Joshua Taipale

Joshua Taipale

30-10-2022

12:10

Game Devs: Do you want to write music for your games? I've studied game music for over a decade, and composed hundreds of my own. I'll tell you everything you need to know. Here are 4 steps to get you started, with free resources: πŸ§΅πŸ‘‡

I recommend a DAW for most situations, but score editors are useful for the pre-production phase. You can even export the MIDI (note) data from a score editor and import it into any DAW. It's okay if you can't read music, but it's easy to learn:

2. Download virtual instruments 🎢 Unless you're recording live music, you'll need virtual instruments. Even then, VSTs are useful for demos. Some DAWs (such as Cakewalk) come with VSTs and mixing plugins of their own, but not all of them do. Here are some free VSTs: ⬇️

The free options listed above will give you a good place to start, but if you're curious what VSTs your favorite games use, here's a MASSIVE list:

If you have a little money to sink, I can't recommend Native Instruments' libraries enough. They're all over the FFXIV soundtrack, among many others. Wait a few weeks for Black Friday; their flagship sampler Kontakt 7 will be on sale for half off.

4. Start writing 🎢 I'm serious. Don't worry about music theory right away. It's okay if you don't know C from F𝄫. Open a new file and place a note; then another. Experiment as often as you can. The more you do this, the quicker you'll learn. Trust me.

That last step might sound like "draw the rest of the owl", but I mean it. Experience is the BEST teacher. Don't wait; you can learn as you go. Use MIDIs / scores as examples and see if you can write something similar. Rip 'em off (just don't publish it!)

A note on music theory: Music theory is a grammar and a taxonomy of musical ideas. It gives you a lexicon to use when talking or thinking about music, but you don't need it to compose. Most learn their native language before studying its grammar; you can do the same with music.

Koji Kondo has a background in music theory; he went to school for it. Motoi Sakuraba does not. His music is more complex than most of Kondo's! I encourage every composer to study music theory, but it is by NO means necessary. That being said...

For those looking to write orchestral music: There are many instruments in an orchestra and it can be hard to identify them by ear if you're a beginner. This playlist is an absolute goldmine and helped me a ton:

I could go on and on, but that should give you a place to start. :) If you found this thread helpful: 1. Follow me @atelierjoshua for more on game music 2. RT this thread to help other burgeoning composers

I'm seeing comments from composers telling devs to just hire them if they want music β€” I'm a composer too, I understand. But this thread isn't for us. :) We all start somewhere, and many devs enjoy writing their own music. Look at Toby Fox, ZUN, or Dan Salvato. You can do it!


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