How Do I work?
Here is a glimpse into my general schedule when producing a medium to large sized game OST (15-60+ minutes):
1) Written concept (With all possible framework conditions: What instruments do I use & why? How do they fit the story/coloring/mood of the game world? Which ideas/characters/locations are they possibly linked to? What kind of melodic leitmotifs do we have? What kind of tracks do we need in general? To what extent do we use the possibilities of dynamic/adaptive music etc? How many minutes of music will it be approximately? What role does the music have at which points? (Signal effect, couleur locale, mood technology, rewards etc) And all that. In the best case this Phase starts as soon as possible – I don’t need a vertical slice/playable scenes to begin with work. The more time, the better, since this will allow the OST to grow hand in hand with the gameplay/visual development.
2) Mood Track: I produce a 5-9 minute long track in which I combine the sounds/instruments and moods thought up in the concept & try to cover all possible moods. I do that on the one hand to try out whether the theoretical concept “works” in principle and to do the first instrumental sound design (I use the project afterwards as a template for all other tracks). On the other hand, I can give the dev team a first presentation of how their world might sound. I send the team “current states” of the track every 1-2 days to talk about the progress and if necessary to adapt things immediately / to integrate new ideas.
3) i start the actual production of the soundtrack. From now on everything is very open/dynamic. I roughly work my way along the written concept & let the rest come to me. I continue to send “Current State” versions of my work after each working day so that I can talk about it directly. Communication is incredibly important. On the one hand you save a lot of time (actually revisions of entire tracks etc.), on the other hand this creates a much greater creative potential.
My thoughts on gamemusic:
Pretty often it’s not only about writing “good sounding music” when you write for games – an interactive and potentially highly immersive medium. Top Notch Music Production Skills are a must have – but by far not the most important thing. You should be able to “read worlds” & to make visuals become music, to understand things like:
Mood Techniques, Couleur Locale, Emotional Atmospheres, Music as a Signal/Storyteller, Layering, Instrumental/Melodic Leitmotifs, Adaptive Music in General, how to make music evolve with the visuals, connecting instruments with ideas/characters/places etc (aka “why do you use and instrument and when”?) and so much more. There are literally hundreds of things and awesome possibilities for composers to make a game become an as immersive and intense experience as possible – and that’s what divides me from “fantasy music library XY”.
/ I composed and produced support and/or standalone Instrumentals + Songs for Dozens of Bands/Artists/Rappers and Musicians in general.
/ During the last 12 years of professional music production I covered pretty much every genre/mood/style and (even more valuable for my skillset) – i merged/combined/changed/experimented (with) them.
/ I’m used to working with super rough ideas, too. If you have an almost final track that you want me to enhance with my music (based on your visions) – awesome. If you only have a rough idea/piano line & some humming – that’s fine, too. We’ll create sth together.
/ The main workflow is pretty much the same as the one I described above (gamemusic). We meet & talk about your vision & poroceed from there.