Game music

Introducing the Documentary about Gaming & Mental Health: Game Flow

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Interview By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

I’m really excited to be introducing you to Game Flow in this blog! It’s a really interesting film about gaming and mental health which I had the honour to learn about & get involved in after discovering they were in need of a composer. I connected with Emily Crawford, the Director, Producer and Editor for the documentary and together we worked on the music for the film.

The soundtrack to the film has been completed and I’m super excited to see how the film evolves and how people react to it! Check out the trailer for Game Flow:

Now, let’s check out this wonderful interview with Emily to learn a bit more about this documentary and why this topic of gaming and mental health is so important…

Who are you and how long have you been involved in films? 

‘I'm a documentary filmmaker, researcher, and writer based in Washington, DC. I've been working in film/television in some capacity for the past 7 years or so, but I only recently started producing and directing my own films. This will really be the first film on this scale that I've produced and directed myself.’

What’s Game Flow about and where did the inspiration behind this documentary come from?

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Game Flow is a short documentary about how gaming can be a powerful tool to help people deal with anxiety and mood disorders. It celebrates the positive impact that games can have on mental health, and attempts to debunk misconceptions about video games being addictive or encouraging violence. 

The inspiration for the film came from my own experience – several years ago, I was struggling with some mental health issues myself, and had also recently started playing a lot of video games for the first time as an adult. I noticed that games were helping me process my emotions in helpful ways, so I started researching the subject. I soon found that there was a lot out there to support what I was experiencing, not only anecdotal evidence but also studies that have been done, things like that. So I decided to make a documentary about gaming for mental health as my MFA capstone project for grad school, and that became Game Flow.’ 

Why do you feel this topic is important? What are you hoping people will takeaway or learn from this film?

‘I feel that this topic is important because outside of the gaming community, nobody really talks about the positive aspects of gaming. There is so much media attention given to the supposed downsides of games, like increased violence or addiction. But there's really very little solid research to support the idea that video games are addictive, or that violent games encourage aggression. There are interviews with psychologists and games researchers in the documentary that get into all of this. 

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Meanwhile, mental healthcare is really inadequate in most of the world, and mental illness still heavily stigmatized. Games are this potential tool for good that is largely being ignored. I'm not advocating for gaming to take the place of therapy or psychiatric care, of course, but games can be a really helpful supplement to treatment.

There is research being done on the subject, and there are some wonderful people incorporating gaming into mental healthcare, but no one really knows about it outside of some very small communities. So I wanted to bring attention the subject, to destigmatize mental illness and gaming, and to encourage people to explore the therapeutic potential of games, especially for mood and anxiety disorders. 

I hope that the film will change at least a few minds about games, and video games especially – because the documentary is about games in general, including board games, cell phone games, etc. But I focused especially on video games in part because they're the most heavily stigmatized. There are still a lot of people out there who think that gamers are all antisocial teenage boys or men who live in their parents' basements. I want to show those people that not only can games be this powerful art form and force for good, but that the people who play them are really diverse and often brilliant, inspiring people who are successful in endeavors outside of gaming.’

Who’s been involved in the film and what has the process of making it been like?

‘I've had a wonderful, generous team of crew members, faculty advisors, funders, and other collaborators, and I could never have finished production without them. The crew were mostly my classmates from film school, as well as my very patient boyfriend, Joey Trimboli, who has also helped with marketing and outreach. Filming was a great experience because it involved meeting all of the amazing people who are in the film. I was able to connect with people over our shared experiences with games and mental health, and I made several real friends along the way. 

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The postproduction process has been a little tougher, mostly because I'm busier with other things theses days – I've been working on other documentaries in order to gain professional experience (and pay the bills), and so have been squeezing my work on Game Flow into my evenings and weekends. But finishing the rough cut felt really good, and I was able to graduate and receive my MFA degree based on that, and have gotten some great feedback on it so far. It's been rewarding to see all of the final pieces start falling into place – now that the soundtrack is done, all that's left to do is a final audio mix, color correction, and finalizing the graphics.’ 

What was your thinking behind the music soundtrack? What made you decide to work with me (Ninichi) & what has it been like?

‘I had gotten this idea stuck in my head that I wanted to do something influenced by chiptunes and retro game music in general. I think I wanted to evoke nostalgia for the games people played when they were young, because that's when most people first connect with the medium.

I posted on social media (@GameFlowDoc) that I was looking for a composer for the film. I heard from quite a few people, but Ninichi's portfolio really stood out, both because of her talent in general, and her obvious familiarity and skill with chiptunes and game music. Most of the composers who expressed interest in the project had done music for games, which I thought was really cool, but Ninichi was unique in that she had already done things very similar to what I wanted for the film. 

Working with Ninichi was amazing! I had never had the opportunity to work directly with a composer before on one of my own films, so that was exciting in itself. Ninichi made the process really easy, and was very receptive to my input and feedback. I really think that the music she composed makes the film more powerful. It's also totally stuck in my head all the time now!’

What are your plans for the film, where can we watch it and what’s next for you?

‘As soon as the postproduction for the film is finished (which will be in Spring 2019), I'll be submitting it to festivals and doing some community screenings in the Washington, DC area. After a festival run, we'll make the film free to watch on Youtube and on our website, gameflowdocumentary.com. We'll be posting updates on the website regularly about screenings, festivals, and our progress in general, so anyone interested in the film should definitely keep an eye on the site. You can also sign up to receive updates about our festivals, our release date, etc. 

I'm not sure what my next project will be yet, but I do know that Game Flow will be an ongoing effort even once the film is released and the festival run is done – I want to build out the website more, and make it a sort of living database of resources related to games and mental health.’ 

This all sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about Game Flow. We will be sure to keep our eyes out for the documentary and to spread the word where we can!

See other films Ninichi’s been involved in:

Articles for filmmakers:


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About the interviewer: Ninichi is a freelance composer who creates music for indie games, films and media. She is a great supporter of indie projects and runs this blog in the hope that it offers useful insights for the game development community.

She is open for commissions and would be happy to help you with the music to your game should you need it. Contact her now to discuss your project with her.

4 Ways to Source Music for Your Game

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Music is an important element to any game. As a game music composer (see more about me!), I really believe that it helps to enhance the overall experience, to bring it all together and to set the general tone of the game. Great music can help to make your game more memorable, more fun to play and can even to make it stand out.

However, it is not always easy or obvious where to find the right music for a game or which approach to take. If you’re wondering what your options are and which way to turn, perhaps this article will help. There are also many other useful tips, articles and resources on my blog so do take a minute to browse through those as well.

In the meantime, here are 4 of the main ways to source music for your game:

  1. Stock music library

  2. Asking friends or a student / amateur musician

  3. Hiring a composer

  4. Making it yourself

1. Stock Music Libraries

These are also sometimes referred to as royalty-free music libraries, production music libraries or simply stock music. For those on a really tight budget, stock music can be a good option as it offers a variety of music available to use on a royalty-free basis, at a very low price. Some music is completely free, sometimes it requires attribution, other times you’ll have to pay but usually a low fee between $5-75 per track. Here are some of my tracks available to license on a royalty free basis.

There are also music packs available from certain sites, which are often even cheaper. They offer many tracks that you can download in one go and which can essentially make up your entire soundtrack. However, there are downsides to bulk packs and stock music generally in that they won’t be customised to your game and so are unlikely to fit perfectly and creating consistency across a full soundtrack can be tough to do.

It can also be quite a time consuming process to go through lots of tracks to narrow down and find something suitable for your specific needs. See the article: Pros & Cons of Using Royalty Free Music in Games to explore this a bit more.

2. Asking friends or a student / amateur musician

Do you have a friend who could help with the music? Is there a student or wannabe composer who might jump at the chance to get involved with your game? If so, this could be an avenue for you to explore further.

Friends are often happy to lend a hand, especially if it’s your first game and there are many student musicians and hobbyist composers out there who may get excited when they learn about what you’re developing. The downside with this option is usually to do with time, quality and reliability/accountability.

If you’re relying on someone to help you out for free, it’s difficult to hold them accountable to you and to make sure that they deliver what you need, when you need it. This can be absolutely fine if you too are a hobbyist and/or are just trying things out for fun, however, if you’re serious about getting your game to market then you may want more ‘serious’ folk in your team.

For composers/musicians starting out, their experience may be lacking and so you may find that the quality of music and the ease with which you can communicate and work with them is challenging. You’ll need to be patient and to be willing to spend time guiding them. You may need to spend time going back and forth quite a bit until each track starts to sound like something you’d like to use.

3. Hiring a composer

This is probably the most ‘professional’ route you could take and so if you want high quality music, which is customised and created specifically for your game, this is the best option for you. It does, however, come at a price, and so you will need to be willing to invest in the music to your game. (See 5 Reasons to Invest in the Music to Your Game).

There are many different types of composers out there, with some specialising in certain styles/types of music and some specialising in certain fields – so not all composers will have experience creating game music for example (they may be a classical composer or a film composer), and so it’s important to learn as much as you can about them and their music and composing experience, before deciding who you want to work with.

This is why I make it easy for people to listen to examples of my game music and to see my credit list and testimonials so that you can hopefully get a sense of what I’m about: - what I’m like to work with, my experience and music. This is the type of things to check out when trying to decide who you might want to hire and work with.

Here are some tips if you want to explore this further: 5 Top Tips for Hiring a Game Music Composer for the First Time

4. Making music it yourself

If you are a musician and feel that you have all the skills needed to create great music for your game, then I’d definitely consider this as an option. The great thing about doing it yourself is that you will have full creative control. You can decide what you want, when you want it and when it’s good enough for your game.

The downside though is that if you take the time to create the music for your game, that’s time taken away from possibly doing something else. So, you will need to have that time to dedicate to the things that you feel are important or you will need to prioritise and think carefully about how you want to spend your most precious commodity.  Making music can be an incredibly fun process if that’s your kind of thing, however, it is very time consuming. So think carefully about what’s right for you.

See Pros & Cons of Creating Your Own Game Music for more on this.

Those are the 4 main ways to get music for your game. I hope this has been useful for you and helps with your decision-making and next steps. It is also very possible to combine some of the above options and so don’t worry if you’ve made a start down one road but feel you might want to explore another.  It’s still all very possible to do. If you want to talk through this some more, contact me to explore how I might be able to help you with your game or project. Good luck! 


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About the authorNinichi is a game music composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games, films, tv shows, podcasts and more. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.

Check out examples of Ninichi's game music & read more articles like this on Ninichi's blog

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing Ninichi’s Royalty Free Game Music Asset Packs

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you’ve been thinking about using royalty free music for your game, you may be interested in these. I’m Ninichi, a freelance game music composer and I create music for games, film and other media. I am usually commissioned to work on game music soundtracks and custom music for game trailers, film and other shows and media. I also offer some royalty free music available to license through my website, since I’m well aware that not all projects have the budgets available to invest in custom music.

My video game music packs are one of these licensing options and the idea behind these is to enable indie game developers on very tight budgets, to still be able to have great quality music in their games. 

The first 3 packs are available now – to purchase, license and use on a royalty free basis. My plan is to release new music packs as they become available – hopefully a new pack every month or so, therefore I encourage you to keep visiting my site for updates when you can.

Let me introduce you to the first three video game music packs:

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CHIPTUNE PACK– is a collection of 5 great 8-bit style game music tracks designed specifically for use in video games. The tracks loop seamlessly and there are also 3 bonus mini-tracks included that can be used as opening themes or shorter game levels.

Check out the Chiptune Pack

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RETRO RUSH – is a collection of 5 amazing retro or arcade-style game music tracks perfect for puzzle, brick and paddle, or racing games. A bonus intro sting with 3 different variations is included and can be used for menus, ending credits or any other shorter/transition levels.

Learn more about Retro Rush

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PUZZLE PACK – is a set of 5 awesome video game music tracks designed for puzzle games. All tracks are fun to listen and have their own distinct melodies, yet have been crafted to sit perfectly in the background to any puzzle game.

Listen to Puzzle Pack now

I hope that you find these music packs useful and do keep a look out for more.

If you have any suggestions around these or ideas for future video game music packs, do drop me a line. It’ll be great to hear from you! And, of course, if you’d like to explore working with me on some music for your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch now!


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About the Author: 

Ninichi is a freelance game music composer & big supporter of indie games. If you need help with the music for your game or project, contact me now to explore how we might work together. 

Learn more About me (Ninichi) and check out examples of my game music here.

Understanding How Much an Indie Game Music Composer Costs

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you’re developing a game, at some point you may be wondering whether or not to invest in a custom game music soundtrack and whether to hire a game music composer to work with or not. One big question that I’m sure is on your mind, is how much will it all cost? How much do indie game music composers charge typically?

Unfortunately this isn’t a simple question to answer since every composer is different. However, as a freelance indie game music composer myself (learn more about me!), I can try to give you an overview of what sort of rates you may come across and to help you understand where some of the pricing structures and costs may come from.

What kind of composer rates can you expect?

Across the whole industry, you will probably find a big range in prices offered by various composers. From what I’ve seen that range can stretch anywhere between $50 all the way up to $2500 per minute of music, with hobbyists, part-timers at the lower end and 'stars' at the top end. 

For indie game music composers with a fair amount of experience and a decent credit list, most will tend to have prices within the range of $200-$1000 per minute of music.

The more experienced and in demand a composer is, the higher they are likely to charge for their music and time. Some will charge per minute of music, whilst others will charge per track or will quote you for the project as a whole, and some will charge for their time like any other contractor / freelancer may i.e. per hour of work. 

Most composers will have some flexibility and be happy to negotiate their fee with you but at the same time, they will have their usual rates that they tend to work with and so are unlikely to stray massively from their original quotes. This goes for me as well. If you'd like to work with me on a project but aren't sure about the fees / financial side, just drop me a message, give me an indication of what sort of budget you have to work with, and we'll see if we can work something out! 

If you're hoping to work with a big name in the industry then definitely expect rates to be higher. They will be in demand, their time is precious and they can afford to carefully select the projects that they wish to work on and those that they wish to reject. 

Do some composers work for free?

If you're expecting people to work for free or for 'exposure', then beware who you approach in this manner.  Hobbyists, enthusiasts and those starting out may well be prepared to create a game music soundtrack for you for little or no pay, in exchange for the experience and as a way to build up their credit list and portfolio. This can be a great option if you have the time to nurture them and to work closely with them to ensure you get music you're happy with.

However, if you're looking to work with a professional composer, do keep in mind that this is their profession and hence their skills, talent and time all holds a value which you must be willing to invest in and to pay for if you are keen to work with them and build a strong working relationship with them. 

Read 6 Ways to Pay a Game Music Composer.

What contributes to the wide range in pricing?

There are lots of factors that come into play when composing a track for a game, film or media in general. Just to give you an idea there’s the:

  • composer’s time

  • their location

  • experience & track record / their specialism, if they have one

  • style of music and the complexity of it

  • length of the track

  • number of tracks in the project/soundtrack

  • musical training and talent of the composer

  • sounds / software / production tools

  • terms of use (exclusivity vs. non exclusivity) & licensing fees

  • deadline i.e. how quickly you need the music to be done

  • number of changes / iterations / variations needed

And those are just for starters! 

So depending on what you’re looking for and where you’re looking for it, the quotes you get may vary quite a bit. 

Check out: 5 Top Tips for Hiring a Game Music Composer for the First Time

Now, how much should you be prepared to spend on your game music soundtrack?

Well, only you can really answer that and only you will know what your financial situation is and also how important you feel the music is for your particular game. Music can really help to bring all the main elements in a game together and to enhance the overall experience for the player. See my article on 5 Reasons to Invest in Great Game Music.

As I'm sure you can imagine, large AAA games and films have big budgets (i.e. in the several tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars) when it comes to music. Many are scored similarly to films, using large orchestras and big epic scores and thus - this is no simple or cheap endeavour.

For indie games there is a much wider range in what indie game studios and indie game developers tend to spend on music. Those will small budgets tend to go for royalty free music (also known as stock music / library music / production music or copyright free music). This can certainly be a way forward for you if you’re starting out and aren’t ready to invest in custom music. Check out my royalty free music options here.

However, those with budgets of usually between $1000-$10,000 are more common for indie games seeking a custom music soundtrack and wanting to hire a composer. 

There are many different things to think about and also many elements that you can play around with to help you get the most out of your music funds.

A few things that I’ve found useful to think about:

Track length

If you choose a composer who’s music you really love and who you trust, you will often find that your game music tracks don’t need to be as long as you think they need to be.  An experienced composer will know how to sustain interest in their music even if the tracks are short.  So, if they charge per minute, you can reduce costs by reducing the length of your tracks.

A composer’s experience

Composers with more experience will usually take up much less of your time than someone earlier on in their career. They shouldn’t require any handholding and should be accustomed to delivering high quality work straight away. So, although they may feel a bit more pricey, they can save you precious time which in some ways can be priceless!

Communication

Communication is key. Make sure that you work with someone who understands you and that you understand too. Knowing that you can easily communicate with a composer will make you feel more confident in your working relationship.

So, to sum up, there is no one fixed rate that indie game music composers all work to, however, most will be willing to talk to you about your budget and to explore ways of making things work for you. If you take a look at my credit list, you’ll see that I’ve worked on a real range of indie games, indie films and other projects, which each had different needs music-wise and budgets to work with. We found a way to make it work and to create soundtracks that everyone is super happy with – so keep an open mind, explore your options and talk – I mean really talk, to the composer(s) you want to work with.  If you feel like exploring things further - contact me now.


About the author: Ninichi is a freelance indie game music composer who enjoys creating soundtracks for video games, film & media. She's composes in a wide range of styles & loves supporting indie game developers and indie filmmakers with their projects. Find out more about her game music or royalty free music and contact her to discuss your project and music needs.

Follow her @ninichimusic

8 Top Tips on Building a Strong Working Relationship with a Freelance Composer

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Are you thinking about hiring a freelance composer to work with but aren’t quite sure about how it might work or how to ensure that it works well? If so, don’t worry. It is a completely natural feeling especially if you’ve never worked with any freelancers before and it’s important to address your concerns and to make sure that you find the right person for you and your project.

I’m a freelance music composer and have worked with clients and projects all over the world – including working with game developers, filmmakers, podcasters, TV producers, marketers and more (see my homepage to get to know me, Ninichi a bit better!). I work from my home office and have never met many of my clients, yet my working relationships with each one feels really strong. There’s a sense of trust, my clients know that they can rely on me to get the work done and done to a high standard, and that I will always do my best to create music that embodies their visions. They also know that I will always be there to respond to their needs whenever they have something to say, ask, explore, feedback on or to work on further.

I can only share what I have learnt through my own experiences but hope that these will be helpful to you in ensuring that you are able to foster strong working relationships with the freelance composer and actually all freelancers that you decide to work with. So here are a few tips and ideas that come to mind but in essence most of it comes down to good communication.

If you aren’t able to communicate effectively with a freelancer, whether that is a freelance composer or any other freelancer, you won’t have any chance of building a strong relationship with them. This may sound obvious but is so critical and important that I believe it’s definitely worth mentioning. So…

1. Be open, honest and upfront

That is about what you want, need and are hoping for in relation to the music you require for your project. The more you can say about what you’re looking for, the easier it will be for your prospective freelance composer(s) to determine whether or not it’s something they can help you with or not.

2. Offer constructive feedback

Make sure that you are clear about what you like and don’t like about what they’ve done and guide them towards what you’re looking for, but don’t be harsh and be sensitive to the fact that they are most likely trying to deliver good work to you, so if it’s not right the first time, try to be patient and understanding. To do this well check out: How to Communicate Effectively with a Composer.

3. Keep your communication channels open

Make sure that you’re there when they need you. They may want to ask you some questions or get feedback from you on their music. Try to be as prompt as you can in offering your thoughts and in keeping the momentum going. If you’re both available to each other when you need each other, working together will feel quite smooth and easy.

4. Make sure that there isn’t a language barrier

It’s a little tough to say but in truth, everyone needs to be able to communicate with a work colleague (freelance or otherwise) at the same sort of level, so if you feel that they aren’t understanding what you’re asking for, then they aren’t the right freelance composer for you.

5. Don’t get hung up about terminology

Your composer is the specialist in music. You aren’t expected to be nor should you try to be as it could end up confusing everyone. Just try to explain in as simple terms as you can, what you’re after – in terms of mood, style, context for the music etc. and you should be fine.

I myself tend to ignore most music terminology. Obviously I know some and have been trained but I don’t find it helps to use it. I believe that keeping things simple is much better for everyone. Music is universal and there are many different ways to describe it – so go with whatever makes the most sense to you and a good music composer should be able to turn that into something grand! Also see: How to Work Well with a Game Music Composer

6. Listen to their music before contacting them

I find that the people I work best with are those who have taken the time to look around my website and listen to a few examples of my previous works. That means – checking out my music show-reels, looking at my credit list, listening to different examples of my music, and generally getting a feel for the type of music I compose.  If you understand what your freelance composer is capable of, you can get a sense of what’s possible for your own project and you can determine this yourself to some degree by listening to what they’ve done already and seeing if you like it. 

It’s also easier to work with people when they pick out certain tracks that they liked from your previous works as it gives me a great indication of the type of sounds, style and moods that they particular like.

Also see: How to Choose a Composer for Your Indie Film or How to Choose a Composer for Your Game

7. Offer reference tracks as a style guide

In order to help your freelance music composer understand what you’re looking for and what you have in mind music-wise for your project, it can really help to have reference tracks.

This can be there to offer inspiration and to help the composer understand the mood you’re hoping for, the musical instrumentation that you like and are imagining for your project and the flow of the kind of pieces you like.

8. Don’t micromanage but don’t be elusive either

In order to build a strong working relationship with your freelance composer, don’t micromanage them. The last thing they want is to be having to report back to you every hour or so. They need time to get into the creative zone and to focus on creating great music for you and your project. So, you need to be able to trust whoever you’ve chosen to work with, to be able to get on with the task at hand and to deliver great music to you when they’re ready to.

At the same time, don’t be elusive. Don’t be hard to contact or slow in responding to them if you can help it. Getting feedback on music quite quickly after it has been done is really helpful for composers since they’ll be ‘in the zone’ and it can be really useful to keep that momentum going and to continue working on your project whilst it’s ‘hot’!

If you're looking for a freelance composer to work with and want to have a chat, feel free to contact me now. I'm more than happy to help and explore things further with you. Also check out some of my other articles in case they're helpful too:

Need help with music?

Let me help! Get in touch now :-)!


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About the authorNinichi is a freelance composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games, films, podcasts, web series, commercials and more. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing the Game Music for Tank Tank Rush

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

This is the third article in the 'Introducing the game music' series. Each one tries to offer a little bit of insight into what lies behind the music for a specific game I've worked on. As a game music composer, I really enjoy the process of connecting with and working with such a wide range of talented game developers. I've found that each one has their own vision for their game and it is my job to help ensure that this vision is brought to life through the music and the game's soundtrack. 

Now, let's take a look at Tank Tank Rush... 

What is Tank Tank Rush?

Tank Tank Rush is unique blend between an artillery and side-scroller game, created by the amazing talented Antonin Duboc (@PutschMobi) - owner of Smart Game Studio. In the game, you control a soviet army tank and fire your tank gun at the enemy. The game is set during the Great Patriotic War on the Eastern Front and this is where all the action happens!

The game is still in development, but it's definitely one to watch for those who like shooting things and like a bit of tank fun!

What’s interesting about the music for this game?

The setting for this game makes it quite unique and required quite a specific style of music i.e. a USSR style military march. I worked with Antonin – the solo developer to the game, and composed the theme tune to Tank Tank Rush.

The track gets played in the game during the start menu and so it sets the scene for the game and is the first thing that one hears when looking at the game.

I was asked to create something that has a mix of feeling solemn and being something that one might listen to before going to war i.e. something that gives you courage for battle.

I wanted the game music to sound quite distinct and to work well with the look and feel of the game.

Antonin was also very clear that he didn’t want any other music within the game itself and so I felt that it was important to make this main theme tune track something special.

How did I go about creating the music for this game?

I listened to other music from this era and in this style to ‘get into the zone’. For me this is always an important step in creating any new piece of music as it gives me a good sense of the style when something specific is needed and is also a great source of inspiration and ideas.

I have experience in playing military style music and have heard quite a bit of it in my time. I’m a classically trained musician and used to play in various orchestras and so have a solid grasp of what an orchestra can do. I’ve also actually studied a few of the Russian composers in the past and so felt quite comfortable with this style. I’m very lucky to have had a lot of experience across a wide range of musical genres, which I think helps me a lot when it comes to being able to compose for different projects.  I love listening to different kinds of music and the variety that comes my way when being asked to work on and create new music. 

Any other thoughts or tips when creating game music?

I've created the music for several indie games now (have a little listen) and absolutely love it! One of the amazing things is how different each game can be and therefore, the wide range of music styles I've had the opportunity to create music in.

One thing I'd say is not to limit yourself when deciding what kind of music you think could fit your game. Take the time to explore different styles and to understand what you really like yourself vs. what you feel others may like to hear when playing your game. You don't have to do what others do necessarily either. Let your creativity flow and let your composer work with you to find a unique sound for your game. (Also see: How to Communicate Effectively with a Composer)

When creating music for a game, it's always important to fully understand the setting for where the music fits with everything, so that when composing, you can create something that will enhance the gameplay and immerse people into that world and specific section of the game. 

All music in a game is important I feel, however, the main theme tune should certainly be given extra attention since it's the tune that should stick in people's mind for a while and that they are most likely to associate with your game. 

I hope some of this has been interesting! Good luck with your game development and if you'd like some custom music for your game, get in touch!

Other articles in the 'Introducing the game music' series:

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About the authorNinichi is a freelance composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.

Check out examples of Ninichi's game music compositions and soundtracks & read more articles like this on the Ninichi music blog

Follow her @ninichimusic

3 Basic but Important Game Music Rules!

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

When it comes to the music and/or soundtrack to your game, it’s really important to get some basics right. For some people it’s easy to identify and decide on what sort of style and mood you want for different parts of your game. For others, it can be really tough, since there will be various different options and directions that you could go in, and it can be hard to tell what would fit best and be most well received by players of your game.

It’s challenging for me to help you choose the right music for your particular game without knowing much more about it, but there are some general rules that I hope may help you in your decision making around what kind of game music you might like for your game and also where you might want to get it from…

1. Game music is there to support the gameplay

That means that it should NOT be overwhelming or too distracting. It is there to enhance, engage and support, not be the centre of everything. Great game music adds to the experience and heightens the emotions that you feel as you move through the game.

If working with a composer, it’s important that they understand this and aren’t the type to create music that takes away the focus from your game. A good composer will know how to create music that has that precise balance that’s needed to capture one’s attention enough to be interesting and fun to listen to but which is still something that sits neatly in the background to the main gameplay.

2. A lot of game music loops

Most game soundtracks will consist of looping tracks, which are between 30 seconds to 2 minutes long, on average. That means that although the tracks shouldn’t be overwhelming, they also shouldn’t be too repetitive either.  They may be played over and over again depending on how long someone plays the game for, and so ideally you’ll want your music to be fun and engaging to listen to several times. 

This means that you probably want your composer to have a real talent for melody and for developing tunes in a way that they can be repeated several times without becoming boring or annoying. Tunes that are too simple, can be often too easy to remember and hence when they’re repeating often, it becomes irritating. However, tunes that are too complex aren’t memorable or catchy at all and thus aren’t usually great to listen to.

3. Consistency and coherence

Whether you’ve decided to work with one composer, multiple composers or to source your music from elsewhere, it’s important to think about the consistency of the music across your soundtrack and within your game.

Across your game you will mostly likely want and need a variety of different types of music to bring out different aspects of your game. Whilst the variety in the moods and potentially styles and important and useful to help bring your game, game areas/locations and characters or situations to life, it’s also important to have a sense of consistency and coherence across all of the game music.

It needs to sound as though it’s all part of the same game and fits well within the game world. This is often tricky to do if using music from a wide variety of sources because the styles, instrumentation, sounds etc. can all be quite different. To someone playing your game, if the music doesn’t have that sense of coherence, the game may feel quite disjointed.

I hope you’ve found this article useful! If you find yourself getting a bit confused when it comes to the music for your game and/or would like some help with it, do feel free to contact me. I’d be delighted to work with you on your game music and look forward to hearing about your wonderful project!


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About the authorNinichi is a freelance composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.

Check out examples of Ninichi's game music compositions and soundtracks & read more articles like this on the Ninichi music blog

Follow her @ninichimusic

How to Detect a Bad or Inexperienced Composer

If you’re thinking about hiring a composer for your project – whether it’s a game, a commercial, a film or anything else, it’s important to find the right person to work with. There are many composers around, however, unfortunately we are not all the same! As with other industries, there are good ones and bad ones and it’s important to know what to look out for when doing your due diligence and deciding who’s best for your project.

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