Thursday, February 11, 2010

I love music and can't help you

If you're a music composer looking to break into the game industry, please read:

I'm not going to reply to your email. It's not because I don't love you. It's not because I don't love music. It's because of all the jobs that need doing in game development, music composition is the one with by far the most competition. There are tons of music composers out there, and worse, now that the music industry is collapsing, you're competing with big names who are looking for work in games as well.

Plus, I'm generally not the guy who makes that call. I raise money to get games in development, I do game design, I look for teams and people, help with publicity. Music isn't a part of that process, and when it does become part of the process, it's usually the dev team's call, not mine, and most of them usually already have a relationship with someone they like to use.

If you're trying to break in, start with small, small teams. Research the mod community. Find out who is doing cool stuff, find peeps you like, and give them music for free. Stick with them. Help them make the game.

Also, get your hands dirty in the level editor. Learn how to make your music more procedural and responsive to the game mood. Learn to work within the feature and real-time performance limitations of the playback system. Learn the level editor also because frankly, you're not going to be able to feed yourself reliably on what the game industry pays composers.

It's a very different kind of composition these days. Gone are the days where you send out a *.wav file with the final score. You may have to say goodbye to your beloved DAW and learn to work with wobbly, incomplete game development tools.

Most of all, I encourage you to get involved in the process of making games. It's a very different beast musically, depending on engine technology and platform, and practice makes perfect.

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