Composing for Games

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haru
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:02 pm

Composing for Games

#1 Post by haru » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:27 pm

Hello everyone! I love songwriting/composing music, so would be happy to help write and record soundtracks for games you're creating for free :) It wont be industry-standard or anything, but should be reasonable quality so please pm me if I can help at all :)

I did have a quick question for Hanako or anyone else who perhaps has an idea about this; I was wondering how independent video game development companies such as Hanako appoint composers for their games? Do they hire specific composers or go through music licensing companies for individual tracks? I guess it probably varies a lot depending on the company, but if you have an idea how this works, it would be greatly appreciated :)

Thank you for reading the post!! :D :D

bschmidt
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Composing for Games

#2 Post by bschmidt » Thu May 17, 2012 3:48 pm

A great deal of game music (particularly in the indy scene) is done through simple networking.
Some indy companies also will hit music libraries, which are generally a pretty affordable way to get decent tracks.

I'd suggest you search for game development groups, get-togethers, etc wherever it is that you live. Hang out, get to know people who make games.

Also realize that there is more to composing for games than just writing music. You have to be able to supply music on schedule, work well with a team, and perhaps even get a bit 'technical'.

And... know some games! A game maker will want you to be as excited about their game as they are. If you don't play games, then start :).. (would a movie director hire you to score their feature film if they asked you what your favorite movie score was and you replied "well..I don't really watch movies.. but I want to write the music for your next one."

Also, look for conferences in your area. Things like the Game Developers Conference, can be a great place for networking. LIkewise conferences or seminars specifically on composing game music such as GameSoundCon can be places to learn some of the differences between writing game music and writing music for more traditional media like film or tv.

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hanako
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#3 Post by hanako » Thu May 17, 2012 4:54 pm

Thanks for pulling this up, I missed the question earlier in my current distracted panic (SO BUSY). :)

Most of the time, I license music from large stock music sites where I can browse around and find what I'm looking for. Not just because it's cheaper, but also because I'm impatient and it lets me get going faster. It's hard for me to figure out all the music I'm going to need ahead of time, and it's also difficult to tell if a scene is gelling correctly without the soundtrack. If I can just reach out and grab a new song when I need it, it keeps things moving.

Fatal Hearts was a mix of stock and original composition, and Date Warp's theme song was commissioned specifically for the game. In the case of Fatal Hearts, as I recall, the fellow had posted a small handful of tracks for licensing and I *really really liked* one of them and was insistent that it had to be in my game, and since he was looking for work at the time, could he do a few other things for me?

Mostly, though, there are a LOT of young musicians who really want to get into games, and many indies get used to deleting their emails without really paying much attention to them. Unless someone has an extremely specific example of scoring things that are similar to my work, I don't have much to say other than 'put tracks on sale and i'll buy them if I want them'.

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haru
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Re: Composing for Games

#4 Post by haru » Fri May 18, 2012 3:02 pm

bschmidt wrote:
Also realize that there is more to composing for games than just writing music. You have to be able to supply music on schedule, work well with a team, and perhaps even get a bit 'technical'.

And... know some games! A game maker will want you to be as excited about their game as they are. If you don't play games, then start :).. (would a movie director hire you to score their feature film if they asked you what your favorite movie score was and you replied "well..I don't really watch movies.. but I want to write the music for your next one."

Also, look for conferences in your area. Things like the Game Developers Conference, can be a great place for networking. LIkewise conferences or seminars specifically on composing game music such as GameSoundCon can be places to learn some of the differences between writing game music and writing music for more traditional media like film or tv.

Thank you ever so much for all of this advice; it's definitely very important to understand how game music differs from other genres, and I've discovered through research that many game composers also supply sound effects and so on. Luckily, I lOVE playing games (maybe even a little too much :)), so hopefully I'll become more familiar with game soundtracks and get some ideas of how composers create different atmospheres in the soundtrack.

Thanks for the networking links too! This is something I really need to work on, and I'm really grateful for all the advice and links you provided :)

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haru
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#5 Post by haru » Fri May 18, 2012 3:18 pm

hanako wrote:Thanks for pulling this up, I missed the question earlier in my current distracted panic (SO BUSY). :)

Most of the time, I license music from large stock music sites where I can browse around and find what I'm looking for. Not just because it's cheaper, but also because I'm impatient and it lets me get going faster. It's hard for me to figure out all the music I'm going to need ahead of time, and it's also difficult to tell if a scene is gelling correctly without the soundtrack. If I can just reach out and grab a new song when I need it, it keeps things moving.
Thanks so much for explaining how you go about licensing/buying music for your games; its something I've been interested in for a while and so it's been really helpful to get a professional perspective on it. :) Along with bschmidt's advice, I'm going to get networking, and put some of my music on large stock music sites in addition to doing some freelance composing for visual novels. You've both been ever so helpful so thank you, and sorry for being overly-enthusiastic about the amount of emoticons I put in my responses.

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