Audio is something we highly value at GoldFire Studios (we open-sourced howler.js after all). It is vital to set the right gameplay tone through the score, and the only way to do that is with original music. This is why we tackled that obstacle early in development of the first prototype.
The problem is that CasinoRPG has vastly evolved since that prototype stage, and we've consistently felt the need to take the in-game music to the next level. That's why we recently reached out to Megan Randa who we'd worked with before to create original music for our Kickstarter and launch trailers.
We've worked with Megan over the last several weeks to craft six original tracks that integrate the classic casino vibes with more modern touches to achieve an exciting new soundscape to play with. We're excited to introduce all of these new tracks in the below embed, and we follow that up with several Q&A's with the composer!
What is your process when approaching a new project?
It can really vary, but for most media-based projects I really like to get a sense of what the music should be achieving in the setting--whether that be an emotional state, plot development, ambience, etc. If a client has reference material to go from, I like to listen through once and then give myself a day away from it before sitting down to write. The essence of the music is then still in my mind, but it won't be so fresh it's overpowering my own musical direction.
On the flip side, I've also worked without any reference material at all! In these cases, I have to rely on my experience with music as a whole and apply that in my own way to fit. In the end though, for most projects, once I know the direction of the project and can get myself in that mindset, the music will often start to flow naturally.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Lots of places! Really anything can be a source of inspiration, and often times it comes down to the question, "What can I do to elevate this experience?". A lot of times it's pinpointing a style of writing to use, and in turn I then draw inspiration from other composers and artists. That inspiration is a wide range, from Renaissance composers to contemporary film composers, pop artists to EDM producers. I'm a true believer of everything we experience being something we learn from and apply to our own selves (creatively or not).
What tools do you use when composing?
Believe it or not, I often start with pen and paper. This way I can in real time draft out ideas (usually through shapes and lines). As far as software goes, I'm pretty partial to using Logic Pro for production. Specific instruments are all pulled from a range of various sample libraries (EastWest being the most common brand). I'm currently building up my studio's recording equipment, so have been having fun playing around with my Rode NT1 mic. I also recently picked up a pair of Sennheiser HD 650 headphones, and I think my mind was officially blown!
Why do you enjoy creating music for video games?
The simple answer is that I love music and I love video games. :) But deeper than that, I really enjoy being a part of something interactive. I've always known I wanted to write music for film, but after I started getting into gaming, I realized how similar video game music and film music are to one another. Game music brings on it's own set of challenges though - Perhaps the biggest: Time is dynamic in games compared to in film where it's linear. All of this affects how the music is written and how it integrates across trigger points. It can make the job a little tougher, but I actually find it an exciting task to take on!
Who is your favorite composer and what makes them great?
Now that's a tough one...and I always have to answer this with 2 answers because I have a favorite composer and I have a favorite composer's work.
Favorite Composer (and it's always changing!) right now is Alexandre Desplat. If you happened to see The Imitation Game and Grand Budapest Hotel this year, you'll know exactly why he's a brilliant musical mind. Everything he writes is a perfect reflection of the film being accompanied. If you don't remember the music from Grand Budapest, go give it a listen. It's an absolutely delightful score with so much creativity and nuance (which is true for most of Desplat's work!).
Favorite work by a composer: Howard Shore's 3 film scores to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I've been listening to these scores since the films first came out, and I'm still discovering things. Part of being a composer is being an analytical listener, and all three of Shore's scores are as fitting and intricate as you can get! Most people can recognize the prominent themes from the film, but when you really dive in, Shore has over 90 musical themes that are woven throughout all 3 films signifying people, places, events... Across 3 films, he's able to tie storylines together through music. It's, in my view, the definition of a masterpiece.
What's your favorite video game?
Dragon Age: Inquisition - So many glorious hours put into that game.
What's your favorite video game score?
Probably Skyrim... Never gets old to me.
Favorite Film and TV show?
Currently: Interstellar - I can't get over that movie. Also, Firefly (Over 10 years later and still too soon to talk about).
If you could spend a day with a video game character, who would it be?
Rayman and Globox - I can't imagine NOT having an awesome time with those two.
If you could have one power from any video game character, what would you choose?
Probably Lilith's siren capabilities in Borderlands... Because phase-locking someone in an orb is way more fun than it should be.