Every game developer is aware of how important music is in video games. As game developer you don’t just give up a lot of sleep, you also invest a lot of your time and even money into your project. Part of the expenses for your project is fitting music. Music does not only accompany images or video sequences, it also reinforces desired emotions.
As a game developer you should ask yourself these questions:
• „How much money can I spend?”
• „How long does the music have to be?“
• „Where do I get music?“
• „Which standard does my game have?“
• „Does the music has to be unique?“
• „How important is the quality of the music for my game?“
After answering all these questions, the developer may realize that he possibly has to compromise.
Unique music, the length and the quality influence the price of the track greatly so you start looking for alternatives
1. One solution would be to compose the music for you. These reduce the costs, but in my experience it also leads to bad results – usually because of a lack of experience.
2. Free loops of the internet are usually of poor quality or can’t be used to copyright issues.
3. Reducing the length of the music and repeating them to ensure a high quality. These tracks are called „loops“.
In my experience, number 3 is the best alternative if you face a small budget.
A loop repeats itself after 30 to 90 seconds. With a very good loop, you won’t hear the repetition. The alternation is nearly the same to a 3 minute soundtracks. The costs for an exclusive loop are usually between 500$ and 1.000$ .
Loops have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s have a look at those:
• Usually no intro / outro
• Not useable as soundtrack
• Cheaper than a soundtrack
• Less data due to decreased length
• Less costs for producer
• Suitable for mini games and background music
Loops have some distinct advantages, but 1.000$ can still exceed the budget of a hobby game developer. But even for this problem there is a solution: „The loop may not be exclusive!“
This means, the composer can sell the loop several times and therefore offer it at a much lower price. Since it would take quite a while to find a lot of composers who offer non-exclusive tracks, you should take a ‚loop cd‘ into consideration.
A loop cd contains various royalty free compositions. You find some examples here at the gamedev.net marketplace.
Even though you lose the exclusivity, you save a lot of money with these bargains. The exclusivity usually is the only thing you lose, since the quality of the tracks is very high. The risk that a player hears the same loop over and over again is very low. Every game developer should have one of these cds in his shelf.
These cds offers game developers a good opportunity to save money. Currently there are not many cds available like the one mentioned above, but by searching „loop cd“ or „game music pack“ you can already find some on the internet
Every game developer should be aware what kind of music he needs and how important quality and exclusivity are for him.