Game sound designers / composers to check out

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synth.void
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Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by synth.void » Fri May 22, 2020 5:23 pm

I’m interested in scoring indie games, and would like to learn more about the workflow and trends from insiders. Who should I check out? Plugs are welcome.

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by noisejockey » Mon May 25, 2020 8:15 pm

Austin Wintory
Jason Graves
Sarah Schachner
Jon Everist
Lena Raine
Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace)
Martin Stig Anderson
Mick Gordon
The Fat Bard
Ben Prunty

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by Daisuk » Wed May 27, 2020 1:07 am

Christopher Larkin did the amazing scoring of Hollow Knight. Its above and beyond. Be sure to check it out. :)

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by commodorejohn » Wed May 27, 2020 1:29 am

Can't speak to workflow or trends (all my game soundtracks are for projects that I'll probably never complete,) but as far as "game soundtracks/composers to check out" go, I'll throw in a plug for the work of the composers on the original Descent soundtrack. ~90 minutes of tunes that effortlessly blend a suitably driving techno-industrial vibe with surprisingly catchy hooks and melodies. Great stuff.
Last edited by commodorejohn on Wed May 27, 2020 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by Tofupancho » Wed May 27, 2020 1:41 am

Danny Baranowski

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synth.void
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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by synth.void » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:26 am

commodorejohn wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 1:29 am
Can't speak to workflow or trends (all my game soundtracks are for projects that I'll probably never complete,) but as far as "game soundtracks/composers to check out" go, I'll throw in a plug for the work of the composers on the original Descent soundtrack. ~90 minutes of tunes that effortlessly blend a suitably driving techno-industrial vibe with surprisingly catchy hooks and melodies. Great stuff.
This is a gem, I’ve spent quite some time in Descent! For some reason I can’t remember any sound from it. Most likely my PC had no speakers at the time :doh:

What’s up with your projects? Do you have a blog or website to follow?
Daisuk wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 1:07 am
Christopher Larkin did the amazing scoring of Hollow Knight. Its above and beyond. Be sure to check it out. :)
Looks like I’m getting myself a copy, thanks!
noisejockey wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 8:15 pm
Austin Wintory
Jason Graves
Sarah Schachner
Jon Everist
Lena Raine
Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace)
Martin Stig Anderson
Mick Gordon
The Fat Bard
Ben Prunty
What a great list! Somehow I’ve missed all the responses to this topic, there’s some research to do :bang:

Some of their stuff that’s stuck with me:
- Austin Wintory worked on the Journey soundtrack.
- Lena Raine and hackmud.
- Everything by Disasterpiece, really. I only played Reigns.
- Martin Andersen worked on Limbo.
- Some wonderful dreamy stuff from Ben Prunty.

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by commodorejohn » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:42 am

synth.void wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:26 am
This is a gem, I’ve spent quite some time in Descent! For some reason I can’t remember any sound from it. Most likely my PC had no speakers at the time :doh:
Yeah, you wouldn't be the only one who played a lot of classic DOS games on the neighbor's 386SX with only the PC speaker sounds :lol:
What’s up with your projects? Do you have a blog or website to follow?
Oh, I have dozens of things I've had the inspiration for over the years, dabbled in a bit, and never got around to finishing, so I've got piles of assorted tracks sitting around. There's a few examples on the miscellaneous compositions section of my personal site, in various formats and going back nearly to the beginning of my interest in making music, though there's a bunch of others I'm still hanging onto for the day when I finally actually do get anywhere on some of these...
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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by VanCool » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:21 pm

I think one of the strongest points music in games can have over music in other media is the use of adaptive music.
This means the music is situational to the state of the player/game or progress made in the game.
If i was to venture into scoring games this is something i would look into.

+1 for Lena Raine, the Celeste soundtrack is great.
Ludowic did most of the tracks on Katana Zero.

Not really indy related, Ludvig Forssell the main composer for Kojima Studios.

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by synth.void » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:15 pm

VanCool wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:21 pm
I think one of the strongest points music in games can have over music in other media is the use of adaptive music.
This means the music is situational to the state of the player/game or progress made in the game.
If i was to venture into scoring games this is something i would look into.
Yes, this interests me too. After the first collaboration it turned out to be an additional headache for the developer. Thus, I’m on a lookout for an established framework that I could refer to when passing the material on.

Turns out you can’t just throw a wav file to the dev :mrgreen: Would be awesome to have guidelines/scripting language to package the material, to turn certain sounds on and off while keeping the timing and musical relations intact, smooth fade-ins and loops, and all that.

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by jsco » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:30 pm

synth.void wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:15 pm
Would be awesome to have guidelines/scripting language to package the material, to turn certain sounds on and off while keeping the timing and musical relations intact, smooth fade-ins and loops, and all that.
agreed. i'm on the dev side, and i would love to be able to present this kind of framework to a musician, but i have no idea what kind of existing products/standards are out there for this.

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by Tunatoboggan » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:28 pm

I'm a sound designer, not a composer but we use the same middleware. Look into Wwise by audiokinetic, it's the industry standard.

Fmod is tempting to beginners because it looks like a daw, but besides that it's an all around worse tool

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:40 pm

The only thing that springs to mind is LucasArts's iMUSE software, but that probably went away with LucasArts and I don't think it was ever public (although the ScummVM community might have more information.) Wikipedia has a whole article on adaptive music in a video-game context, but they cite stuff like Morrowind which barely counts (it's just a "select from the set of 'exploration' tracks when the current one ends, or cue up the battle music if Yet Another Fucking Cliff Racer shows up" thing.)

For myself, it'd be interesting to get really fine-grained with algorithmic music sometime - say, laying out the parameters such that area X has a running 12-bar blues riff, but the instrumentation and tempo changes if you're there at night, or there's a soft parallel synthesizer theme running in the background if enemy Y is skulking around in the bushes, something like that...but that could easily be as much of a project as the game itself.

Edit: ah, nice, an answer from someone working in the industry.
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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by synth.void » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:55 am

jsco wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:30 pm
synth.void wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:15 pm
Would be awesome to have guidelines/scripting language to package the material, to turn certain sounds on and off while keeping the timing and musical relations intact, smooth fade-ins and loops, and all that.
agreed. i'm on the dev side, and i would love to be able to present this kind of framework to a musician, but i have no idea what kind of existing products/standards are out there for this.
I’m a developer too, just not in gamedev. I would expect Unity to have a tool to do just this, but it requires a research. The Wwise from the comment below seems matching.
Tunatoboggan wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:28 pm
I'm a sound designer, not a composer but we use the same middleware. Look into Wwise by audiokinetic, it's the industry standard.

Fmod is tempting to beginners because it looks like a daw, but besides that it's an all around worse tool
Great suggestions, thanks. I’m thinking more of a Figma approach than a daw.

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by jsco » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:37 am

Tunatoboggan wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:28 pm
Look into Wwise by audiokinetic, it's the industry standard.
yeah, that was on my radar, because i see it on so many loading screens. i just took a quick scan through the docs and the licensing and it looks like it ticks all the boxes.

synth.void, this page in the docs gives a high-level look at how they handle interactive music:
https://www.audiokinetic.com/library/ed ... _practices

in my head, i have this idealized image of a virtual modular synth with lots of game states and variables being made available to the composer as CV and gate signals, so that the composer could be as conservative or as experimental as they want as far as reacting to context. it doesn't look like wwise does this; it seems like launching/looping clips and applying FX is about as deep as it gets into interactivity. (would love to be corrected if i'm wrong about this!)

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by Tunatoboggan » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:37 pm

Let go of the idea of modular synths and launching clips / applying FX like in a DAW or linear environment. Wwise is an environment that allows audio people to interpret information from the game engine, and gives us the tools to have our audio react based on this info. It lets us build the audio systems, we choose how deep that system is.

Look at past GDC audio talks to get an idea of how studios create incredibly interactive systems with Wwise. Audiokinetic also has a ton of great tutorials / resources available on their website. When I say "industry standard" I don't mean "it's like ProTools and most people use it just cause it's been around a long time", I mean "it's the best program available and that's why every big studio uses it"

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by jsco » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:52 pm

thanks, this is great to hear. i am glad to be wrong about it.

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Re: Game sound designers / composers to check out

Post by pixelmechanic » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:35 am

Kenny Young is somebody whose work is worth exploring - https://www.audbod.com/ - he's *highly* regarded by the game audio community across sound design and increasingly music.

Also, Olivier Derivière.

Not sure where you're based, but in the UK composers Luci Holland and Jessica Curry (Dear Esther, Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, Little Orpheus) both have game music radio shows worth checking out (Luci's is on Scala Radio, Jess' is on BBC Radio 3)

I've worked fairly extensively with Unity's audio engine, FMOD and Wwise and I completely love Wwise. It's mega powerful both in terms of sound design and interactive music, and the resources/documentation take a lot of the pain away from learning how to use it (e.g. Wwise 101)

The depth of control and interaction in Wwise is unparalled in terms of switches, states and real time parameter control both in terms of sound design and 'interactive music hierarchy'. A lot of the logic of events can be dealt with in Wwise for constructing v sophisticated outcomes.

I was gutted recently when a work I'd made needed to be ported to a browser based experience (which Wwise doesn't support?) and I had to rebuild the audio events in FMOD - it seemed such like such a limited tool in comparison (although better than the last time I used it, which was about four years ago).

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