Delighted you’re here! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and welcome to another article exploring the art and craft of game music composition! If you’re a reader of my previous articles, you’ll know that they usually include discussions of large-scale music systems and best game-wide composition strategies. Lately, it occurred to me that we might benefit from stepping away from this holistic approach, allowing us to focus on the creation of a single piece of game music. With that in mind, in this article we’ll be examining the structure and composition of a single track that I composed for the Skyweaver video game.
Skyweaver is a popular strategy trading-card video game in the tradition of such famous games as Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra, and Magic the Gathering Arena. The game released in 2022, and currently boasts over a quarter of a million players. Investors in the Skyweaver game include both Take-Two Interactive and Ubisoft. The game is currently available for PC, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. The track we’ll be discussing is entitled “Ready,” and it’s heard frequently during Skyweaver matches. Before we begin examining the structure of this track, let’s take a moment to discuss the nature of a strategy trading-card game.
So happy you’ve joined us! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and one of my latest projects is the musical score for the video game Jurassic World Primal Ops (listen to the score here). Over the past few months, I’ve been tremendously honored that my score for this game has garnered several award nominations, including Outstanding Original Score for Interactive Media from the Society of Composers & Lyricists, and Music of the Year from the Game Audio Network Guild. As a result, I’ve been asked numerous questions about how this score was created. With this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to write a brief article that includes a few of the guiding principles that shaped my work on this project.
I’ll be giving a lecture during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco about my creative process, and I’ll be including some fine detail about how I planned and constructed this music. In this article, I’ll be focusing on a couple of broader concepts related to the role that music played in this project. But first, let’s briefly discuss the game itself.
Welcome! I’m game music composer Winifred Phillips, and just before the holidays I was ecstatic to learn that my music for the Jurassic World Primal Ops video game was nominated for a Society of Composers & Lyricists Award! In all the excitement following the announcement of the SCL Awards nominees, many budding game composers reached out to me for advice regarding their own career trajectories. I found myself referring many of them to articles I’ve written in this space over the years – articles covering the widely diverse topics that interest us as game composers.
Since 2014, this series of articles has explored the evolving state of our industry and the tools and techniques that can help us make great game music. Over time, these articles have become a fairly deep repository of information. After referring so many budding composers to articles in this lengthy series, it has occurred to me that this sizable collection has become quite difficult to navigate – partially due to the many topics that have been explored over the years.
Discussions have included many of the creative challenges that make our profession unique. Through an examination of the structure of interactive music systems, numerous dynamic composition techniques have been investigated. Along the way, we’ve pondered how game music composition has been accomplished in the past, and where it might be going in the future. A profusion of resources have been collated in these articles – including the best methods to find gigs, and awesome networking opportunities that can benefit a game composer’s career. There have also been examinations of resources that can keep us inspired and creatively energized.
Together, these articles constitute a living document about game music composition. However, they definitely need an index at this point. With that in mind, I’m offering this ‘big index’ of articles I’ve shared over the years, organized by subject matter. We can navigate around this index using the following menu:
Hey, everybody! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and I’m happy to welcome you back to the last installment of our four-part discussion of “scoring-to-picture” techniques within video games. In these articles we’ve considered how cutscenes, trailers, and cinematics can benefit from specific musical strategies. As game composers, our jobs involve lots of complex music systems requiring expert knowledge of dynamic composition techniques. However, we can still benefit from an examination of the goals that music can achieve during linear presentations within a game. Such goals may include:
Hello there! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and I’m glad you could join us for the continuation of our four-part discussion of traditional “scoring-to-picture” techniques within a video game project. We’ve been examining the music needs of cinematics, cutscenes, and trailers, with an eye towards pinpointing specific goals that music can achieve. Those goals include:
Hey, everyone! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and I’d like to welcome you back to our four-part discussion of traditional “scoring-to-picture” techniques within a video game project, and how these play into our work as game composers. We’ve been looking at examples of cinematics, cutscenes and trailers to see how this kind of linear composition style accomplishes specific goals. That list of goals includes:
In our previous article, we took a look at how music can best emphasize and support characters during cutscenes and cinematics. By using linear music for the purposes of characterization, we can accentuate the distinct traits of important characters, or provide insight into their state of mind.
Now, let’s consider when our music composition goals are less emotional, and more utilitarian. In this article, we’ll be moving on from characterization to take a look at how information is conveyed in linear cinematics and cutscenes. When the primary goal of a cinematic is to provide players with important details, we can assist by composing music to support the way information is disseminated. This can help players to better absorb all the facts presented.
Glad you’re here! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips– thanks for joining us! As we all know, dynamic music has become a central focus of our craft as game composers. In our past articles here, we tend to focus on the awesome power of dynamic implementation to increase the utility of game music across lengthy gameplay sequences. In-game music serves many purposes, so it must morph and change in order to best accommodate shifting circumstances. However, no matter how interactive our in-game tracks may be, we inevitably run into situations in which dynamic music systems fall short.
Delighted you’re here! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips. Welcome to the fifth and concluding installment in this article series based on my Game Developers Conference 2022 presentation, “Composing for Lineage M: Modular Construction in Game Music.” You’ll find the entire contents of my GDC lecture in these articles, accompanied by all of the included videos and some of the images from the Powerpoint presentation I used during my conference session.
During the previous four articles in this series, we learned about how NCSoft ported the original world-famous Lineage PC game from 1998 to mobile devices under the name Lineage M. We discussed how the launch of brand-new DLC content for this mobile port raised an unusual conundrum. How does a modern game composer create new music that will work effectively within a game engine originally devised in the 1990s? In the previous articles of this series, we discussed the popular DLC release of Lineage M: The Elmor, and I described what it was like creating new music for such an awesome game with an amazingly long history and enduring fanbase.
So happy you’ve joined us! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and this is the fourth article in my series based on my Game Developers Conference 2022 presentation, “Composing for Lineage M: Modular Construction in Game Music.” I’ve included the content of my GDC lecture in these articles, along with the videos and some of the images I used in my Powerpoint presentation during the conference.
In the first three articles of this series, we discussed the port of the popular Lineage PC game from 1998 to mobile devices under the name Lineage M, and the subsequent launch of brand-new content for this world-famous game in the DLC release Lineage M: The Elmor.
Welcome! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips. I’m glad you’re here for this third article in my series based on my Game Developers Conference 2022 lecture, “Composing for Lineage M: Modular Construction in Game Music.” My GDC presentation explored the top creative and technical challenges of creating a flexible music system for a game with a retro design. This article series shares most of the content of that GDC presentation, along with the videos I included in my presentation at the conference.
In the first two articles of this series, we explored the power and awesome popularity of retro gaming. We reviewed the history of the world-famous Lineage video game franchise, including how the original Lineage PC game from 1998 found its way to modern mobile devices in 2017 under the name Lineage M. I shared my experience as the chosen composer of the music for a new DLC release for Lineage M, and what it was like composing the first new gameplay music for the original Lineage MMORPG in over 24 years.