If you haven't already, make sure to watch the video above on this subject. We hit the top picks for how to get music into your video game - this blog post is a continuation of that video.
Music is so important to get right in video games, but for an indie developer it normally is the last element they think about. You are so busy doing everthing else you need to do to complete a video game by yourself that you almost forget that music is needed.
If you have completed and released a few games already, then possibly music is already in your development process, but when it is your first game it is easy to ignore this subject until it is really needed. So you are an indie developer and you are now at that point, where should you start when thinking about how to get music into your games?
As covered in the vlog, I would always suggest to an indie developer to create your own original score. Yes, it adds yet another hat you have to wear as an indie, but you have complete creative control with how you want your digital world to sound. Not only this, an indie budget is tight, creating your own tunes may be the cheapest option for this subject, as well as being an additional stream of revenue when releasing your game.
What music creation software should you use?
Well if you are a PC user then there are a wealth of programs you can use to create your new soundtrack easily. Most music creating platforms have free and paid versions as well, allowing you can try a few until you find the one you can really vibe with. Here are a few I have tried over the years on PC:
Magix Music Maker has always been highly rated. Magix know how to make music software, with solid products such ACID and Sound Forge, you are in good hands with Magix. Music Maker is easy to use, which is the main reason I am placing it first on this list. As I am constantly pushing indies to make their own music, the software needs to be easy to use first of all, as we really don't have time to learn a new program.
FL Studio, or FruityLoops, has grown a lot over the years. I remember using FruityLoops when it first came out and it was a simple looping beat creator. Now it is so much more, it has everything you will require for making a video game soundtrack, and it is has an app version as well for your phone, so you can create while you are on the go.
Reason is another strong competitor for your choice in creating music on PC. They have a lot of instruments and assets you can use, giving you endless options when composing your soundtrack. Reason no longer have a free version of their software, but they do offer a monthly payment plan, which makes it easier to manage the indie game budget.
Mac users, I can't list them all out, as in my eyes their really is only one choice.
Logic Pro is the ultimate music creating software, in my opinion, and always wins my choice when discussing music creation. With this product Apple have done what they are known to do with all their products. Have taken a really powerful piece of software and somehow made it easy to use. If you have a Mac, which sadly I no longer do, then down Logic Pro now!
If you don't have a Mac but you do have an iPhone, like me, then luckily we have a good alterative. GarageBand. As discussed in the video, this is a close second to Logic Pro. Made by the same creators, and just like it's older sibling, GarageBand is simple to, extremely powerful and somehow lives on your phone. All music created for Wreck Tangle Games has been made with this fantastic app!
What if I don't want to create the music?
Then I would use Fiverr. If you haven't used Fiverr before, it is a great source of additional assets you may need for a project. On Fiverr, creative individuals offer their skillset to other creators for a small fee. On this website you can of course find composers who will help you make music for your video game, but you will also find on here other services that may help you complete a project. Actors for your script? Graphic Designers for your games logo? You name it, someone can help on Fiverr.
What if I have no budget for my indie game?
Well you are in luck, there are plently of places you can find music and audio for your games for free. Royalty free websites are in abundance these days, but although the thought of free music for your games sounds great, do remember that many other creators will be using the same music in their games, films and YouTube videos as well, so the sound of your game will never be unique. I would always suggest considering the other two options first before heading down the Royalty Free route. If you are still interesting Royalty Free however, a great first stop would Pixabay.
Originally just a source for royalty free images, Pixabay now fills the whole creative folder, with videos, sounds and music. Remember to mention the creator in your project though.
Well by now, after a vlog and blog, you know my opinion and my option of choice, but as with everything, we are all different and the way we approach tasks are unique to us. Find what best works for you and stick with it.
The most important part of developing a game as an indie developer is to just keep working on it until you finish. Too many indies don't end up completing a project, because it is genuinely rather difficult to spin as many plates as you have to to complete a game. So if the music side of things are slowing you down, and you would rather pay someone else to fill that void for you, go for it!
Just don't give up on developing that project!