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Composing Music for Video Games...?

Advice on everything from getting your music heard to setting up a label and royalties.

Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Luke JD » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:55 pm

Mike McLoone wrote:
Elephone wrote:
Anyway, the designer of some of the world's most elaborate roller coasters never went on one in his life. It's not necessary. I have played games, I'm just not all that into wasting my time with them.


Let me put this another way, let's take movies as an example:

Composer: Hey Mr. Hollywood, I'm a pretty good composer and I'd like to write music for your movie!
Hollywood: Well that's nice of you, I'm thinking of going for a Hans Zimmer style on my next picture. Can you do this?
Composer: Well, I'm not sure who Hans Zimmer is, but I'm sure I could....
Hollywood: Really?! Well, what about...
Composer: No, well you see, I don't actually watch movies. I get the idea, there's a script and a plot and some actors. But it's not my thing really.

Can you figure what will come out of a pitch like this? If you are not playing games or at least listening to the music (which is quite often released separately these days as people do want to listen to it, try spotify or youtube), you will not get past the first hurdle.

Better would be to declare your familiarity of interactive music, Wwise, FMOD, UT3 engine and so on. There is a lot of jargon as with any industry, you will not expect the games developer to know what a hemidemisemiquaver is and in turn, they will not ask you to integrate the sound FX you design into the game engine.

However, saying that you have not even played any games in the last couple of years will get you a lot of blank faces. You are coming to them asking for work, they already have enough composers. So you will have to stand out a little and at least seem happy and eager to work in their industry! 8-)


+1.

I haven't played many new video games, but I used to be into them. I played Bioshock Infinite, Skyrim, The Last of Us, Halo etc a couple of years ago, but whilst my recent experience has been limited I completely agree with Mike McLoone. You're gonna need to have an intimate and thorough knowledge of the video game music market. Similar to the film music industry, it's going to be the video game producers, directors and music supervisors who will have a large degree of control over how they want their music to sound, so you're going to need to be able to deliver their intentions quickly and accurately when they reference the music from "Pillars of Eternity" or "Call of Duty 341".

E3 was only last week. Dozens of titles were announced and there are tonnes of trailers on youtube! Grab a PS4 and a hot brew and get to researching! ;)

Also, the video game industry is so massive now you're also gonna have to decide what genre of video game music you're best off shooting for!
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Mike McLoone » Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:48 pm

There are plenty of game soundtracks available on youtube or spotify, should one want a casual listen without investing in playstation or XBox. It's a bit old now, but Red Dead Redemption soundtrack in full can be found here:

https://open.spotify.com/album/22H5XKyHXkxHbty4jtBibg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P3ElYrPhsU

And they have even released same on CD and limited edition red vinyl. Never heard of a game soundtrack on vinyl before, but there you go, merchandising I guess.

http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/a ... ginal.html
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Elephone » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:04 pm

johnny h wrote: Are you also scared of playing music in case you get hooked?

I really don't get your point here. It's hardly a waste of time to play my guitar and look at the clock to see 5 hours have gone by, because that skill is useful to me in music, what I've always wanted to do. I couldn't say the same about playing a video game. That would be a pure 5-hours of entertainment.

If you mean playing music records, well we all learn from listening.
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby johnny h » Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:01 pm

Elephone wrote:
johnny h wrote: Are you also scared of playing music in case you get hooked?

I really don't get your point here. It's hardly a waste of time to play my guitar and look at the clock to see 5 hours have gone by, because that skill is useful to me in music, what I've always wanted to do. I couldn't say the same about playing a video game. That would be a pure 5-hours of entertainment.

If you mean playing music records, well we all learn from listening.
I do mean playing records, and yes we all learn from listening. I would say its impossible to fully appreciate what is needed for a game soundtrack without immersing yourself in them. Would you trust a writer who never reads? A director that never watches films? A musician who thinks listening to records is a waste of time?

Whether games are an art form or not is a matter of opinion, but they are definitely extremely well crafted, highly professional, high budget productions. Attempting to get through the industry door while holding your nose will not work.
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:31 pm

Mike McLoone wrote:There are plenty of game soundtracks available on youtube or spotify, should one want a casual listen without investing in playstation or XBox. It's a bit old now, but Red Dead Redemption soundtrack in full can be found here:

https://open.spotify.com/album/22H5XKyHXkxHbty4jtBibg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P3ElYrPhsU

And they have even released same on CD and limited edition red vinyl. Never heard of a game soundtrack on vinyl before, but there you go, merchandising I guess.

http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/article/11931/collectors-item-red-vinyl-lp-of-the-red-dead-redemption-original.html

I have the Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon soundtrack on vinyl (the re-press) and it is certainly worth listening to if you are a fan of 80s films and soundtracks. It takes from Bladerunner and most obviously Terminator, but an homage rather than aping the style.
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Guest » Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:47 pm

Elephone wrote:

All the composers sound like they belong in that corporate world. The way they talk and think. Depressing.


If I may ask, what composers are you referring to?
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby dmills » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:21 pm

Elephone wrote:
All the composers sound like they belong in that corporate world. The way they talk and think. Depressing.
You want someone to trust you with the sound track for a multi million dollar project, you have to be able to speak the language (And that means a deep familiarity with the games) and you have to be able to talk 'suit' about schedules, risks and the budget tradeoffs, these are just as much a part of doing the job as being able to pen reasonable music (The risks in a AAA game make the movie industry seem a sure thing, you don't want to be seen to add to them and the music is not actually what the early reviews will comment on unless it is an awful job).

Then there is a whole world of no budget 'indie' out there and iff you get hitched to something that turns into the next Mimecraft/Angry cats/whatever then a very small percentage of people do all right at it, but for the most part it is another "Do it for the 'exposure'" thing, and we all have our views on that [ ****** ].

Yea back in the late 80's we were all bashing stuff out on the SID & AY38910 chips (Actually, mostly the programmers wrote the music, those early parts made a DX7 seem simple to program), but that is not where things are now.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Guest » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:07 pm

Elephone wrote:

All the composers sound like they belong in that corporate world. The way they talk and think. Depressing.

If I may ask, what composers are you referring to? [/quote]
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby herewego » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:17 pm

That's a long delay time you've got set there, Salty :D
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:20 pm

herewego wrote:That's a long delay time you've got set there, Salty :D


:)

I was just trying to find out what composers he was referring to. Which composers he's heard speak in a corprate manner causing him to be depressed. I mean, if he could point us to even one example.

Ah well, I guess we'll never know.
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Scramble » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:41 pm

Salty Dog wrote:
Elephone wrote:

All the composers sound like they belong in that corporate world. The way they talk and think. Depressing.


If I may ask, what composers are you referring to?


Is he talking about you, Salty? In which case just admit it, instead of coming across all passive-aggressive.
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:18 pm

Scramble wrote:
Salty Dog wrote:
Elephone wrote:

All the composers sound like they belong in that corporate world. The way they talk and think. Depressing.


If I may ask, what composers are you referring to?


Is he talking about you, Salty? In which case just admit it, instead of coming across all passive-aggressive.


Passive aggressive? Cuddly, mild mannered me? Not at all.

Apologies to Mr. Elephone if I came across in such a PA way. But I do have interest in games music.

I don't dabble of course although I think I might like to.

SD

Peace.

x
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Scramble » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:56 pm

I understand. He was talking about your cousin Milt. Well, Milt does talk that way sometimes.
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Luke Morton » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:59 pm

Hi all,

Im currently studying music technology. Im looking at being a video game composer. I recently made an experiment. I was wondering if I could get some feedback. Im open to criticism and opinions.

Link -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1okeZNE ... sp=sharing

Many thanks,
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Re: Composing Music for Video Games...?

Postby Siruiz » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:23 pm

Is there any chance for a person to work in videogame music amd deliver a piano vst recording(which includes Harmony/chords)? Or its always expected that the composer should also produce the final version?
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