So I’ve been reading up on the responsibilities of game music composers, and it seems there are two very important jobs that they need to do - The first, simply, is the creation of the music and sound. The second is being able to integrate the stuff that they create so that the programmer can quickly code a command for the sound to play.
So say, for example, that I am a game music composer and I want to offer my services to game developers. I feel capable enough in the sound creation part, but am lost in the integration part. My question is how can music made in Renoise, XNRS files, or Renoise itself be put into a format so that the music I make can be played back in a video game? Sure, the files could be turned into wav files and just triggered to play, but those days of music on Sega CD and Playstation games as audio CD tracks are behind us. I’ve read about the features of sound systems like FMOD, but am confused as to what they actually do.
I apologize if this is a very novice question, but any information would be appreciated. Thanks!
Also forgot to ask… What about tracks that use commercial VST plugins? Does this create another obstacle for integrated Renoise music into other applications? Thanks,
FMOD is a library used to play MOD files, -it no workie with renoise.
if you make music with renoise for games you would give the game devs a flac or mp3.
a game would have to get the commercial vst licensed for use, an that would be kinda retarded unless the game allowed you to access the vst ingme for some purpose. and even then the game would prolly just allow you to add any vsts.
as music goes, in order for renoise songs to be used in the manner you wish. the game dev would need to write an engine to read and use the xml data. if vsts were used the game devs would also need to put that in there.
eh flac mp3 or ogg, i mean.
Some games actually have built in softsynths and still eat midi. Amazing huh?
haha, i believe that!
one thing that i found cool in manhunt is it used something exactly like sample offset pointers (09XX) with the in-game effects. so the effects file was just a huge sped up sample of effects. i’ve played around with the 1st 10 seconds of that file a lot! i guess maybe devs probably do that quite a bit though.
Realtime music in games is a compelling idea (moreso proper realtime generation of ingame soundeffects, but thats another topic), it used to be the norm in the 8-16bit era because there simply wasnt enough space to store entire soundtracks as huge samples.
These days, the limitation is on the cpu side - developers won’t give away precious cpu cycles to render some background music in realtime that could be making the graphics shinier or the physics simulation more detailed.
Having said that, a lightweight XRNS player library similar to fmod that only supports sample instruments and internal FX is a lovely idea.
Interesting, thanks for the responses so far.
So, for music that loops indefinitely in newer games that are using mp3 or Flac, is this just a looping mp3/flac with a precisely timed crossfade?
If there are any good articles about integration into games in general, I’d be most interested in reading them. Any other info on renoise integration would be helpful as well!
Yes, the music files are edited precisely. Although it all depends on the audio engine being used by the game. FMOD is one of the more popular choices for developers today, it’s great because it comes with some pretty user-friendly FMOD designer tool software (for the actually audio designers - as opposed to the main FMOD package which requires programmers to integrate into the game).
Responsibilities of a game composer vary depending on how complex the game’s music system is. If the game simply streams one track of music based on locations / events etc, then the responsibility is just to create music cues to match said locations / events. This is the most common practice in the industry, which is why generally the music is outsourced to composers who don’t have to worry about ‘interactive’ music systems.
If the game music system is more complex… well, unless you are working first hand with the programming / scripting team implementing the interactive music features, your responsibilities as a game music composer doesn’t change all that much. You job is to produce great quality music that suites the themes and feel of the story / game at hand. If the engine team is after something more specific (like individual tracks of a song for example), then that’s what you provide. Communication is the key between you as a composer, and the developers who are putting your audio into the game.
And just to clarify, if you are composing music for a game AND implementing it… then you might be more than just a game music composer. Although that job is hard to label sometimes. I know because it’s what I do. I work at a video company doing sound design, recording and editing voice tracks, and music composition, and I also work with the rest of the team here to implement it all. I go with ‘audio guy’ or ‘audio designer’ these days hah. I’m curious as to where you are ‘reading up on the responsibilities of a game music composer’, would be great to go over it.
Regarding using XRNS in games, it’s a little too troublesome for developers to bother. As datassette mentioned, there are cpu limitations, and the payoff for implementing XRNS into the game in overall quality, will not be seen by the producers as a worthwhile investment, especially at the amount of extra CPU such feature would require. There will come a time I’m sure when audio will get more love much like the graphics… but not right now. I keep dropping hints to our production teams about new and interesting audio ideas for the games, but I find that during the meetings not everyone is as excited about it as I am.
Thanks for the very informative post. I read up on this info in a book that my boss lent me called “The Complete Guide to Game Audio” by Aaron Marks. It came out in 2001 so it’s not terribly old, but had some very interesting information as well as a interviews with game music composers. Thanks again,
Thanks Brendan. Ah yes I remember hearing about this book a while back, if the Australian dollar wasn’t so damn low I’d consider importing a copy. The interviews seem like they’d be a very informative read.