Once again, the Game Developers Conference is almost upon us! GDC 2018 promises to be an awesome event, chock full of great opportunities for us to learn and grow as video game music composers. I always look forward to the comprehensive sessions on offer in the popular GDC audio track, and for the past few years I’ve been honored to be selected as a GDC speaker. Last year I presented a talk that explored how I built suspense and tension through music I composed for such games as God of War and Homefront: The Revolution. This year, I’m tremendously excited that I’ll be presenting the talk, “Music in Virtual Reality.” The subject matter is very close to my heart! Throughout 2016 and 2017, I’ve composed music for many virtual reality projects, some of which have hit retail over the past year, and some of which will be released very soon. I’ve learned a lot about the process of composing music for a VR experience, and I’ve given a lot of thought to what makes music for VR unique. During my GDC talk in March, I’ll be taking my audience through my experiences composing music for four very different VR games –the Bebylon: Battle Royale arena combat game from Kite & Lightning, the Dragon Front strategy game from High Voltage Software, the Fail Factory comedy game from Armature Studio, and the Scraper: First Strike Shooter/RPG from Labrodex Inc. I’ll talk about some of the top problems that came up, the solutions that were tried, and the lessons that were learned. Virtual Reality is a brave new world for game music composers, and there will be a lot of ground for me to cover in my presentation!
In preparing my talk for GDC, I kept my focus squarely on composition techniques for VR music creation, while making sure to supply an overview of the technologies that would help place these techniques in context. With these considerations in mind, I had to prioritize the information I intended to offer, and some interesting topics simply wouldn’t fit within the time constraints of my GDC presentation. With that in mind, I thought it would be worthwhile to include some of these extra materials in a couple of articles that would precede my talk in March. In this article, I’ll explore some theoretical ideas from experts in the field of VR, and I’ll include some of my own musings about creative directions we might pursue with VR music composition. In the next article, I’ll talk about some practical considerations relating to the technology of VR music.