To me, given that I am a game music composer (learn more about me!)– the music within games plays a crucial role in enhancing a gamer’s experience and appreciation for a particular game. Without music that really suits a game, the experience for a player can be significantly diminished. However, don’t just take my word for it! Over the course of the year, I have connected with many talented indie game developers – many of whom have had their games featured on my blog. Here some of them share what they really think about game music and why they value it so highly…
So the first question we might ask ourselves is whether game music is important in games or not?
Robin Andblom, an indie game developer from Amber Crown Games (the creator of Binary Sparks) says: ‘Music is very important in games. The music can make the player focus. The music in my game is important because it makes the simulation of vastness and emptiness more clear than it would’ve been without music.'
Ok so what might a whole team of indie developers think?
‘The music plays a great part in our game!’ says Vincent & his team at Alterego Games (creators of Woven). ‘We try to give the players the best experience we can, and we believe that music helps a great deal with achieving this. It describes where you are, changing with the environment around you. It also alerts you to hidden objects, subtly changing for those with a trained ear.'
Vincent is the visual designer, programmer and game designer at Alterego Games, and so he clearly knows what he’s talking about.
Now, why exactly do these top game developers value music so highly?
‘The music and the sounds generally are something very important for the user. You can have a brilliant product totally ruined by bad audio design and music.’ says the team from the game & games studio, Super Magic Rainbow.
‘Sound & music are the glue that brings all the other elements of a game together. Music drives emotion, adds depth to gameplay and helps really immerse a player in a game.’ says Justin French, Dream Harvest (creators of the game, Failure)
Where’s the evidence for why music is so important?
‘Game music is really essential for the whole feeling of the game. Hearing is rooted very deep in our brain, a lot more than seeing. So you speak almost directly to the emotional state, there is not that much decoding consciously as with visual input.
We tried different music styles for our game and every single one gave such a different feel to the gameplay. There were definitely directions that completely removed the feeling of danger from a combat situation and people started to play less careful (and died more). So having the right atmosphere, the right music and changes at the right time is not only an aesthetic or usability aspect of game design. It’s an integral part of the game’s mechanics.' says Harald Goergens, Konspiracy Games.
Game developers also appear to be pleased that game music is being taken more seriously…
‘I'm so glad that music and sound in games is being taken so much more seriously now; it does help that we're not as restricted as we used to be and we've seen a big convergence between film audio and game audio, especially for the cinematic quality that is expected from a game soundtrack.' says Justin French, Dream Harvest (creators of Failure)
So in a similar way that film music plays a vital role in making a film all that it can be – game music too plays a powerful part in completing the full gaming experience.
About the author: Ninichi is a game music composer. She is the in-house composer for games company Quinton Studios and works on a range of freelance composing projects supporting talented game developers with their games & game music.
Follow her @ninichimusic