Crafting the soundscape for an entire video game can seem like a monumental task. But as with any large project, it all starts by creating and assembling one piece at a time.
In this three-part video tutorial with Lawrence Schwedler — former audio director at Nintendo Software Technology and current director of DigiPen’s music and audio degree programs — we explore the basics of interactive sound design by composing a layered musical theme for a sci-fi combat game. Using a MIDI keyboard and digital audio workstation, Schwedler demonstrates the creative process that goes into finding the right notes and instruments to match the game’s style, as well as the software tools used to import the music into the game itself.
Before coming to DigiPen, Schwedler created music and sound for more than 20 commercial games, including Metroid Prime: Hunters, 1080° Avalanche, and multiple titles in the popular Mario vs. Donkey Kong handheld series. Here, he lends his expertise to crafting the menu music for a DigiPen student game project called Quasar League.
In this first part, Schwedler records an ambient synth track as the base layer for the game’s opening menu music.
Schwedler adds two layers of looping music — a sustained bass note track and a percussive beatbox sample — to the dynamic menu theme.
Lastly, Schwedler demonstrates how to transport the music tracks into the video game using audio middleware — in this case, Audiokinetic Wwise.
Be sure to check out our first DigiPen Direct video series on how to animate an avalanche, featuring former Disney visual effects animator Jazno Francoeur.