• 05/31/17 12:29 PM

    How I created music for a videogame

    Music and Sound FX
       (1 review)

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    Hello, everyone! My name is Dima, and I'm a musician who wrote music for the game called Reflection of Mine. I made it under the pseudonym "Expecte Amour". It was a mind-blowing experience, and I'd like to take the time to share it with you.

    I've been writing music for four years, but frankly speaking, from February 2013 to mid-2014 it was more like a mess of sounds. Only experience helped me to acquire a certain skill, and I created a project called Tears of Eve. It lived a bright life for two years, and I even managed to play a couple of live sets. The main idea was to present the dark side of music. I experimented a lot with mixing different genres into one, but it happened that Tears of Eve became the echo of the previous project that existed within the genre of Witch House and although Tears of Eve didn't have any of the characteristic noisy and squeaky sounds of this genre, the past threw its shadow on it: my music continued to be attributed to Witch House. By the way, the track Southside was written just before the advent of Tears of Eve.

     

    In March 2015 an unknown developer wrote to me:

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    Of course, I was surprised that someone was interested in my music and also wanted to use it in a video game. Tears of Eve wasn't the most popular project in the society of Witch House lovers, but I was found by this developer in one of the groups about music in the social network VK.

    The first version of this game was meant as a free browser html5 game made for a contest. Of course, the game was raw at this time, but I wasn't the person who could judge. I was rather hooked by the fact that the atmosphere in the game was great. I loved all these glitches and Unicode, it brought something new and fresh into the gaming. I hadn't come across this in video games before (well, only if I didn't try to run a modern game on my old PC). Some of my ready-made tracks suited the developer's ideas and they appeared in the game as-is. The tracks were "Alesta", "I Feel It", and "Inversion of Me".

     

     

    But nevertheless, music for a game and the music to listen to are different things, and it was wrong to put the tracks into the game as they were. So, to maintain the atmosphere, in some game stages, it was required to remove drums because the monotonous rhythm can annoy the player in calm moments. Another difference between the finished track and the in-game track is the variety of sounds. Requirements for the finished track, just for listening to, are much tougher. It must consist of a larger number of parties. The game track should keep the same mood and speed from beginning to the end. For example, I had to break the track "Inversion of Me" into three parts and make a loop from each of them. Parts differed in saturation and the thickest of them went into most difficult levels of the game.

     

    The second difficulty was that I had to go beyond familiar solutions and create something that, in any other situation, never came to my mind. Here, for example, the most insane request to the account of sounds:

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    The required music wouldn't always fit into the genre which is comfortable to work with. The most difficult request was to create a composition called "Death Jazz".

     

    Firstly, I had never worked with jazz, and I could not write it as fast as was needed. There was only one solution: to use a sample (although I don't respect any kind of sampling). Secondly, when I was searching for some track to sample, certain nuances came up. Not all the jazz fit, so I was forced to use jazz of the 60s and 70s but the rhythm in there had such a floating pace that picking a piece of it drove me crazy. All in all the idea was still successful and "Death Jazz" remains one of the works that is difficult to fit into general format of my music.

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    I created all of this in Fruity Loops 10. More precisely, back then it was version 10. Later I tried 11 and 12, so far I've stopped at 12 because I was drawn in by its colorful interface that seemed much simpler than in other Daws. Nevertheless, I'm thinking of switching to Ableton or Logic Pro. FL already seems too simple and I want to try something new. The most interesting thing is that anyone can learn how to make music. There are not even technical limitations. While I named myself Tears of Eve, I had no idea what it was like to have a powerful computer. All the above tracks were written on a laptop with 2GB of RAM, a 1.6GHz processor, and a 120GB hard drive. I was the proud owner of this toaster instead of a normal PC, and this situation terribly limited my opportunities. But the music was still good enough that someone was interested in it! So, never say that the technique doesn't get you anywhere.

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    I had to constantly figure out somehow to reduce the load on the processor and look for "weaker" analogs of some plug-ins I wanted to use. To get rid of glitches and freezes I almost always used ReFx Nexus 2. It had a huge library of sound and didn't require much RAM. For mastering, I used embedded FL plug-ins and Izotope Ozone 7. For this composition I used a real guitar and recorded in my own room:

    Now to answer to how much time I spent creating one track. Sometimes it took one evening to create a demo and then one week to turn it to the whole track. Other tracks were made over months. At the moment I've got 3-4 partially ready tracks which I cannot finish for two months. Despite the fact I still need to learn a lot, I dare to give some advice to beginning musicians:

    1. 80% of the sound of the track depends on the originally selected sounds, so be ready to spend some time to selecting really good sounds or samples.
    2. Equalizers and compressors are almost the first things to use, but still never overdo using theming it.
    3. If something doesn't work out, don't grieve (and delete everything to hell as I do) and get distracted by another project or other businesses. Come back to your track later.

    All in all, the experience of creating a music for a video game was a very good experience and I hope you will hear my music later in other video games! If you are ready to order some tracks feel free to e-mail me - cryevecry@yandex.ru

     



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    nsmadsen

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    It's a pretty poorly written article with very little actual substance. I feel the author could go deeper into his process, perhaps show earlier iterations of the themes, discuss more how he worked with the client during production and revisions. He could also go more into what he'd do differently now, having completed the job. 

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