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Member Since 18 Sep 2010
Offline Last Active May 21 2015 10:18 AM

#5226773 Is it necessary to license your game?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 May 2015 - 04:26 PM

A composer who has much experience in the films industry and none in the games industry insists that i license the current game I'm developing.


Any thoughts?



Trying to get back to the original question.


I believe what you meant to ask is "the composer wants me to license the music he writes for the game."


When you hire a composer, there are 2 possibilities:

1) you pay him/her, and then you own the music s/he writes for you

2) you pay him/her, but he continues to own the music s/he writes for you, but they give you permission to use the music in your game


#1 is called "Work for Hire." (you own the music)

#2 is called "licensing the music." (you are given permission to use the music)


Obviously it costs more for #1 than #2, because you get more (the ownership of the music)

In small indy games that don't pay a lot, licensing is not uncommon.  And in small films it is very common.


So my thought is that what the composer is asking for is not unusual, but you should understand exactly what it is you are getting for paying him/her.

#5226771 Using existing game footage for my showreel

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 May 2015 - 04:17 PM

Technically speaking, what you would then be making would be a 'derivative work'.  I.e. you are 'deriving' your version of the movie (with your music) from an already existing video which someone owns the copyright to--probably whoever posted it.

So technically, you would need permission from whomever made the video.


Practically speaking, a zillion composers do this all the time, so I wouldn't worry about it.  Just go ahead and make it, and stick it on your demo reel.

#5226767 GameSoundCon: Call For Speakers

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 May 2015 - 04:07 PM

Hi Everyone.


I've just opened up speaker submissions for GameSoundCon.


GameSoundCon is November 3-4, 2015, in downtown Los Angeles.


We are accepting submissions on all topics, but some of the 'hot' ones might include:

Audio for VR/AR

Advanced technolgy in games (Physical modelling, environmental simulation, etc)

Plus of course post morta of games with interesting or unique audio challenges you overcame.


Submissions can be made at GameSoundCon, and going to the "Submissions" menu item.


Submissions can be made through June 1.


Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.



#5211302 3D sound engine for a super realistic sound sources localization

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 17 February 2015 - 05:46 PM

If you want binaural audio effects, you will either have to

1) write your own binaural sound processor.  (which, yes, generally involves convolution :))

2) licensing a binaural engine from a 3rd party


X3DAudio doesn't do binaural audio processing--it just transforms x,y,z into speaker volumes (if you're doing surround sound over speakers).


If you really want to jump in with both feet and do 1, then you will need to find some dummy head HRTF data sets (there are a few around the 'net).  Then you'll need to write filtering algorithms.  
it's not rocket science, but does require a bit of specialized knowledge to get it right.

You may also want to look into OpenALSoft, which IIRC includes an HRTF implementation.

#5201008 Radio Chatter and Computer Voices

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 31 December 2014 - 11:19 AM

If your budget is really tight, and you have a manageable number of lines, for the radio voice, try recording your voice into your cell phone voice mail.  Then record the playback with a close directional mic.


If you want to record full fidelity , then try using audacity, etc and putting a narrow band filter on the sound.  Get rid of everything below about 400Hz, and above 3kHz.  Then compress the heck out of the sound using any dynamic range compressor.

#5200924 Game Audio Network Guild Scholars Program

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 30 December 2014 - 09:59 PM

We (The Game Audio Network Guild) are proud to announce a new program, the G.A.N.G. Scholars Program


The GANG Scholars Program provides select highly motivated and high-achieving full-time music and sound design students or audio programmers with a passion for interactive audio with free all-access event passes to professional conferences in the video game or audio industries.


In this inaugural year, we are accepting applications for up to 5 All Access passes to the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which will be held from March 2-6, 2015 in San Francisco, CA.  G.A.N.G. Scholars will be selected by the Game Audio Network Guild Advisory Board from among completed applications.  In the future, we expect to expand the program to include others conferences such as  GameSoundCon and other industry events.


In addition to the conference pass, an industry mentor from the G.A.N.G. Advisory Board or Board of Directors will be paired with the Scholar.  The mentor and Scholar will meet once per day during the GDC in order to ensure the recipient gets the most out of the conference and also to answer general industry questions they might have.


GANG Scholars show their commitment to both game audio and scholarship by submitting an application including academic sponsor, GPA, course study as well mandatory essays on how they feel attending GDC will impact them and their future in the industry.  Other optional essays may also be submitted.


Each applicant must provide a name, title and contact for their Academic Sponsor.  The Academic Sponsor must be directly affiliated with the student’s institution and is usually a professor or instructor who knows the applicant well, and can provide a short, 1 paragraph confirmation of enrollment and why they recommend the student for the G.A.N.G. Scholar Program.


For information, requirements and application info, please visit the GANG Scholars Website.



NOTE: Due to program limitations, we are only able to consider the first 75 applications to the program for GDC 2015.


Brian Schmidt

President, Game Audio Network Guild

#5193988 How do you learn to compose different genres?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 21 November 2014 - 10:46 AM

Sounds like you take "listen, listen, listen" to the extreme.  That is the best way to learn. :).


That said, there will be some styles of music where just listening and analyzing probably isn't enough.  Anyone would be hard pressed to write a "big band jazz" piece without having studied jazz harmony or write a fugue in the style of Bach (I did that for a game once) without having studied baroque counterpoint.  And even in orchestral to a certain extent, formally studying the ranges of instruments, how the blend with each other, i.e. 'traditional orchestration' can go a long way towards getting a style 'right.' 


At the very least, formal study can be a short-cut to really getting to know a style.

#5193881 Using RealWorld People in Games and law?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 20 November 2014 - 05:07 PM

1) Would i be given some lawyer and the state will pay for it? (thats common in some countries)?

2) What happens if i do not show up?

3) Even if i do not show up and i am found guilty, is there a way to enforce the law (since im from eastern europe country)? Whould would enforce it? interpol :-D?



1) Highly doubtful.  Violating the right of publicity is a civil, not criminal offense.  I.e. you are 'sued' not 'arrested' for it.

2) if you don't show up, you will not be able to present your case and make it a lot more likely you will lose

3) there are many ways someone could enforce the judgement against you.  For example, the credit card company processing your payments could stop taking them, your distribution mechanism could be stopped, etc, etc.


That all said, I think that this escalated quite quickly beyond what reasonable action might actually occur in the real world.


IMHO, you should not let worries about violating the right of publicity stop you from making a game about public figures or historical figures.  Keep in mind that the closer you get to 'celebrity' (actor, athlete, etc.) as opposed to 'public figure' (eg a politician, etc.) the more likely you will be sued.


There are plenty of films, books, tv shows, etc that reference recent historical people; you don't need to get permission from the Eisenhower Estate to do write a biography of Eisenhower.


Here's some more fun reading on the topic: http://iplaw.hllaw.com/articles/rights-of-publicity-and-privac/


And even more (Discusses Europe): http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=stu_llm

#5193502 Using RealWorld People in Games and law?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 18 November 2014 - 02:38 PM

You may also find this engadget article "Why celebrities like Lindsay Lohan are suing video game studios"



#5188154 Music Identification - Contract Question

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 20 October 2014 - 09:05 AM

I've never seen a clause in a contract that went to this level of detail (and I've composed music for around 140 or so games over the past couple of decades).


It's probably much simpler to create a good chain and record of delivery.  For example, when a piece is delivered, what is the mechanism by which you 'sign off' on it and accept it?  Put something in that process that unambiguously makes record of what they've delivered to you.

One simple thing is that at the final stage of acceptance of a music deliverable, in addition using FTP, dropbox, etc, have them email you the same piece in mp3 format, so you have a clear record in your inbox (from their email address) of what was delivered.  Make payment contingent on that.


One note on the analysis tools .  it's trivially easy to make files with different SHA256 signatures for the same piece of music, since all that does is say that files are exactly the same.  All the composer would have to do would be to create a slightly different 'mix' of the same piece, which would sound exactly the same, but it would have a different SHA256 sig.  I'm not familiar with echoprint, but would guess that it can suffer from a similar issue.  


While I understand your concern, I think the place to address this is in your delivery/acceptance mechanism, not the contract.

#5178877 Survey:Composing Music for Video Games & Game Sound Design

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 08 September 2014 - 10:02 AM

We just posted the results of our 2014 GameSoundCon Game Audio Industry Survey.


The survey covers issues of salary and compensation, contract terms for composers, sound designers, audio directors and just about anyone involved in creating sound or music for games.


We broke the industry into three main groups:

1) large budget games available at retail (eg Xbox, Playstation, "big" PC games, etc)

2) professionally produced casual games

3) indy games.


  • Game Music and Sound is predominently a freelance gig (60%)

  • Game Music is overwhelmingly "Work for Hire (95%)

  • Average Salary (employee): $70,532*

  • Average "AAA" per project fee: $76,822**

  • Average Indy/Casual per project fee: $9,830**

  • Game Audio is overwhelmingly male (96%)

  • Most game composers also deliver SFX

  • "per unit" royalties rare (<2%)

  • Game Soundtrack clauses are rare

​And here's a finding I was very surprised at:

  • Even in "large budget games," most music is 'mostly virtual' (54%)



You can download the full report at www.GameSoundCon.com


* Salary representes annual wages, excluding bonuses, health care benefits, profit sharing, stock or any non-guarenteed compensation.

** Project fees do NOT include recording or production costs. 

#5177525 GameSoundCon LA Earlybird Registration Final Days

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 01 September 2014 - 04:34 PM

Hi All,


As luck would have it, our back end registration service for GameSoundCon (123signup) has been having issues this weekend and there were periods where people were unable to register.


So we're extending the Earlybird Discount for GameSoundCon until Thursday Sept 4.


I apologize for anyone inconvenienced by the outage issues.


Thanks and hope to see you in October



GameSoundCon 2014 Los Angeles

October 7-8, 2014



Don't forget the  GameDev Net discount for visitors and regulars to GameDev.net.  By using the code, GDNET, while registering, it will take $50 off registration

#5174619 Video Game Music and Sound Industry Survey

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 18 August 2014 - 10:13 PM

I got over 500 respondents to the survey!

I'll be slogging through the data over the next week (though also have 2 games to work on, so it might be a bit delayed).


Thanks to everyone who either filled it out, or forwarded it around!



#5172656 Audio Programming for the Non-programmer

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 10 August 2014 - 04:34 PM

Are there any good resources available to concentrate solely on audio implementation programming and not learning a whole broad language? Should I even bother? 



Broadening your skills is almost always "worth the bother" :)..


If you can find a cheap community college programming class in something like C++ or C#, it's probably well worth it.  Not necessarily because you'll be coding in the game itself, but to give you a much better perspective on what it is the programmers actually do :)...  Or to quote Marty O'Donnell.. "Oh, and everyone should learn some programming."


"Scripting", which is sort of 'programming-lite' is also very useful, for being able to create complex audio behaviors--either for things that FMOD/WWise don't do, or for the (very large) percentage of games that don't use middleware.


Knowing how to code of course won't make up for inadequate music/sound chops.  But presuming you shine in those areas, understanding more of the tech that goes into the game can help differentiate you from others.  In the end, it's all about making the game better, and if you can talk turkey with the programmer, or even help them out, it's only a plus.


As a one-person anecdote, I'm working on a game right now that, because I was able to whip up a (very) simple demo using middleware, convinced the developer it was worth the $'s to license it.  And the game will sound that much better for it.


I have a quote on the front page of the GameSoundConweb site from the audio director of Volition discussing his hiring process:


I see a lot of applicants who have experience in [traditional] media... if this is all you got, then you will be outgunned


..if you've got other skills that make you valuable, like knowing how to script... or knowing how memory and streaming work.... well, that is awesome, because that sounds like someone I might want to work with.


And to re-iterate... If you still need to get your composition, orchestration or sound design skills up to snuff, you're better off spending time practicing those.  But if you're competitive on those-- knowing some coding can only help you in a career in game audio.

#5171985 Got offer to create music for my game, how to respond?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 06 August 2014 - 09:18 PM

It's very common for musicians (or artists, for that matter) to have a right to use the created work for self-promotion (i.e. be able to put it on a demo reel).


Welcome to the world of negotiating with contractors!  Sounds like you're doing great!