Thursday, 12 March 2015

Game Music Design and how to take and make it Viable Beyond Your Studio

This was a response i gave today on 2 questions that was

How does film music differ from video game music?
And how do styles within each differ from each other?

To Be Updated and Better Written, but i wanted to log it today because this is what it takes & and its been a while since ive written a compelling tutorial  :)
With my background in game design and modification i have an underline knowledge of just HOW the game USES music, sound effects, drones, ambient layers.. Even how sound cards handle the file formats.. the file formats used and why their used that way.. Read on.. my response is based on Hands on experience with Game Design & Composing.

It often depends on the game engine to how sound is processed & the system the game is playing on. Example.. on a PC your soundcard can often have a limit during playback, so a game designer will license a number of codecs to use a variety of file types in real time with no stutter. Like talking maybe an OGG file, the wind and such would be a WAV file, So a knowledge of the (Consoul/PC/Device) they want this game music for will help work out what file formats & bit-rates you need to provide for what type of track. Timing wise a game will detect the location of a flag point within the players 3d model to the proximity of an a static objects marker point in the games code (its co-ordinates) Its maths based but not in a music timing sense. The key to game music production (for actual game play) Is shallow tracks, keep your flourishes short, randomly paced & plentiful (otherwise the game play gets annoying) short Drones really come in handy to bridge the moments when you come into proximity of something, or someone is killed. Many of you do this every day, you play your first initial layer (and its got its own tempo) and each layer you add often has a slightly different pace (those flourishes are key to speeding up and slowing down a track that's continuously playing/looping) Here is an example of how a tracks pace changes using varied instruments and mood while each layer is from the original first composition. Check out the layers and how their used to change the pace of this track ...BUT.. also consider them layers on say a Tin Whistle sea shanty type of instrument, then you head into say palm trees area and the game engine would fade out the tin whistle version and cross over to a deeper sort of pan pipe and maybe raise up a bongos recording. At which point, Your flourishes are not just varied speeds... They also set the location feeling for the game environment your in just by the instrument choice (i used to do game design years ago) Really does vary on the game type (age range/environment/subject matter) But the key remains the same, plenty of extra layers that you make anyway, only keep them separate (the Game Engine) knows when to do the layering that you'd normally do.. If anything.. doing game music.. it's actually less mundane work in your editor and more a coding job for the games mission coder LOL

I will updated this at some stage with varied tips, information on how its coded (not too in-depth) but knowing HOW they Implement your actual "Files" during game play makes how you create your music for games more important than what you normally do for people as you hit Export on a finished piece.