Game Music Tutorial – Developing your Idea

So yesterday we worked on taking a single screenshot from your project and creating a basic theme based on how certain aspects of the screenshot. If you’ve not checked that one out, click here.

So let’s take another look at our image from yesterday and the audio behind it:


and here’s what we have for audio:

Hypnotic and repetitive rhythms that sticks in your head for days on end, which is exactly what a good leader/dictator can do!

So, to continue…

2. Developing the Idea

The thing about making music for games is that you’ll hear the same thing quite often over and over again, in different cutscenes, so you’ve gotta ensure you can keep the attention. Sometimes you’ll want something to be highly repetitive, but there’s a point where things just get a little bit too annoying to hear the same music over and over again.

What we’ve got so far is brilliant, but it’s less than 30 seconds long, which will mean that, that 24 seconds will just loop and loop and loop and never stop, it’s great at first, but we don’t want to loose that hypnotic effect that the repetition brings forth. So we need to take the idea and develop it further.

The process of developing an idea can be a little bit of a minefield, and can be pretty tricky, especially if you over think it. from the end of this 25 second loop we could go pretty much anywhere…we could take it to a place where the music gets faster and all you can hear is the thundering of drums. We could add a new tune aka “motif” so that the player isn’t sick of hearing the same notes over and over, we could even create a happy upbeat second section to show how a soldier is fighting back against the Leader and wants to do good rather than take over the world….

The possibilities are endless, anything you can think of, you can do it.

So where do you start?

Well, the golden rule of creating music for a scene, go back to the source material if you are unsure, go back to your image, and see what that scene tells you to do….so let’s do that..



Thankfully in this screenshot Diaeitsch has written a little bit of the Dialogue, which can give us even more of an insight into this scene.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but he doesn’t exactly seem like someone who you’d take home to see you family and friends, especially with all the enslaving of enemies, and the power hungry need to rule the entire continent (at least it’s not the entire world…)

So let’s play on that a little more…we’ve got the hypnotic part, now lets develop the brass line to spike a little bit of fear…

Here we’ve added a slow and desolate overlay to the repetitive and also broken up the drums slightly to make it feel a little more urgent…and dangerous.

So this is great, but I think that we could add a little bit more, the second section is good but I really want to rap up the feeling of fear, and that something big is about to happen, this is where a lovely aggressive string section can come in, and really ramp up the pressure:

Perfect! This little string section adds tension by slowly adding alternating octaves adding more urgency and more concern to the piece, and adding that to the Drums and the Brass we have the following:

Almost perfect… however everything feels just a little bit dull, and just…missing something a little “sharp” just to really hit home how dangerous this guy is…so let’s add some metal! (cymbals/gongs) just to finish it off!

And that’s it…putting it all together creates the track you hear above.

Here endeth my first tutorial. This is the first in depth tutorial that I’ve done here on this blog, let me know if you enjoyed it and if you have any feedback on how it can be improved please also let me know in the comments below, alternatively you can contact me via facebook and twitter if you’d prefer to use social media.



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