a suspenseful feeling during the heist and happy music when she was playing with whatever Darci stole.

I first looked at some references for heist music from movie soundtracks and tried to find some similarities that I could use. After I kind of got the general idea of what I wanted it to sound like, I put some things together in Logic using the software instruments that were already there. I used a piano, strings, guitar, trumpet, drums, and synth for the entire thing. A low droning synth or ambient sound was something that most of the movie soundtracks had in them, so I went through some of the things that Logic had in its sound library until I found something that sounded similar.

Another thing that was quite common was a piano intro playing a bassline over some quick hi-hats which wasn’t too hard to put together. Later when things started to buildup I added a heavier drum beat with Logic’s “drummer” feature and the rest of the instruments. Since it was something I wanted to finish pretty fast, I didn’t really focus on the chords and what harmonies worked well together. I kind of ended up just putting in a bunch of random notes until they sounded okay.

The one thing that I had a lot of trouble with was the transition from suspense to cheerful since transitions have always been something that I’m really bad at writing. In my opinion, the transition sounded like it was from a video game where you beat the boss and a short victory jingle played. I used the exact same instruments from the previous part because I wasn’t trying to make it any more complicated than it was.

I also ended up using the feature that my theory teacher showed me and put the video inside Logic as I was working on the music. It helped with knowing when the transition should start, but because I had the video inside along with the music, I had some trouble figuring out how to export the whole thing.

Overall, it was a fun little thing that I threw together in around two hours, but it was interesting to try and write something in a specific theme that I’ve never tried before. In the future, I might try and do something else in a different style but spend a bit more time working on it.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Update

Yesterday, Valve released a new update that quite a few people have been talking about. It includes the release of a new Cache remake that has been highly anticipated in the past month. Additionally, there was the release of the new CS20 weapon case and sticker capsules to celebrate Counter Strike’s twenty-year anniversary.

At first, it was speculated that these two additions were going to take place along with a new operation. Operations are pretty big events in Counter Strike where there are all sorts of missions to complete in order to get certain rewards. The last operation was Operation Wildfire which was over three years ago. A lot of people were hopeful for a new operation since the past few updates have been improving the CPU bot intelligence. Rumors started spreading about how it was to help plan for the future operation which never came.

Nonetheless, we still got a somewhat new map depending on how you look at it and a new case as well. The new Cache is almost identical to the old version. The main differences are the new striking visuals and a new window that was added to the Counter-Terrorists’ Z or “connector”. It allows the Counter-Terrorists to have an additional way to contest the middle area of the map which was previously a little bit easier for the Terrorists to control. Another change that is most likely going to influence gameplay is the reduced height of the wall between the truck and quad positions. It makes it possible now to throw grenades from truck towards the A site giving the Counter-Terrorists an easier time on a post plant retake.

The new CS20 weapon case has introduced a new knife except it’s not exactly new. In the 1.6 version of Counter Strike there was only one knife known as the “classic knife” and it had a very unique liquid looking pattern on the edge of the blade. Not only has the classic knife been added to Global Offensive, but there are also the Global Offensive variants that the classic knife can also come in such as Case Hardened, Fade, and etc. Some current listings for the classic knife go up to over a thousand dollars.

Overall I think a lot of people are excited about this new update, and I’ve already seen several videos on YouTube of people opening up the new cases. Additionally, I think the community will be working hard on finding new grenade line ups and tricks on the new Cache which will be interesting to learn.

Concert Field Trip

A couple of days ago my school’s music department made a field trip to go watch a free concert performance at the Four Seasons Centre. We went to listen to a Debussy sonata for flute, harp, and viola, and we also got to hang around downtown for a little while before the show started.

When we made it into downtown we had around 45 minutes to go wherever we wanted downtown as long as we made it back in time for the show. My friends and I went to the Tim Hortons Innovation CafĂ© which was around a five-minute walk away. I think it was just a tiny bit bigger than a regular Tim Hortons, but the atmosphere felt a lot different. We ate some breakfast food there and got some of the special Dream Donuts and Timbits that were around twice the price of regular donuts. To me, it feels kind of out of place being in downtown with lots of noise with lots of people coming in and out. I would’ve preferred if there were fewer people there since there was a pretty big line, and I feel like it kind of ruined the calm interior.

For the actual performance the instruments there was a flutist, harpist, and violist. I think it was an interesting collection of instruments but I still think they sounded pretty good together. Out of all the pieces in the program, I couldn’t recognize a single one of them. After the performance, you could take pictures with the performers and chat since it wasn’t really a big concert. The day after, one of my classmates said he thought the flutist was “too windy”, and I kind of understood what he meant because even though there weren’t any microphones and we were sitting at the very top row we could still hear her breath in very loudly a lot of the time.

We got back to the school with a few minutes left in our second last period, so I went back to my math class that was taking a test that I would take the next day. It sounded like it was a really hard test, but when I took the test I didn’t really find it all that difficult although I still can’t say since I haven’t gotten it graded yet. The rest of the day proceeded as normal although we only had to attend our last class.

Overall, I think it was nice to get out of school and hang out downtown with some friends. The performance was also nice for being entirely free. We only paid for bus transportation to get downtown, so getting to watch professional musicians for free was really cool.


A few weeks ago I started playing a new game called Kurtzpel. The game had been out for quite a while already, and some of my friends had already played it before. I didn’t really feel like playing it before but wanted to try playing a new game. Since it was free, I downloaded the game and started playing.

Kurtzpel is an MMORPG and a mix of PvE and PvP. There is a storyline to the game, but I don’t really think it’s too interesting. You start out by watching a cutscene that talks about the main story and then you go into creating your character. The game doesn’t really make the character creation system very clear because you have to choose a “personality” and the personality you choose affects the way your character idles and talks. I didn’t know this at first, and now my character doesn’t really look the way I want them to. Additionally, you don’t get access to certain facial features unless you use a rebirth ticket to recreate your character.

After character creation, you go on a short tutorial that teaches you how attacking works and a few skills that you can use for two of the “karmas”. The game has a few different karmas, but karmas are pretty much just different types of weapons. Each weapon has different skills and combos that you can use. Your character can have two different karmas equipped at once, and they’ll be able to switch between them mid-game. For now, I’ve just been playing with the sword and bow karmas since I haven’t really tried using the other ones yet.

The PvE system seems pretty repetitive from what I’ve seen in the game so far. Since I’ve started there are the same enemies for each area of the map. Each time you defeat them you can move onto a harder difficulty of that enemy. After defeating an enemy there’s a chance for an NPC to appear after your battle. You have a few conversation options, you click a few of them, and then they disappear and you go back to the main world. Depending on how your conversation went with the NPC you’ll gain a certain amount of progression points for that specific NPC. Different NPCs have different skills for karmas that you can unlock at certain stages of your point progression.

PvP is a 2v2 co-op system where you are queued with another person and fight against two other people. The strategies and skills you use in PvP are much different than in PvE since their attack sets and movement are a lot different. I think that PvP is a lot more interesting than the PvE because there are a lot more different things that can happen there.

Usually, you want to have unlocked a few skills before you play PvP, but you can also upgrade your armor and karmas. Compared to other games where you can buy or find better weapons and armor, every piece of weaponry and armor in the game is the same. The only difference is the level, and certain pieces of armor can give small boosts in certain areas such as movement speed, but those boosts can also be changed depending on the player’s choice. Essentially, it doesn’t really matter what type of gear you have unless you want your character to look cooler.

Overall, I’ve had a bit of fun playing the game, but I feel like the PvE side is lacking a bit. It feels quite repetitive, and I think that if they added more interesting dungeons where the further you go the harder the enemies become until you reach the final boss would make the game a lot cooler. I like the idea of having all of the equipment the same because in other games you can just pay a load of money to get really overpowered items and there’d be no point in spending time to improve your gear though. However, for a free to play game I think it has a lot of great content to be explored.