Since our website started we had many great composers, sound designers and library developers with us but this time we present to you how a game developer thinks and feels the music should be used within a game. In this interview EmberHeart games present their project Courier of the Crypts in all special “Project week” on The Audio Spotlight.
Briefly tell us about your project you are currently working on?
Courier of the Crypts is a game about a young courier that has to deliver a letter to the guardian of the crypts but that simple delivery soon turns into a dangerous adventure. Game is mixture of exploration, action and puzzle genre. As you’ve might guessed, player will be venturing through the crypts to find the old guardian. Along the way, player will be facing many difficulties (crypt complexes, monstrosities, traps, puzzles), funny story twists and that’s not all – main aspect of the game is to keep your magic torch on fire otherwise crypts will get richer for another soul. Project is already far with the development and release date is aimed for the Q1 2013.
As a developer, what do you look for in the music?
For me, music is essential part of the game. You can build great gameplay but without music and graphics you can hardly express the ambient you want and that’s exactly what I want – to hear what you see and play, it should get you closer to the game’s world.
Do you prefer custom music over stock music or vice versa?
To work with a composer to design a music that fits perfectly into your game is always the best option to go with. Music should help you understand what is situation in the game and that can be hardly done with some random stock music. Then again, I found stock music useful when budget is low or if the game is simple enough that only needs one “catchy” piece without special tailoring additions.
Tell us a little bit about working with composers and sound designers?
This is something new for me since Courier of the Crypts is the first project where I work directly with the composer. I try to give the composer as much information as I can (design, storyline, game builds, screenshots etc.) so he can understand what I want. For the current project I wasn’t sure what kind of music I want so I’ve sent the composer few music example and that was it. He had information about the game, music examples to consider and from that he made something I liked right on the spot. He helps me a lot with the suggestions about the audio side of the game, what fits and what doesn`t. At this point I’m not worried at all about the music because I know task is placed in the right hands and I believe that’s how every developer should feel about their composers.
How important is the relationship with a composer to you? Do you feel that you should have a close relationship with a composer or rather just give him/her the task and let it be done with it?
I think it’s quite important to keep closer connection with people that work for your project in general, at least for me. I express part of myself through the game and I wouldn’t like to have someone on the project that doesn’t care for the game or understands it (it’s bad for both sides) and not just that. My composer and I talk a lot and grab a drink together from time to time which makes everything more relaxed for both. It’s easier to communicate that way and you can talk more freely about everything. Maybe that doesn’t work for everyone but for me it’s very important rather than having unpersonal relationship “I pay you X and you give me music after 2 months, now leave me alone!”.
How did you choose your current composer? What were the criteria that made you go; I want you to work with/for me?
It was quite random actually. My project was at early stages when I found out about this composer from the same city I live in. I checked his website for music examples out curiousity and when I’ve heard those pieces I was like “Oh man, that’s great! His music and style would fit perfectly to my needs!”. After that, I talked to him on one meeting and he was up for the project. As soon as I got first music example for the game I knew that I’ve made the right decision.
Do you feel like that there is too much music in video games these days?
Not at all, I don’t think there can be too much music but it can be used in the wrong way. Lots of music placed in the game without a thought can have bad impact on gameplay so I think it’s rather problem in quantity than quality.
How can people find out more about your project?
I post regular updates about the project’s development on my website (www.emberheartgames.com) and site dedicated just to the game is coming out soon as well.
What is next after you have finished this project?
Rest! Well, there are many ideas for the future projects but first I want to give the players some modification options for the current game. Map editor with the map database is one of the considered option for after the release.
How long have you been working on this project?
Game development started in October 2011, so it’s like 10 months so far if I don’t count hours when I was dreaming about the game idea months before. That’s while having regular job and studying.