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  • Joshua Wise and Sean Esperance

July Studio Update

Greetings! This month is going to be a little different as we're about to kick off a new blog series exploring the musical side of Dust and Air's development. That post will take up much of this monthly update post so regular updates will be minimal.

For starters on the art side, we're happy to announce that Raleigh's design has been reviewed and has entered the development pipeline. A teaser of his updated model is to the left.

Back in May we teased the first concept art involving him. Since then we've had him in review for a bit while we worked on other characters. The design review had to take into account quite a few factors involving his overall look and clothing.

For his design we'll be borrowing some ideas from current engineer costumes in Guns of Icarus. To handle this task, we've sent him back to Bayu who delivered his initial concept.

As his model will be used throughout every story of Dust and Air, ETA on completion cannot be given at this time. Development will be focusing on getting his expressions set for the initial story, before expanding for other story arcs.

Other news in the art side of things is still ongoing. Beckah had a delay due to a move but she's back in action again.

Now without anymore delay, it's time to kick off our new "Masters of Musical Arts" series. Led by Sean and Gimmen, they'll be exploring an area of Dust and Air development that we haven't been able to properly explore that much yet, music and everything that goes into creating the themes that go into All is Fair in Dust and Air.

Hello everyone! I’m Sean Esperance, one of the freelance composers for the Dust and Air project. Many thanks to all of you who have been following up on our process in the blog posts, offering suggestions on our Discord, and much more!

I joined the team only last year in November of 2018. Since then I've gotten quite involved with Dust and Air's development. However, one thing we haven't been able to do much of was really showcase the music that is either finished or in development.

So this month in our music meeting, the idea for a special music blog was presented and we figured July would be a great time to start one up. So lets get started!

As you know, in recent months our focus was on developing character themes.

First up, we have Grace’s Theme. We got a snippet of her back in May’s blog. Shout-out to Georgy for the amazing art work! Grace Lalana is the mother of Abigail, and at a first glance you can already tell she’s a bit “out there.” She sports an intricate wardrobe with claw-like accessories on her right hand and an eye-glass piece.

I wanted her theme to match that sense of peculiarity. There are a host of colors in the orchestra. Celeste, bassoon, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, tuba, and more! Not to mention, an assortment of percussive elements and a bass line that makes this piece more like a tango.

Grace seems to me like someone who has that flamboyancy that makes being around her almost like a dance. However, with accidentals in the melody, mode mixture in the harmony, harp glissandos, and an ascending and descending flute and celeste line, this dance will make you go dizzy! You'll never know what to expect! We can’t wait for you to get to know this truly unique character and her fascinating personality.

Second for this month’s showcase, I am pleased to introduce to you Aoli’s updated theme. This theme, originally created by Finbarr, has an oriental flair that captures her heritage with the Yesha Empire. It was a fun task to arrange and orchestrate Finbarr’s motif into a full length theme. Major props to him for his insight into her character.

The opening melody is played by the dulcimer, meanwhile accompanied by sitar, acoustic guitar, and sleigh bells for percussion. Flute and violin take over the melody, with a string orchestra accompaniment. I played around with the original harmony (chord progression) in this section. Also, added a triangle to keep the beat in this section. I surprisingly use triangle a lot in other themes, I noticed!

Breaking it down midway, acoustic guitar introduces a new, brief melodic line that is shared by the viola section on the second turn around. Sleigh bells are used because it seemed to add an appropriate color to this specific genre. Sleigh bells aren't just for Christmas time!

Additionally, I don’t really know whether or not sleigh bells are iconically Asian but, for Aoli’s Theme and the Consortium Food Cart Theme, they create a connection to that type of genre

The Consortium theme is one of the first theme’s I wrote for In Dust and Air. I love the fusion of Asian elements with a modern twist in the Guild. Which is essentially what the Consortium is all about. When considering Asian elements in Guns of Icarus, you often think of Yesha. However, when you study the names of towns in some of the Guild lands, they are in fact, Japanese. Even the name "Arashi" is a Japanese word meaning "Storm."

The Consortium is like a faction within a faction that has clear Asian roots. So it has a sense of familiarity you find from a Yeshan theme, yet different. Just like modern day Asian cultures, they share many common roots but, are each quite different.

Unfortunately that is all for this month! More demos to come as we move along with the music production portion of Dust and Air. Thank you for tuning in to the July Studio Update!

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