Today I feel like I've made a decent-sized breakthrough in my current project. I usually either ignore sound effects and music or just leave them until the end, but this time I wanted to develop them along with the visuals and mechanics so that they can all inform each other.
I've been searching for programs to help me make music and sounds for a while, but I think I've finally settled on the ones that will become my go-to tools.
PxTone lets me make music tracks in just the way I find easy - by picking sounds and then dropping them into a sequence. There's a bit more to it than that, but it really is very easy to use. I highly recommend it.
Bfxr lets me generate and modify sound effects extremely quickly. I've used sfxr plenty of times, but Bfxr is basically just better. I super-highly recommend it.
With these programs, I messed around and made some sounds and music that felt right for my game. While exploring PxTone, I thought it would be cool to have a basic backing track running that I could layer different tunes over depending upon what's happening on-screen. I figured out how to get GameMaker: Studio to do that (the above picture) and voila! Now, the music changes according to the player's stance in battle (that's not quite the correct description, but I'll go over it another time), but all the layers of the track stay in sync with each other.
It has been a good day for design.