Last week I got an opportunity to share the whole process of making music for game in one event called Game Music talk #1. In this article I’ll talk the first process of making music for game that’s Process 1 : Preparation.
Before you compose the music, you must to make a good preparation, because it’ll help you for the long term development. Here’s the preparation process:
- Coordination With The Team
This phase is the most important thing in this process, so you must make it good. For the external composer like me, I usually work remotely with the team and I mostly work with different team in every project . So the first thing that I build is making a good coordination and communication with them.
- Gather Some Data of The Game
The second phase is gather some data of the game, so usually I make a list for the data that I need for composing the music. Here’s my list:
• GDD (Game Design Document)
• Concept Art
• Gameplay Capture
• Dialogue Script
• Sound Asset List
- Ask The Objective of The Game
What the objective of the game? What platform that the game in? This question can help you to make a frame for your music.
For example, if you get the web based game, the concern of your music is output size, you must optimize the music and the output size, bigger size make slower game access.
- Make A Music Design Document
After the information is enough for you, make a music design document. Combine your idea with the materials. And make a good document become a great information to compose the music.
There are 3 things that you can do before composing game music:
Gather Some Data of The Game
Gather some data of the game, such as story of the game, concept art, gameplay, and etc. These things help you to compose the music easily, and also to guide you to get into the game. If you done with this thing, you have to take time for enjoying the data.
Ask The objective of The Game
Ask the game producer about the objective of the game, especially what platform the game will be delivered? This thing will guide you for the music optimalizing. If the objective is the web based game, you have to reduce the output size until get the optimal point. So many way to do it, such as you can reduce the layer of the music or you can downsize the bit rate of the music, and etc. But if the objective is the opposite, there’s no issue with the size. But moral of the story of this phase is Ask the objective the game.
Make a Research
Please take time for the research, after you get the data you have to do research. Looking for the other data which related to the game, such as the style of the music, related game genre and listen to their music. After that please collaborate with the older and see what happen!
A week ago, Monkey Melody has released a new product, it’s called Premium Sample. We provide a final music and selling it in the online market.
There are so many market online to selling your music, but the big one called Envato Market. For Audio, Envato market also has a sub market called audio jungle. But before you selling your music you have to pass the filtering process. It takes 5-7 days. But don’t worry, if your music rejected, Audio Jungle’s team will send you a feedback such as “why your audio is not enough for the market”.
So, what are you waiting for?
Generally sound design for sound techniques divided by 2 technics, there are foley and synthesizing technique. I will share to you my experience of making the sound with sophisticated tools.
If you wanna make a real sound such as a footstep, sound of wind even the building collapse, this technique can make it happen. What you need is just a mic. It is recommended if you use the condensor microphone because it’s more sensitive than the dynamic microphone. But if you use the condenser microphone you need a silent room, and if your room is not a recording studio just make the environment silent, it will work.
If you wanna make a fiction sound, this technique will help you to make it happen. You can make the sound such as a outerspace sound, sci fi sound, and etc. In this technique you must have a synthesizer (Analog/Vsti) for making the sound.
I think emotion is the most important thing in the music. In video game we as a composer has a lot of limitation for deliver the message into the game such as time estimation, size, etc. but you can not ignore to put emotion into the music.
And then how to put the emotion into the music with some limitation on that?
It’s so simple, there are a lot of approach you can use. If you are accustomed made music by generally, you still do it. You can make the whole music and you can cut into piece. But don’t forget to put the dynamics into the music for easier you to cut it and to fit the music in the moment on the game. This approach can mediate you and the limitation, so you can put your emotion on your music by made music by generally, and you can face the limitation of the game.
There are two kind of technique of making sound effect, foley and synthesizing.
Foley is technique of making sound effect by the real object , for the example if we need sound of the swinging sword we have to record it by the real sword.
And then synthesizing is technique of making sound effect by synthesizer,we will get a sound that we could not get by the foley techniques like sci-fiction sound.
So, I’ll talk the technical about these technic on the next article, so be there.
Often we hear the Background Music and SFX in a game sounds real. It’s always make us as a gamer amaze about the game and give us immersive experience. This effect usually can bring us easily into the game to feel the ambience of the game.
One way to deliver that effect to the gamer, we as a sound designer must do surrounding the sound to get the 3d sound and bring it into the game.
Surrounding techniques in Digital Audio Workstation:
This technique is usually used for positioning the sound, generally panning has two position side, left and right. And we can control the position of the sound until 360 degree.
Automation is a tools for move the knob automatically. What’s knob? In DAW we have a lot of knob, automation usually can move Volume knob, Panning Knob, and Effect Knob. And this tools are so powerful for making a real time panning cause you can control the timing and the detail of sound’s position.
Last January 2014, I participated Global Game Jam 2014. Me with the team at last released our 48 hour game, and it’s called “Evil Doll”. The genre of the game is survival horror with Hitori Kakuranbo as a theme. The most interesting of this game is the game play, I create the mechanic of gameplay with sound. The player must hide from the doll with hearing the footstep. I make this thing sound real, I deliver the sound to the left and right.
You can play the game with click the link below:
Music gaming needs will be very diverse, broadly divided into 3 music game phases: intro (main menu), in-game and ending.
In some of the projects that I worked on some time ago, I was required to make music based on places and events for the example happy forest, eerie forests, indoor cheerful etc.
My approach is pulling the outline of the theme music that I will make, and then selecting the right assets to be used in a variety of events. After it was all done, I arrange one by one as the need of game music.
The Challenge is, the music that I create, is made separately with the length of music that is not too long, and then make sure the music is good when their mixed.
Broadly speaking these challenges like a puzzle games, I make a great puzzle first and then it’s broken with different sizes, then I have to connect the puzzle well . It’s so fun.
In developing Music particularly game music has a different approach, we must pay attention to several aspect for developing the music. Usually after read the game design document we as a composer faced the challenge like “how the music can deliver the message into the game?”. So, there are 3 aspect that can help you for developing game music, there are Objective the game, Story Line, Visual Art.
Objective The Game
This aspect is very important to note before we develop the game music, this thing help you for easier you in technical side there are the time estimation for the music and the output size of the music. For the example if the objective the game is web based game we faced of many limitation such as the one and only is output size of the music. So we can consider how long the music is, what the most optimal format for the music, and how big the output size. So it’s really helpful.
Story line is the best online casino general overview of the game, so this aspect is very helpful for transfer the message of the game into the music. For the example to describe the sadness trough the music, Story Line can describe the level of the sadness, so we can easier imagine what the kind of sound it is.
Visual art is the most helpful aspect in this case, but mostly we are required doing the parallel working because the limitation of time development. Basically the function almost same with the story line, the Visual art can help us easier to entire the game, giving the emotion of the game, and build the ambiance of the game. But don’t worry if we don’t get the Visual art before we can jump in to the story line it was quite helpful for developing game music without this aspect.
Today, music has become primary requirement for some people because music can give color to our lives, music can describe someone’s feeling, music can bring us flew into the past, even music can gives us spirit when we listen it. So, how about the role of music in game?
Game without music is good but game with music is great, music can bring emotion to the gameplay and music also can be trigger for the player to entire the game. For the example music can change the ambiance even when the visual doesn’t change.
Icon of the game
Some composer successes make the music become an icon of the game. The music usually engage with the game even when the game is not played player can recognize the game.
Nostalgic player with the game
When the player isn’t playing the game, player can remember entire game only by listening the soundtrack of the game, so gamers can nostalgic easily with the game.