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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:39 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Hello! I've introduced myself before but here I go again. My name is Cleveland and I go to Expression College in Emeryville, CA. It is a digital art school that does everything from motion graphics and visuals to sound arts. I'm in the sound arts program and I'm doing a research project on game audio.

This isn't a general research project, I'm trying to take it to another level, and I'm trying to get in depth on game audio. Our research project is supposed to get at a burning question in our field, and in our career. It is no longer acceptable to say "I want to put my music out there and be heard." Or "I'm going to get an interview with a company and get hired." Out of the thousands of interviewees and artists out there, how do you get heard? How do you STAND OUT?

So I'm saying this. Games are a HUGE part of the entertainment industry, is it not? Whether it is PC games (which is mainly what I am into), or the Xbox 360 or PS3... With the release of Halo 3 and upcoming titles like UnrealTournament3, of course you can say there is a demand for talented designers! In this case, if you know games, you know soundtracks, you know sounds. From the classics to modern games. But where does a game start?

I'm going to assume that a video game comes from a team of designers. Starting with concepts, ideas, visions. It does NOT stem from music. It may be inspired by music, which a lot of things are, but you can't really base a game off of music unless we are talking about DDR or Guitar Hero, but lets assume we're talking about a story based or at least action based game.

Where does the music come in? After the game is designed do people say, "oh, crap. someone hire a sound designer." Is it unimportant to the team where it becomes an afterthought? Or do they start right at the core of the concepts?

What I am getting at is the burning question for people who are interested in the game audio field. HOW do you get your music out there? A general rock song is different from an epic orchestral soundtrack. And while the consumer may love the soundtrack in game and while an average consumer may even appreciate a games sounds, they probably wouldn't listen to it outside of that. So how do you get heard? As an audio engineer or composer, how do you stand out among musicians and artists?

Remember, in todays digital age, it is no longer acceptable to say, "I'll put my music on myspace, add a bunch of companies that produce games and hope my music gets heard." Does getting a good career in game audio require you to go to conventions and make personal contacts and networks? Can it simply start from a team of talented programmers that you just happened to get together with? Can you draw a parallel between the game industry and the music industry where you can send in your "demo" to Epic Games and hope they pick it up and hire you for their next big game?

This is a question a lot of people want to know. I don't know the answer. It is NOT an easy question to answer. But I want to hear from YOU. What do YOU think people need to do? Have you tried doing this yourself? What have you seen or heard about game audio? How has "getting yourself out there" changed? Or how has the game industry changed the way people look for jobs?

I'd love to hear from anyone as it would greatly help me in my research project in which I will have to present what I've researched in the form of a 10 minute speech presentation. THANK YOU and I hope to hear from some people!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:54 pm
Posts: 7
Location: minnesota
deadxatthexscene,

As an old saying goes, "you reap what you sow."

This is true of anything. My career is in the IT Tech field and to land the job I had to have the edge, the drive and the experience to put myself in the top spot. It matters not if it is in a field of employment, volunteer work, etc. You get out what you put in.

In my hobby time I map in UnrealEd and have been doing so for 6 years now. I have designed some maps around a piece of music I have heard, but like you said most of my designs have come from a concept and the music came in second.

But that being said DO NOT under estimate the power of music in a game. It is an integral piece of the overall feel of the mood that is created. Just slapping a track on a design does not do it justice. Sometimes I can find a track that is suitable as a stock piece, but it does make the design that much more complete, instead of just silence.

Alot of people do modding and level design in the Unreal game field and it is fantastic that the game creators leave such an open platform for people like myself and others to create a vision we have for a game we love.

So my main point is for someone who is interested in the game audio field is to create some tracks and work with communitys early in their careers. Volunteer that talent, or work with reputable projects like the Chaos folks, or other gaming groups. Donations of time and talent are always appreciated in community gaming.

Your music may or may not get listened to outside of a game, but the important thing is that you're building a base on which to further your skills.

That way when you go to an interview, not only do you have your degree, but you have developed a feel for accepting creative criticism and teamwork. You also then have a list of items you can start to use in developing a portfolio for advancement in your career.

Having a track on MySpace is not going to do much for you. But saying I have worked with 16 different level designers for maps and projects they released and talk about timelines, testing, project flow and teamwork will be the right words any employer will want to hear.

Just the toughts of someone who has been around the block a few times. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:06 pm
Posts: 66
I have an instructor who has some ties with Bioware and is currently the sound lead on Smallville - from what he's told us (game designers) if you lean towards audio, or are an actual sound designer, then your foot in the door is probably as a junior audio technician.

What this means is that most new audio guys are splicing and implementing sfx, putting together the sound clips and doing most of the real grunt work. Most companies won't go and try to seek out a junior to score a game, they'll start out doing more mundane things - that is unless you are interested in starting in the Indie/Handheld world where things are a bit more reasonable.

Lots of sound designers feel that most game developers don't respect them or the work they produce, and for the most part they're right. A lot of developers are ignorant to the fact that sound is an integral part of a game, and you will have a tough time working your way to a senior audio position at a bigger company, but if you want it enough you can bet that you'll get there.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:39 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks for the reply. I think in any industry it is like that. Sometimes you just have to start at the bottom no matter what. my sister is a speech therapist. it is a job where there are no many positions and they are actually needed. Her first job was making $30/hr being the only speech therapist in the department. In sound and audio? Video games? The new generation can do this **** in a snap. Im still throwing ideas between film, games, and live engineering, I love audio in general and I love technology and computers so you never know. I'm trying to g et my hands on some internships =)


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