WELCOME TO CLOUDPAWTWOS VIDYA GAME MUSIC BOOTCAMP
THAT'S RIGHT, I'M GONNA “HOW-ITS-MADE” VIDYA GAME MUSIC
but first, let me introduce myself
My name is cloudpawtwo. I compose for videogames, and I am currently working on a game being created by the FJ user Wardd. I handle nothing but the music. That's all you need to know. No music-theory is required to understand what I say, but a little may help.
To get us started, here's the final product. Feel free to listen to the track as your scroll through the explanation. You don't really need to listen to the other links, they are optional.
Now, lets break down how I got to that point.
First, I start with nothing but an emotion. Wardd wanted a boss fight against a tank. A tank with a very angry AI at that. The emotion I gathered from this was “tense”. So, naturally, I drifted towards techno, as everything that has the letters “AI” in it go well with synthetic instruments.
I settled on a very retro lineup, explained more below.
From top to bottom, here are the final synths: Square wave, Triangle wave, another triangle wave, the kick drum, a sawtooth wave then a synthetic orchestra.
The intro is the triangle wave, known as “Chord”, playing a descending chord progression with the bass following behind it. Below is a soundcloud link to just the “Chord” synth isolated.
The tense-ness is created by notes that do not naturally go well together. The song is written in E minor, so notes like D# and F do not belong, and when they are added, they create an unsettling emotion.
Now that the intro is created, it is time to develop the song. I loop the intro one more time and add a bassdrum kicking away in the background. This rhythm continues for the entire song almost, yet fades into the background as it should.
To continue the song, I add a lead instrument. Square wave-synths have a very aggressive feel about them, and are perfect for leads in retro songs. I used one in this. I start by playing the same notes the chord synth is. This is used to create a feeling of familiarity, and to not overwhelm your ear. Timestamp of photo: 0:20.
The grey notes are the chord and bass synth, the green ones the lead. As you can see, the lead is playing mostly the same notes, with few exceptions. The grey notes in-line with the note “C5”(left side of screen) are the bassdrum.
Now that the lead has become familiar with your ear, I can deviate from the norm. I begin by running the lead up and down minor and diminished scales to create a sense of growing tension. This is the beginning of the buildup towards the climax. Time of photo: 0:30.
As you can see, the lead doesn't play the exact same notes as the chord synth, but the notes are very close. The lead plays the root(lowest note of the chord) more often, but still follows the ascending and descending scale that is played by the chord synth.
Instead of resolving on a “B” chord as I normally would, I decided to go lower. I went all the way down to an “A” chord. This creates much more tension then resolving on the B would. As a result of not resolving as I normally would, I need to add a fill to break the monotony, and to do that I play a rising scale. Timestamp of photo: 0:34.
After that, the lead simply follows the chord synth for approximately 10 seconds. At 0:45 seconds, the climax begins to build for real. All 6 synths are finally playing, and the lead-synth begins to rise, playing many tense notes on the way up. Timestamp of photo: 0:45.
There's a ******* of things going on here, and I will try my hardest to keep it simple. The lead slowly rises, playing notes that do not sit well in the ear creating a very tense emotion. The bass rises very quickly and climaxes, taking on a completely different tone. The bass drum goes crazy, as you can see looking at all the notes in-line with the “C5” on the left hand side of the screen. Two new synths appear. The second triangle synth plays harmonies with the first, while the synthetic orchestra plays very dissonant chords.
As all of this kicks in at once, your ear should be like, “oh ****, stuff is happening”. Your ear doesn't like things happening all the time. That's why all boss music has calm segments in it. After the climax, it simply repeats the slow introduction to the piece, then loops. Below is a link to a simplified version of the climax.
After this, the entire song loops itself.
THAT'S ALL, FOLKS.
If you want more of these, thumb up. If not, down. This is the first installment and if not many people like it I won't continue the series. I plan on breaking down the entire OST of the game, something which hasn't been done before by the creator. Comment below your thoughts if you want. Or if you have a game you want music for ;)
Videogamemusic (6 subs)
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