game music connect

10 tips we learned at Game Music Connect

We were at the Game Music Connect conference this week to learn what’s happening to the videogame music industry. Find out what we discovered…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 17 Sep 2015
  • min read
Now in its third year, the Game Music Connect conference is an event celebrating and exploring the ever burgeoning industry of videogame music.

Rather than just being a poor relation to the screen composing worlds of TV and film, it’s an ever growing industry with spiralling budgets and plenty of opportunities available. Game Music Connect saw many of the industry’s key players including Chuck Doud, director of music for Sony Computer Entertainment America, organisers and composers James Hannigan and John Broomhall as well as Alien Isolation composers The Flight. Check out what we learned from the day…

An effective score brings a game to life

Chuck Doud (CD) - For videogames, music has to share the stage with many other elements. It doesn’t mean its impact is diluted. It can maintain its impact and elevate everything else. It can make everything more real.

Be courageous

Darrell Alexander (DA), COOL Music founder - Composers need to have the courage to find out who you are, go with it, produce something viable, then have the personality to deliver.

Know your art

CD - If you’re interested in creating music for games, study the games, know your medium, your art you’re writing music for. You don’t need to understand all the tech but you need to know what should happen with the integration.

Channel emotion

CD - Ultimately, no matter how good the music is, if it’s not delivering in a way that’s emotionally compelling then it’s not doing its job. it means we’re missing an opportunity.

Music needs to adapt

Simon Asby (SA), Audiokinetic - Games may last ten or 15 hours but there’s two hours of music so we need a variety of sounds to take from this. Time is not something we can control. It is controlled by the player and the music needs to adapt.

Be an effective collaborator

DA - As a creative, so many amazing composers have fallen by the wayside as they can’t work in a team. More modern composers are happier to collaborate in videogames while in TV and film you’re on your own.

Get in early on a project

CD - Videogame scores are at their most successful when they are identified as a critical part of the experience from early on by game developers.

London orchestras are the best

Allan Wilson, videogames conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra - If you have the right budget, and a lot of games do, more than films, you come to London for your orchestras.

One leader per session

Nick Arundel, composer - One person needs to be in charge of a session and that person needs to have absolute authority.

Never repeat yourself

SA - Avoid repetition as much as possible with tempo, rhythm patterns and time signatures. If you start scoring your first game, use odd time signatures to keep it unbalanced.

Read our previous news items on the importance of videogame scores and the secret to an effective score.