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New Blog - How to break into doing audio for games!

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Hey Guys,

Some of you are familiar with my over the top epic / cinematic remixes I've done here at OCR for games like Flashback and Super Metroid. Some of you also know that I do music and sound for games professionally and have reached out to me in order to get some advice.

Well... in order to make things simple, I've decided to start a blog which I'll update on a regular basis with tips on how to break into the game industry as an audio guy / composer as well as update it with recent projects and music I'm working on. Give it a shot and become a follower... I think at least a handful of you might find my advice useful!



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Something about this blog bothers me. If the game industry is such a crushingly impossible and oversaturated industry to even think about getting into, why do you bother giving advice for getting in anyway? Isn't that just feeding more hopes to be dashed and helping to create more overcrowditation?

I mean, it hasn't offered much advice for getting in at this point anyway, but I still don't understand it. I appreciate you giving it to us straight that you don't just waltz into the game industry, but I still get the idea it would make more sense for you to put a big sign up that says "You know what? We're full. Go home."

I think that comes off a lot more angsty and different than I genuinely intend, but at the same time, I have these genuine questions.

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Point taken, and I totally understand what you're saying here.

The fact of the matter is.. the industry isn't full per se, but it's damn close.. and before I start really and truly giving advice to you guys as to how to break into it... that fact has got to be known. It's an ALMOST impossible feat to break in as a composer (not totally impossible), any other game composer will tell you the same thing. There are steps that can be taken to get into the industry... all of them positive... and all of which I'll cover starting next week. The first lesson is negative... subsequent lessons are much more useful, I promise.

Man, I can't tell you how many posts, emails, and websites I've seen where people claim that after college they're just going to waltz into the industry as a composer... never happens like that. Takes tons of time, some skill, and a whole lotta luck for sure. That's why I've posted what I have thus far. The truth hurts, and the game industry is a tough place with absolutely no job security. These things have to be laid out on the table first as I want anyone interested in this biz to really know what they're getting into... lord knows I didn't have a clue what the game industry was really all about when I got into it back in 2004.

If the blog isn't for you, it's not for you...but just stick with it for a while and you may just be surprised :)

At the very least, some of my posts.. like today's.. may entertain you.

I wrote a new blog today about the modern warfare 2 score by hans zimmer (which wasn't really by Zimmer). Check it out:


Hope this helps explain my position a bit more.


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I appreciate that, and don't take any of my criticisms personally - its the general thesis I have a problem with; that somehow in an industry overflowing with blocked doors and locked windows, the lucky one who got in knows other ins to get in, even though he told you right before you started you'd basically never get in. Its like a zygote marketing literature to the other sperm telling them "insider" secrets for breaking into the egg.

Thank God its a free blog and not a $24.95 book this time. You probably remember our perspective. Almost Impossible might as well mean Impossible, because few people are going to invest the time, energy, and MONEY into expensive libraries and music degrees and skills for a job they have fractions of fractions of fractions of chances of getting into.

The fact is, its common sense stuff. What industry in the world is easy to break into? What industry isn't fucked up with overcrowditation and the Zimdog effect? We know that, and we want to try anyway.

I'm just wondering which direction you're wanting to go here. Are you going to offer us some help, or are you going to attack a broken industry? You can't offer us both at the same time - it's depressing. Actually, its insulting.

Your Hans Zimmer article was awesome and really eye-opening to what goes on behind doors, but its still not really that helpful, if that's what you're going for.

Just one outsiders musings to an insider here....

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No worries.

First and foremost, it's a blog...not a gaming site like gamasutra. So not ALL of my posts are going to be considered formal info on how to get into the biz.. but 80% or so will offer at least a look inside to what goes on behind closed doors with game composers / sound designers... like my zimmer article. Some of it will just be me posting some recent music and chatting about the likes of retro game audio, and some of it will be slightly more formal lessons... which aren't going to be as negative as you're thinking for sure. For the most part, I know it's info a ton of people will benefit from and is all stuff I wondered about before I got my start.

I never said you will not make it, just a damn hard process is all.. and damn right I got lucky.. it's all luck these days... but there are steps to take in order to make your own luck and I'll discuss them. Is it a gamble? Yup! Do you have to invest in decent sample libs to be competitive? Yup! Thats just the way it is and if someone isn't willing to take a risk, then they'll never make it. Tha's my whole point with the first lesson and Overcrowditation... it's a gamble... prospects need to know this so they know exactly what it is they're getting into.

Honestly, and all of my friends who do audio in the industry agree with me, game audio / music is THE HARDEST area to break into.. hands down. What may seem to you as common sense, most peeps haven't thought of... sounds like my blog isn't for you man, but I tried :).

Unfortunately.. I'm going to be doing both... a little attacking and a little helping and I don't see a problem with it personally. The industry is more than a little messed up in how it operates sometimes... and if you ever work within it.. you'll see what I mean. That's why the blog is called Rich VS the game industry. Every industry has problems sure... but for some reason the game industry doesn't seem to be exposed as much. If you, for some strange reason, are insulted (which isn't my goal), then my blog isn't for you.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love the game industry and have truly enjoyed my time in it despite how hard it is to start working in it. The satisfaction of getting a game out and seeing it on store shelves is priceless and when a team works well, the sense of comradery is an amazing feeling! It takes a rare breed to be in the industry... if any of what I've said bothers you... stay the hell away from the game industry as you most likely won't enjoy your time within it.

What you think is me being negative... is just an insider (yup, the zygote) telling you how it really is and what I did to get where I am. Is what I'm saying a sure thing? Nope, but at least it'll put some on the right path.


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Ok, just finished reading the adaptive music article. This is pure gold.

Experimented on the concept at some point, and found it to be a rewarding way to compose.

However, I imagine this isn't the easiest thing to put in motion, as finding a game that would require that kind of fancy score structure

more or less means working on a big budget title, with appropriate visuals and storyline... and budget. :<

Back onto the blog, I appreciate the fact that this is not another "how to become a famous game-composer in just 10 days starting from scratch" BS.

The overall approach is without compromise and the articles very insightful.

I subscribed. ;-)

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Thanks guys!

A humanesque no BS approach is EXACTLY what I'm going for here and I'm so glad that you're all enjoying it!

For those of you that have subscribed via the RSS or email. It's through feedburner. That said, I'm still working out the kinks so if you don't get an update daily please let me know here or shoot me an email... thanks!

I plan on posting... at least something... once a day so stay tuned.


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