Symphonic Realms

is creating an interactive music and software ecosystem for RPGs and more
Select a membership level
Peers of the Realm
$5
per month

You will receive updates for the Realms Player software on all currently available platforms, in addition to all released Realms music packs.

Heroes of the Realm
Limited (60 of 60 remaining)
$15
per month

You will receive the Peers' updates, plus sponsorship of a new musical fragment variation, approximately 4-6 seconds of music, to increase the variety within the loops.

1

patron

$4

per month

About Symphonic Realms

Kia ora and thanks so much for stopping by! I'm Iain (you can usually find me somewhere online as ijijn) and it's my great pleasure to welcome you to Symphonic Realms.

Have you ever wanted heroic music at your fingertips but couldn't spare the time, expense and/or living room space for a composer-in-residence and live orchestra with traditional, rare and exotic instruments to underscore your evolving scene? This is where Symphonic Realms comes in, because your special moments deserve a touch of the epic.

Before we dive in, here are some key points for what you can expect:
• A revolutionary new media player that responds to your needs like a musical instrument.
• Beautiful, soaring melodies and rich tapestries of sound.
• Interlocking layers, called Districts, that evoke distinct musical moods.
• Seamless transitions between high and low intensities for each layer.
• Multiple takes for recorded phrases, so no two performances are ever the same.
• Designed to work well alongside other loops of background sounds.
• An initial focus on medieval fantasy music from the vibrant, multi-cultural kingdom of Elhandrazir, ideal for tabletop RPGs, board games, fancy dress parties, Renaissance fairs, etc.
 NEW in 19.06  The orchestral palette has been enriched with a number of exotic sounds from around the world to complement the more traditional instrumentation.

Now in Early Access and available exclusively to Patreon backers, I am providing frequent updates and improvements to both the music and the player software. To help shape this process, I'm keen to hear about your experiences.

In the interest of transparency, here is a list of current limitations to be addressed in due course, as well as some general things to be aware of:
Symphonic Realms is currently available for 64-bit Windows 7 or later with experimental support for Linux distros. Versions are also planned for Android, macOS and iOS. I'll keep you posted when each new platform is ready.
• The internal musical file format is FLAC (high quality, lossless compression), so Realm files are reasonably large (300MB+).
 NEW in 19.06  Loading times have improved significantly.
• The music loops seamlessly about every 2 minutes 15 seconds. These loops are never quite the same thanks to some subtle tweaks and more dramatic differences. You can contribute to further developments in this area at the Hero tier ($15) to reduce the feeling of déjà vu.
• At this stage there are three offerings in the Fantasy Realm: Oak (forest music), Keep (town music) and Cups (tavern music). Of these, Oak is the most fleshed out in terms of layering and built-in variations; it's just a matter of time and energy before the rest catch up. Meanwhile, other tunes are making their way through the realmification process, starting with battle music called Axe and luminous temple music called Glow.
• Transitions between intensities are currently simple (yet tasteful) fades in/out/down/up; such transitions tend to work best at the established musical phrase boundaries. However, the infrastructure exists and experiments are underway for carefully composed transitions of any kind, to create the impression of musicians responding more organically to your instructions at a moment's notice, as well as improving the overall smoothness of the musical effect.
 NEW in 19.06  In consultation with Symphonic Realms patrons, we have decided to pursue three levels of intensity, rather than the existing two. To keep things manageable, direct transitions will exist between adjacent intensities only. Admittedly, it will take a while (I estimate two weeks) to convert all existing music across to use this new process, but it will be worth the wait. Benefits include more flexibility in terms of musical levels , with the trade-off being that it will take slightly longer to go from (e.g.) silence to full volume, requiring a journey through each intervening level for a couple of seconds. These longer transition chains have the hidden benefit of producing consistently smoother, more organic results.
• There are no volume knobs, spatial controls or audio device selection: Symphonic Realms uses the machine's default device in stereo at the set volume. You can expect progress in this area as we go forward.
• The file delivery system is a shared folder containing the month's updates for download, sorted by date. The Windows version has a simple installer for the application itself (a single .exe file), while the realms folder of music can be placed in one of a number of different places depending on your preference. A Linux installer is in the works: at the moment it is a single executable file which you can place anywhere you like. I seek your opinions regarding in-app notifications and automatic updates; currently the software itself uses no internet connection.

The music of Symphonic Realms is intended to flow smoothly with subtle details and interest, transparently setting a mood while gently encouraging and rewarding closer listening. Here are some audio samples to give you a feel for the sorts of sounds on offer:


Let's talk rewards.

For $5, you will receive one month's updates for the Realms Player software on all currently supported platforms as well as all the Realms music.

For $15, you will receive the $5 reward plus collaboration in a custom musical fragment variation, lasting approximately 4-6 seconds. If you would like to leave a permanent legacy in the realms, let's make some creative ripples together.

It's worth mentioning that this software will never expire, so you're not locked in to a long-term subscription model if you don't wish to receive any further updates.

Realms Player

From a user's perspective, this is the heart of Symphonic Realms. Here is a sample screenshot of the Realms Player in action:



Over on the right are the basic controls: file loading at the top and our trusty play/pause and stop buttons. In the main area on the left you determine how much of each District (musical style) to bring into the mix, and Realms Player does the rest. For each District, the top chevron represents full intensity and the middle chevron represents low intensity, while the bottom chevron signifies silence.

In this instance, Cups (the tavern music in brown and a kind of yellowy beige) is playing at full jovial force while Keep (the town music in purple and gold) provides a more muted cinematic backdrop. This blend is perfect for underscoring a quick pint on market day, for example. The other music remains silent, faithfully awaiting its turn in the spotlight.

Realms Player supports mouse, multi-touch and keyboard shortcuts. The user interface is skinnable with resolution-independent, GPU-accelerated vector graphics and a responsive layout that adapts to your chosen window size.

Symphonic Flow (behind the curtain)

Symphonic Realms contains hundreds of short musical tracks carefully coordinated to flow as one. To help create and record the music in this way, I have developed my own digital audio workstation (DAW) called Symphonic Flow. It also integrates many years of work creating plugins to automate virtual instruments to make them sound more organic and expressive. As a result, I can now quickly and easily craft these interlocking puzzle pieces, allowing for easy layering and rapid prototyping of ideas in seconds or minutes rather than hours. This technological support will mature alongside the Realms content to allow for ever more sophisticated features and instrument programming.
 NEW in 19.06  Recent feature updates include sophisticated articulation selection for more engaging instrument sounds and adaptive nudging for tighter timing and better coordination across all Districts.

A little about me

I'm a musician, programmer and teacher living in Rangiora, New Zealand.

I completed by Masters degree in composition in 2005. For many years I have been writing and performing music for live theatrical productions, film and the concert hall, including a large number of works for string quartet. My musical approach embraces smoothly flowing, intricately woven lines and blending modern sensibilities with a curiosity for the techniques, textures and philosophies of music across the centuries and continents, from sacred songs of the European Middle Ages to African melisma and polyrhythms, Indian raga and the traditional gagaku court music of Japan.

My programming journey began back in 1986 with BBC BASIC before graduating to 6502 Assembly, the C family and JSFX (an audio plugin scripting language for Reaper). Symphonic Realms is written entirely in C++ on account of its portability, flexibility, transparent access to low-level functionality and highly efficient and expressive abstractions. To say I'm looking forward to the upcoming C++20 standard would be quite the understatement.

For a number of years I was a lecturer in composition, music theory and orchestration at the University of Canterbury, and during that time I presented several in-depth workshops on my music. Most recently I have been teaching piano, cello and theory and conducting the orchestras at the North Canterbury Academy of Music.

Aside from music, technology and pedagogical pursuits, my other interests include cryptic crosswords, vegan curries, locked room mysteries, meditation and linguistics.

Thanks again for visiting and have a wonderful day.

Ka kite ano,
Iain

Recent posts by Symphonic Realms

How it works

Get started in 2 minutes

Choose a membership
Sign up
Add a payment method
Get rewards