Well, strictly speaking the soundtrack is probably not the most important part of a video game, but in some ways it feels like it is to me. I’ve been writing music for years, and to be totally honest, a huge part of why I decided to make my own game was to have a place to put my music. Alone, my music is nice and all, but it just sort of… exists. As the soundtrack to a game though, it feels like something bigger to me. And making music and gameplay work together is a pretty exciting challenge.
Writing for a video game requires me to do something that I pretty much never did with my music in the past, which is to actually have some kind of idea of what type of song I’m going to make before I start making it. In the past it never really mattered what kind of song I made next, a song is a song, it can be whatever. But when you have a specific part of a game that you want to create a specific mood for, you need to approach your song-writing differently.
Of course, I still fall into old habits. A few nights ago I decided to create a simple and quick “title screen” song. In my mind this song would be about 30 seconds long, because that’s more than enough for a title screen, right? Well, here I am a few days later, and the “title screen” song is over 2 and a half minutes and growing, because gosh darnit how do you control what happens with a song? Songs have a voice of their own, and when they’re screaming for you to take them in a certain direction, sometimes all that you can do is hold on for the ride and see where it goes. I’m going to have to reel it in sometimes with the lengths on these songs. When I used to be in bands my average song length was probably a good 5-7 minutes. But to write songs that long is rather pointless for a 2D platformer type soundtrack.
I’ve been making some progress on the actual game as well. And running into a few (hopefully temporary?) roadblocks. It’s coming along.