It always feels good to finish a project. To have a concept in mind, research, strategize, outline, create a process to work through each part, and put it all together in a nice package. It’s truly gratifying. Now I’m doing this purely as a learning tool, but I do sense that I’m getting better. I’m growing in my musical knowledge, I’m able to work more efficiently, and I feel slightly more confident in my ability to complete a project.
The main goal of this project was to create a soundtrack for a science fiction video game. This soundtrack had to have a combination of linear music, meaning it had to go from point A to point B much like music on the radio, and have music that would sound appropriate looped, which are songs that have no start to them, they simply go on and on. It had to evoke the emotions that would be felt through the gamer in each area of the game.
Did I succeed? I’m not sure, but here is a list of what I learned from the Cyberworld project.
It’s not about the music – this an odd statement since this is a musical project but it’s true. The music should support the game play and storytelling, like how a music soundtrack supports a movie or TV show. You don’t go to see an MCU movie for the music. The music assists in the overall feel of the movie. This also goes for video games. If the music is terrible and doesn’t fit then you’re probably not going to enjoy the experience of the game, movie, or TV show.
Looping isn’t easy – loops are as simple as I thought they would be. To give the illusion of a seamless sound being played in the background without being boring is an art. The loops length is important. If you go the easy route and create a short loop, then the music becomes downright monotonous and annoying but if it’s too long then you somehow loose the feel of the emotional play since you must add more elements to keep it interesting. I found that a loop of around one and half to two-minutes is just about right.
Not everything gets used –in preparation for the project I purchased a few loop packs to help with the ambiance of the tracks. However, I ended up not using a lot of the material since it just didn’t fit. It’s like building a deck and not using a pack of screws or there is left over wood that you can’t take back. Is it a complete loss? No, I’ll use them somewhere on some future project. I guess it’s good to have that material when I need it.
Where do I go from here? At this point I’ll move onto the next project, but eventually I would like to shop these tracks around to game house.
Brian Lundgren is a marketing professional, musician, and family man living in the Southeast region of Massachusetts.