Every game needs the right sound, and in a weird way it becomes the backbone of a game. Code, and graphic design are important of course, but think how easily the greatest of games could be ruined with the wrong soundtrack. Could you imagine if the Dovakihn (Skyrim) sounded like Spongebob Squarepants? Or even something simple, like Navi (Legend of Zelda) not saying 'Hey listen!' everytime she wanted your attention? The sound aspect of a game can noticeably improve a game in the most subtle ways, as well as leaving a huge absence when it's lacking. But how do you know when you've got the sound 'just right'?
Scott (lead developer of DtP) and I have kind of an odd situation; we live on separate land masses, roughly 10,000 miles apart. With roughly a 15 hour time difference, you can see where the difficulties arise. I can't just walk over and see what's on his screen, and sometimes I can't see where a project is heading until a little later down the road. So how do you write music for something you don't know much about yet? On DungeonWars (earlier project) it started with a lot of blind trust, and working out odd problems. It can be tricky, figuring out how to make a 'bloop' sound 'less bloopy', or how to make it 'less of a girrr noise and more of wirrrr'. We worked a few tactics out though over time, a lot of passing youtube videos back and forth when we hear a noise we're trying to describe, and a lot of trial and error.
Most recently though, on Aetherius, I started working on the title track. First thing to work out was how it would sound, and how it would present itself. Would it be a constant sound like Super Mario Bros? Or would it fade in and out softly like Ocarina of Time? From there it was on to writing, figuring out what sounds would fit best, and help out the game the most. I write a little, send it in for an opinion, keep writing, change an instrument, cry in the corner for a bit, then come back and finish writing. It's never something you get right the first time, but the end result is always satisfying. There's nothing like working hard and coming to a great song you can be proud of, and then seeing it put into action with the final product. Determination, and trust that the final product will be something remarkable make the job entirely worth it.
I'll hopefully have a solid rough demo of the Aetherius theme coming out in the next day or two, and I would love to hear the IndieDB communities opinions on it!
Till next time