Devlog 4: Music Composition


Music is an essential part of any video game. They can change the mood of any scene drastically. You can have an intense scene full of action but if the music is not good enough, you may lose interest in whats going on. That’s why, in my opinion, right now, AAA studios spend a lot of money with top composers to get their music right. These days when you listen to a track, sometimes you cannot differentiate whether this is made for a movie or a video game.

When it comes to Insanity, music plays a crucial part of the player experience. I want the player to feel excited, I want the player to get that feeling of moving forward, to overcome all the obstacles to win the level. I want the pace of the game to be fast. I am not planning on showing any between level graphics like a player level performance rating or so, once the player is done with a level, I will get him/her right into the next one. There is no stop or pause. The music needs to convey this experience as well. I want the music to be fast, loud and when it comes to progression I want it to always have major notes, so it implants that feeling into the player that no matter how hard the level is, the player can still do it.

I worked with my cousin who is a great aspiring musician; his name is Karim Ibrahim, you can follow him on twitter by clicking here, or find some of his work on Anghami by clicking here. We spend hours and hours thinking about the main theme of the music. What I understood from him is that you need to pick a melody, a master melody and this should be the theme of the music of your entire game. You can them take that melody and do all kind of variations to it, but you need to stick to the main theme. I am not a musician so maybe I am having a little hard time explaining this; but think of Assassin’s Creed as an example. We all know the famous theme of Assassin’s Creed, and we have heard it in almost all the different releases of the game; but sometimes you hear the theme in acoustic guitar, sometimes you hear it in an orchestra, maybe in a rock progression. You can use that theme and incorporate it in any music genre you want. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out a good melody that we can use and follow through out the composition of the music; and we finally got there! It was really exciting for me to get that music recorded and ready.

We basically recorded two small tracks, one for the menu and another for the level. The rationale behind the menu music is that it should put you in the mood. It need to be a little but slow, but at the same time powerful enough to prepare you for the challenges ahead. We thought of having a basic percussion of a drum kick followed by a clap, maybe to give a feeling of encouragement to the player to what is yet to come! So the pace of the menu music would be a little slow, but the pace of the levels will be fast, this would put a good contrast, I guess, so that if the player switches back to the menu, things will get a little bit less intense.

I have to say when we finished recording the menu music and I added it into unity, the feeling I had was just priceless. The game started to have its own identity. It started to have its own unique feeling. To be honest, this experience has been one of the greatest experiences in my life so far and I am so thankful that my game has reached this stage. I will leave you here with a small snippet of what we did.

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