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March 4, 2019

Composing Game Music

So, you want to get into writing music for games, huh? If so, there are some things to consider when composing music for games. Game music is very different from most other music in that it must have a catchy melody all the way through. Think about Super Mario Bros.

When you design game music, design it to be “loopable”–meaning when the piece comes to its end, it must be able to loop back to the beginning without any noticeable interruptions. This is called a “gapless” or “seamless” loop. Here’s an example I did to demonstrate this…

Lucky Chinese Theme for Slot Machine Game.

Having variations of music based on a motif is also a great idea! Here’s an example I composed to demonstrate this…

Do notice how the melody is pretty much the same but the feeling & emotion differs in each section? This gives the game developer an opportunity to maintain some consistency in the music as well as diversity in placing the music into certain scenes/scenarios.

Add storytelling and drama to the music! Make it sound grandiose and over the top as needed! So, how would this sound like? Here’s what I came up with to demonstrate this…

As you can hear, the plot is introduced, then comes the conflict, then the story ensues, and finally towards the end comes the resolution. It’s all about how you tell the story. Essentially, make the music speak to its audience in a meaningful way.

What kind of game is it? What’s the game’s genre? Is it a MMO/MMORPG? Perhaps, you should put together just a few measures of music as to brainstorm what it should sound like and present it to the game’s director. Here’s an example of brainstorming for a classic MMO…

RPG Game OST Brainstorming (Musical Ideas) by XayberOptix

Is it a fast action arcade style? Perhaps retro? Maybe even use 8-bit sounds to create a chiptune that serves to “move” the player along in-game. Here’s an idea for you…

“Rush” (8-bit Game Music) by XayberOptix

Does it have cinematic cut scenes or storytelling scenes? This following piece of music was inspired by a cut scene from the game Guild Wars 2. If you play or have played this game, you might recognize it. I had the pleasure of recreating this tune with my very own orchestral ideas and accompaniments. Here, have a listen…

“Fear Not This Night” from GW2, Remade by XayberOptix

Perhaps it’s a mysterious thought provoking game. So, you might try going with a solo instrument that conveys a mysteriously eerie feeling. Maybe a piano tune sounding something like this…

“Karma” (Original Piano Composition) by XayberOptix

Not all games are for older kids. A lot of games are made for children in their early stages of development too! So, for this type of game, make it sound cute and fun for younger children! Something like this…

“Skippity Lou” (Kid Inspired Tune) by XayberOptix

I’ve given you several examples of music composed/arranged by me and hopefully it inspires you to make interesting game soundtracks for that next game project you’re on!

If you’re a game developer and need some original music for your game, I will gladly help you out. All you have to do is ask. 🙂 Thanks for reading and listening in. Feel free to comment below.

One Comment on “Composing Game Music

So nice!
March 4, 2019 at 4:35 pm

You have some excellent examples that backup what you are talking about. It’s always so nice to actually “hear” the author’s thoughts and ideas. Thank you and good luck in all your future musical endeavors.

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