An Introduction to Composing Music for Video Video games

For those who’re fascinated about creating music for video video games, there are some things you want to know apart from how one can write melody. Online game music is totally different from scoring movies or making beats, however when you perceive the important thing concepts, it is not tough to get began.

On this newbie’s information, we are going to introduce you to the important parts of composing music for video video games. As soon as you recognize what to anticipate, you will be prepared to start scoring your first recreation.

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From 8-Bit Tracks to Orchestral Scores

Within the early days of recreation music, composers have been restricted by the reminiscence and processing energy of gaming consoles. This resulted in an entire class of music we now name 8-bit music, or “chiptunes”, named after the 8-bit processors and the sound chips that have been wanted to create sound.

When Closing Fantasy VII first got here out in 1997, for instance, it was cut up throughout three discs and every one had a most file measurement of 450MB. Evaluate this with the discharge of Closing Fantasy VII Remake in 2020, which required an enormous 100GB of free house, and had a rating that was bursting with live-recorded orchestral music.


Many individuals nonetheless love chiptune-style music and regardless of not having these previous restrictions, you’ll nonetheless hear new video games with that traditional sound.

Sport music is not so restricted by {hardware} anymore, however so much relies on the sport’s particular playstyle. Not like a movie that strikes in a linear route from the beginning of the story to the top, recreation music can go in any route relying on the place a participant desires to discover. From wandering by a forest to partaking in a battle, the music must be prepared at any second to alter.

Understanding how that is achieved is the important thing to creating music for video games.

Reduce Scenes, Loops, and Interactive Music

There are a number of forms of music you possibly can create for video games, and the simplest is for reduce scenes. Similar to a scene in a film, you possibly can write music that begins and ends at a set time, often triggered by one thing within the gameplay.

Nearly all of a recreation is not made up of reduce scenes although, and more often than not a participant is repeatedly shifting by the identical stage or setting. Whether or not they maintain dying at a tough boss battle, or they’re trying to find hidden gems, the music must be loopable.

Good loop music has clean transitions between the beginning and finish of the loop, and irrespective of what number of instances it is performed, it should not bore the participant. For those who want inspiration, suppose again to the traditional music of Tremendous Mario Bros or Crash Bandicoot.

One other sort of music particular to video games is interactive music, which could be described as any music triggered by a participant’s actions. For instance, as soon as the well being of a boss drops under 50%, the music may begin to choose up at a quicker tempo. Later, when a participant lastly defeats the boss, a triumphant success tune may play.


Implementing music adjustments like that is generally a job given to a music programmer, however if you happen to’re engaged on a low-budget indie recreation, likelihood is you will want to know not less than a little bit about the way it works.

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is about all you want to get began. Logic Professional X has a big library of sound samples which is nice for making loop music. Whereas Professional Instruments however is well-adapted for recording stay devices.

For those who’re simply beginning out, then getting your fingers on free software program like GarageBand (Mac) or Audacity (PC/Mac) can also be a fantastic place to start. If you wish to know which is greatest for you, learn by our information on the professionals and cons of GarageBand vs. Audacity.

Most DAWs include their very own set of samples and synthesizers which you need to use to write down and document music. As you get higher, you possibly can put money into devoted sound libraries, digital devices, and distinctive plugins. However do not feel like you want to spend some huge cash on equipment to write down your first piece of recreation music. A contemporary DAW already has much more instruments for making sounds than the very first online game chiptunes.


Figuring out the fundamentals of music principle will get you a great distance and working towards will assist hone your musical expertise.

Programming Sound

If you’re decided to create music for video video games, then there’s one factor that can set you aside from the remaining: figuring out how one can program sound. If that appears daunting, you do not have to fret, more often than not it includes utilizing third-party software program to arrange your music for recreation builders.

Wwise and FMOD are two examples. You need to use this software program to align music with interactive cues like selecting up an object or getting into a brand new recreation stage. This software program additionally provides you the power to make a chunk of music come from a particular route. Think about, for instance, ominous music getting louder as you stroll down the citadel stairs—after listening to this music you recognize you are headed in the direction of one thing unhealthy.

Not many composers find out about programming sound, however a examine revealed on the GameSoundCon weblog reveals that primary scripting expertise are one thing that recreation corporations search for when hiring. One of the beginner-friendly locations to begin studying is with “blueprints”, which is a visible programming language utilized in Unreal Engine for recreation growth.

You do not have to have a pc science diploma, however figuring out just a bit about how one can implement sound will go a great distance.

Taking part in the Sport

On the finish of the day, the easiest way to create recreation music is to play the sport. Experiencing the sport will encourage every kind of artistic concepts and make it easier to to nail character themes and loop tracks.

Even earlier than you get your first actual project, the quickest solution to perceive how recreation music works is to play as many video games as you possibly can. Subsequent time you choose up a controller, take note of how the music works; when does the music change, and which tracks are looped? Ideally, you’d need to get your fingers on the demo model of a brand new recreation you need to write music for.

You do not have to attend till you’ve got your first paid gig to get began both, discover a video displaying the gameplay of your favourite title and check out creating your personal distinctive soundtrack to suit the extent. Sooner or later, this may be a part of the portfolio you present to recreation builders. If you have not used loops earlier than, we have put collectively a fast information on how one can use GarageBand and free music loops to create your personal tracks.

Develop into a Video Sport Composer

Online game music is really thrilling to create, with loads of distinctive challenges as nicely. Whereas some features like programming music can be a brand-new ability to most, merely enjoying a recreation will educate you a large number about how online game music features.

Now that you recognize what makes recreation music distinctive, you are able to create your first online game soundtrack!

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