The right music for your game

Each game needs its own original music as one of the many artistic and technical elements that will make it stand out in the industry. Depending on the game’s genre, aesthetics, narrative, mechanics, schedule and budget, there’s a specific type of music that will be the most appropriate for conveying the game’s personality and enriching the player’s experience.

Space Routine
1950's Retro Scifi
Space Routine
1950's Retro Scifi
Future Western
Orchestra & Synth
Future Western
Orchestra & Synth
Sci Fi episodes
Ambient synth
Sci Fi episodes
Ambient synth
Escape Doodland
1930 rythmic jazz
Escape Doodland
1930 rythmic jazz
Cubots
Electronic
Cubots
Electronic

Sound design under the same direction

Having sound design under the same creative direction and production as music allows for a cohesive game audio experience. You’ll save time in coordination and communication and be able to better focus in other areas of your game’s development process.

Enhanced game experience

Implementation is a key part of game music and sound design. From simple asset organizing to complex, clever musical structures or sound behavior that not only enhances your game experience but also improves your game development  pipeline. This also lets the game programmers focus on their specific job and the music producer have creative audio solutions without adding more workload to them.

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Menic Games
Menic Games

Space Routine

Music production, sound design and audio implementation in FMOD

Music production Sound design Audio implementation
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Complete audio production

Space Routine is a space family simulator with physics mechanics and a theme influenced by old sci-fi cartoon series like The Jetsons. The music and sound design intentionally evokes that aesthetic without losing the feel of a modern game.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at 440 Estudio.
Recording, mixing and mastering: Mario Carnerero.
Upright bass: Lucas Sánchez.
Trumpet: Walter Onofri.
Trombone: Walter Estorello.

Music of the 1950’s space family

Space Routine matches the tone of ‘50s and ‘60s sci-fi sitcoms by referencing the use of specific instrumentation and harmony from that time period. Each space station has its own music, working as scenes from a cartoon episode like the Jetsons. This palette of music fragments build the game’s personality.

‘Beeps’ and other naive sounds

Back in the day, sci-fi sound designers had to work within the limits of the available technology. Their creative prowess gave us a recognizable retro sci-fi aesthetic that can be emulated by restraining the use of modern synths. The game’s audio concept defined initially with the developer helped find these technical means to get a result that lines up with the game’s style.

Narrative enhancement in FMOD

Adaptive audio behaviors were used not only as a way to solve repetitiveness and orient the player but also to simultaneously enrich the narrative and semantics of the game. Music layers are added every time  a family member arrives at  the “home station” to bolster the sense of a  family reunion. The space car’s engine has different sound layers that change at different speeds to convey the idea of infinite acceleration and therefore a bigger space.

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In-house production
In-house production

Music selection 2019

Music production

Music production
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A selection of music productions

Different games need different music genres and types of productions. Some are purely electronic and others need recorded musicians. This is defined together with the developer to ensure that every important aspect of the game and its development are taken into consideration.

Games featured in  this music selection:
Bullet Ville, a third-person shooter with western and urban-themed maps.
Cubots, an isometric minimalist shooter about robots invading a city.
Escape Doodland, a platformer auto-runner with a kooky hand-drawn cartoon artstyle.
Above clouds, a city building simulator on top of high mountains.
Sci Fi Episodes, music for existencial sci-fi games with a gloomy atmosphere.
Spit 2 Win, a casual mobile game with “Simon Says” mechanics about llamas in different South American scenarios.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at 440 Estudio.
Recording and mixing: Mario Carnerero.
Mastering: Mariano Dinella.
Violin: Valeria Martin.
Banjo and guitars: Primo Fernández.
Tenor, alto and soprano sax: Luciano Luque.
Trumpets: Agustín Basualdo.

Relevance of game mechanics

Game mechanics usually establish clear limits that help define the right music for your game. A cartoonish runner like “Escape Doodland” benefits from early 20th century jazz’s naiveness and rhythm presence that represent the game’s theme and movement mechanics respectively.

Hybrid musical production

Depending on the music genre, some productions require a mix of recorded and  virtual instruments as a way to reap the benefits from both. “Bullet Ville”, “Escape Doodland” and “Above Clouds” are examples of hybrid productions.

Benefits of early involvement

The earlier the music producer gets involved in the game development the better. Incorporating this domain of knowledge from early on can impact organizational decisions, helps you optimize your schedule, and leads to much more cohesive results.

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Menic Games
Menic Games

Tinytopia

Sound design

Sound design
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Playing with tiny toys

Tinytopia is a toy city simulator with physics and a piece-merging mechanic that makes chaotic and unexpected surprises part of the fun. I crafted the sound design to convey the right sense of scale and elicit the naive joy of playing like a child by creating ear-candy sounds that range from realistic to fantastic.

Creating ear-candy

Sound production focused on recording numerous variations from an array of small objects and using them to design cute, simple sounds that are addictive to listen to. This approach helped turn the potential fatigue of repetitiveness that derives from the game’s core mechanics into an enjoyable experience that favors replayability.

Audio Listener’s positioning

Given the particular camera angle used in Tinytopia, a raycast-based audio listener positioning system was developed in Unity to be used instead of the common camera attachment method. This allowed for correct sound spatial positioning and better emulation of the tiny scale volume propagation, which enhanced the game’s narrative.

Taming ‘herd’ sfx’s volume

To avoid adding extra work to the game’s programmers, I used a specific audio channel routing in Unity’s mixer, combined with a couple of native audio effects, as a simple and clever solution to disproportionately volume increases when many instances of an object emit sound. As a result, you get the audio group’s channel  volume decreasing proportionately to the amount of objects emitting sound through it.

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Ravegan
Ravegan

Dorfs

Sound design

Sound design
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Metal, wood & fire

Dorfs – Hammers for hire is a game developed by Ravegan with mechanics similar to Overcooked. Being a game of up to four players, sound design needed to balance density by having descriptive yet simple, dorky sounds.

A balanced tone

One of the goals proposed by the game producer was to have realistic sounds that don’t get too serious at the same time. A delicated balance between descriptiveness and slightly dorky humour accross the game’s sound palette.

The density challenge

Having up to four players potentially playing the game established the challenge of balancing density by having a specific sound design criteria for each asset: all the sounds needed both to fill the space when heard individually and be simple and distinguishable for when there’s a lot of action simultaneously.

Implementation structures

Although implementation was relatively straight forward there needed to be some fairly complex audio structures in the game. The hoven has three sound layers for each fire intensity and their corresponding “tails” for when it turns off after removing an item.

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