Do we need good Game-Audio?
Gaming is an audio - visual experience.
GAMING IS AN AUDIO - VISUAL EXPERIENCE.
study by media researchers at the hMtMh in 2016.
Music can not only run relaxed in the background and capture the ambience, but also provide infor-mation content and thus be relevant to the story. It can take on different perspectives and therefore reflect the e m o t i o n a l world of the player.
If we add the psychological level: think of the „Lord of the Rings“ movies that used Wagner’s leitmotif technique.
While a storyline in a game is linear, (even different branchings we perceive as linear in the moment of the game, because one information follows the other) we can work quite differently on the musical level. For example, we can introduce a musically threatening ring motif at the beginning, that the player can’t quite place at first, but feels. Only as the storyline develops they retroactively make the connections – one more consciously than the other, but both are emotionally involved.
CURRENT PROCESS AND IMPROVEMENT
Music is often considered much too late in Game Design, but:
(1) Developer and composer/sound- designer work with very similar scripts, in which they both define triggers and leads. Develop both lists parallel and save bugs and subsequent work.
(2) Mutual inspiration of the artists could lead to certain tasks being taken over by the music that you originally wanted to solve visually. Overall your Game would be different.
(3) Don’t fall into the „remex of a remex of a remex“ trap. Exceptional music that should stand out needs a space, courage and time to develop. That means a lot of experimentation – and preferably right from the start.
(4) Developers and musicians don’t speak the same language, and proper feedback is crucial.
Being able to give feedback
Adam Sporka describes 5 levels at which you can talk about music. This differentiation alone helps musicians better understand what you actually want. Sound Design- Performance-, Composition-, Style/ Genre-, and Dramaturgy level.
I will elaborate on how this feedback can appear on different levels.
And: there exists an imbalance in audio perception:
Just as a visual sketch is not a finished painting, the musical first draft is only a sketch. Often, however, you compare the music presented to you imme-diately to the reference material – but that has been produced: ours is the first step – We cannot compete with that!
THINKING LONG-TERM AND INVESTING VS. OUTSOURCING BECAUSE IT'S CHEAPER?!
If you have a music director on board right from the start, a joint project is created, in the best case you both put your heart into it. And the music director is not necessarily the composer at the same time.
Imaging having a big network of com-posers, sound designers and devs, a common exchange, learning from each other.
My YouTube Tutorial „Music Design for Game Devs“ is my first step in this direction. I’m a big fan of national productions, because in the end we all benefit from a creative gaming scene that inspires each other.
Hans Zimmer had a free hand on the Dune soundtrack- ok, plus an enormous budget and many colleagues. Musicians usually don’t take more freedom than they are given. They will do their job well – so if you want innovation and experimentation, you have to say so and encourage them.