How to be a game musician?
October 11, 2011 11:12 PM   Subscribe

I write weirdo classical music. I want to put my music into games, how do I accomplish this?

Someone did earlier question about this as related to ipod games, but I am thinking of doing something where I can help make an immersive atmosphere or mood in an in game world that is more expansive then that of ipod games. I have no idea about how to go about doing this as I am pretty green. This is CBC stream for you to get an idea of the type of music I write. Would my music fit in games?
posted by Three Day Monk to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
If you're interested in making music for indie games, there are a few forums like this one (which is where minecraft got started, basically).

That's probably a good way to get started, but you most likely would not get paid much or anything at all at first.
posted by empath at 11:34 PM on October 11, 2011

Any kind of music can be used in games, but be aware that it's an extremely competitive industry. Like, "astronaut" competitive.
posted by rhizome at 1:18 AM on October 12, 2011

Do you want to write music for games, or do you want to get paid to write music for games? Vast difference. I think your music would definitely fit in the right kind of game; if you just want to write music and don't care about money, find places like tigsource and modding communities and gently self-promote (in whatever way is locally acceptable) to indie/freeware developers/modders. Even better, learn how to write your own games/mods and then you can put whatever music you like into them. You don't need to be a skilled programmer to use something like Gamemaker.

If you want to get paid... well, I guess do the same thing until you have a decent portfolio then try to use it to get real work. I suspect rhizome is right about astronaut competitiveness, though.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:53 AM on October 12, 2011

Marketing. You need to get your name out there. People can't get you to do stuff if they don't know you are around. I know some artists who whine about why they aren't getting jobs, or why they are stuck in a low end job and no one is "headhunting" them (lol).

So the usual questions, Are you on linkedin (may not help your cause but exposure always good)? Do you have a blog? A website? Participate in forums? Put your stuff up on soundcloud (insert your favourite streaming website)?

Even in non-related forums or friends, I have been surprised by others with similar interests.

An example perhaps would be zircon - I don't know his complete history but I believe he does work in games - check out how he broke in (see the tutorials -> video section), how he shares info, participates in forums etc. May give you idea?
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:23 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

For a specific example: The Infinity:QFE project has a place to submit contributions for their up and coming space MMO. The project is still a ways out from going live, but there's a nice well written policy for contributions that includes payouts if the work is included and the game does well. You might want to look towards more indy games like this one. C418 is an example of someone who did just that and likely made a decent profit.
posted by samsara at 8:00 AM on October 12, 2011

Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions! Samsara, that sounds great! Also, indie game forums sounds like a good next step. I really appreciate all the advice!
posted by Three Day Monk at 10:14 AM on October 12, 2011

I have a friend who got his music into an Indie game. He's also a game reviewer, and I believe he came across the connection that way. Memail me if you want and I can get you in touch, maybe he has some advice.
posted by biochemist at 7:31 PM on October 12, 2011

My experience is now at least eight years out of date and I spent most of my time on the engine side of things but Audio was the most commonly outsourced part of a project. Be that music, sound effects or dialogue recording. This very much was people we had used before or friends of friends, so not a great help for someone getting started.

Like other have said having a portfolio on soundcloud or whatever that you can point people towards is a good start. With a varied selection of styles, the music needs to fit the style of the game.

Get on forums, like TrinsicWS said and network, be simple to contact. IGDA has an Audio forum which may have some more up to date tips.

Another thing that maybe useful is getting involved with the demoscene, at least in Europe, lots of games people started making demos.
posted by Z303 at 8:19 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

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