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nsmadsen

A Few Helpful Tips: "Is My Music Useful To Game Dev?"

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Thanks Moritz!

I'd like to clear up one item: I'm fine with folks posting songs just for feedback. It may seem like I'm splitting hairs here, and perhaps I am, but my focus was aimed at when folks specifically ask if their music was useful to devs or specific video game projects - without giving any other info. There's probably an easier way to say all of this:

Video game music production has tier essential tiers:

1) It must sound good. (This is assuming what you've created aligns with the project's vision, design document, etc.)

2) It must work within the project's tech and in-game systems.

If you hit those two marks, you're well on your way! I post this because I don't want people to feel like they have to apologize or go super in depth if all they're asking, really, is if their music sounds good. That'a legit question! Go for it! But if you're asking if your content can be used by a video game, [i]that's[/i] when we need more info to really be able to help you out. Edited by nsmadsen
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Nice post Nate,

You make some very valid points and concerns to think about while gearing up to make production music for games. Personally I am having a hard time knowing what game designers are capable of, for instance...what can and what can't they do...

Basically I am viewing this as a "choose your own music theme". We start with themed intro, then basic background loop,then A-E transitional themed elements to -> A-E loops (A = Ambush, B = Alerting, C = Find Clue...etc..D, E)...then to A-E outros -> back to basic loop, at some point the end.

While programming this in-game, do/can game developers just loop .wav files and can pick and choose, with-out glitches? Would it be better to Fade out and Fade in for transitions...like you said,

[quote]- Does it loop seamlessy? I have yet to see a single one of these kinds of posts feature their music looping. If the client wants it to loop, can you make it do that?[/quote]

Also on a quick side note. What about special effects, for instance, reverb and the like, do game designers like to add their own in-game audio effects?

Can they play more than one track at a time? For instance, We have our awesome background track....and in come some drums because there is a surprise or something...are they capable of timing the music with the background track, fade in and out, etc.?

One more thing...what about naming and sorting all these music files? Does anyone have any preferences?


Thank you in advance,




liftedCREATION Edited by liftedCREATION
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I've come up with a list of possible in-game moments and some overall music needs for games. Please comment and suggest Thank you! - liftedCREATION

BEGINNING
Intro to musical arrangement - (Suitable intro with nice build-up to main theme 1:00 . Wav) { Light Orchestra } -> Blend in with “In-Game Music”

“In-Game Music” - (Subtle & Engaging / 2:30 Looping .Wavs) { Light Orchestra } -> “Ambience”, “Battle Music”, “Cut Scenes”
ENVIROMENT CHANGE
“Ambience 1, 2 & 3” - (Quiet & Subtle / 2:30 Looping .Wavs) { Light Orchestra }
“Battle Music 1, 2 & 3” - (Orchestrated & Epic / 1:30 .Wavs) { Percussion, Full Blown Orchestra }
“Cut Scenes 1, 2 & 3” – (In depth & revealing / 2:30 .Wavs) { Light Orchestra }

IN GAME MOMENTS
“Being Chased” - (Fast & Edgy / 2:30 Looping .Wavs) { Percussion, Horns, Trumpets } -> “Battle Music”
“Close Calls” – (Holy Crap Moments / :15 .Wavs) { Percussion, Strings, Bells } -> “In-Game Music”
“Character Dies” - (Sad & Emotional / :10 .Wav) {Cellos, Violins, Tuba } ->
“Character Lives” - (Incredible & Magical / :10 .Wav) { Horns, Flutes, Harps } ->
GAME SCREENS & MENUS
“Mission Success” - (Thrilling & Congratulatory / .30 .Wav) {Chimes, Victory Horns }
“Mission Failure” - (Disappointment & Regret / .30 .Wav { Strings, Sad Slow Horns }
“Continue” – (Engaging / :10 .Wav) { Light Orchestra } -> “In-Game Music”
“Load Screen” - (Hypnotic & Trance Subtle / .30 Looping .Wav { Strings, Light Percussion }
“Title Screen” - (Memorizing & Hypnotic / :30 Looping .Wav) { Percussion, Orchestra }
“Mission Screen” – Intense & Down to Business / :30 Looping .Wav){ Percussion, Orchestra }
“Menu Buttons”- (Click/Select, Over, Back, Up/Down, Error) { Bells, Chimes and Special FX }
OTHER
“Misc. Moments” - (Different Stabs and Scales - Misc. Music ) { Bells, Chimes, Interesting Instruments }
“Special Effects” - (Different Whooshes and Transitional Elements for Menus and Screens)

ENDING
“End Credits 1& 2” - (Conclusion & Relieving / 2:30 .Wavs) { Full Orchestra }

We don't make games, so these are mostly educated guesses to what you game developers might need and are looking for...Please advise further.
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[quote]
I've come up with a list of possible in-game moments and some overall music needs for games.
[/quote]

It all depends on the content, really. Without knowing how the game breaks down, I cannot really say if your list of proposed cues would work or not. This is more something you'd figure out along with the dev team.

[quote]
While programming this in-game, do/can game developers just loop .wav files and can pick and choose, with-out glitches? Would it be better to Fade out and Fade in for transitions...like you said,
[/quote]

It all depends on the tech that's being used. Many decent tools, especially the 3rd party tools, can definitely toggle between tracks based on gameplay data.

[quote]
One more thing...what about naming and sorting all these music files? Does anyone have any preferences?
[/quote]

Again, it all depends on the tech used. Naming a file isn't as important if you're working with, say for example FMOD, but definitely play a huge factor if you're working in XML or ActionScript. The reason why is FMOD enables you to drag and drop in the audio asset then set the parameters. Something like XML requires you to type in the file name so the more complex/longer you make it the more likely typos can break the code.

It also depends on if you're the only person touching the audio files or if you're working with a crew of folks. When by yourself, it's much easier to set up a system and know what is what. But when working with a crew it's important to establish a norm that everyone can understand and follow - especially when crunching! Edited by nsmadsen
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Thank you Nathan for the extra information!  Been playing with FMOD a little.  Very interesting stuff.
 
Brainstorming on the new collection of music we are making for the game developers here and we were hoping some of you would add to the list, however we are pushing ahead with our first “free” non-profit set for everyone here at gamedev.  Which will most likely include the above mentioned brainstorming.
 
  It’s a bit different coming from the “static” side of production music to something “interactive”.  Thank you again for the direction. 
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
liftedCREATION
 
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Hello, in addition i also have some points to make your music more useful in a game,

this is what i found out :

 

- Use lowcut on your basses, to leave room for the sound fx, wich does contain sub bass.

 

- in addition to : - Does your music leave enough room for sound effects

Dont use sound fx in your song, it may sound if it was a sound effect in the game.

 

- Dont use vocals in your music, it might get.to hectic, in combination with the game voices.

 

Ofcourse there are exeptions, just trying to help.

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30-60 seconds loop track was normal if it was a flash game.. and my tracks for my games (I also the programmer) never exceed more than 2 minutes because we have to make sure the game is very small..  so having 6-8 short tracks is better than 3-4 two times longer tracks 
 

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