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.
Hey everybody! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips. Thanks for joining me for this second article in my series based on my Game Developers Conference 2022 lecture, “Composing for Lineage M: Modular Construction in Game Music.” In my GDC presentation, I discussed my work composing music for a recent installment in the famous Lineage franchise (one of the most popular MMORPG game series ever made). This article series will share the content of that GDC talk, along with the audiovisual samples I included in my presentation at the conference.
Hello there! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips. At the most recent Game Developers Conference, I was pleased to present a lecture as part of the conference’s audio track. GDC is a top video game industry conference, packed with expert sessions supplemented by an array of awesome opportunities to network and learn. Whenever I give a GDC presentation, I like to include the content of my lecture in my articles here, so I’m now kicking off a five-part series of articles based on my presentation in March! In these articles, I’ve included the substance of my GDC presentation, along with most of the multimedia materials I used to illustrate concepts during my lecture. So let’s get started!
Hello there! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips. Next week, I’ll be giving a lecture during the Game Developers Conference 2021 event. During my lecture, I’ll be talking about the music I composed for Sumo Digital for both the Sackboy: A Big Adventure and Spyder video games. My lecture is entitled, “From Spyder to Sackboy: A Big Adventure in Interactive Music,” and will take place on Friday July 23rd at 3:40pm PT. Although GDC is still an all-virtual affair, the event does provide lots of opportunities for experts within the game development community to share their knowledge, coupled with forums enabling game audio folks to network and learn from each other. In addition to my prepared lecture, I’ll also be participating in a live Speaker Q&A that will take place right after my presentation. It should be a lot of fun! Really looking forward to sharing my experience working with Sumo Digital simultaneously on these two fantastic games.
This was an incredibly rare and awesome opportunity for me to compose music for two projects simultaneously in development by the same company. Because of this, I found the comparisons between the two games fascinating.
My talk will delve into the mechanics of the dynamic music systems in both games, showing how a comparison between these two projects can shed some light on the utility of the top interactive techniques and strategies. While comparing this list of interactive music techniques provided me with a lot of material for my GDC lecture, there were other ways in which the two projects were similar. I thought I’d share some brief thoughts on one of the other common threads I found between these two Sumo Digital games.
As composers, we’re often asked to provide a general atmosphere that adds either character to gameplay or distinctive flavor to menus. If it’s a horror game, maybe we’re being asked to provide a crushingly heavy drone of doom during tense exploration, with soul-shuddering tone clusters bubbling up from the darkness and then sinking back down into the murky depths. For a whimsical game, we might be creating airy, open textures with little mischievous accents from the mallets or woodwind section… or maybe we’re creating a brightly whimsical melody for an opening menu or splash screen. If it’s a fantasy roleplaying game, we may be providing softly ambient tracks for exploration, with a pensive flute wandering gently through Gaelic figures. Or maybe we’re creating a thunderously epic main theme for an opening menu, designed to emphasize the world-shattering stakes of the adventure to come.
Hey everyone! I’m videogame composer Winifred Phillips. GDC 2021 is coming this July 19th to the 23rd, and I’m excited that I’ll be giving a talk during this year’s conference! My talk is called, “From Spyder to Sackboy: A Big Adventure in Interactive Music,“ and I’ll be sharing more details about my talk as the conference gets nearer. Once again, GDC will be a fully virtual game industry event this year. I think all of us who have participated in GDC’s awesome online events over the past year have really enjoyed the experience. Considering the long list of structural and logistical changes that had to be made, it’s amazing how smoothly everything went!
This March, the GDC held their first-ever Showcase event. This online gathering provided the game development community a chance to get together and share expert knowledge in the time window usually occupied by the full-fledged Game Developer Conference in San Francisco. Completely free of charge, this event featured talks from the GDC Vault: a repository of lecture videos from the long history of the conference. During Showcase week, GDC curated a selection of lectures from their illustrious history and spotlighted those talks in live-streams accompanied by enthusiastic text discussions in an accompanying chat box. One of my lectures from a previous GDC event was featured during this GDC Showcase, and I was happy to participate in the chat discussion, answering questions and providing additional resources. My lecture was entitled, “Homefront to God of War: Using Music to Build Suspense,” and you can watch the entire video of my lecture for free at this link in the GDC Vault.
While the videos remain a part of the GDC Vault, those chat discussions from GDC Showcase are no longer available in any form. I found the chat conversation during my lecture session to be lively, intelligent and tremendously worthwhile, so I preserved the text of the discussion and I’d like to share portions of it here. As we all know, these sorts of text-chat discussions don’t really allow for lengthy answers, and often the questions fly by so fast that there’s little time to elaborate on ideas. With that in mind, I thought I’d expand on some of the topics brought up during my GDC Showcase session. You’ll see that I’ve organized this article under topic headings, quoting the original chat excerpts and then adding a few additional thoughts to flesh things out.
Delighted you’re here! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and this past year has been particularly busy for me. I’ve released several projects this year, including Sackboy: A Big Adventure (my latest, pictured above) – and I’m very pleased that my Waltz of the Bubbles composition from Sackboy: A Big Adventure just won a Global Music Award, and is nominated along with the rest of the game’s soundtrack in this year’s NAVGTR Awards! In between projects, I’ve given three virtual talks this past year at the Game Developers Conference in March, the VGM Academy Live event in April, and the GDC Summer event in August. Popular events like these are great opportunities to touch base with the community and exchange ideas about the art of game composition and the business of being a video game composer.
All during this time, I’ve been keeping up with this blog, writing monthly articles that explore different topics of interest to us as game composers. In addition to the regular monthly entries, every year I write an article that tries to answer the question, “how does an aspiring composer break into the video game industry?” This is the question I’m personally asked most often, and it’s one I always struggle to answer.
Part of the reason for this is that my own “breaking into the business” story is so unusual. My first video game project happened to be a triple-A blockbuster (God of War from Sony Interactive), and I was able to land the gig because an example of my work landed on the desk of a music supervisor for the project at exactly the right time. What are the chances of that? It’s akin to being struck by lightning, and I certainly can’t advise young composers to depend on that kind of lightning to strike. But I don’t want to leave hopeful young composers in the lurch either.
So every year, I revisit the subject, trying to learn what helpful advice might be offered by virtue of the common wisdom that exists at the time. In expert articles and community posts, the subject is ceaselessly examined and reconsidered. It’s an evolving conversation that shifts in subtle but appreciable ways from year to year. So this is the 2021 edition, in which I share the interesting observations I’ve gathered from online sources during the previous year. Hopefully, this article will provide some guidance and support for those who are embarking on their own game music careers. But first, in case anyone might like to hear a fuller retelling of my own “breaking into the business” story, here’s an interview I gave in 2011 with GameSpot in which I recount how I landed my first gig. The relevant discussion begins at 4 minutes and 15 seconds:
So happy you’ve joined us! I’m videogame composer Winifred Phillips. Welcome to my two-part article series on the process of composing music for timed challenges in video games! Since timed challenges are a popular gameplay mechanic that has featured prominently in my most recently released project (The Spyder DLC missions), I thought it might be interesting for us to take a closer look at what makes a timed challenge tick!